ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday June 01, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 53

Over the moon

Nikketha recalls what it felt like to attend the finale of the American Idol reality show

By Namali Premawardhana

Everybody has dreams, some realistic ones and some crazy ones. Some people get to live dreams that they wouldn't even dare to dream and Nikketha Ramachandran is one of those people. She didn't ever imagine that 60 words effortlessly put into a piece of writing about an imagined experience of watching American Idol (AI) would actually take her there. But believe it or not, they did. Nikketha was there, at Universal Studios, at the American Idol Finale, live.

When 23-year-old Nikketha (aka Nikki) heard about ETV and E FM sponsoring one lucky person to see the American Idol finale she decided that if 60 words was all it took, it was probably worth a shot. So she wrote in, and was selected as one of the lucky ten semi-finalists. Only then did she find out that the competition was a little tougher than she thought. "Oh my gosh! I gotta get on TV!?" were the first words that escaped her mouth when she heard about the trivia quiz and the public campaigning.

Nikki was an avid AI fan since she first started watching it. "I watch it all the time," she says smiling, "even the repeat episodes!" For this reason she didn't find the quiz very difficult and managed to score eight out of 10 points. When it came to the final campaigning round, her colleagues from Q&E Advertising went all out for her, and came up with the winning campaign. "I really, honestly wasn't expecting to win," she says, explaining that her competition included employees of companies with much bigger employee bases, which meant they already had a greater number of votes than her, guaranteed. "I told my friends and family about the whole thing, and asked them to vote for me, but I had dropped the idea of winning completely!" she continues.

She finally found out she had won the competition when the E FM and ETV crews turned up at her doorstep one Saturday morning and put her live on air, in her pyjamas. "But the whole trip, and the show were completely worth the embarrassment" she laughs.

When talking about the show, Nikki was lost for words. "Oh my gosh, I just wanted to cry when I walked into the theatre because it's like nothing you see on TV!" she enthuses. The ambience and the atmosphere the live experience, could never be captured on TV, she says. "Everything is so big, and shiny, and blue and silver...," she adds, explaining a bit more soberly that she is "still over the moon" about the whole experience.

"The funny thing is" she reminisces, "the fact that I was so used to watching it on the screen at home that I often caught myself doing it even there! I had to keep reminding myself that it's all happening right here in front of me." According to Nikketha, the experience really was a dream, and she’s grateful to ETV for giving her the opportunity. "I kept on asking myself 'Oh my gosh am I actually here?' Everything was so clear, vibrant and live... I have no words to describe it!" With the experience, Nikki brings us less fortunate folks not only the excitement of being there live, but also some inside info. "Ryan Seacrest is Really short though!" she exclaims "And Paula Abdul is Tiny!!!" Not only did she get to talk to these stars, she also got the opportunity to go live on Fox News, to relate the story of how she went through the ETV competition and managed to bag the prize; tickets to the American Idol Finale with travel and accommodation. "I felt like a kid in Candy World" she grins, still unable to get over the excitement.

"I was so lucky to be there!" she says, explaining that fans crowd even the outer premises of the theatre holding up banners which say "I'd do anything for ticket, please!" and so on. "It was worth all the flying and the jetlag and the embarrassment of being on TV and making funny poses for photo shoots!" Without a doubt, the experience must have been awesome, but us not-so-fortunate folks are going to have to be satisfied with her word for it. She lived her dream, saw real talent, real people and had the surreal experience.

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