June 22, 2013

"I Wish That I Could Have This Moment For Life..."

{Old post-American Idol Finale}
Every year around this time, especially for the last three years, I always get extremely excited, because of the crowning for the next American Idol. The finale is one of the biggest events in LA, and my mom and I have had the pleasure of going since Scotty McCreery won in season 10, which had always been a big dream of mine to attend. For as many things as I’ve been able to do in my life, the American Idol finales will always be highlights for me. Not only because I love music and big events, but because I can connect with the contestants, most of all, who have inspired me in more ways than I’ll ever be able to share with them or the creators of the show. These are the kinds of people I could be friends with; they have the same dreams and goals that I do, and we get to watch them transform right before our eyes from small town kids to big time superstars, climbing up the charts every time you turn around. They’re relatable, and that’s why people all over the world, not just in America, love this show so much.
Usually we have several people wanting to come to the finale with us, or joking to us that they want to be on the list, but it was actually hard to find people who really wanted to go this time. Well, at least in the sense that they wanted to because they’re huge fans! My cousin really wanted to and had planned to go, but something came up at the last minute and she wasn’t feeling too well, so it was just my mom and I this year. Tuesday night I went to sleep feeling like the next morning was Christmas, and Wednesday morning, I woke up feeling very sleepy; hard to wake up at 6:45, especially when I’m the girl who usually sleeps until at least 11! One of my first thoughts was, “How am I ever going to have a job if I can hardly wake up for one day, knowing something exciting is going to happen?” I tried to push that out of my mind, continued to get ready, and close to 8 a.m, my mom and I were ready to go.
We stopped at Jack-In-The Box (per usual) for breakfast, then hit the road, while listening to the American Idol CD, which was getting me pumped up for the night (as if I needed help in that department)! The car ride was a lot quieter than usual, because mom and I were both really tired and still trying to wake up. And by the time we made it down there, I was not in the best of moods, and really anxious, just because you never know for sure that you’re going to get into the taping, because…Well, that’s Hollywood and that’s how the system works. I was so paranoid that we might not get tickets to the finale, and that would just be heartbreaking (okay, I’m being dramatic, but it would have sucked a little).
So, we made it to L.A Live, where the Nokia Theater is; made a stop at the restroom in Starbucks, then ran over to the usual line.
Well, when we saw where the line actually was, I could breathe, because in the past couple years that we’d been coming to them, it has been so much busier, with the line wrapping around a couple of times. Based on what we’ve seen and read, I think it might have something to do with their eclectic taste in judges this year *Cough* Nicki Minaj *Cough*. Anyway, we had barely gotten in line, when they announced that they would be coming by pretty soon to mark off our passes and exchange them for physical tickets. I would say we were probably done within 30-45 minutes, so our feet didn’t even have time to start hurting and we didn’t start feeling exhausted before we’d hardly made it anywhere. The first year we went to the finale (back when Scotty McCreery won in Season 10), it was SO hot, and we barely had time to run back to the car and eat very quickly before heading inside. So not cool.
After we got our tickets, we wandered back over to the red carpet area, where things were still being set up.
There wasn’t much going on at all, so after a few minutes of just sitting there, we decided to go to the Grammy Museum, which we hadn’t been to in several years. They had a new exhibit on Whitney Houston that sounded interesting and we had nothing but time to kill, so it was perfect. I felt so inspired walking through exhibits of so many talented musicians, whether it was looking at their Grammy outfits or handwritten lyrics for one of their hit songs. Walking through the new Whitney exhibit, it hit me, right then and there, that I want to live a life that’s worth putting one of my personal belongings behind a glass case. That may sound superficial or just dumb, but I want someone years from now to freak out that my handbag or notebook is in a museum the way I would over one of the greats or best musicians right now. Because maybe it will mean that I made a difference to their life; that I changed their life or helped them in some BIG way to help them live out their dreams. We saw a wide variety of musicians and artists’ clothing and memorabilia, which was really exciting to see how music has evolved so much over the years, and just how music has touched people in all walks of life and all different genres. I walked out of there wanting to play guitar or collaborate with someone on a song…I just wanted to create. Music definitely played a big part of our day on Wednesday, and it was incredible.
When we finished at the museum, we had lunch at the ESPN Zone. I wasn’t too hungry, because of all the excitement surrounding the day, so I just settled with chicken tenders and fries (you’d think I was ten). I was still trying to get into a perky mood, because I was still acting a bit sluggish/down. There was nothing else to do after lunch, so we stood by the red carpet, waiting for something exciting to happen and it never did. Last year, periodically throughout the day they had interviews and past “Idols” were out there, hanging with the fans and talking to the media, but there was none of that. We talked to a couple girls, obviously about Idol (even though they didn’t really watch much this season), then ran back to the car to put our phones and camera away. Only to find out that we could have checked them in, so we were a bit bummed about that, but oh well, it all worked out in the end. The doors opened not long after that, and we headed inside the theater.
