Monday, December 17, 2007
LA Again? Sure Hope So!
How weird is it that ONE DAY after the 1-year anniversary of my Price Is Right Trip that I find out about Wheel Of Fortune coming to Birmingham THE NEXT DAY?
Do y'all remember after my failed attempts to be a contestant on TPIR that I said I wanted to try Wheel of Fortune next? After doing research on it, I soon realized that WOF wouldn't be NEARLY as easy as TPIR but I held onto hope. I signed up for the Wheel Watcher emails and assumed I would get an email about any WheelMobile stops in AL and possibly even neighborhing states.
Imagine my surprise when I clicked on Crystal's blog to do a little catch-up reading and finding THIS post! WHAT!? WM coming to Birmingham and I didn't know about it? Did I miss it? What's the date??? HURRY, little brain, FIND THE DATE! What is today's date? ACK! Panic, panic!
WHAT? It's TOMORROW?
Yep, Friday the 14th I saw Crystal's blog and was STUNNED that I hadn't gotten any emails about this and even MORE stunned to realize the WheelMobile was the NEXT DAY!
So the plans for our weekend started to change right away. (Sorry to those who were a part of our plans changing and THANKS FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT that we should do this!)
Saturday morning we got up early and Henry & I, along with all the kids, my parents, and my Uncle J went to Bham for the big auditions! It was SO dang crowded at the Galleria but we hoped it was because of Christmas shopping and not because of the WheelMobile. Turns out, our hopes were right and we were fine. We had plenty of time to eat lunch and then get in line approximately 1 hour before doors opened at the vacant anchor store where the auditions would be held. We stood in line, filled out applications, talked to some people around us, took a few pics, and kept a watch out for Crystal so I could tell her THANK YOU in person! Honestly, if it wasn't for her blog, I'd STILL be clueless about the WM! oohh....I shudder to think about how I would have felt finding out about this TOO LATE!
So we were 5 (18 & over) out of 500 (?) who made it into the first round of auditions. I won't re-type all of the process because you can find out all about that HERE but I will tell you that just being there was a step closer to being on the show but there are still tons of other steps that have to happen.
PRAISE GOD that my name was called SECOND! YES, that's #2!!! I was the second person called to the stage!! We were F R E A K I N G out! When I say "we" I know for a fact that me and my kids were freaking! I remember seeing Mom look back at me with a super-excited look and her eyes a little teary, kinda like mine were when I saw Bob Barker! Anyway, it was an AWESOME moment! When Marty (the travelling host) was reading the name he was handed out of the giant gold barrel that held all of our applications, time started to slow down. I heard my name in slow-mo and it was VERY surreal. It was the closest thing to "Come On Down" that I might ever hear!
So I handed Captain to Uncle J (and was so thankful I had already unhooked him from the Maya Tie because of the intense body heat we were producing in that CROWDED room!) I ran to the stage, had a Polaroid snapped and stapled to my application, and was hurried onto the stage. As we were REPEATEDLY told, THE AUDITION HAD BEGUN! (Ladies and gentlemen, your audition starts the second your name is called so make it count! This is YOUR CHANCE! Own the stage!")
Well, I don't know if I OWNED the stage or not but my game-show-prep studying I had done kinda started trickling through my adrenaline-flooded brain. Be happy (check) be enthusiastic (check), be a good sport and encouraging to others (hug fellow contestants -- check) have fun (check check!)
I looked down at the kids, who had made their way to the front of the crowd so they could see me better and they were TOTALLY flippin'! It was the coolest thing! Rocky was red-faced and smiling bigger than I've ever seen him smile. His hands were in the air and he was waving 'em like he just didn't care! Awesome.
The next few minutes were a blur. The 5 of us first contestants were called 1 at a time to the front of the stage to introduce & tell a little bit about ourselves. I was second in line so I was called forward almost immediately after gaining a bit of composure. I told my name and then it went something like this:
Marty : (standing on tip-toes -- ha ha - I'm tall.) "So what do you, Stacy?"
