This time last year, after thinking and praying long and hard about my intentions for 2012, I busily began cutting out photos, words and phrases from magazines that would ultimately make up my 2012 vision board. Perched on my wall as a visual reminder of all the things I wanted to be and accomplish, I’d look it over every so often for inspiration. Mostly, though, I forgot about it as I went about my daily life. That is, until a few weeks ago when one email sent me running back to it.
“Congratulations! Your group has been selected to participate in the Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show starring Beyoncé!” the message read. It didn’t take me long to turn again to that vision board: And there she was, smack dab in the middle was a picture I’d pasted of a woman with a hustler’s spirit, an entertainer beyond measure; God-loving wife, mother and friend, powerful businesswoman and a Queen by all means — the one and only Beyoncé.
Say what you will about the power of a vision board, but I was about to join Bey on the field at the big game! So how did I — a lawyer, media correspondent and style blogger with little interest in football — wind up in a halftime show for the most-watched television event in America? Well, back in December, I responded to a Facebook post looking for fans to perform in the superstar’s halftime show. Out of thousands of applicants, I was chosen, and this is my Super Bowl diary.
Journal Entry #46; January 16
The guidelines for applicants had stipulated that if chosen, each must have nine people to form a group of 10. There would also be two mandatory rehearsals in New Orleans. No travel or hotel included. Crap! But I had signed up for this seemingly impossible dream, and now I had till January 20 to finalize my group roster. The first practice would be on January 27, the second on January 31, with game day of course on February 3. The entire group of 10 would have to be in New Orleans for over a week! Cut to me with my mind boggled and my wheels spinning.
I started calling and texting the friends who I had signed up: “We got it! We’re in! Can you do it?” For most, the logistics were totally insurmountable. We needed plane tickets, places to stay, and what about work? With every phone call, I got less and less excited. Friends were dropping off the list left and right, and I was starting to think it would never happen.
But eventually, things began to click. A friend said she had two friends who would come, and her cousin would let them stay with him in the French Quarter. I reached out to two of my flight attendant friends, Chad and Keia, who I knew could get to NOLA in a pinch. Now we were at seven. Then Chad offered up additional lodging with some of his family from Baton Rouge, as well as two of his friends for the group, finally bringing the head count to nine plus me. This was really happening!
Entry #54; January 26
Officially on the way to Nola! The last few days were crazy: Tying up things at work and trying to plan outfits for a different climate, I’ve been all over the place and too excited to focus. I’m still in disbelief that in a few short days, I am going to boom kack for my life with Beyoncé. Just two weeks ago I was contemplating whose house I would be cocktailing and noshing at for the game, and now I’m contemplating hashtags for Team In a Word Fab’s social media check-ins. (The official hashtag is #BeyFabXLVII by the way).
Speaking of social media, we were given multiple waivers and confidentiality agreements to sign with strict instructions not to share any production information, pictures or video during the week or our team could be kicked out of the show. In fact, no cellphones are allowed into the any of the rehearsals.
Tomorrow is our first rehearsal and the first time we’ll get a real sense of what our role in the show will be. All I know right now is that we are “Casted Fans” who will be a part of Beyoncé’s on-field audience, so we’re expected to bring serious energy and excitement. For some reason, I don’t think that will be a problem.
Journal Entry #55; 1/27/13
So today was our first day of rehearsal for the Super Bowl and I’m, in a word, tired. All morning we chatted excitedly about what may happen during the day. Would we see Beyoncé? Will we have to learn choreography? And most importantly, will we get camera time? We were told to wear comfortable clothes and flat shoes or sneakers, to bring snacks and that there would be a lot of “hurry up and wait.” And that there was. Twelve hundred people in all — cheerleaders, dance teams, friends and co-workers — arrived at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, Louisiana, and checked in with the production team. The energy was electric; there was more than one dance-off and plenty of happy chatter.
Finally, we were formally welcomed by the production team and told that today we were going to practice entering and exiting the field. (There would only be six minutes for the entire production, including the stage, lights, sound, band members and casted fans to get into place at the start of the 12-minute show, and only three minutes to exit.)
Since there would only be six minutes to prepare for the show and three minutes to exit, we practiced running on and off and on and off the field. (Now I understand why we were not to wear heels.) We perfected the “Single Ladies” handwave and pumped our hands in the air. We screamed and we ran and we screamed and we ran. After about four hours, we were dismissed with a boxed lunch (Best thai chicken wrap I’ve had in a while, or was I just starving?) and instructions for Thursday’s dress rehearsal: dark, muted colors like black, navy blue, brown, dark denim and no heels! So very unfab. Only one thing could make us feel better about this dress code situation: On Thursday we will be rehearsing with Queen Bey.
Journal Entry; January 31
Confession: My gluten-free diet has gone completely out the window since arriving in New Orleans. I’ve decided everything is better fried (especially when it’s washed down with a daiquiri). After a night on Bourbon Street, as Beyoncé was asking “Any questions?” at the Super Bowl Press Conference, Team In a Word Fab was headed to the Superdome for dress rehearsal. We finally gathered in the dome, where we got to see how the stage was set up and tried to guess who would be popping out of the red Corvette we saw at the back of the stage.
Finally, we were led onto the field and placed in the positions we had rehearsed on Sunday. We spotted Kelly Rowland, Angie Beyince and then Miss Tina, Beyoncé’s mom, walking towards the stage. Then finally, it was her! She arrived on the stage fresh faced and gorgeous, signature honey blond hair swept to the side, a black long sleeve tee and a pair of Phillip Lim harem pants. Suddenly, the Corvette turned into a transformer before our eyes and we realized Beyoncé herself was going to be coming out of it. The pre-show video started and the countdown was on. Cut to us running and screaming into our positions in the left “face” of the field and suddenly Beyoncé is running through the entire show before our eyes, from “Love on Top” to “Halo.”
There were a few tiny mishaps throughout the day: the very first runthrough, Beyoncé’s mic fell off in the middle of “Crazy in Love.” Michelle had a stand-in popping up in the trap door the first few times. We ran through the entire show five times, and each time the show got better! When she wasn’t performing, Beyoncé was super shy and gracious, thanking us numerous times. It was 10 p.m. before we were allowed to leave, tired, hungry and thankful.
Journal Entry #58; February 1
P.S. We were asked by Beyoncé via email to learn the words to “Halo” for the ending of her show. She does know we’re Super Fans right?
Journal Entry #58; February 3
Mama, we made it! I am in complete shock and disbelief! Not only did we just dance, scream and jump up and down as Beyoncé completely slayed the Halftime Show in front of millions, but the cherry on top was that I actually got camera time. As soon as we got out of the stadium, my phone was filled with congratulatory texts and screenshots of me and my godsister, Brooke, with our mouths wide open as we screamed and shouted through “Single Ladies.”
Running onto the field in front of all the those fans with the anticipation building to a fever pitch was a moment I will never forget. Absolutely nothing that we rehearsed prepared us for the sheer excitement of the live production of that size in front of an entire stadium of fans and millions around the globe. We weren’t even sure what to expect, as she had axed the red Corvette from the show, but she definitely made the right decisions. The final performance was absolutely flawless and will go down as one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had.
What did you think of the Super Bowl Halftime Show? Sound off in the comments below!