There's no way around it, elimination night sucks and everyone is on edge. Some handle it better than others, but as the weeks pass, it's obvious some bonds are stronger than others. We couldn't help but notice from our seat behind the judges table at Thursday's elimination show that Naima Adedapo was the odd girl out among her female competitors.
So what was the vibe on the couch when the cameras weren't rolling, and what did the judges do after Stevie Wonder performed? Here's everything you didn't see:
Last time we checked, American Idol finalist Naima didn't appear to be BFFs with any of the female contestants. At Thursday's elimination show, it looked like things haven't changed. Maybe it's her crazy style, her daring risks on stage or the fact that she seems to be more of a guy's girl that has kept her from becoming supertight with the girls she's up against, but whatever the reason, we weren't seeing much love thrown her way from Pia Toscano, Haley Reinhart, Lauren Alaina or Thia Megia.
Of course everyone is going to be nervous, wondering if their time in the Idol spotlight is done, but the self-proclaimed BFFs seem to have become selective with who gets that extra reassuring hug, smile or huddled whispers when the camera isn't on them.
We felt kind of bad for Naima who, after receiving polite hugs of congratulations on making it through another week, sat next Lauren and Pia with a giant gap between them. Lauren and Pia were literally "stuck like glue" to each other during Sugarland's performance and wouldn't let go of Thia after she was sent back to the safety of the couch. Haley practically skipped into the arms of the other girls during commercial after she found out she was safe from elimination, but where was Naima? Oh yeah, she was sitting on the edge of the couch. Kind of weird to watch someone be so blatantly ignored in front of a huge studio audience.
Naima isn't sweating it though. She's got her own special bond with the judge's save, Casey Abrams, with whom she was couch dancing. It looked as though the two are thick as thieves. Even when Casey was up for elimination, she was throwing positive words and smiles his way; it was obvious she genuinely wanted him to stay. If you believe in opposites attracting, they would actually make a cute odd couple; they certainly get along great.
Speaking of great things, it was an amazing sight to see Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler turn into starstruck fans after Stevie Wonder performed. As soon as the cameras went to commercial, the trio literally rushed the stage where Steven gave Stevie a kiss on the cheek, Randy battled for Stevie's attention with Steven and Jennifer put on her best photo pose. It was refreshing to see that, no matter how famous you are, there's always someone to make you feel like bowing down.
Other fun tidbits from behind the scenes:
Do you think Naima is the odd girl out? Who is your favorite female on Idol? Do you think any of the Idols would make a cute couple? Share your thoughts in the comments!
(Originally published March 24, 2011, at 9:21 p.m. PT)