We walked through the doors, which revealed the huge American Idol sign across the stage, and the entire theater was glowing in bluish tinted lights. It always just hits me how much this show has impacted my life, not only for good music, but for great memories and great friends over the past 12 years, that I will never forget. We found our seats, and were so much closer than I realized we would be, which was obviously exciting. For the next hour, we scanned the crowd, hoping to see celebrities, but there wasn’t too much going on. There was really loud, upbeat techno/pop music playing throughout the arena, and everyone was just filing in. As it got closer to the show, the music started getting louder, and people were filing in from just about every direction. It was complete chaos, but I was so pumped up. My heart was pounding like never before, so I can only imagine how Candice and Kree, along with their families felt in that moment.
We couldn’t take pictures or anything, which was unfortunate, but at the same time, gave me a chance to truly just soak up the moment, instead of being so concerned about tweeting or Facebooking what was going on. Around 10 minutes til showtime, the other eight contestants of the show walked in and sat several rows in front of us, and Mr. and Mrs. Seacrest also sat just about two or three rows in front of us, which was really awesome. That’s when I knew our seats were good ;) . There’s a guy that usually warms up the crowd, but he told the same jokes and did the same dance routines that he’s done the past couple of years, so I was anxious to get on with the rest of the show. Well, while he was still getting the crowd pumped up, I saw Colton Dixon and his girlfriend walk by. I had no idea he was going to be there, since he’s been on tour with Third Day for the past couple months. But, I immediately saw the hair and nudged my mom, saying, “Look! It’s Colton!” I was kind of appalled that the people next to us had no idea who he was (REALLY?), and a lot of  people we came in contact with had no idea who was even in the finale. Like, WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?! But, I digress.
The show is just like you imagine it to be on TV, which is cool! It tapes straight through, since it’s live on the east coast, although it feels so much faster in the audience, because the energy is so high and you’re having a blast being with a room full of industry people and fans. So, while most things are taking place on stage, I’m trying to pay more attention to the little details going on behind the scenes, when Seacrest is trying to make it to his next mark, or the fans trying to get Keith’s attention, while he takes more pictures with the pit and other random audience members (I have never been so lucky to get one with him, though). I like seeing the way it all comes together, especially having seen a couple shows at CBS this season, to moving to the big stage at Nokia. I also loved all of the moments between the other “Idol” contestants and the top two finalists, when they made their way to the audience for a shot. Candice was joking with Burnell at one point, and Kree was talking with Angie, and I’m pretty sure held her hand at one point. It was also really cool to see them jumping to their feet after Kree or Candice’s performances, getting into it themselves. They are a family, and it’s so awesome to see them supporting one another.
Now, to the real highlight of the night. After the taping started coming to a close, and the recap video package came on, my mom and I ducked out early to get a good spot at the barricades for the press circle. After going a couple years, you pick up on the things you need to do, so I decided to stay back and save a spot for my mom, while she ran back to the car to get the phones. By the time she came back, there was quite a crowd, so she had to work her way through the crowd to get to me, and it was close quarters, for sure, but knew it would be worth it in the end. This time around, we didn’t have to wait too long before Candice and Kree made their way to the carpet to start to all of the reporters. Candice signed for quite a few people, but Kree didn’t make it over, then they were both whisked away to rehearsals for the following night, while the other eight came out.
946416_10200864126432770_1357029424_nThere were so many emotions going on at that point; excitement, chaos, happiness, and anxiousness. It’s always fun making new friends with the people that are around you, because it helps the time pass off a lot quicker; talking about your favorite Idols, performances, who you want to meet, etc. I ended up meeting a girl who was around my age, and we really just clicked, so I talked to her the most. She was also a really huge American Idol fan, so we were talking all about our favorites, what we were going to say when we met them, and ultimately just trying to call them over. She was so sweet! Her and her mom had actually won a once-in-a-lifetime contest to fly out for both days of the finale and the after party, which sounded like a blast, so they were having the time of their lives with all of this, which was so cool to see that it went to a deserving family.
The Idols were doing interviews, then would hurry over to the fans section when they had time to sign autographs and take pictures, and we ended up getting to meet everyone (minus Candice and Kree)! I can’t believe how incredibly nice they are, even the ones I wasn’t too sure of what to expect from. It was great being able to see how they all interact with one another, as well as the fans.
