'American Idol' Dispatch: Blake Lewis in the house! Oh, and Shania Twain

american-idol-top-6-shania-twain.jpg Zap2it's weekly "Dispatches from Inside the 'Idol' Dome" brings fanatics like you (and us) closer to all the action. What didn't viewers see on the TV broadcast? We've got it covered.

Shania Twain night on "American Idol" was a surprisingly strong one -- as it should be at this stage of the game. But the relative lack of off-the-wall performances and mostly positive comments from the judges didn't make for the most scintillating hour of live broadcasting. That's OK, though, because plenty went on when cameras weren't rolling. Some of what we saw:

Crowd surfing

  • One of the signs in the crowd tonight said "We [heart] Lee" -- which is not that interesting in and of itself. On the back, though, was the start of another sign that read "____ ____ is so cool"; the name was covered up. So either the sign-maker messed up and started over on the other side, or her favorite got booted earlier on and she was recycling.
  • Cory the Warm-Up Guy was handing out contestant-specific swag after each performance. Following Lee DeWyze's "Still the One," he handed out T-shirts from what he called "the Lee bag." Which immediately made us think that DeWyze's fans should totally call themselves Leebags. Let's start a meme!
  • Before Casey James sang, the stage managers picked about 10 young women from the pit to stand in front of his perch and look up adoringly at him. As best we could tell, though, they were all age-appropriate -- not a cougar among them.
  • "Idol" and "Dancing With the Stars" audience members mingled as they left Television City -- and they made for a surprisingly well-dressed crowd. Lots more high heels and jackets and ties than we would have expected.

Guest stars a-go-go

  • In the audience tonight: Twain, of course -- she and the judges must have gotten along in the audition round, because they chatted warmly during breaks. Also, Season x runner-up Blake Lewis, still sporting the inexplicable blond 1980s skateboard kid haircut.
  • This was in our notes: "Shania Twain has kind of a flat butt." Either that, or the capri-length jeans she was wearing didn't fit in the most flattering way.
  • Twain did not take Cowell up on his suggestion that Casey should kiss her on the lips. Possible cougar fight with Kara DioGuardi averted.

The regulars

  • Michael Lynche wins the prize for the best poker face of the night. While Simon Cowell was attempting to explain what he meant by calling Mike's performance "a bit wet," he just stood there with a sheepish grin on his face.
  • Ryan Seacrest did the "This ... is 'American Idol'" intro from the bleachers, then literally ran to the rear of the stage so he could descend the stairs in the center.
  • Per usual, the judges hopped backstage during breaks, but both Cowell and DioGuardi went into the bleachers to sign autographs and chat with fans.
  • Before we could leave, we served as the backdrop for a promo for Wednesday's results show and a video message the judges and Seacrest shot for "Idol" creator Simon Fuller's 50th birthday. Because when you already have anything, it's nice to get thank yous from the people whose paychecks you enable.

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Photo credit: FOX