‘The Next’ Rocks Hippodrome, the CW

The Next Rocks Hippodrome, the CW

Lauren Fabiszak

At 7 a.m., there is no better wakeup call than hundreds of screaming teenage girls. The Rosedale Cricket store served as just that on July 17, as I stood among the hordes of teens waiting to meet the one and only Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers.  Once Jonas finally arrived at 10 a.m., the antsy fans passed quickly through the meet and greet line, while he made their dreams and certainly mine, come true.

Having been a Jonas Brothers fan for 5 years, it was not possible for me to be any more ecstatic than I was when I was face to face with Jonas.  I had entered hundreds of contests to try and meet him and now the moment I had been waiting for had finally come.

When I first I found out about the meet and greet, I ran down the stairs and probably blew my mother’s eardrums out with my high-pitched screams, asking her if I could go. I was looking forward to meeting Jonas so much that I didn’t even sleep the night before. I even planned out what I was going to wear head to toe beforehand so I could look perfect for him.

Jonas greeted every fan with a signed promotional poster and a friendly smile. Fans like me were thrilled when he autographed and personalized the merchandise we brought from home. The CD with his signature will remain on my dresser forever, and the picture of him looking at me will continue to be the background on everything I own.

However, Jonas didn’t come to Maryland for the fun of it. He, along with fellow singers and mentors of the new singing competition “The Next: Fame Is at Your Doorstep,” were in town to film an episode in Baltimore.

The show, produced by Queen Latifah, travels to Orlando, Baltimore, New York, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles looking for four local talents from each city that they could transform into the next big thing. Each mentor is assigned one of the contestants in each city to prepare them to sing in front of America in 72 hours. The contestants will battle it out for the chance to represent their city in the finals in Los Angeles.

Fortunately for the throngs of fans at the Cricket store, tickets were being given away to the show’s taping that night. We were all given a raffle ticket when we stood in the meet and greet line, and at the end all the winning numbers were written on a big white sign. Although I was only one number away from winning, I went home without tickets.

Once I started coming back down from cloud 9 as a result of meeting Jonas, I started searching the Internet for ways to still get tickets to the show. Weeks prior to the taping, I entered contests through the Jonas Brothers Fan Club and the casting company, only to get no response back.

It seemed that all hope was lost, until my mom suggested calling the Cricket Store to see if anybody from that morning didn’t claim their winning tickets. When the woman on the phone told me that there were two unclaimed tickets, I nearly dropped the phone as she told me that she could put them on hold for me.  It was already 5:30pm when I found this out and the show started at 7pm, so my mom and I rushed to the car so we could make it on time.

After running into the Cricket store and picking up my tickets, I arrived at the Hippodrome at about 6:45 pm. Inside, the excitement reached far beyond the teens I saw that morning. Although Jonas was obviously the fan favorite, fellow mentors Nelly, Gloria Estefan, and John Rich also had fans present. All along the balcony of the theater, families and friends of the contestants showed their support with homemade signs, T-shirts, and loud enthusiasm.

Everybody was packed into the venue by 8 p.m. After executive producer Dave Broome discussed the night’s agenda, the host Allison Hagendorf was brought out along with the mentors. Sitting in chairs lined up at the edge of the stage, the mentors looked on as the cameras began rolling.

The local Baltimore talents, Shannon Ramsey, Jenny Leigh, Chris Bivins, and Jordan Baird, belted their hearts out for the audience to vote for them. Ultimately, the winner was decided by the audience at that show’s taping, as we voted on our cell phones for our favorite. It wasn’t until the Baltimore episode premiered on Aug. 26 that we found out Jordan Baird was the winner.

The night ended around 11 p.m. with a special performance by Joe Jonas and Gloria Estefan, singing “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police. The audience went ballistic, and I was involved in the hysteria like everybody else.  It had to be filmed a couple of times due to technical difficulties, but that made it even more exciting.

In every city two out of the four mentors give a performance, and I was pleased that Jonas sang at the Baltimore show. When the cameras weren’t rolling, the mentors joked around with each other and interacted with the crowd, showing that they were having just as much fun as the audience and weren’t putting on an act.

“The Next” has personality and diversity that will make viewers return week after week. Personally, I will continue to watch it every week mainly for Jonas, but the show is still refreshingly interesting and different. After all, this show did provide me with the best day of my life, so that makes it even more of a pleasure for me to watch. New episodes of “The Next: Fame Is at Your Doorstep” premiere Thursdays at 9 p.m. on the CW.

Lauren Fabiszak is an In-Depth Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.