Me : "Well, I have 5 children and I homeschool them so we spend a lot of time together." (it just came out without much thought. the "homeschool" word seemed to get one cheer from one person in the back of the room!)
Marty : "Allright! 5 kids! So what do you like to do in your free time? Your STACY time?"
Me : (mustering courage to attempt humor) "You heard me say I have five children, right?"
LAUGHTER! WHOO HOO!
Me : "Well, I'm a little bit of an internet nerd and I like to blog."
Marty : "You're a blogger, huh? What do you blog about? Having 5 kids?"
Me : (something like) "Yes!"
Marty : "Are you ready to play the Wheel?"
Me : (something like) "Very much so!" (Did I raise my hand in the air??)
Marty : (his arm around me turned me back to my place) "Good job!....Next..."
I was shaking like a leaf! AGH! It was all happening so fast!
When I got back to my spot, I spoke again to Contestant number 1. Niceties. Then I looked for the producers/judges/whatever. Eye contact was made and the lady with the sparkly reading glasses nodded and smiled at me and then wrote some notes! I smiled ever so Southernly but didn't stare. I actually started making even more attempts at being cheerful for the other contestants. And then I noticed the puzzle was being put on the board. Hmmm....see if you can figure it out, Stace.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Something and something.
BRICKS AND MORTAR? Could it be bricks and mortar? Why did that pop in my head? Where's the category? THINGS. Wow, it COULD be bricks and mortar!
Looked over at Miss Sparkly Glasses and wanted her to know "I know how to play this game. I am SERIOUS about playing this game. I am already playing this game."
She noticed me again and smiled AGAIN and made notes AGAIN! Even Heidi, the traveling "Vanna" noticed me already working on the puzzle and smiled at me. YAY FOR SMILES!
The game started. #1 guessed R. 1 R.
Not BRICKS AND MORTAR.
My turn. "S"
Think, think, think.
I know the middle word is AND -- or so I think it is but it's going so fast...and didn't somebody guess N? If they guessed N, it's not AND because there's no N up there. My brain was racing...where's that list of already-guessed letters? MY TURN AGAIN!
I guessed D because I wanted to see if it was AND but didn't want to accidentally say a letter that was already guessed.
Contestant #4 guessed O and there was 1 O and I figured it out! PLEASE don't get it...please don't get it...please let it get back to me...
Contestant #5 guessed something but it wasn't in the puzzle. Back to #1 and she guessed L! I knew there was no L so it was making it back to ME!!!
"H" I said loudly and clearly into the microphone. Heidi signaled for the H and wrote it in. When it came up I clearly said, "HOPES AND DREAMS!"
DING DING DING! I won! The crowd cheered! WHOO HOO!
It was daggum exciting!
Oh, I forgot that the prize wheel was spun before the round started and our prize was a fanny pack so as we walked off-stage, we received our bags with a keychain and blinky lapel pin inside!
And that was it! We stuck around to see if anyone else in the family's name was drawn but they weren't. The audition lasted about 1 hour and there about 50 people who went across the stage by the end of the "show."
As we left, the waiting room was CROWDED with another set of folks waiting for the 2nd audition. There were 3 total on Saturday and 3 more today. I'm sooooooo thankful I made it through on the first round and we didn't have to stick around for the others!
So now we wait to see if I am one of about 70 from these two days' worth of auditions that get called back for a final audition to be held in a couple of months. From blogs of others who have gone through similar procedures, I should know the answer to this within 1 month. Sigh...the waiting...
We are so pumped at the possibility! I can't believe I'm actually in the long-shot running of contestants! Think about it...there are only 3 contestants per night for maybe 150 shows per year? (note to self - read show FAQs for info like this.) If there were 500 people over 6 sets of auditions, that's me needing to be 70 out of 3000 people they saw this weekend! OK, so I at least made it to the stage for them to see me so I'm actually in the running of about 50 that went on stage per show so that's needing to be in the top 70 of 300. Maybe??
Will keep you posted! In the meantime, read the "About Video" portion of this guy's youtube video. It tells a pretty good synopsis of the process he went through.