As a talented singer-guitarist with a dream of going pro, Alegría Montero is getting fed up with the endless, boring parade of quinceañeras and other family party gigs. She's longing for something bigger. And Oye Mi Canto—a new reality TV show that's searching for the next Latin superstar—is definitely that. Ali figures she'll never make the cut, but auditioning seems like a good way to get her overprotective father to take her ambitions seriously.
To Ali's complete shock, she passes her audition. Next thing she knows, she's dealing with wardrobe fittings, cameras, reporters, vocal coaches, and websites designed by lovestruck fanboys. She's also dealing with jealousy, malice, and sabotage among the contestants, all of which has her wondering: Is it really time to shoot for the stars and try to win the whole competition, or is it time to say "Cut!" and become a normal teenager again?
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|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.60(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 18 Years|
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Adios to My Old Life
By Caridad Ferrer
MTVCopyright © 2006 Caridad Ferrer
All right reserved.
"Girl, you do realize you're crazy, right?" the voice hissed in my ear. "Like, as in, gone softer in your head than one of our nasty school cafeteria tacos?"
I didn't look up. "Would you shut up, Sosi?" I strummed a chord on my acoustic Bernabe. No, not yet. The humidity was so freaky high, I was probably going to have to adjust again, but I had to get it as close to perfect beforehand so I wouldn't waste time. I reached over to the tuners, making a few adjustments, even while my best friend kept going on. And on . . . and on . . . and on . . .
"Sos, I can't hear with you babbling, girl. Please -- just for thirty seconds -- zip it, then you can tell me again how crazy I am." I looked up for a second and grinned, even though I totally felt like I was gonna hurl. "Besides, you've been all over this from the beginning and don't even try to lie by saying you haven't. 'You should do it, Ali. Send in the audition tape, Ali. It'll be so cool to see you on TV.' You need to quit being all bipolar about this."
"Yeah, mija, but that was before we got down here." Sosi's voice was squeaking -- a sure sign she was nervous. The nuns at school always knew when she was up tosomething because she'd start sounding like Mickey Mouse. "I haven't seen a single person go on out there who's not wearing spandex, rhinestones, leather, or some combination of all three."
After practicing a final run, I carefully propped my guitar against the wall. Sosi's round face looked seriously panicked as she kept reporting on what she'd seen during her "scouting mission," as she'd called it.
"And they're all out there shaking their asses like someone took DNA from Shakira, Celia, Selena, and Ricky Martin, mixed it up, and said, 'Oye, here's the perfect Latin entertainer.'"
"Sounds like the perfect Latin nightmare to me." I stretched my arms above my head, trying to keep them limber, and took a drink of water so my throat didn't dry out. Deep, calming breaths were always good but had a way of leaving you parched.
"That's the benefit of playing an instrument, I guess. Can't shake my ass and play at the same time." Mira, I couldn't believe I was trying to keep Sosi calm. She was supposed to be keeping me from losing my mind.
"Besides, I'd never wear stuff like that." I nodded at the bleached-blonde chick who was stalking past us in a cropped black leather vest with laces that crisscrossed the front and wound around her waist to lace down the back of her silver-studded leather pants. Looked painful.
"As if," Sosi agreed as we watched the girl bend over and shake her corkscrew curls so they poofed out even bigger and wilder before taking the stage, all full of 'tude and what I'm sure she thought was street cred. Please. Girl looked like she had about as much street cred as Gwen Stefani. Bet she was from Kendall. Whatever. Wasn't my problem.
"Aside from the fact you've got much better taste, you'd never wear that because your father would kill you. As it is, if he finds out you're even doing this, he's gonna send you to the nuns in Spain like he's been threatening to, like, forever, and then where would I be? Who would I have to go to the mall with me? Help me with math?"
"Let me remind you one more time, Sosi Cabrera, that you're in this as deep as I am and your father might just send you right along with me to the nuns. So shut up, and let me get into my good head space, okay?"
"Pissy diva," she muttered, but she did pipe down, sliding a few feet down the wall and taking a swig from the gigantic Mountain Dew Code Red she'd been working on for the last hour. That was half the girl's problem right there. All that caffeine and sugar.
"Do I look okay?"
"I thought you wanted to get into your 'good head space,' chica?"
I just waited. She had to say something snarky, otherwise she would've exploded. She'd been like that since we were five. But she'd said it, now she was fine, and she could concentrate on the question I'd asked.
