Sunday, June 13, 2010
[SPECIAL REPORT] THE POWER OF CHRISTINA (VH1 STORYTELLERS)
40 DAYS AGO TODAY...
Upon arriving to the parking garage at the Overland entrance in Culver city at 4 pm, I was sitting in the back seat of Karlos's '97 Landrover next to Aiden Valenciano. Carlos Gomez was driving the newly dubbed "Xtina Safari" with Nathan Webster riding shotgun. Once we arrived at the security booth, Karlos told the guy that "We're in the audience for Christina Aguilera." The guy then told us that we'd have to go up to the folding tables where the people from Gotham Casting were located and to park on the fourth floor.
As soon as we drive into the parking garage we immediately saw the team from Gotham Casting as well as a few early bird fans that were seated waiting patiently on the left part of the garage. Karlos let me and Aiden out of the Landrover so we could get checked in for the event. A handsome black guy told us to "just hang out for a bit, then we'll call your names." So in the meantime while Karlos and Nathan were parking, I took the liberty to introduce myself to everyone who was there.
I was suddenly SWEPT AWAY because I was FLOODED WITH EXCITEMENT TO BE THERE. I could NOT sit any longer than 30 seconds! There were a total of eight fans awaiting and with our arrival we upped it to 12. I enthusiastically informed the fans I am a coauthor for AguileraOnline and told them the back story as to why we created the site and what purpose it serves. We also talked about when we became fans and the play by play of events that happened after receiving the confirmation email! Here's how it went down for me:
Roughly two weeks prior, I was closing up the store I work at and was walking out to the parking lot with my coworker. SUDDENLY I get a phone call from Karlos... "I'M GOING TO STORYTELLERS!" I immediately shouted out with excitement and I was tempted with an affair with jealousy. I NEEDED TO GET MY ASS HOME. So I finished chatting with my coworker and hauled it homeward bound. As I'm walking in through the front door to my house, I made my way up the stairs, down the hall, through my bedroom door, and into my chair, grabbed my laptop, and clicked GMail and read the subject header: "CHRISTINA AGUILERA STORYTELLERS: PLEASE RESPOND BACK!" I then started VIOLENTLY screaming at the top of my lungs! I woke up my mom and she was asking me what was wrong. I don't know that I really spoke words in reply to her, I just remember making different sounding screams. I went into her bedroom and told her the news and suddenly my legs fell right from under me! I collapsed on the floor, and my mom was like "I'm going to slap you." LOL I whispered that I was going to Storytellers because I was completely hyperventilating. So someway, somehow I made it to the kitchen to get some air. I called up my sister and told her the news. I started BAWLING my eyes out of my head. Then I started hysterically laughing like a hiena! I then called everyone else I could think of as well.
So everyone got a good laugh at that after I shared my story. Finally, after making a lasting impression with Adam and Alex, we remained rather close knit for the remainder of the evening. While fans started to pour in, and Karlos and Nathan were joined up with us, the guy from Casting checked us off and we confirmed our guests. I was number 115 on the guest list. Karlos and I teamed up to introduce ourselves and tell people about the site, and take pictures of fans who wanted to be featured on the site as well. After awhile, the numbers were pretty seemingly overwhelming and we decided to cease photographing the attendees.
After about 50 or so fans had showed up, the Casting members called the names of those fans who had been handpicked to ask Christina questions. I was not among them, but no matter. The only thing was I had TEN well thought out questions and I was a little disappointed I wasn't granted the opportunity to present them. So I took it upon myself to present them to Gotham Casting who picked the questions. I walked up and said: "Now I understand you have preselected the questions to ask Christina, but I wanted for you to review these ones I have prepared." This girl replied back, "Well we didn't actually pick them, but HE did" and she pointed me to this stout gentleman who was evidently responsible for the selections.
"Will you review these for me?" I inquired.
"Wait, what am I supposed to do?" He asked.
"Just look them over. That's all."
