As soon I got back to the ship, I was busy enjoying in the excitement of my friends who won the Howie and AJ scavenger hunts, as they were getting ready for their 1x1 time with the boys. Both groups were told to wait in the atrium lobby, so I sat and waited with them. My 'Howie' friends were whisked away first by a staff member, which I would later find out they were taken to the casino to play craps (guest blog post coming soon). Of course we were expecting staff to come up pick up the AJ girls, but lo and behold, AJ himself came. So that in and of itself was worth the wait.
At this point I was kind of torn, but I decided to follow my friends to see where AJ was taking them. Turns out they went to the coffee bar for a 'Friends - Central Perk' type of hang out. You can read all about it in the post 'Scavenger Hunt: Chrissy's Coffee Date with AJ.' I basically hung off to the side in a non-obtrusive way in order to take pictures for them. I felt kind of awkward being there. I assumed if AJ saw me, he would've thought I was just being obnoxious trying to take pictures of him. But that wasn't the case AT ALL! I was solely trying to get pictures of my friends on their experience, again, because I appreciate it when people do the same for me.
And in the spirit of the Friends themed prize...this picture perfectly sums up how I felt being there.
C'mon, I know I'm not the only one out there who has felt this way on a BSB cruise! Anyway, their coffee date continued on for close to a half an hour, and actually ran over into the Show 'Em promo and Q&A. Since I had already seen the documentary at the NYC premiere, I didn't mind being late. Plus I really wanted to chat with my friends to see how it went. And after all, I didn't mind watching AJ from afar.
As soon as AJ got up to leave, I ran over to Chrissy & Cory to get all the gossip. They looked just as I had looked the night before after my time with Kevin...a mix of pure elation and disbelief. They went on and on about everything they talked about and it seemed like such an amazing experience! I won't get into everything as Chrissy already touched on it in her blog post. But there was one thing that Chrissy did leave out, which brought me to tears.
They shared with AJ about their own door decoration, which led to a natural segue to bring up my door decoration. As soon as they mentioned the door, AJ immediately responded, "Oh yeah, cabin U299. I'm going to go check it out tonight after the deck party." Are you freakin kidding me, McLean? You actually know off-hand my cabin number and have plans to come visit. I stopped breathing.
And as if that wasn't enough, my friends also shared with him a little bit about me - how I dressed up as Spudnik from Friends the night before and they also brought up my blog. Apparently AJ knew exactly who I was. Queue the tears to start falling. I obviously wasn't there to judge for myself how genuine he was being with his response, and I still have trouble believing it, but my friends reassured me. The thought that AJ knew of me, without even having the context of seeing me in front of him....and the thought that he may have actually heard of, or potentially be reading this blog....ugh, I can't even begin to explain the rush of emotions.
Now I was a hot mess rushing off to the Show 'Em premiere...
Show 'Em What You're Made of Preview and Q&A
I arrived about 10 minutes into the movie, right at Kevin's hometown visit where he's sharing the details of his dad. I lost it the first time I saw that scene, and being in the emotional state I was in, it got me right in the feels again.
I honestly had trouble concentrating on the rest of the movie because I couldn't wait to share the news with them that AJ said he was going to come see our cabin that night.
A couple of highlights from the event:
- Howie- "Did anyone cry?"
Howie- "A bunch of babies!"
- Howie- "Now I know why AJ sneezes all the time."
Nick- "My shoulder's wet."
Howie- "He came from a house that had a lot of mold."
Brian- "He's actually allergic to Howie's voice."
- AJ's story where he recounts a time when he was with Ava and asking her to identify among the Backstreet Boy's 'which one is daddy?' And she replied 'yes' to everyone. AJ joked that him and Rochelle had some talking to do and it could've been the end of BSB.
- Kevin sharing some stories about Mason's reaction to his first taste of BSB world. My favorite was when Mason was watching them rehearse their choreography asking "Are they supposed to be [dancing] together?" and Tony replied "No, but they're supposed to."
- Fan asks what happens to unreleased tracks and Nick matter of factly replies, "Go to youtube."
- AJ revealed he just learned how to do his laundry 2 years ago
- I liked hearing Brian's story about his dad coming from home from work and playing catch with him, mainly because it was a story I had never heard before
- Apparently Howie was going to let Kev have the master bed in London during their recording time, but Brian swooped in and took it first.
- AJ- "Hi, I'm AJ. And I love attention."
My other minor complaint, well complaint isn't the right word, but rather observation with this event is that the bulk of the audience had only seen the first 20 minutes of the film. Well there's only so much you can ask based on 20 minutes of a film. As a result, the questions got a bit redundant. Had we had this Q&A after seeing the movie in it's entirety, I think it would've been completely different because there are some topics that the film brought up which had previously been taboo to mention...and now all of a sudden are fair game to discuss.