  • Janelle
  • Paul
  • Burnell
  • Amber
  • Devin
  • Lazaro
  • Angie
  • Curtis
It was so much fun to feel like we were all “hanging out” with them! Janelle and I had kinda, sorta gotten to know each other through Twitter. She had followed me one night, so I started tweeting her more often. So, we finally got her attention after she was finished with a few of the interviews; I waved and I’m pretty sure she recognized me (at least I hope that was the case), walked over and gave me a hug. My mom hadn’t had the camera ready, so I asked her if we could do that again, which she agreed to more than happily, and my mom got the moment on camera (the 2nd time). She was as sweet as could be, and even more gorgeous in person! And always has the cutest clothes, let me tell ya! She told us the cutest story about Keith Urban’s daughter,  took a picture with me, signing my book a few minutes later, because I had totally forgotten to have her do that the first time she came by.My mom told her she should ask Keith to play the Opry with him on June 4th, and she said, “You know what? I should check on that..” So, fingers crossed to see her again back there! She seemed to hang around in our section a little longer than the others, which was awesome! One of the ladies nearby even thought Janelle and I had gone to high school together, so I’ll take that as a pretty good sign! :)260488_10200862068541324_708312645_n
Paul Jolley was so incredibly nice too! He even asked if he could use someone’s phone to take a picture and have them tweet it. I offered mine, and my mom tweeted it to him a little later on (I was using her phone). I told him that he actually had already followed me on Twitter awhile back, and he seemed to recognize the screen name, or at least pretended to, which made me feel better! HA! So, we’re like total besties too! ;)942293_10200862069261342_826345003_n
Devin is so animated! He talks really fast and has so much personality; he would be a blast to hang out with for long periods of time! My mom told him he looked like Christmas, he’s like, “I know right? But, even better. I’m from Chicago and we always have really cold Christmases…” and I think he mentioned something about the nicer weather out in LA, but can’t remember. He also came back around later to see if anyone wanted autographs, but he had already made the rounds near us, so I was like, “You already signed mine, but thanks,” and he’s like oh okay, cool! No problem!
Angie was out there forever, signing autographs and talking to the press! Natalie and I were starting to worry that she might not make it over to us, but she did! I told her that she had been such an inspiration to me, and she was like, “Aw! Thank you so much,” and I added that my mom and I cry just about every time she sings. I told her that you could definitely tell that she had Jesus, to which she responded, “Oh, girl, yes!” which I thought was so cute. Then, Angie said, “You girls are gorgeous…” ….DID I CATCH THAT RIGHT?! CRAZY! :0 We took a picture with the three of us, but I was kind of cut out, so I ended up blurting out, “Can I get another picture?” and Angie was cool with it. That pretty much wrapped up the evening, so we started to walk off, but Natalie ended up going over to talk to Angie’s mom and the rest of her family. So, she came back over to get us, and we walked back over. We told them how much we loved her daughter, and how amazing she was, and they thanked us! I asked her brother if all of this was weird, and he said it was, nodding to the media circus in front of us. You can tell they’re definitely still getting used to all of this new “fame.” And understandably so! It’s crazy! We got pictures with her family, then her mom wanted a picture with us, which she tweeted out later! (WHAT?!).
The other contestants were all super nice, too! I just didn’t really talk to them as much as the others! :)
As we were walking out, we saw Paul again, hanging out with some friends, and we said bye to him, then ended up stopping at the end of the street, talking with Natalie and her mom a little more. It was so good getting to know them! We exchanged information (Twitter and numbers) to keep in touch with them! And then Paul walked past us again, we said bye and how nice it was to meet him, and my mom told him she tweeted the picture he wanted! He thanked us again, and that was that. We decided to get on the road, since we still had a drive home, so we said goodbye to our new friends, and that was the last of the magical moments of that day.
On the car ride home, I caught up with all of the tweets about the show, and sent a few tweets to the idols. Paul Jolley and I even had a short conversation! And Candice favorited one of my tweets. My mom and I watched Idol with my dad when we got home to fill him in on all of our adventures from the day, which was a lot of fun, and we even spotted ourselves in the crowd, which is always exciting!
The next morning I woke up to see that Burnell was following me on Twitter! And thanks to my friend, later on that night, Lazaro followed me. It was a really exciting couple of days, and now I have to find something else to do with my time now that American Idol is over. I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll be able to go to the tour, because it would be fun to see everyone again. But, if not, this has been one of my favorite seasons, and I am so glad to have some wonderful memories to go with it.
That’s all for now,
xoxo :)

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