Today, I went where I hardly ever go -- and that is on a mission to seek out celebrities. My story is not particularly interesting as I didn't really have any full-on conversations with any of them, but I thought I'd share anyway.
I'll skip all the gory details about finding the line and waiting two hours in the beating near-August sun. The buses seemed to have been kept overnight at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ (I heard the Idols are staying in New York City for the week), and left to pick up the Idols. The buses arrived back with the Idols in tow at 1:30pm -- approximately an hour later than scheduled, and the Idols began trickling out at 2pm.
First to show were Kristy Lee Cook and David Archuleta. I practically missed Kristy Lee as she blended in with the fan demographic quite well (despite my being perched next to an exuberant group of Cook Cougars -- the Original Word Nerds). My initial expectations for her were not high -- that she'd pretty much come across as she did on the show: somewhat calculated, smart and not particularly friendly. But then I read about how sweet, nice and gorgeous she was in person. Well, after meeting her, I'd say maybe it'd be fair to give her the benefit of the doubt. She wasn't really snobbish or anything, but she didn't particularly seem to want to be there. She signed an autograph for me when I asked (I didn't bother taking a photo, though I realized I probably should've afterwards and got her backside) and added a star to her initials. She looks exactly as I imagined she'd look: tall and athletic. At one point I heard her say that she hadn't slept well the night before and that it was hot, though she was grateful it wasn't raining. She complained about how her hair wasn't behaving and took it out of her bun, flipped it and retied it. I think this would have been much more appreciated if there were guys there.
David Archuleta started at the end of the line and sped, sped through. There must've been at least 200 people there, and while the other Idols took a good 40 minutes to make their way down the line, little DArchuleta completed the obstacle in 18. I think maybe he had some press obligations to take care of -- having watched most of the bus videos from the other tour stops, I'd argue that he was the most rushed he's ever been.
Having decided only yesterday afternoon to make the journey out to New Jersey to participate in this less-than-savory activity, I made his "present" in the wee hours of the night, only after not being able to fall asleep. It was a CD mix. Lucky thing I decided to make it for him, otherwise he would've scribbled his name in my book and walked off without saying a thing or giving me a glance. Instead, I got a very croaky (something seemed up with his voice today) "This is for me?" incredulous gaze. (Okay gaze may be overdoing it. Stare?) I responded with an equally high-school "Yeah!" In that moment, it seemed almost ridiculous to me that he would be questioning the present, though cute. In that moment, he seemed very much seventeen to my twenty-three. On another note, some fervent DArchuleta fans have noted his interesting eye color, which is clinically hazel but can be a light, light shade of gray-green at times. Well, today it was definitely hazel. An eerie hazel. I can vouch for that.
He moved swiftly onwards and I didn't have the chance to grab a photo with him, but I snapped plenty of photos of my present practically falling out of one of the gift bags he'd stuffed it in, followed by him rearranging things and deciding to hold my present in his hand for the rest of his 18-T minutes. He spotted a sign down the way that caught his eye and asked a security guard if he could take a photo of it for him. He dug his iPhone out of his pocket, asked the guard if he knew how to use it, and proceeded to show him how to use it. So adorable.
When he reached the end of the line, he asked someone what time it was (2:30) and decided that he had a few minutes to spare. He said, "Well, I guess I can just stand here ... and you can take pictures or something" and laughed. Classic David, but no one seemed to revel in his humor. The largely teeny crowd screamed and immediately got off to clicking. And then he disappeared -- but not before several girls grabbed at him and got hugs out of the kid.
Next was Michael Johns. I had nothing to say to him, really, and he seemed a little grouchy. [ETA: He wasn't grouchy per se -- just lacked the sense of humor one typically expects from him. And I'm not basing this off of my interactions with him, as those were virtually non-existent.] I got a photo of him signing my book instead of attempting to converse with him. His hair looks a little greasy, but I like the length.
And then it was David Cook, who I got plenty of great photos of. Everyone took their time to get through the fans, unlike DArchuleta, so I was able to capture some pretty great photos. The Word Nerds beside me really captured his attention -- one of them gave him a mix CD of some sort that he really and I mean REALLY appreciated. He squeezed her for a good thirty seconds. And then asked her where she was sitting so he'd look for her. I documented his reaction to the album, as well as to the bouquet of flowers another fan gave him -- with which he pretended he was a pageant queen.
I had nothing much to say to David Cook -- I thought about mentioning the fact that he went to the same college as my mom, but I thought that'd be uber lame, so I just thanked him after he'd signed my book. "Thank you so much!" was his response.
While we waited for Brooke White and Ramiele Malubay to make their rounds, they were whisked away by security for press of some sort. Ramiele was ... short and had a ton of eye makeup on (especially for this weather). Brooke had really, really bright blue eyes and really looked like a ray of sunshine.
I was told no one else would come out and left. A little disappointing, as after DArchuleta, I was fully prepared to meet Jason Castro, Chikezie and Carly Smithson, but at least I got a "gaze" out of DArchuleta.
I usually go a little hog-wild over celebrity encounters (eg: Annie Leibovitz), but for some reason, the Idols did very little for me. Probably because I had nothing to say to them on the whole and wasn't at all engaged in real interaction with three of four. They behaved and looked exactly as I expected them to, except for DArchuleta's especial frogginess.