Next up was dinner. One of my favorite non-BSB parts of the day. This meal was particularly memorable because we had the AJ scavenger hunt winners, the Howie scavenger hunt winners, and the Kevin scavenger hunt winners at one table. We had fun swapping stories. Yay for downtime with my girls!
I'll just come out and say it - I had no idea what to wear for this night and I frankly didn't have the time or energy to get too creative with it. So I opted for a very fashionable trash bag dress.
I thought this theme night was pretty good, certainly no Bachelorette Night, but then again I don't know if anything will compete with that. I really liked that they brought fans up on stage to show off some of the better outfits. We put so much effort into these outfits, doors, etc, its just really nice to see that they're being acknowledged in some way. I hope they continue to do this in the future. I'm sure it will raise the bar even more knowing that you could be called up on stage for the boys to see your outfit.
Here's the obligatory group photo of the guys from the evening. I just loved Howie's costume, very appropriate with his '100 Kisses' song. Plus he was throwing chocolate kisses into the audience, which is always a good thing.
|Backstreet Boys - ABC Night|
I'll focus on the highlights of this theme from my perspective. I was up on the top deck and avoiding the crowds. Well I didn't have to wait too long before AJ headed in my direction, which should'nt have surprised me. I couldn't seem to get away from him! Not that I was trying to, but I somehow ended up with so many pictures with AJ this cruise. I didn't really chat with him too much, I was just appreciating his outfit from up close. Of course before I left, I had to grab some popcorn from *ahem* his popcorn bucket.
Shortly after AJ stopped by, Brian was the next Backstreet Boy to come to the upper deck for pictures. I'm telling you, it really is about being in the right place in the right time...and being patient!
Brian was such a sweetie that night. There were about 4 of us standing in a circle and he came over and said 'hi.' Of course I had to compliment him on his outfit. He went on to tell us that he and Leighanne actually worked on a lot of it themselves, unlike the other guys who had their outfits made. If memory serves me, he spent at least 4 hours working on it. It was at this point we were chatting for a record-setting 30 seconds or so. Thus I figured it was time to get our picture so he could move onto other fans who were waiting. I tried to make a segue into pictures but instead, he kept on talking!
I was caught off guard because my normal experience when running into a Backstreet Boy on board is make 10-20 seconds of small talk, take picture, and immediately leave to make room for other fans. But this time was different. We probably ended up chatting for 5 minutes or so, which may not sound like a lot to a non-cruiser. But in the world of Backstreet Boy cruises, 5 minutes is like an eternity. At least for me it is.
So I continued to chat with Brian for a few more minutes, savoring every precious second. We chatted more about the theme outfits and he shared how they have a wardrobe person to help them put something together. The conversation then segued into Halloween night and how the boys picked who would be who. Apparently AJ, Brian, and Howie were all easy to pick and that their characters kinda matched their personalities (Ie- Brian was the cowardly lion who got brave, etc). It came down to Nick and Kevin debating on who would be the witch and who would be Dorothy. I'm pretty sure he said Nick lost that bet.
Having this chat with Brian was really nice. I felt like he was the one carrying the conversation more so than we were, and I never once felt like he was anxious to rush off to get to other fans. It was just great to be able to have a more substantial interaction with any of the guys beyond the usual 5-second selfie. It was a great way to end the cruise.
Random thought- Had I known I would've gotten pictures with 2 Backstreet Boys, I probably would've put slightly more effort into my outfit. I never thought I'd have a picture with a Backstreet Boy literally wearing a trash bag.
After my interactions with AJ & Brian, I noticed AJ had a big ole line forming around the upper pool deck to take pictures with him. That was so nice and I really hope they do more of that in the future rather than the crazy mob scene. Kevin and Brian also followed suit and did a lot of pictures. The evening turned into the last chance to get a picture with a Backstreet Boy, and they all did a great job of getting to as many fans as they could.
The Final Hours
I eagerly went back to my cabin while the deck party was winding down, not wanting to miss AJ. He said he was going to come, so I wasn't about to miss that! Well, as the clock kept ticking away, there was no sign of AJ and my eyelids were super heavy. I was fighting to stay awake, but ultimately my body gave up. I just prayed that if and when AJ came, he would knock on our door and hopefully one of us would hear it.
Sadly, I woke up the next morning to the sound of the cruise director (or whoever it was) on the loudspeaker, which meant we had arrived back in Miami and were getting ready to leave the ship. Fortunately, the story doesn't quite end there.....