Anywayyyy...Yesterday, Averie and I head out to LA for the taping of the show, and as instructed go directly to the NBC Studios Gate Guard. They ask for our ID, she tells them why she's here and they look for her name on the list. After finally locating (they spelled our last name with two S's instead of two F's), they buzz us through. Averie is nervous. I'm just tired and sweaty because I've carried a 20 pound bag full of canned goods across the parking lot. Funny thing is, the last time we were here, they searched our purses, we had to go through metal detectors, we got "wanded" by a security guard, etc. This time, here I am carrying a huge, heavy bag of canned foods, and they aren't really paying any attention. I found that completely insane...but enough about that.
We're led into the studio offices by a cute young intern named Ramon. It seems Ramon has just ripped his pants and is providing a comic relief ice breaker by telling all of us about the breeze and even feels pretty free to show us the rip. "So how about my crotch? Black pants, white underwear!" He's cute as hell. Ramon hands us off to another intern, coincidentally named Ellen. I'm still carrying 20 pounds of cans. Intern Ellen leads us to the back of the studio and into a warehouse type area full of props. They're preparing for the Halloween show, so the props make us feel as if we've been led into a cemetery. Another intern, Tall Dave, is now talking to the girls who are a part of this event (19 in all...should have been 25, but only 19 showed up) and asking for their IDs and having them fill out paperwork. Averie uses a graveyard headstone as a desk to fill out her consent forms. I wonder out loud if that could bring bad luck. She looks at me and rolls her eyes. The girls are happily chatting with each other, getting along famously. It seems less like "The Bachelor" and more like a reunion of friends. Those of us who came as "moral support", are standing around waiting. Which is fine. It's what I expected. After years of it, I've become the Queen of Waiting. Staff Member Vikki comes out to greet us. She's the one that called Averie and told her she was a finalist. Turns out that Vikki used to work at NBC in NY and is friends with Jeff Richards. Woohoooooo! Averie is in heaven! One degree from Drunk Girl! That makes Vikki laugh. She tells Averie she's "adorable". I ask Vikki if there's some place to put this bag of canned goods. She smiles and is thrilled to take them and thanks me. Thank God. I just lost 20 pounds. If only it could always be that easy!
We're briefed about what to expect. Which really isn't much briefing, because none of the interns really seems to know how this is going to work. So Ellen the Intern begins to tell us who is on the show. Cuba Gooding Jr., Jane Kazmerak, and OH MY GOD...R.E.M! Yes, that's right.
R.E.M! As Ellen says, "You don't get it People! R.E.M. DOES NOT DO DAYTIME TV! The girls are asking questions about when they're actually going to meet Jeff. The Moral Supporters are asking if they're actually going to get into the show or if they're going to have to wait in the back. The cameramen and stage crew are now coming into their lounge, where we've been waiting, and asking why all these women are in their lounge. Uh oh. A problem. One camera guy really wants us out. He's ok and a bit sarcastic about it, but you can tell that he's unamused. He's told by Intern Tall Dave that there's nowhere else to put us. Camera Guy says, "Don't you guys have a Green Room?" Tall Dave says, "Yeah, but REM is in there." Camera Guy says "FINE". And proceeds to go in the lounge and kick one of the girls out of his chair. A stage hand comes in and collects the girls for rehearsal. We can hear REM rehearsing as they open the studio door. The Moral Supporters wait in the lounge...with Camera Guy.
Finally, Intern Ellen leads the Moral Supporters out to wait with the other audience guests outside. She tells another intern that we're VIP. I see the Pit Pat guy that gave Mary and Ave the tshirts the last time we were here. I approach him and ask his name and remind him about Mary and Ave and he smiles and remembers. I tell him that we wrote an email thanking him for how great he was but we couldn't remember his name. It's Shaun. I tell him why I'm here again. He smiles again, says "COOL! Tell her Good Luck from me!" Now I'm nervous. For Averie. I see Jeff standing behind a camera. Averie is right. He IS adorable.
The show begins. Ellen, as usual, is brilliant...and really, so pretty. I adore that woman. She talks about her guests and then she asks Jeff to come up. He's blushing already. Ellen explains what's been going on for the past few weeks and how they've received over 2,000 emails from girls trying to get a date with Jeff. She says out of those 2,000 we've got the 19 finalists and Jeff will have to "weed out" from those, leaving only 10 left. They open the stage door and reveal the girls. I see Averie in the back row. We smile at each other and I give her the thumbs up. Ellen tells Jeff that she brought in some "help" to sort out the "riff raff" and introduces Jeff and the audience to The Butler from "Joe Millionaire". Riff Raff? Did she actually say that? She apologizes to the girls.."Not that any of YOU are Riff Raff!" So they send Jeff, the girls, and The Butler out into another room where they're going to have a "Meet Jeff Mixer". While the rest of us enjoy the show.
One of Ellen's guests is Meredith, from the actual "Bachelor" show. She apparantly didn't get a rose in the last episode and was eliminated. Ellen asks Meredith if she wants to go into the Mixer Room and try her luck with Jeff. She laughs and says "SURE" and she goes in the back and joins the party. The irony of all of this is that Averie HATES reality shows. She has only ever watched "Last Comic Standing" since comedy is her world. She hasn't got a clue who Meredith from "The Bachelor" is or who The Butler from "Joe Millionaire" is. She just thinks Meredith is one of the finalists who arrived late. Every once in a while, they do a live shot from the Mixer Room to see how things are developing. Turns out, the very first live shot is Jeff talking to Averie! Little did I know at the time that Averie got to spend more time with Jeff than with any of the other girls. Averie believes that's coincidence. I believe Jeff is a very smart guy. I watch her on the screen and I can feel my whole body SMILE. She's beautiful. Radiant. Adorable.
After Ellen has talked with all of her guests, who ARE amazing, she says that Jeff has sorted through the girls and it's down to 10 that Jeff has chosen. They're bringing the 10 girls on stage now. I'm holding my breath. After about six girls walk onstage, there she is! Averie is one of the 10! She stands directly behind Ellen and looks up at me. We're both smiling so big, it hurts. I told you. Jeff is a very smart guy.
The girls are told to sit behind Jeff and Ellen on the stage and Ellen introduces R.E.M to do their last song, "Losing My Religion" NICE! It's all been a happy happy day. After it's over, they take us back to the back again and tell us that the girls who remain as finalists will get a call tomorrow or the next day to tell them when to come back. I guess from here it goes down to 3. We're told the Fab Five are going to do a Jeff Makeover. I'd like Averie to get to the final three...just so I can SEE Carson. I love him. Just kidding Ave! You KNOW I want you to be the Last Girl Standing!
News Flash: If you can, watch today, Thursday, October 30. The Ellen Degeneres Show, starring the beautiful and awesome Averie!