|"We are here to present the award for Best Pop Video," Kristy said into the microphone. "The nominees are..." I watched, mesmerized, as scenes from my own music video were broadcasting. "Sarah Carerra," the voice said one last time. "'You Can't Hurt Me'."
Sarah Carerra 3: Concerto in A-
Chapter 3.20 - Video Music Awards
by Megan Campbell
Copyright ©2012 Megan Campbell
Released: July 2, 2012
Editor Note: The images used for this story were purchased and used under royalty-free license* from iStockphoto.com . ~Sephrena
Author Note: Please email me at AngelJediGirl (at) gmail (dot) com before posting this story to any other site. Posting to a pay site is prohibited.
Comments and suggestions are also welcome at the above email address.
Sarah Carerra Book 3: Concerto in A-
Chapter 3.20 - Video Music Awards
I looked over at Emily, dressed as Chloe. She was still staring out the window in awe as we approached downtown Los Angeles, where the Video Music Awards were being held this year. Emily had been to many of Sarah's events, but nothing like this. Then again this was only the second time I'd been to an event like this as Sarah.
When our limo stopped at the beginning of the red carpet, Emily’s expression suddenly changed from one of awe to one of terror as she saw all of the people and the cameras waiting for us. When she turned to me, I had to suppress my laugh.
"It'll be okay," I told her. "You don't even have to say anything if you don't want to. Just follow my lead and stay near me. Amy said there are a couple of places where they will want to take my picture, and you might have to hang back then, but I'll be at your side the rest of the time, okay?"
Emily nodded, but she still looked like a deer caught in a car’s headlights. Before I could say anything else, the door closest to me opened. I had no choice but to start exiting the car. Flashes were already hitting me from all over the place, and a roar came from a crowd that had gathered nearby to watch the celebrities being dropped off. I waved at them and then turned to make sure that Emily was getting out of the car.
She flinched a bit as the cameras started flashing faster. She wasn’t truly aware of how many pictures of her would be taken this evening. I didn't have the heart to tell her that her face was probably going to be on websites soon. But the red wig that she was wearing was offset so perfectly by the beautiful green dress that she and Julia had picked out, Avalon had made, and I had paid for. The makeup that Stephanie had applied to her face was flawless, making her very photogenic. Having her picture out in public couldn't possibly be a bad thing.
Emily took a deep breath after she was out and then we started walking down the carpet. We stopped at a number of designated places where I was to pose for pictures before we reached the interviewers.
"Sarah!" I heard someone yell. "Over here!"
I looked and found a familiar face beckoning me toward her. I smiled and led Emily over toward her. Michelle Tomlinson was a correspondent for an MTV show. She was also the first person to interview Josh and me the first time I had been on the red carpet.
"Hi, Sarah," she said as we approached. I saw the red light on the camera behind her that indicated we were already being recorded. Perhaps we were even live on TV somewhere.
"Hi, Michelle," I replied, smiling wider. "It's nice to see you again."
Michelle smiled at my recognition, and promptly began the interview. Time was a commodity on the red carpet.
"You've made quite an impression this year," she said. "You were virtually unknown when I met you on the red carpet at the Tweeny Awards. Now you've been nominated for five VMA awards. Why do you think you've garnered such a following in such a short amount of time?"
"I honestly don't know," I replied truthfully. "I've just tried to write and sing songs that have meaning to me. I never expected so many people to relate to my music the way they have."
"I understand you have two songs in the top ten on nearly every single pop chart in the country today," she continued. "Why do you think your fans feel so connected to your songs?"
I smiled. 'Ever After' had breached the top 10 on its second week, coming in at #7. 'You Can't Hurt Me' had managed to hold on to the #6 spot on the countdown.
"I think that my fans relate to my music because it touches on things in their own lives," I told Michelle and the camera. "I write about the things that have happened in my own life or that I see around me. I know that my songs have been able to get me through some of the tough times in my own life, and I think they speak to my fans in the same way."
