American Idol, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson, Ellen Degeneres, Ryan Seacrest,

Michael Becker / FOX

You've heard the rumors: Simon hates Ellen. Ellen hates Simon. Kara and Simon fake flirt for the cameras. Randy is a lone dawg.

But we were there live tonight for the taping of American Idol at CBS Studios in Los Angeles and here's what you need to know:

It's bonkers how much the judges—Simon, Randy, Kara and Ellen--and host Ryan Seacrest appear to legitimately like each other. No, like, really, really like each other. When the cameras are not rolling.

In fact, while some other reality (*ahem*dance*) competition series seem to try to hide the real-life tension behind the scenes, Idol appears to be downplaying the lovefest that's really going on to make sure we're all taking the competition seriously. (And we are. See. Crystal Bowersox and Sioban rocked tonight.)

Still, it seemed whenever the cameras were not on them, the judges and Ryan were acting like, I dunno, friends. But the genuine feeling that they enjoy each other's company is pretty endearing. Almost as enjoyable to watch as Ellen busting a move for the audience--which she did to loud applause often tonight.

Simon and Kara always seemed to be leaning toward one another--at times he'd have his arm slung casually over her chair. Nothing scandalous (he's rumored to be engaged; she's married, mind you!) but these two are obviously very close, and the flirting you see on the show does continue on during the commercial breaks. Lots of playful banter and lots of…leaning.

Simon also palled around with Randy, Ryan and yes, Ellen—sharing a warm embrace with Ellen at one point when they were laughing and talking to each other. They seem to get along just fine, thanks for asking!

Other fun notes:

Jessica Szohr (Gossip Girl) and Dianna Agron (Glee) were in attendance tonight. But despite the crowd's silent wishes, Dianna never jumped on stage to sing a little "Say a Little Prayer."

The crowd of enthusiastic teen girls crowding the stage for the performances are dressed as if the Jonas Brothers are about to pop out any second. Which means their wardrobe colors vary from bright purple to bright purplish-pink.

Right before the show goes live, the contestants offer each other high fives, smiles, and even chest bumps.  We didn't catch who "Big Daddy" Michael Lynche chest bumped, but safe to say he or she will be feeling it tomorrow.

As the contestants were ushered off at the end of the taping, Lacey's mom popped up to beam "Call me!" to her daughter. Embarrassing. Didn't anyone tell her that the kids text now? Geez, mom. Get connected!

Are you enjoying the four judges this season? Comment below...

--Reporting by Jenna Mullins


Do you think Jamie Foxx would hang out with the other judges during commercial breaks?

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