The year was 2002 and American Idol was all the rage. I was living in Los Angeles at the time but definitely not living the LA lifestyle. I worked at a museum. Of course, it was the Museum of Television and Radio so we had some fun events but my day to day life was pretty normal. My friend Michael had ordered tickets to go see AI and wanted me to go with him. I’m not a big fan of tapings, they’re long and tedious but this was live so there wouldn’t be a million takes (I was bored when I went to the Friends taping).
Even tho AI was huge in the ratings, the studio is a lot smaller than it looks. Most studios are. I was 5 rows back but looked like I was way back on tv. The good news is, I was right in the middle and there was the center aisle to my right so I could see pretty well by just leaning right. #shortgirlproblems Whenever they had a wide shot of the judges, you could see me which was awesome. Unfortunately it cut off my head, which was bad. But I wore a v-cut dress so my boobs looked really good, which was awesome.
Simon Cowell was the Man at that time! We all loved him for being brutally honest. OK, I could do without the brutal part but he was honest, unlike the other two judges. He was also a big time flirt and would look around smiling and waving during the commerical breaks. But he never looked all the way up 5 rows to make eye contact with me damn it! I was literally right behind him. I wanted that one moment of connection with him. It didn’t happen.
I don’t remember what the date or episode number it was but it was pretty far along. It was the episode before Tamyra Grey got booted. She really had an off night which was disappointing because she was definitely a favorite of mine going in.
After the show finished taping they were hearding us all out. We were supposed to go to the left and the other side of the center aisle was going to the right. I grabbed my friends hand and made him follow me. We went down the middle. I was going to have my Simon Cowell moment damn it! Keep in mind, that overall, I’m a rule follower. I was starting to break into a sweat. The production assistant (PA) was trying to usher us out. My friend was saying we should leave but I just ignored them. As soon as the taping ends, all of the handlers and staff congregrate around the judges, especially Simon so while it was a direct line to him during the show, once it ended he was buffeted by lots of people. What’s a short asian to do?
I’m standing at the outside of this cluster of people with a PA who’s literally trying to pull me out. I yell his name, “Simon!” He doesn’t hear me so I yell again a little louder, “Simon!” He looks up. I wave him over to me, because you know, that’s how I roll. He comes over. Once he does the PA drifts off into the sunset. He walks up to me and says in his very debonaire accent, “Hello, trouble.” My response, “My reputation precedes me.” He was so extremely nice and he gave me the moment I wanted and my hug and I left the studio broken out in a nervous sweat. Hello, I was yelling his name out. But I also thought, what’s one moment of embrassment over a memory that will last a lifetime?
Don’t be afraid to step outside your norm every now and again. Life is about the experiences you’ve lived, not what you wished you would have done.