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It was about a month after I turned 16; the month that American Idol was coming to our town for auditions. I wanted to try out; I knew I could make it too, but I was just Sadie Johnson, the girl who sits quietly in the back of the classroom. The same girl whose name no one bothers to remember, except my small group of friends. The same girl who had a crush on a guy who didn’t know she even existed. I guess I was just the semi-average teenage girl; I went to school every day, studied all the time, got straight A’s, and then didn’t do much over the weekends. Monday morning, I did it all over again. I had nothing exciting in my life, but I had a talent for singing, and if I could just try out for American Idol, things would be different.
It was a Monday morning; my mom was driving me to school. My mom and I had a pretty good relationship, better than what most teenagers my age have with their mom. I told her everything, and our mornings in the car were always filled with conversations. And because I told her everything, I decided to tell her my dream to audition for American Idol.
“You know, American Idol is coming to our town for auditions,” I said.
“Really? Well isn’t that great,” she replied.
“Yep… and I was thinking that maybe… maybe I could try out; just see what happens.”
“Please mom, I just want to see what they say. Please,” I said, before she could even finish her sentence.
“We’ll talk about this later,” she said, pulling up to school. I got out of the car.
I walked through the hallway, seeing the popular group. They always looked at me as I walked by, but then again I always looked at them too. The guy that I liked sat with them. His name was Christian. He never noticed me though; I don’t think he even knows my name. I walked past them, finding my group of friends. I didn’t really have that many friends; only four people, including me, made up my group. We weren’t nearly as big as the popular group; but I still liked my small group of friends. We had the same kind of hobbies, liked the same kind of movies, and read the same type of books. However, with all of that, I still found myself watching the popular group. They seemed like they had the most fun and they seemed as though they always had plans every weekend. Even though I would never admit it out loud, I felt as though I had always really wanted to be a part of the popular group.
About ten minutes later, the bell rang. As I got up and went to pick up my book bag, I was pushed down by all the popular girls. But that was normal; I was never seen by them. Then, my crush walked right past me. I was on the ground picking up my stuff, and he just walked pass, laughing with his friends. But like always, I just got up and went to class.
That evening, at home, I wanted to bring up the American Idol thing again, but I decided to wait till dinner. Just at that moment, my mom called saying that dinner was ready.
I sat, eating, waiting for the perfect moment to bring it up to my parents. But before I could, my mom said,
“Sadie, your father and I have been talking about it lately, and we decided that if you want to audition for American Idol, you can. It’s this Saturday at the city’s arena if you still want to go.”
“Really? I can go? Of course I still want to! Thank you so much!” I said happily.
I couldn’t wait at that point. I wanted it to be Saturday. I wanted Thursday and Friday to fly by. Then, Friday afternoon when the bell rang, we would have two weeks off for Christmas vacation. It all worked out perfectly. If I made it to Hollywood, I wouldn’t miss school, at least not until January.
But finally, the day of anticipation came. This was it. This was the day. The day that everything could change for me. It was 5 o’clock in the morning, but I didn’t mind getting up this early on a Saturday morning, not for this anyway. I got dressed quickly and headed down stairs.
“Today’s the big day,” my dad said.
“Yep, it is,” I replied.
“You got everything you need? Are you nervous?”
“Yes and yes.”
“You still sure you want to do this? It’s a very tough competition.”
“Yea, I know. But I still want to try.”
“Alright, come on, it’s time to go,” my mom said walking into the kitchen.
“Good luck,” my dad added.
The auditions were being held in our town’s arena. We pulled into the parking lot and there were already hundreds of fans and future stars crowding behind the ropes, waiting to go in. At that point, I got really nervous; looking around at how many other people would audition made me even more nervous.
I didn’t tell anyone that I was auditioning. Just my mom, dad, and brother. No other family member and definitely not anyone at school. I didn’t want to tell anyone in case I didn’t make it. I didn’t want anyone to make it a big deal if I didn’t make it.
