In this second book of the Izzy’s Pop Star Plan series, the final voting tallies on International Pop Star Challenge are finally revealed, and a media firestorm begins to rage.
Though a heavy audience favorite, Izzy Baxter loses by a mere 112 votes. Rumors have it that the sixteen-year-old was robbed of the title because of her faith. Everyone seems to be offering the teen legal advice, and many begin pressuring Izzy to demand a recount. After trying hard to hear God’s voice in all the noise, she decides to leave the loss behind and focus on her fledgling music career.
Izzy is flooded with contract offers, but after agonizing over the myriad of choices, she finally decides to sign with Pop Star judge Giuseppe Rossi’s Megatone Records. The talented teen is then whisked away to London to begin recording her first album. But even songs produced by a genius British producer feel empty for Izzy without incorporating her faith.
Needing to clear her head, Izzy takes a break from recording and heads to Uganda for a two-week mission trip with her youth group. While working at the Kisugu orphanage, Izzy’s heart is broken and forever changed. On top of a lonely African hill, the young songwriter begins working on a new set of songs, and a new Pop Star Plan is born.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Sold by:||HarperCollins Publishing|
|File size:||2 MB|
|Age Range:||9 - 12 Years|
Read an Excerpt
Izzy's Pop Star PlanThe Album
By ALEX MARESTAING
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2011 Alex Marestaing
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePART 1 stuck in new York
I started talking to You, You started talking to me. Now it's easy to see that Your love changed everything. "Fantastic"—Izzy Baxter
Day 1: Not Again
Mood Meter: Mega Sleepy
One fifteen in the morning! I can't believe he didn't show up until one fifteen! Giuseppe Rossi, the hypercritical International Pop Star Challenge judge, was typically late, late, late for our midnight "emergency" meeting, so my dad and I ended up nearly freezing to death in our overly air-conditioned hotel lobby as we waited for the dark-haired, fashion-conscious Italian to show. We had gone back to our room to crash because we were crazy tired after tonight's Madison Square Garden show, but Giuseppe kept maniacally texting us like a computer with a virus or something. "I come now. No sleep yet. Very important information I give you." So ... we waited.
To be honest, there was no way I was going to be able to fall asleep anyway. For one thing, I still had adrenaline pumping through my veins like a freight train after my tragical Madison Square Garden finals loss to Japanese singer and Pop Star friend Atsumi Takenaga. On top of that, I was crazy CURIOUS! I mean, what was this "important info" he had for us? Could it be a record deal? Being the "popstarologist" that I am (I've been studying pop stars and taking notes in my Pop Star Plan journal since I was six), I was overwhelmingly aware that Giuseppe owns one of the biggest record labels in the world, Melodia. I also knew that it's pretty common for him to sign Pop Star Challenge contestants, especially finalists like me. Season two winner Jason Myers and Pop Star final four contestant Jessica Chambers are both on his roster. So, needless to say, I definitely wanted to be awake if something epically good was going to come crashing down on my pop star dreaming shores. Believe me, after tonight's loss, I desperately needed some good news.
I was actually filming a video blog when he finally arrived. He looked like a secret agent from a James Bond movie or something. From the nervous look on his face, I instantly knew that he definitely wasn't here to bring me a million-dollar deal. "We need to speak about the show," he said mysteriously, in a half whisper as he sat down in front of us.
"Okay," my dad and I answered at the same time. I would have said "Jinx!" like I always do with my best friend, Maddie, when we copycat each other's words, but I didn't think our stressed-out-looking Italian friend would have gone for that, at least not tonight.
He leaned forward and continued. "There seems to have been a problem with the voting."
"The voting?" I asked, wondering what he meant.
"Yes, we have a big problem with the voting." All at once his volume level started to climb to its passionately loud default setting. "Never we have so many votes, and never we have two singers so close in the end. Only a 112 vote difference between Atsumi and you."
Okay, I know some of you are new to my blog, so let me explain to the Izzy newbies among us. I just finished competing on a hugely popular singing show called International Pop Star Challenge. The winner, who gets a record deal, is picked by the television audience. This season, over forty million people worldwide voted.
What voting problem? Spit it out, Giuseppe! I wanted to scream, but, of course, I didn't.
"Allow me to explain. Werner, the show's producer, well, he—" Before he could finish, a flash of bright light suddenly invaded our middle-of-the-night meeting. Paparazzi! There were only four of them, far from the tons of photo-crazed camera people who followed us around in Paris, but the attention was enough to totally freak Giuseppe out.
He quickly scribbled down a time on the back of his business card and handed it to my dad. "We talk more on Tuesday. Yes?" he said as he grabbed his coat and scrambled toward the door with the paparazzi trailing behind like baby ducks following their mama.
"What in the world?" I laughed as I watched him hop into his limo.
"I guess we'll have to stay in New York until Tuesday to find out. Are you good with that?" asked my dad.