"You look fine, girl. Besides, how much of you are they gonna really see behind your guitar?"
"Yeah, but they're going to see me when I'm walking out onstage. First impressions count."
Sosi closed the distance between us and whipped my makeup bag out of her enormous tote. "Let's take the shine off and add a little more color." She used a big brush to dust some more powder and some of the Benefit Georgia she'd gotten me for my last birthday after convincing my father the peach shimmer powder wasn't at all slutty looking.
"Adjust the hair a little . . ." She pulled a couple of pieces free from my French braid with the skinny tail end of a comb so they framed my face and spritzed some hair spray over the whole mess. Thank God for Sosi, you know? Otherwise, I wouldn't have the first clue how to do anything with hair or makeup.
"And your outfit looks great, Ali. It really does." She dabbed on a little bit of lip gloss with her pinky, just a touch, right in the center of my lower lip. "It's going to flow while you're walking, but won't get in the way while you're playing." Setting the bag down, she reached out and adjusted the waist of the turquoise mesh sleeveless tunic I was wearing with a pair of dark-rinse jeans. No spandex. No rhinestones. At least my high-heeled boots were leather.
"Ali Montero?" A guy wearing a headset over his backward baseball cap and holding a clipboard stopped in front of me, looking at the plastic tag I had hanging on a cord around my neck. "Curtain."
Oh. My. God. That meant I had five minutes before I went on. Five minutes before I went on. And four minutes to prove myself. Oh. My. God.
"Hey, you can breathe. I'm harmless. The real vultures are out there." He cocked his head out toward the stage.
Okay, so he was right. I'd sort of stopped with the breathing action.
I found a bottle of water in my hand.
"Don't worry, it's cool. It's unopened." He smiled -- a really nice smile -- and gestured to the messenger bag slung across his chest. "Been keeping a few stashed in case I come across someone who looks like they're about to pass out."
"Thanks," I croaked as I tried to twist off the cap, but my hands were shaking so much I wound up dropping the bottle on the floor instead. And nearly cracked heads with Mr. Sweet Guy as we both dove for it.
"Whoa. You really are nervous, aren't you?" Putting a hand beneath my elbow, he helped me back up and handed me the bottle, the cap loosened. "I heard you practicing. You're good." Another smile, bigger, that made his eyes go all crinkly at the corners. "If nothing else, you'll be a breath of fresh air. I mean, if I hear 'Suerte' one more time, I may just go postal, y'know?"
"I bet you're gonna hear it a lot more before the day's over," Sosi piped up with a wicked grin. I could not believe that girl. If the world was ending, she'd find a way to flirt.
"Yeah, that's what I'm afraid of," he said, rolling his eyes. "Huge catalogs of fantastic music out there and everyone thinks it's all about Shakira or Marc Anthony. Not that they're not great, but a little imagination, people." He winked at me. "Like you. Break a leg."
"Thanks," I called to his retreating back. Ugh. If I could smack myself upside the head without looking dumber than I already had, believe me, I would. This guy was being nicer to me than most of my male relatives between the ages of seven and twenty-three, and all I could manage was thanks? I had the social skills of a banana slug.
"Ali Montero, one minute." A woman this time, also wearing a headset and holding a clipboard, gestured from her position just offstage.
Handing Sosi the bottle of water and ID tag, I picked up my guitar and walked toward the spot the woman was indicating.
"Hey, watch where you're going, nina." Miss Black Leather shoved past me, all sweaty and gasping like she'd just run the Boston Marathon or something. Oye, that leather must've been tighter than I thought. "Leave room for the people who're actually going to make the cut."
Next to me, Sosi muttered, "Ignore her. Sangrona. I hope that tacky outfit chafes -- maybe leaves a rash."
But it wasn't really registering. I mean, I knew Miss Leather had been rude and I know Sosi was trying to reassure me, but none of it was really penetrating because I was already going into my zone, that place in my head I went right before I performed.
I waited in the wings while the woman who'd called me stepped out on stage and said, "Okay, next up, from Coral Gables, Florida, Ali Montero." She nodded at me. "All right, Ali. Come show us why you should be a finalist on Oye Mi Canto."
Copyright © 2006 by Barbara Ferrer
Excerpted from Adios to My Old Life by Caridad Ferrer Copyright © 2006 by Caridad Ferrer. Excerpted by permission.
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