Idol Chatter!

   Fresh off my frenzied trip to Los Angeles to cover the season finale of American Idol, I am not so fresh.  I am  haggered.  (And yes, I do look very much like Merle Haggard at the moment.)  The "Boyz in my Hood", Walter Makaula, photographer Vince Tagle and Chad Voisen just spent the past 72 hours with me, driving, editing, interviewing, writing, primping, running, caffeinating, tweeting and laughing in the media vaccum called American Idol.  I have no idea what's going on in the outside world, let alone my own.

   Is Charlie Sheen still winning?  Has Oprah decided to stay?  Did Arnold discover more cubs? 

   After days of prepping to leave town (and every mother knows the preparation alone it takes for a mom to leave town, makes you really want to leave town and check into a mental facility.)  So, I was tired before I even got there.  It took me days to figure out what to wear, find what to wear, then consult on what I should wear with my panel of experts a.k.a. my sister, co-anchor, kids and husband.  In the end, I received so many compliments by co-workers who were genuinely surprised I could clean up that way - it was hilarious.  Testament to my haphazard ensembles I usually show up in every day at Fox 5, I do believe.

   After anchoring the 10pm news on Monday, I was back at the station the next morning by 10am and schlepping my bags to the news van.  By that afternoon, I was gussied up for our first live broadcast from outside the Nokia Theatre in LA.  To call it a pressure cooker, is like calling Lady Gaga a little provacative.  It's insanity in action.

   By 11pm that night, we'd written and edited our reports, broadcast them live, and in my case, spent hours racing around in heels.  My feet haven't hurt that much since I danced on pointe in ballet.  And, believe it or not, with all the glitz and glam surrounding us, we spent the night in a chilly media tent adjacent to the Idol stage outside - with no bathroom, mere scraps of food and a water bottle to split between the four of us.  Not exactly 5 star accomodations.  I can't tell you how many times I went live on the air dancing around because of a full bladder!  It definitely put the "live" in my live shots.

   5am Wednesday morning my wakeup call sent me tumbling out of bed with no idea where I was.  Then I jumped into a fresh set of pajamas.  Walter and I figured, if we're going to have to be up that early, we might as well be dressed for the occasion.  (Be sure to check out my Idol photo gallery.)  After 2 hours of live hits in our p.j.'s with the Fox 5 Morning crew it was time to eat breakfast, get in a nap, then get my "fancy on" again.

  We were back outside the Nokia Theatre by 2pm for the celebrity red carpet.  From d-listers like Janice Dickinson, who endearingly (not really) called me "Toots"...to Lil Jon who won me over with his humor and blinged out grill, it was an interesting array of Hollywood celebs and wanna-be's. 

   Meeting Judas Priest was cool - my brother blared their songs into my bedroom all through high school, so it was like seeing old friends.  Idols of years past were there, but hard to recognize, Jack Black was as friendly as "Po" - his animated Panda counterpart... and publicists pushed all their young "up-and-comers" in front of our cameras, hoping to get them air time.  It's a whirlwind of publicity, self-promotion and feeding the entertainment television beast.

  Back in the tent, editing goes back into full swing to make the early show with the red carpet fanfare.  Then, the two hour season finale is played on monitors for us to log, and I have to say, having Steven Tyler and Gladys Knight that close, but yet so far...was some kind of cruel.  I grew up loving Motown and my song with my husband is an Aerosmith tune called "Cry'n".  Which is what I would have done, had we not been so slammed making deadlines.

  Once the 10pm newscast came around we were touched up, lit up and live seconds after the finale ended.  The chaos behind the scenes came out flawless on the air, drawing applause from the control room back in San Diego.  It's a harried production to take on and thankfully, we pulled it off.  And that's exactly what I did with my high heels at 11:01pm Wednesday night. 

   I was back in my Uggs where I belonged.  A few comsomopolitans later with my partners in crime, some long sought-after shuteye and a quick trip to the gift shop for the kids in the morning... and I was on my way home.

   From 5 inch heels to furry boots, it is the metaphor for my Anchormom life.
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2013 YEAR IN REVIEW
Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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