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Authors: Donna DeMaio Hunt

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Reaching Out to the Stars

BOOK: Reaching Out to the Stars
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Reaching Out to the Stars

American Idol Dreams

By Donna DeMaio Hunt

©2014

Previously published in print, 2011

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the author and publisher. Quotes of brief passages may be reproduced in a newspaper, magazine or journal for reviews only.

This is the work of nonfiction. Several names have been changed, however, to protect their identity.

Introduction

“My definition of an idol is not only someone you adore blindly and excessively, but someone you adore for one or more admired qualities, who you feel you have a connection with because of commonalities such as interests, morals and values.”

Donna DeMaio Hunt

As a kid, being a fan is an act of innocence. We have dreams of being a famous rock star, a Hollywood actor or actress, et cetera. As we enter adulthood, we carry a piece of that inner child with us for always and forever. We wonder if as adults it’s even normal or acceptable to have idols or crushes on certain celebrities. Although the stars have always had a great influence on my life, as a grown adult through fandom, my American Idol experience has influenced my life in many ways over the past eight years…

Contents

Chapter One: What Is A Star?

Chapter Two: The Pre-teen/Teenage Fan

Chapter Three: The Fan

Chapter Four: The Separation of the Universes

Chapter Five: My Idol

Chapter Six: Life Goes On

Chapter Seven: My Second Letter

Chapter Eight: A Third Attempt

Chapter Nine: Three Years Later: Out with the Old and in with the New

Chapter Ten: American Idol (Season Seven)

Chapter Eleven: Into the Hands of Ellen

Chapter Twelve: October People

Chapter Thirteen: Reality and the Expectations of the Fan

Chapter Fourteen: Almost Famous

Chapter Fifteen: Facebook

Chapter Sixteen: If You’re Not a Celebrity…Who Cares?

Chapter Seventeen: A King Is Lost but Never Forgotten

Chapter Eighteen: Mohegan Sun

Chapter Nineteen: Life Is What You Make It

Chapter Twenty: Berklee’s Café 939 (Live at the Red Room)

Chapter Twenty-One: Live & Learn: What Lies Beneath an American Idol Dream

“Growing up, wanting to be a star or just meeting a celebrity of choice were two thoughts that have always followed me through life. I have never been able to fully let go of the challenge but sometimes on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one.”

Donna DeMaio Hunt

Dedication & Thanks

I dedicate this book to my husband Bryce, my best friend and my lifetime companion, who doesn’t always get my quirkiness but puts up with it; for loving me unconditionally, when I’m at my best and most beautiful, my worst and ugliest; for not only loving me for my best qualities but for understanding that I, too, am subject to human error. I love you “Forever and for Always.”

Special thanks to my wonderful husband, my two beautiful children, my loving and nurturing parents, my one and only talented brother and all of my family and friends who have supported me. I would also like to thank my famed favorites and American Idol for giving me the inspiration to write this book and to those of you who have touched my life somewhere along the way. Lastly, thank you to Erin Stelmach, Bonnie Beckeman and Winthrop Handy in helping to make this dream a reality.

Chapter 1

What Is a Star?

Jason Castro
, his name printed on the door inside of a golden Hollywood star as I stood in front of his room. I was suddenly part of the top twenty- four finalists on the biggest reality television show ever, but ironically could not remember ever performing, not even once, in front of a crowd on stage. All I knew was that I needed to tell him how I felt because I somehow knew that my days there were limited.

The door was left slightly open as I heard the strumming of his guitar and his soothing voice rehearsing the song “Fragile” by Sting. As I walked into the room, he was sitting on the end of the bed. Wearing camo shorts and a gray t-shirt, a cross around his neck held by a gold chain, he never stopped strumming and continued to sing as he nodded me in.

I closed the door behind me and sat down in front of him, nothing separating us but an acoustic guitar. As I gazed into his blue eyes, I thought about getting up and running out the door as fast as my legs would carry me, but it was as if the connection was so strong that it enabled me to move from where I was sitting.