"Sure," I said as I sleepily got up and headed for the elevator. "After surviving this chaotic week, I guess two more days of Big Apple madness aren't going to kill me."
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16–17)
Once again I find myself in the middle of a major Pop Star drama, and, people, drama queen I'm not. Sometimes I wonder when my life is going to get back to normal. I mean, the last two and a half months have been roller-coaster crazy, and I'm not sure if I can take any more stress. One good thing that's come out of this is that I'm learning to rely on God and His Word for absolutely EVERYTHING.
In all life's craziness, I just have to keep reminding myself that God's Word equips us and totally gets us ready for anything we may face in life. So march onward, my fellow blogophiles. We'll get through. Oh yeah, one more thing, don't forget to raise your hands on life's roller-coaster drops. It's more fun that way.
Good Night, God
Lord, once again I don't really know what's going on. Please remind me that You do. Amen.
That's my prayer. What's yours?
Maddie said ... Got back to L.A. safely. Luckily, your bro Anders was on the same flight, so I didn't end up accidentally shipping myself to Russia or something. I wish I could have stayed in New York longer with you. But ... Mrs. Wilson's Algebra II class awaits, you know. Posted Monday, 1:34 a.m. Izzy said ... I'll be back to you and LuLu's in a couple of days. Stay strong! Posted Monday, 1:57 a.m. Maddie said ... By the way, a bunch of kids at church have been asking for your blog password. Should I give it to them? Posted Monday, 3:00 a.m. Izzy said ... No, I don't want the whole world hearing all this stuff ... pretty personal. Posted Monday, 10:00 a.m.
Day 2: Relaxing? Mood Meter: Fingernail Biting Time
I ended up spending over half the night awake, wondering what Giuseppe had to say. A problem with the voting? What in the world was he talking about? The awful thing is now I have to wait until tomorrow to find out because of some "important business" he had to do today. The suspense is killing me.
On top of that, my dad didn't book a flight back to L.A. until next Sunday because he decided last minute to meet with a couple of his web design clients. So now I'm stuck in N.Y. until next week. HELP!
I thought a peaceful day in Central Park would be the perfect cure for my stressed-out head. I could lazily stroll down tree-lined paths and then plant myself under some tall tree to write a little music. Perfectly relaxing, right? WRONG! Today was even stressier than yesterday. (I know, stressier is not a word.)
So there I was, walking along the outside of Central Park Zoo, enjoying the sounds of the animals, when in came a text. I was kind of surprised because the only people who really send me texts are Maddie and Sabine, and being that they aren't homeschooled like I am, I knew they wouldn't be able to message me on a school day. It took me a while to fumble through my laptop bag and find my cell, but when I did, I instantly recognized the number—Etienne!
Okay, in case you've been sleeping through the last hundred or so of my blogs, Etienne was a major crush of mine, emphasis on the word was. He was on International Pop Star Challenge with me, and we actually went out on a date in Paris, against my dad's wishes. In other words, I totally blew it. I broke things off between us about a month ago, and that's why I was so shocked to get a text from him.
After staring at my phone like a mannequin for about a minute, I took a deep breath and hit the View button. "97.5, seven o'clock eastern" was all it said. I was completely confused and spent the next half hour or so twirling the cryptic text round and round in my brain, trying to figure it out. Normally I would just text the person back with a big "Explain," but I have this "no texting Etienne" policy that I'm trying to stick to, and I wasn't going to break it.
I was about to throw the text into my brain's unsolved mystery files when I saw it, on the side of a bus, the answer I was looking for. The huge yellow and orange ad explained everything—"97.5: The City's Soundtrack." Sherlock Baxter had figured it out; 97.5 was a radio station, and Etienne was going to be on at seven.
Curiosity got the best of me, and all I could do for the rest of the day was wait for seven. When the time came, I turned on the clock radio in my hotel room and hopped onto my bed. It took me a while to find the station, but when I got there, I instantly recognized the voice, "This is Etienne Rousseau coming to you live with my newest single, 'Pretend.'"
From the moment the electronic groove kicked in, I was mesmerized.
Tried to make it, but in the end Just wound up on my knees again.
It hurt to hear his voice. I mean, I'd be lying if I told you I didn't still care about him ... a lot. But, even though my heart ached, I just couldn't pull myself away from the radio. The music was awesome, and the lyrics were the best I had ever heard from him. They almost sounded, well, Christian, especially the bridge.
Even when it's dark, you'll guide me through, Because that dark is light to you.
I recognized the words. They were from Psalm 139. "Oh my goodness! He's been reading the Bible I gave him back in France," I said out loud.
Right after the song, the DJ interviewed him for a while. Even though it was your basic pop music interview, I was on the edge of my seat. I took careful mental notes of every detail.
He was sticking around New York for a week or so to promote his new album.
He wanted to ride the momentum he gained during International Pop Star Challenge to make some headway in the States.
