MTV News' own Jim Cantiello is exclusively covering "The X Factor" rehearsals. Read on for his fly-on-the-wall backstage report!
LOS ANGELES — The top 10 contestants on "The X Factor" are taking on rock and roll this week, and everyone backstage is on edge. Production closed off all rehearsals so contestants couldn't sit in while their competitors practiced. During the dress rehearsal, many of the top 10 were glued to a monitor backstage scoping out the competition for the first time. Tense!
It may be Rock Week, but Jermaine Dupri was spotted hanging out backstage with L.A. Reid's right-hand man. You think deals are happening on the lot? Let the irresponsible rumor mongering commence!
Here are some other "X Factor" backstage tidbits so juicy I have to make them blind to protect my job. (Don't be mad.)
» Which fan fave was spotted reading lyrics off an iPhone during rehearsals? She better get those down by tonight, especially since it's a beloved rock ballad that everyone drunkenly croons at 2 a.m. karaoke.
» Another contestant was concerned that one dance move involving a line of dancers would make him look too sleazy. "I'm all for having fun, but I don't want to be crazy sexual with it. That's not me," he was overheard telling an "X Factor" crew member. "The kids don't need that." The crew members assured him that it plays charming instead of lecherous.
» Expect hair experimentation galore on Wednesday night (November 16)! During the dress rehearsal, one singer tried out a blowout for the first time. He was on the fence until everyone backstage — cast and crew — gushed over the new look. One of the gurus of the @TheXFactorUSA Twitter account joked that his hair will be a trending topic. "OK, I guess we're running with it," he shrugged. (My two cents: IT RULES.)
» Another hair makeover! She went from five-head to no-head, and she's never looked better. Upgrade!
» For those of you who watched last month's O Music Awards Dance Marathon on MTV.com, keep your eyes peeled for breakout star "Dancer 13." (Remember the tall guy with a bunch of energy?) Now he's backing up results-show performer Rihanna. Exciting!
» And last but not least, judge and mentor Paula Abdul only has one group left, the female country pop quartet Lakoda Rayne. Despite last week's drama, the group is more focused than ever. The Rayne girls knew exactly what song they wanted to do for Rock Week and stuck to their guns, despite the production initially suggesting a different number. Paula has never been prouder of her girls.
Who are you expecting to shine during Rock Week? Let us know in the comments!