As I couldn’t speak, before I could even think of what I would say or where I would begin, I silenced him with an unanticipated kiss. The strange thing was that as he reciprocated, and there was suddenly no longer a guitar separating us. I could still hear the music and his voice running through my mind as if there were a CD playing in the background.

As he placed his hand on the back of my head and gently laid me back on a pillow, his body slightly raised over mine, his lips moved from my mouth to my neck. As the electricity shot through me while his dreadlocks gently caressed my body, I felt a tugging on my right hand and a soft, sweet voice saying, “Mommy, is it time to get up yet? I’m hungry.”

As I opened my eyes, my four year old son stood staring at me in his Batman pajamas. I said, “Alright honey, go ahead downstairs, I’ll be right there.” As I heard his little feet pitter patter down the stairs, I laid in bed for a moment. As I stared up at the ceiling, I thought to myself, what….the hell….is wrong with me?

I have never told that dream to anyone, but the answer to my question is American Idol overload.

As fans, we have thoughts that are embarrassing, feelings that we can’t explain and questions that are never answered. We search for an answer to the question, “What is it that separates the world of Hollywood stars from their fans, the very people who put them where they are?” What exactly is a star? The truth is that there are many different definitions: A celestial body visible at night from the Earth as relatively stationary, usually twinkling points of light; a graphic design having five or more radiating points, often used as a sign or merit of rank; an artistic performer or athlete whose leading role or superior performance is acknowledged; one who is highly celebrated in a field or profession; the future destiny.

I asked my best friend’s daughter, Emma, age six, “What is a star?” She said, “Something in the sky that is really teeny, bright and yellow.” Then I asked her mother, Maria, the same question and she said, “Hollywood people.”

I have so many questions and so few answers. Let’s start with why people in Hollywood are actually referred to as stars. Now, after knowing the definitions, is it because they are radiating, brighter and shinier than us, exposed to the world from every direction? Is it that they are of higher merit that they are considered to be above us? Is it because they are so far away that they cannot be reached? Is it that they live on their “own planet” or in another world that is unknown to most? Are they what we so frequently wish upon to be our destiny?

Of course, I am no different than any other, loving the entertainment industry; movies, television, music and even, at times, sports when I cannot rip the remote from my husband’s firm grip. I am never stopping short of picking up a magazine with a famous face, wanting to know the scoop, tuning into talk shows and award shows, especially when they are hosted by Ellen DeGeneres or Billy Crystal. Oh, how I love the funnies.

What is not glamorous about the red carpet and the beautiful dresses?

Who didn’t want Jennifer Aniston’s haircut or Joey Tribiani for our best friend?

What guy would not want to be the teammate or peer of Tom Brady, now married to Gisele, who may have many hot friends? Or Big Papi, the power hitter of the one and only Boston Red Sox? And even the chair that sat J.Lo’s butt at the MTV Music Awards?

How many desperate housewives would love to live on Wisteria Lane for just one day? Now there’s some drama for you. You can’t deny that their lives are far from boring.

How many girls would love to get the chance to be best friend’s with Paris Hilton, or better yet, with Miley Cyrus?

How many millions of people want to be the next
American Idol
, as I would settle for just meeting one, preferably that of my selected fantasy boyfriends? We are all guilty of having the dream but why are we so different than those who get to live it? Of course, I’ve had the dream and some days still do as a mom who tucks her children into bed every night, knowing that they too will someday have the dream.

I find myself constantly struggling with the realities tied to being a devoted fan and living on the other side of the Hollywood splendor. In my thirty-six years here on this earth, the closest I have come to meeting one of my favorite celebrities is through my television, at a concert or in a dream. Meeting a celebrity of choice is something that has always been on my list of things to do before I die. There are many reasons why it is so important for me to meet my most admired stars. Therefore, I have never been able to let go of the challenge.

BOOK: Reaching Out to the Stars
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