After about 45 seconds, he responded that they were very good questions and I said thanks and rejoined the pod. Before you knew it, they were starting a security check of all the people attending and my group and I were first in line. Karlos had to leave! He had to return his camera to the Xtina Safari since the possession of cameras were restricted! So we were directed and then lined up in the studio's lot and we were the first group in line. Eagerly I awaited Karlos's return, but no sign of him still! So I returned back to the parking garage where they were checking people, and he was far back in line! My heart was racing! No WAY was this going to happen. We could NOT be broken up like that! I hustled back to my pod to fill everyone in that he was in fact, back in line. I waited a little bit, and went back for him. We were signaling each other to communicate. "Don't leave without me!" He mouthed. I wasn't going ANYWHERE without him. FINALLY he got through, and we hustled up to rejoin the group.
We were standing in the shadows of the surrounding buildings so despite it being a hot sunny day, it was quite cool. The excitement was building more and more and I couldn't contain it. YES I GOT EVEN MORE EXCITED! A couple fans of the blog were in attendance, and someone told me I should yell "AguileraOnline says hello!" Annnd I did. Lol. We ended up finding them and they were only a few people down from us which was really cool. Upon meeting them, a guy standing right by them came forward and said he follows our site religiously as well. Such a huge compliment and completely humbling to know we reach so many people we have not heard from!
So after a little while, Nathan informs us they are seating with no apparent order, so us being first didn't guarantee us close seats (front row). I wasn't too worried. It was declared as an intimate setting, so I figured there would be no "bad seats." We were enjoying each others company, and my excitement level was sky rocketing even more so. All of a sudden, a girl from Gotham Casting comes over and asks "How many of you are there in this little group?" So we were like, "Just us." So she ends up moving us to this other line, and I'm not exactly sure why we're getting moved, but as we reach this new line, we get advanced to go into the stage area, and she requests that we go "crazy" and keep up the energy. Um...I am definitely an outstanding member of the "Go Crazy For Xtina" squad. Check!
So our line moves to enter the stage and in the alleyway next to the stage, is a waist high metal fence with Bob the bodyguard on standby (6'5" Black Guy, Shades, Black Suit, and Nike Kicks). Behind him is a silver stretch limousine and on the left is Trailer 2 (Wardrobe) and Trailer 1. Christina's in Trailer 1. So while in line, someone yells, "You're the best bodyguard for my legend!" - Bob laughs. Then I said something and he went completely stone faced. LOL. Then I retorted that I must have come off as creepy and he laughed. Afterwards, Simone Harouche, Christina's personal stylist, exits Trailer 1. I yelled "SIMONE!!!" and she turns and we all wave to her and she laughed.
Shortly thereafter, we move into the stage which was turning out the Christina tunes. We take our seats (second row, stage right) and me and Audrey are belting out the songs, letting them flow through and through, we're having a blast. When "Makes Me Wanna Pray" came on, I was stomping my feet and waving my hands in the air! A little while after, I get up to go to the restroom, and I get back, round the front row to get to my seat, and suddenly, I STOPPED DEAD IN MY TRACKS. Jeri Slaughter was talking to Karlos and Aiden! I completely froze! Everyone saw, including Jeri, and laughed at me. I snapped out of it after like five seconds of freezing up, introduced myself, shook his hand and sat down and continued on conversing. (I'm so So SO glad I came back down to Earth to talk to him. I didn't want to come off as a freak =] )
I asked him if Christina herself has ever seen the blog, and he says "Actually, yeah, I showed her that video you guys posted, the HRShow Experience, she loves the site!" I was like "Oh cool!" Which overjoyed me. I then asked if he could coordinate anything between ourselves and her, a signing/picture, what have you. He said he'd check into it with management, but I didn't get my hopes up. I was just happy to be there. After awhile, the producer from VH1, Mike Flanagan, says a few words and then thereafter, the show begins.