There was a tent for those who were auditioning to wait for their turn with their families. I was just with my mom, but we both waited excitedly and nervously. I got a number to tape to my shirt. I was wearing the usual: shirt from Wal-Mart, jeans, and tennis shoes. I guess it didn’t matter what I wore though, all that mattered was how I sing, and I don’t even know what I’m going to sing.
People who auditioned before me came out into the tent; some had the ticket to Hollywood, some walked out with nothing. I just sat there and hoped I would be one of the lucky ones that walked out, going to Hollywood.
They called another number, the number right before mine. Not long after, he walked out, with nothing. Then they called my number. My heart dropped. I didn’t want to go in. I wanted to change my mind. But it was too late. I walked into the auditioning room. Three judges sat before me.
“What’s your name?” the first judge said.
“Sadie… Johnson,” I replied, shaking.
“How old are you?” he asked.
“Alright, well, Sadie, what will you be singing for us today?” the second judge asked.
“Umm,” I said as I stood there thinking. I completely forgot about choosing a song. But I didn’t let that get me too nervous, and just then, a song popped into my mind.
“A Thousand Miles,” I said, “by Vanessa Carlton.”
I starting singing, singing the best I have ever done before. Each judge watched me, but I kept singing. They didn’t make any signs showing they didn’t like it, however, they didn’t show signs that they absolutely loved it. As I kept singing though, one of the judges signaled for me to stop. That made me really nervous.
“For a sixteen year old, that was pretty good,” the first judge started.
That made me happy. I felt at that moment in time that I actually had a pretty good shot.
“But I don’t know if you’re ready for American Idol,” the second judge said.
My heart just sank. I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to make it. The third judge sat there thinking, looking at me.
“I think you got what it takes,” the third judge added.
“Okay, well do we have a decision?” the first judge asked, facing the other two.
They whispered among themselves as I stood there, waiting for the final decision. My heart was sinking slowly, I stood there shaking, not knowing what I would walk out here with.
“You’re going to Hollywood!” all three of them said.
I couldn’t believe they just said that. I felt so happy, so accomplished; for once it my life, I felt excited. I ran out the audition room, taking my ticket to Hollywood, and ran to my mom.
“I’m going to Hollywood!” I screamed.
“Oh my gosh, really?” my mom said, hugging me, “I am so proud of you!”
I ran to the car. I got my dad on the phone and told him the news. He let me talk to my little brother too, who was also so happy for me.
I just couldn’t believe all that was happening. That night, I couldn’t go to sleep. All I could think about was how my life was going to change and how I would be on a plane to Hollywood tomorrow night. My life was changing so fast, but I liked it.
Sunday night came and I was all packed up for Hollywood. This time, my mom, dad, and brother were all coming up to Hollywood with me. The plane didn’t leave until 8:30 PM, and it was only 5:00, but we were already heading to the airport. When we got there, it took about an hour to go through security, but after going through, my family and I sat by our gate, talking about how excited we all were.
Our plane finally came in about 8:15 PM, and we boarded and took our seats. I looked out the window and finally realized what was really happening. I really made it and I was really going to Hollywood. By tomorrow morning, I would be on my way to the first elimination round.
It was a beautiful Monday morning in Hollywood, California. Our calling time was for 9 AM. When I got there, I sat with all the others who made it through the auditions; there were about one hundred other people. This round, however, would be an elimination round. We were informed that they would be eliminating until they got to the final thirty. This meant for me that I did not have a good chance of staying. But I decided to stay positive and do my best, just like the day I auditioned.
I was called into the elimination room, and it was my turn to sing. Already, about thirty people had been sent home. But I walked into the room with confidence.
“Hi, my name is Sadie Johnson and I’ll be singing ‘Far Away’ by Nickleback,” I said.
