The event: Friday night's launch of the 46-date Idols Live tour, featuring Season 11's top 10 in concert.
The location:Joe Louis Arena, alias "the Joe," in Detroit.
Attendance: More than 5,300.
The crowd: Amy Forster, 38, of Cedar Springs, Mich., bought tickets (fourth row on the floor) as a birthday present for daughter Alyssa Alger, who turned 15 on March 21.
Through Herculean effort, Forster and Alyssa's friend Elena Brownell, also 15, kept the tickets a secret until the day of the show. Mom sprang the news on Alyssa when she picked her up from a babysitting job. "I was freaking out," Alyssa says. "Elena was hiding in the back of the van." It's their first trip to the Joe.
A family outing:Idol is a new tradition for Annette Knapper, 54, of Clarkston, Mich., and son Nate, 26, who didn't miss a single episode this season. For Mother's Day, her family got her tickets to the concert, where they were joined by her husband, Dan, 54, and daughter Chelsey, 21.
"We scheduled our evenings around it," says Annette. "We even told a waitress one time at a restaurant that we had to be home by 8 p.m."
The memorabilia: Branded merchandise ranged from $10 posters and rubber bracelets to a pricey $65 zip-up hoodie.
The beginning: A video of host Ryan Seacrest welcomes the crowd. Nine of the 10 Idols (winner Phillip Phillips, who's recovering from kidney surgery, is pacing himself) kick things off with My Chemical Romance's Sing.
Ghosts of Idols past: Best buds Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh perform Carrie Underwood's Undo It, amidst cheers from the audience, many of whom clap along to the beat.
Group numbers:Heejun Han, DeAndre Brackensick and runner-up Jessica Sanchez take on LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem, followed by the guys (again sans Phillip) doing Neon Trees' Everybody Talks. The first act ends with the nine singing Bruno Mars' Just the Way You Are. For six songs, various Idols provide background vocals for the lead singer. All 10 close the concert with Glad You Came by The Wanted, which receives a standing ovation. The total tally for the night: 32 songs.
Three-peat: The second act starts with Jessica firing off three songs in a row: Beyoncé's Best Thing I Never Had, Prince's How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore (aided by Joshua Ledet and DeAndre on background vocals) — and, surprisingly, a reprise of her divisive top-five performance of Tina Turner's Proud Mary (again with Joshua and DeAndre on backing vocals).
Versatility: Elise Testone, who is heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin, brings back her rendition of Whole Lotta Love— a respectable one at that — which get the biggest strobes and plenty of cheers. She follows up immediately with Adele's Rumour Has It (with Erika Van Pelt and DeAndre on background vocals), showing off her range.
"My music hasn't changed very much (since being on Idol)," she says before the show. "I'm always learning. I'm inspired by people whose musical stylings have rubbed off on me. Idol was a series of tests for me."
Tickled Pink: Erika offers Glitter in the Air by Pink, one of her influences. She's still seeking a record deal. "A lot depends on this tour. I have to do more legwork to get picked up by a label. No deal was handed to me right off the bat."
She hopes the tour displays "a different side of me" than Idol fans saw on the show. "People pegged me as a rock chick, but I'm more R&B with a rock edge. … Singing for 1½ minutes once a week isn't enough. Singing for 1½ hours, the audience will feel me."
New singles: Fan favorite Colton Dixon sings his new original, Never Gone, while Phillip finishes with his hit coronation song, Home.
Duets: Jessica and Joshua do Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and George Michael proud with I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), Phillip and Jessica (!) pair up for Damien Rice's Volcano and Phillip and Elise channel Gotye and Kimbra on Somebody That I Used to Know.