CHRISTINA SWARMED IN FROM WHO KNOWS WHERE. She began with "Bionic" which I couldn't even hear fully because it was as if someone unleashed a wild fire of chaos! Everyone was going INSANE. "Not Myself Tonight" was the second song she performed. Completely nuts, bananas! Then she spoke a few words and took it back for a bit and whipped our asses with the "Stripped Intro!" Yeah, you read that right, she spanked our asses with a live version of "Stripped Intro." My jaw dropped. Then! She went into "DIRRTY" and she came stage right and dropped it low, squatted during the part where she says "On the floor" opened her legs and closed them again x2 right before my very eyes. O_O
Afterwards, several stage hands lifted a grand piano onto the stage for set-up for "Beautiful." Linda Perry came out on stage, and tested a few keys. Then her and X began telling us the story behind how it came about that Christina ended up being chosen to record it. Very cool back story behind it all! Can't wait for you to hear it.
After "Beautiful was performed, the producers came over to me, Audrey, and Karlos, and asked us if we wanted to sit front row center because of our "incredible energy." MY LIFE HAD BEEN MADE. I said "Of course!!" So we proceeded over to where we were directed and were closer than ever. I was hovering over the girls who had been occupying the seats at the time and was later revealed to me by Nathan, that they had almost ZERO energy. Sooo, better us than them. Who's going to go see Christina and not have the time of your life?! Those girls needed smacked.
After being relocated, Christina revealed she was going to do a song she's "never performed before." I immediately knew which song it was before she revealed the track title. I immediately looked over to Aiden, who had just revealed the night before the ONE SONG he has always wanted to hear her perform live, was "I'm OK." He was completely shaken to the core upon hearing Christina herself say she was going to perform it. It was fate that I picked him as my guest for Storytellers. We've known each other for three years, and was down for when we started the site too. So we go way back.
"I'm OK" was an overwhelmingly emotional moment. The song personally hits home metaphorically for me as it does literally/metaphorically for other Xtina fans. You could tell she had a difficult time getting through it, as she physically shook as she uttered the blatantly honest lyrics.
Christina then switched up the game with her Back To Basics section of the show, and kicked things off with "Back To Basics Intro." Then with the swing of things she dives into "Ain't No Other Man" and after the first note has to take another take. "Sorry guys I sang the wrong note." I exclaimed, "It's OK TAKE AS MANY TAKES AS YOU NEED" haha. I could listen to this girl sing 24/7. OMG let me just say, hearing her LIVE is 50x better than the studio recording. INSANITY! So with the second take, the song is on fire, and I'm dancing my ass off! This is the song that made me such a HUGE, HARDCORE, fan of hers ever since she performed it at the MTV Movie Awards back in 2006.
So the song is electrifying my soul, and I don't even know what time in the song she did this, but she POINTED RIGHT AT ME, LOOKED RIGHT INTO MY EYES, and kept on singing. I cannot even begin to describe the look she had in her eyes, but at that moment in time, EVERYTHING WENT SILENT. I couldn't hear the band, the people around me, the music blaring through the speakers, nothing. It was as if I experienced a divine intervention. Legendtina touched my soul. We were feeding off of each others energies, and it was pure magic.
After that happened, I honestly can't recall what happened afterwards with as much clarity. But she took things way back with a medley of "Genie In A Bottle/What A Girl Wants," (OMG I got to see her do her classic genie move!) and then dove right into "You Lost Me," which completely was the climax of the program. It was incredible. She was on the floor singing it which made it even more raw and heartfelt. She closed the show with "Fighter" and for this song, I was ON POINT with the choreography, move for move. I was like her mirror image, minus the gender difference, etc., LOL. After the finale performance of "Fighter," she came right off stage, and strutted right past me and flung out her hands to touch her fans, and then she disappeared like that.
It was honestly the most magical time of my life, and I can't wait for you all to experience it once it airs tonight. It is truly remarkable.