Then, like a leaving train, the station began playing another song by another artist and he was gone, gone from my life forever. Emptiness hit me like a wave. Etienne's song would be a hit and would take him around the world a million times, to play for millions of fans, and I would head back to Hollywood to my normal life, alone.
I stuck my head in my pillow and began to cry, for a lot of reasons. I had come so close to winning Pop Star, but I didn't. I had come so close to dating the guy of my dreams, but I hadn't. Mostly I cried because I couldn't see the future anymore.
Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:12)
For the last two and a half months I've been crazy busy with rehearsals, traveling, and performing. That's been my life, my whole focus. But now that the show's over, I feel kind of lost. It's like everything's all dark, and I can't see where my next step should be. I'm actually starting to go into panic mode.
But that line in Etienne's song reminded me of the Bible verse my mom used to tell me at night when I was afraid of the dark.
Even the darkness will not be dark to you.
So I guess what I need to do is hold on to the fact that God's got everything in control even though I don't. Being that I'm sixteen and still scared of the dark, it's not gonna be easy.
Good Night, God
I'm thankful that You can see in the dark, Lord. Amen. That's my prayer. What's yours? L8R
2 COMMENTS: Pastor Ryan said ... When you don't know what to do, just wait, and when the time is right, He'll show you your next move. Posted Monday, 9:14 p.m. Stephanie said ... A couple of long walks down Melrose, and we'll get it all sorted out. Can't wait till you come home. Posted Monday, 9:57 p.m.
Day 3: The Extra Hour Mood Meter: Clenched Fists
Once again I woke up way too early. I mean, how could I sleep with all this drama floating around my sixteen-year-old life? My dad must have been stressing about our meeting with Giuseppe today as well, because when I woke up, he was dressed and ready to go, two whole hours before our nine o'clock meeting!
When the time came, we hopped in a cab and headed to an overly expensive restaurant called Zero Kitchen. I'm usually not into fancy restaurants, but I have to admit this place was cool. It was on the fourth floor of this old building and had cool art all over the walls. The food was pretty decent too, if you're into thirty-dollar omelets.
But I wasn't here for the food. I was here for one reason and one reason only, to find out why Giuseppe was so desperate to talk to me.
"Sorry for leaving you so abruptly the other night," he said as we sat down at a secluded table near the back of the dimly lit room. "The paparazzi, they not need to hear what we saying."
"No problem," said my dad in his businesslike voice. "We've had our share of paparazzi problems ourselves."
Skipping the small talk, Giuseppe got straight to the point. "Izzy, the voting, it was not fair." He paused as if he wanted to see how I would react or something.
"What do you mean by 'not fair'?" I asked as I braced myself.
"In Pop Star we have a strict rule," he continued. "People may vote for their favorite singer for only twenty-four hours, no more, no less, only the twenty-four hours."
I knew the rule well. They had mentioned it a zillion times while I was on the show. "Yes ...," I said, urging him to go on.
"Well, in Japan they give twenty-five hours after the show aired."
"Okay, so they were given one more hour to vote. What does it matter?" I asked, wondering if it even made a difference.
"It matter very much. Isabella, you lose by only 112 votes. The people of Japan, they love Atsumi. In one hour, maybe five or ten thousand vote for her and not you," he said, his Italian excitement growing. Then he leaned in and stared straight into my eyes. "Isabella, you lose the show because in Japan they have one more hour."
"But why? Was it a mistake?" I asked, suddenly realizing how big of a deal this was. I was starting to feel nauseous.
"Definitely not a mistake," he answered, shaking his head. "The winner of the show get a contract with Marshall Phillips's company. But he thinks you not sell as many albums as Atsumi, so he meet with the show's producer, Werner, who also owns part of Marshall's company, and they make a deal. More time for Japan means more votes for Atsumi. They make her win. Simple."
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I had so many questions, but Giuseppe said he didn't have any more time to talk.
As Giuseppe got up to leave, I didn't even say bye. I just sat there, frozen. This totally stinks.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. (John 14:1)
This voting thing really upsets me. If it's true that I lost Pop Star because Marshall Phillips and Werner wanted me to, then that's just totally unfair. It's like ... like robbery or something!
AHHH! I hate stuff like this! This just all feels like a nightmare.
Okay, Izzy, take deep breaths, calm down, remember who's in control ...
Good Night, God
Lord, help me have a blue-sky heart again. I don't like storms. Amen. That's my prayer. What's yours? L8R
2 COMMENTS: Ms. Adelina said ... Just keep singing, Preciosa. God will surely chase all your trouble away. Posted Tuesday, 11:11 p.m. Izzy said ... Thanks for listening to me rant, Ms. Adelina. I'm so glad you're feeling better. That's the one sunny thing in my life right now. Posted Tuesday, 11:59 p.m.
Excerpted from Izzy's Pop Star Plan by ALEX MARESTAING Copyright © 2011 by Alex Marestaing. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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