American Idol stage explodes after stage manager falls down stairs

American Idol‘s dress rehearsal was cancelled after part of the set exploded and collapsed, which came after the show’s stage manager, Debbie Williams, fell down a staircase and had to be taken to the hospital.

The show just started on the east coast, and Ryan Seacrest told us about “an unconventional day,” mentioning an “accident” but not being specific. He also showed the logo tower on the audience’s left, which had partially collapsed, and he mentioned glass shattering. Minutes earlier, Seacrest wrote on Twitter, “We have had a few incidents on stage. I will explain in a few mins on idol. There has been no dress rehersal for contestants.”

According to MJ’s Big Blog, which typically has reports from dress rehearsal, Debbie Williams “fell down a 20 [foot] staircase” and “was taken out of Idol rehearsal in a neck brace on a stretcher. She was waving and smiling as she left.”

In an apparently unrelated incident, one of the massive spinning logo orbs, the things that look like the machine from Contact, fell. MJ’s Big Blog reports that as “Ryan Seacrest apologized for the delay … one of the giant ‘American Idol’ globes began to crackle and hiss. It exploded and glass and debris came crashing to the ground. There was panic and screaming and push. The stage was broken and covered with debris. Peeps were freaking out. Ryan attempted to calm everyone down. Then they cleared the studio.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.