It was scary, wonderful television. But watching the screen was nothing compared to being in the studio audience for American Idol's Thursday night results show. Not one, but two of the contestants looked like they were going to have heart attacks — for completely different reasons — and one of them, Casey Abrams, who has already been hospitalized twice during this competition for severe intestinal problems, was escorted off the stage by a concerned staffer immediately after the show wrapped.
"I can't believe it," said Abrams, over and over, after the judges used their one save of the season to keep the multi-talented 20-year-old California film camp counselor in the competition. He ran to his parents for a hug and then promised the judges, "I'll make you proud."
But it was his shaking and near physical collapse that scared the audience — brought on in part by the fact that his ironic, sing-for-your-life song, Ray Charles' "I Don't Need No Doctor," was waved off by judge Randy Jackson and stopped in its tracks by host Ryan Seacrest only 20 seconds into the performance. "This is crazy wrong," said judge Steven Tyler, who delivered the news that the judges were going to save him.
That was the second scare. Earlier in the show, what you didn't see was what happened to rocker James Durbin in the commercial break after the surprise appearance by his idol, Hulk Hogan. Durbin, 22, who suffers from Asperger syndrome, was walking around the stage in a daze, overwhelmed and unable to sit down. He looked like he was in total shock. He kept looking at the other contestants as if to say, "Do you believe who was just here?" And then, after Seacrest gave him the t-shirt that Hogan had ripped in two during his appearance, Durbin spent the rest of the show staring at it, straightening it out and carefully putting it on over his proper grey suit.
Add all that to Stevie Wonder's birthday tribute to Steven Tyler, and a warm welcome for one of the show's most successful contestants, Jennifer Hudson, and you had a results show that had more emotion than anything except some of Idol's most memorable finales. Let's just hope the contestants can stay healthy enough to take full advantage of it!