Access Inside Tuesday Night’s Top 9 ‘American Idol’ Performance Show

Oh, what a night! The theme was rock n’ roll and the contestants did not disappoint! There were groupies, near falls on stage, hints towards inter-contestant romance, love and support between contestants, and of course, some killer performances.

Nothing says rock n’ roll quite like screaming girls and the ladies loved the male contestants tonight! The girls were so excited, in fact, that during a commercial break, the MC had to ask the audience to keep their screams to a minimum during the judges’ commentary. This request was made after the crowd went BANANAS for Jacob Lusk and Casey Abrams. Things got a little awkward after Jacob completed his performance and an overzealous fan screamed, “I love you Jacob!” — to which both Jacob and J.Lo replied “I love you too!”

Later in the show, a group of girls rushed the stage at the end of Scotty McCreery’s performance of Elvis’ “That’s All Right Mama.” One young fan nearly face planted on the stage stairs, causing everyone to take in a deep sigh of relief that she managed to stay on her feet. But she wasn’t the only one struggling to keep her balance. Paul McDonald almost took a nosedive while he rushed over to the house band to quickly set up for his performance.

On a juicier note, rumors have been circulating through the tabloids that Stefano Langone is harboring a massive crush on Pia Toscano. Could it be true? It sure seemed that way!

After Pia completed her rendition of Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High” and the show cut to commercial, Stefano went to take the stage. It was clear as they passed one another and he looked on adoringly, that he was congratulating her and praising her performance. Stefano performed “When a Man Loves a Woman” and J.Lo commented that it seemed as though, for the first time, he was “really singing to somebody and really singing about somebody.”

During commercial breaks, the judges munched on Pirates Booty. Randy schmoozed with audience members and industry folk, J.Lo checked her blackberry and had her hair coiffed, and Steven Tyler (who was rocking bedazzled sneakers) had and intimate moment with his makeup artist as she picked something out of his front teeth. Ryan chatted with Christian Slater who was in the audience and gave Christian’s daughter a high five and a smile.

Perhaps one of the more endearing moments that truly showcased how close the contestants have become throughout this process, occurred at the tail end of the show, as the recap played for the folks at home. The contestants gathered on stage and danced with one another, teasing Paul for his silly dance moves, congratulating one another, hooking elbows and swinging each other around, laughing, smiling, hugging and even pulling Ryan Seacrest and the show’s stage manager into the mix before the cameras began rolling again.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about the music and America will be hard pressed to eliminate any of these contestants tomorrow. Lauren and Pia belted notes that were so powerful, their voices could be felt vibrating through the chairs and through the floor in the studio. Paul’s performance instantly brought everyone to their feet, transforming the stage into a real rock concert and starring what was seemingly a veteran rocker. The crowd could not get enough of Haley Reinhart singing Janis Joplin, giving her a massive standing ovation.

But perhaps the greatest live voice was that of Casey Abrams covering Credence Clearwater Revival and playing the standing bass. The talent was undeniable and “American Idol” is truly anyone’s game this season!

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