Even though I didn’t think I was nervous, I was. I didn’t want to be sent home already. Not right now, not like this. I wanted to at least make it to the real thing. I wanted to be the top thirty. But as I finished singing, I waited for the result.
“Congrats, Sadie, you are one of the thirty contestants that are staying here in Hollywood,” said one of the same three judges that were at the auditions.
“Oh my gosh, thank you so much!” I said, while screaming on the inside.
“The thirty contestants may go back home for now, we’ll call before round one, which will be in January. See you then,” he said.
I ran out to where my family was waiting for me, screaming that I made it. We got in the car and I told them everything that happened. Now, I could really enjoy my Christmas break and not have to worry about anything; I already made it through and I could go back to school until the next call in mid January.
Christmas break flew by faster than I thought, and school was just about to start. I still hadn’t gotten a call about when I would have to fly back out to Hollywood, but then again, it was only the start of January. Surprisingly, I was excited to go back to school. I hadn’t told any of my friends about American Idol.
The day for school finally came, and I was riding in my car on the way to school, I remembered the morning I mentioned auditioning. I was happy that I mentioned it. None of this would be happening if I didn’t. When I got to school, I immediately went to where my group sits and told them the news. The popular group must have heard me, and right away they all came over to see if it was true.
“Wait, are you serious,” said Ashley, the leader of the popular group.
“Yea,” I answered.
“That’s so cool. You should come sit with us today at lunch,” she said, waiting for an immediate yes.
“Umm,” I said, looking at my group, then back to the popular group, “okay.”
“Great,” Ashley said, turning around and walking away with the rest of the group following her. I turned back to my friends.
“Sorry guys, I guess I’m sitting with them today. I’ll talk to ya’ll later!” I said. Then, I turned around and followed Ashley.
When the lunch bell rang, I was actually excited because I would be sitting with the popular group. I ran to go sit where they always sat. During lunch, I felt like I was the center of attention. All questions were about me being on American Idol, and more importantly, Christian was asking me questions too. I really liked sitting with them; I felt like I fit in easily, and when they asked me to sit with them again, I accepted.
“Hey, are you going to sit with us tomorrow?” Emily asked. Emily was in my old group. But I had never felt the same way I did when I sat with my old group. I liked sitting with the popular group.
“No, I’m going to sit with Ashley again,” I answered.
“Why are you even sitting with them? What about us?” she asked.
“Well I made some new friends. It’s okay if I sit with other people,” I said, getting annoyed with her, “I have to go. Bye.” I walked away without even looking back. I liked the way things went today, being with the popular group, and I didn’t really want to go back to my old group. Looking back now, I don’t think I ever really had fun in my old group, so I wanted to stay with the popular group. Which I guess now, that made me popular. I walked outside waiting for my mom to come pick me up. I checked my phone and I already had a message from Ashley, but as I looked up my mom was pulling up.
“Hey, Ashley just texted me asking if I wanted to go shopping this Saturday, so you can just drop me off at the mall, okay?” I asked her.
“Well first off, who is Ashley?” she replied.
“Mom, I hang out with her. Just bring us to the mall this Saturday,” I snapped back.
“Drop the attitude. I don’t have to let you go to the mall or Hollywood, you know.”
“Ugh, nevermind,” I said, putting on my headphones.
When we got home, I went straight up into my room and called Ashley. I told her that I could go shopping with her on Saturday, no matter what my mom said.
The next morning was silent. My mom and I didn’t talk the whole way to school. I guess she was still mad about the whole mall thing; it wasn’t even a big deal. When I got to school, I went to sit with my new group. When I walked up, Ashley was whispering to everyone around her, but as I sat down, she quickly stopped.
“What are ya‘ll talking about?” I asked her.
“Oh, nothing,” she answered.
I sat there until the bell ring, and no one talked to me today. No one asked me questions about American Idol, or when I would leave. At lunch time, I got bored with them again. Then, I remembered my old group. I got up, saying that I was just going to the bathroom, and I walked to where my old group sat. As I walked up to my old group, each of them looked at me, then went back to their conversation.
