“She’s a bit plain, don’t you think?” The heavy male judge grunted as he leaned forward to see down the length of the table.
The six judges of Tomorrow’s Top Star argued and pulled for their favorite singers to make it into the final cut. Only twenty singers allowed and they still needed to cut ten contestants.
“I like her, and I think she will polish up nicely.” The head judge pushed her red half glasses up her tiny nose as she glanced at the thirty names in front of her. “Besides, doesn’t Estelle mean star? I think the whiney Country singer should go. He’s not diverse enough and his whiney-nasal sound grates like finger nails on a chalk board.”
Laughter rumbled through the doorway as the contestants sat in the lobby anxiously waiting for the final cut to be announced. Estelle separated herself, sitting on the floor in criss-cross style with her back against the wall. The door swung open and the judges posted the final list. The room was a buzz of activity as everyone swarmed the list to see if their name was on it.
Estelle was eager to see the list, but chose to wait for the crowd to clear. The room suddenly filled with shrieking, crying, and general hysteria. Thumbs were getting a workout as people called or texted their loved ones. Estelle scanned down the list placing her trembling index finger on the paper to help her focus on the task. Then she found it. ESTELLE COOPER, second to the last name on the list.
She let out a heavy breath, not even realizing she had been holding it. Quietly she slipped away to call Buck. “Hey…..I made it.”
Buck let a whoop like no other. Soon, Buck’s co-workers were hollering and whistling into the phone. “I knew you would make it!”
“You realize this means we have to postpone the wedding?” Estelle’s voice trembled with emotion.
“Yeah, I know. Baby, you go for it. If you don’t follow this dream, you will regret it later. You work hard at it, and see where it takes you. I’ll be right here waiting for you. I am one hundred percent supportive. You hear me?”
Estelle let out a big sigh. “I love you, Buck. I’ll call you as often as I can. Gotta go, they are calling us all together. Muwah. Love ya, bye.”
Estelle’s appearance suddenly became scrutinized. The fashion experts had a way of making her feel inferior as they started with her hair and worked their way to her toenails. Estelle stood in front of a full length mirror, pulling at her shirt, attempting to cause the article of clothing to cover more skin. Grabbing her hot lemon-honey tea, she dragged herself away from the mirror.
Standing in line at the grocery store, Buck snagged a copy of a magazine with Tomorrow’s Top Star's final four contestants on the cover. As he browsed through the magazine his gaze halted on a photo of Estelle. Buck had been aware of some of the changes after seeing Estelle in the early part of the show’s taping. What he saw now…..simply couldn’t be his Estelle.
Buck paced the floor of his apartment waiting for Estelle’s phone call. He needed to ask more questions. Why didn’t he dig deeper before? That night, Buck discovered that Estelle had started taking sleep aides to fall asleep faster, and drinking potent energy drinks throughout the day to stay awake. Estelle shared stories of how exhausting this lifestyle turned out to be. Being on the fast path to stardom just didn’t seem as glamorous and alluring once she found herself in the midst of it.
Buck assured Estelle that he loved her and prayed for her before they said their good-byes. Estelle’s childhood dream of being a singer had taken a toll on her.
“Tonight we say good-bye to Estelle Cooper and we are down to our final three.” Estelle stood next to the show’s host with a plastered smile on her face.
“I’m going home. I’m going home.” Is all she could think.
“Blah-blah-blah blabbidy-blabbidy-blab” Is all she could hear.
In a matter of days, Estelle found herself in the strong arms of Buck in the middle of a crowded airport. “Baby, are you sad you didn’t win?”
“No, I’m glad I didn’t win. All the fancy clothes and glittering lifestyle just isn’t worth being apart from you. Thank-you for letting me chase my dreams”
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