Idols Leave Quite an Impression in Connecticut

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For the past two months, fans in Bridgeport, Connecticut have been brimming with anticipation at the chance to see the American Idol finalists in person.

Tuesday night, the wait finally ended as the American Idols Live tour came to town.

Idols Leave Quite an Impression in Connecticut
"My mother told me about the tickets a while ago, so I'm really glad it's finally here. It's really exciting," KellyAnn McManus of Woodbridge, Conn., said before the show Tuesday.

There was even more excitement that night for McManus, who ran into Idol singer Elliott Yamin (left) near the backstage area at the Arena at Harbor Yard before the concert started and asked him to pose for a picture with some friends. He gladly obliged.

"We came in through the back entrance and he was just there. I love American Idol and now I have a picture to hang in my room," she said.

Yamin was showcased at the event along with fellow finalists Ace Young, Bucky Covington, Chris Daughtry, Kellie Pickler, Lisa Tucker, Mandisa, Paris Bennett and, of course, Season Five king Taylor Hicks.

Katharine McPhee, who has suffered throat problems for the entire month of July, and who will be making her debut tonight in Pittsburgh, was absent, leaving many McPhans disappointed. Kim Arthur of Meriden, Conn., who had heard on the Internet that McPhee was going to be ready by Tuesday night, was sad to miss her favorite singing starlet.

"I'm really disappointed," said Arthur, decked out in her "McPhee-ver" t-short at the concert. "I like Chris and Taylor and Elliott, but Katharine's my favorite. I liked her all the way."

The fans were warned, however, that McPhee wasn't going to take part. A sign announcing the 22-year-old's absence was posted at the doors of the arena. Fortunately, there were still plenty of other Idol members to cheer for, and cheer fans did -- often while wearing custom shirts like Arthur's to support of their favorites.

The most popular, not surprisingly, was Hicks and his group of followers, known affectionately by many as the "Soul Patrol."

"If I got to the door and I saw a sign like the one they had for Katharine that said Taylor wasn't going to perform, then I'd have been ticked," said Nora Tenk of Stratford, Conn., who came to the show as part of a group that included her daughter and some of her grandchildren.

The Tenk contingent was very representative of the crowd on Tuesday night, which was largely female but spanned multiple generations. Soaking it all in was Mary Beth Nevins, also of Stratford, who attended with two friends who drove in from Cape Cod, Mass., to see the show.

"This is insane. This is absolutely insane," Nevins said of the pre-show scene. "I've never seen anything like this."

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.