Go Behind the Scenes at American Idol

American Idol finalists

Michael Becker/FOX

updated 03/27/2014 AT 12:45 PM ET

originally published 03/27/2014 AT 7:15 PM ET

American Idol has been on the air for 13 seasons, but somehow there are still plenty of behind-the-scenes tidbits you can’t see from home.

“There is a lot of stuff that I did not know,” contestant Dexter Roberts tells PEOPLE.

So what are these unearthed gems? Here are five secrets about the FOX reality show.

1. Host Ryan Seacrest gets a little help to remember the contestants’ names.
While mentor Randy Jackson and judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. have had trouble remembering how to pronounce Jena Irene’s first name (pronounced “Gee-na”), Seacrest always gets it right. But that may have to do with the fact that the teleprompter spells her name as “Gina.”

Not that Irene minds. “I know if they spell it right they’re going to pronounce it wrong,” she says. “I totally understand. And thank God my name’s pronounced right for once.”

And Malaya Watson took matters into her own hands when her name was mispronounced: “I told them to spell it ‘Ma-Lie-Ya’ because they kept on calling me ‘Ma-lee-ya’ or ‘Ma-lae-a.’ So they put it like that and I’m happy they did.”

2. The contestants sometimes don’t rehearse with the band until the live shows.
“I thought the band would be there the whole time,” Roberts says of the rehearsals. “But sometimes you’re just standing there alone like you were in the [auditions].”


From Our Partners