“Hey guys,” I said.
No one answered me. None of them even looked at me.
“Ya’ll. Hey,” I said once again.
“What do you want?” Emily finally said.
“Well I came to see what ya’ll were doing. It got boring where I was,” I said.
“So you think that you can just come back to us now? Just like that?” she said angrily.
“Why can’t I just come and talk to ya’ll again?” I asked, getting aggravated.
“You blew us off like we were nothing. And Ashley isn’t a real friend. None of them are. They just think it’s cool that you’ll be on TV. That’s it. Once American Idol is over for you, you’re nothing to them anymore,” she answered. They all got up and left me standing there alone. I went back to the popular table and sat down.
“Everything okay?” Ashley asked as I sat down.
“Oh, yea. Everything is great,” I said sarcastically.
“You sure?” Ashley asked again.
“Yea, it’s just, I’ve been thinking that maybe I don’t want to do American Idol anymore.” I said.
“What? You can’t do that! If you drop out, you can’t sit with us anymore,” she said seriously.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Why do you think we asked you to sit with us in the first place?” she said, still serious.
Right then, I realized everything Emily said was right. The popular group only liked me because of American Idol. I was nothing without it. I got up and walked away. I didn’t look back. I went the bathroom, sat in a stall, and cried. I had nothing. I had no friends. I was treating my family bad. All I had was American Idol, the thing I use to want so badly, but now, looking at my life, I didn’t want it anymore.
That afternoon, my mom picked me up. It was silent again in the car; it never used to be that way.
“Mom, I’m sorry,” I said, breaking the silence. She didn’t answer. I figured I should say something more, but I just didn’t know what to say.
“Please talk to me. I know I acted spoiled and was demanding. I didn’t mean any of it,” I said, hoping she would talk to me.
“It’s okay. I understand. Being on TV is a big deal, it just sometimes starts going to your head, and you start to become someone different,” she answered.
“Mom, I don’t really want this anymore,” I said to her, waiting for a solution.
“I’m not going to make you do anything, but you should do what you really want,” she answered. Her answer comforted me, and right then, I knew what I wanted to do.
That night, I got a call from Hollywood. It was the judges saying they would fly me back out to Hollywood this Sunday. I ran down to the kitchen and told my mom.
“What should I do?” I asked her.
“Do what you really want to do,” she answered.
Putting the phone back up to my ear, I said what I felt was the right thing to do.
“I’m sorry, but this isn’t what I want to do anymore. I’m going to drop out of the competition. I just can’t go through it. I’m really sorry; I hope you understand,” I said, talking to one of the judges. We talked for a little while, assuring that I really wanted to drop out of the competition. After I hung up, I was sure that I made the right decision.
The next day at school, I went to the popular group and announced that I quit the competition.
“Okay, well then I guess you’ll go back to your old group,” Ashley said.
I decided not to respond to her. I just started to walk away; I was going back to my old group. As I was walking down the hall, looking for my old friends, I had a tug on my arm.
“Hey, don’t listen to Ashley, she doesn’t like many people around here,” Christian said. I couldn’t believe it. Christian came after me, just to tell me that. “But you’re cool to hang out with. Maybe we could do something this weekend, since you’re not doing anything anymore,” he continued.
“Okay. Sounds good,” I said. He walked away, and so I continued to find my old group. I finally found them in the cafeteria.
“Hey guys,” I said.
“What?” Emily said immediately.
“I just wanted to tell ya’ll that I dropped out of the competition,” I said. No one said anything, so I started to walk away.
“Wait,” Emily said, “why don’t you come sit with us? You can tell us all about it.”
I went and sat with them, and told them everything, including what happened between me and Christian. At that point, I didn’t want to change anything about my life. I didn’t want anything more exciting. I liked my life just the way it was and I wouldn’t change anything about it.