"Who's your friend?" Michelle asked next.
I turned to Emily and smiled.
"This is Chloe Carpenter," I replied. "She is my best friend in the entire world." I reached over and hugged her closely for a moment. "I couldn't imagine bringing anyone else tonight."
"This is the Chloe who helped you write 'Ever After'?" Michelle asked.
I nodded. "One and the same," I replied.
"What do you think so far?" Michelle asked before holding the microphone out to Chloe, who took on a look of panic.
It became apparent quickly that she was incapable of speech, and Michelle turned back to me with a chuckle of her own.
"She's a little shy," I replied with a bit of laughter of my own.
"Well it was nice speaking with both of you anyway," Michelle said. "Thank you both."
I nodded, and then we were moving down the carpet again. We stopped periodically for more pictures. Sometimes I was alone. Sometimes Chloe was in the shot with me. We stopped for interviews many more times too, and eventually Emily was even able to speak in a couple of them.
It was just before we entered the theatre that we were stopped by an aide and asked to wait in a short line to be interviewed on the live red carpet show. I smiled and nodded. We still had a lot of time until the awards show started, and this was a lot more fun than sitting in our seats waiting.
It took a few minutes as Brian Lakeside, who was hosting the pre-show this evening, had made it through each of the celebrities in front of me. Emily was in awe at all the famous faces surrounding us, and we even spoke to some of them as we waited. Sadly, Emily was asked to wait at the side when it came to my interview, but she was finally having too much fun to care too much.
"Coming down the carpet now is Sarah Carerra," Brian said as I was directed to approach the small dais that he was broadcasting from.
"Welcome to the red carpet, Sarah," he greeted me.
"Hi, Brian," I replied. "It's a pleasure to meet you."
"The pleasure is mine, I assure you," he shot back with that amazing smile that he was known for. "Not only are you up for Best New Artist this evening but you are also in the running for Video of the Year. That's quite an accomplishment."
"Thank you," I replied. He hadn't actually asked a question, so I didn't really have anything to respond to.
"In total you have been nominated for five awards tonight," he continued. "And your video for 'You Can't Hurt Me' has already won a VMA for Best Direction. Not a bad start to your career."
I was stunned for a second.
"I hadn't heard that it won yet," I replied truthfully. Then a smile spread across my face before I continued speaking. "But if that's the case then I need to congratulate Jonothon Smith, my director."
"Well I'm sure this is just the first of many for you tonight," Brian said. "You have that spark that makes you so irresistible."
He gave me a mocking leer, which made me laugh. It was a good thing I knew he was happily married or I might have been worried. But it was quite apparent that he was joking around.
"You do look amazing tonight, though," he continued after we had finished chuckling together. "Who are you wearing?"
"Avalon Sirocco," I replied proudly. "I love her designs and I'm more than happy to show them off."
"Well, I wish you the best of luck this evening, Sarah," Brian told me. "I'm sure that we will be hearing your name a lot in the near future, and it has been a pleasure talking with you."
"Thank you," I replied with a smile before he turned back to the camera to segue into another bit. I turned and joined Emily again and gladly led her into the theatre.
"Live from Los Angeles, welcome to the Video Music Awards!" blared from the loud speakers as Allyson Sutterfield, who had won Video of the Year last year, left the stage. Each of tonight's performers had a video nominated for the top prize, but she had won the lucky opening spot to the show. "Please welcome your host, Martin Robbins!" the voice continued.
Everyone in the theatre clapped as Martin Robbins appeared on stage. Martin was the star of a number of recent action movies that had done well at the box office. He was also pretty cute, even if he was nearly the same age as my dad.
"Welcome everybody!" he greeted us a moment later. "It's great to be here tonight among such esteemed nominees. We have a lot to do this evening, so let’s get right to it. Please welcome to the stage Kristy Deltoro and Travis Edmunds."
The crowd started clapping and cheering as the two young singers walked out onto the stage and toward a microphone. There was a bit of bantering between the two of them before they got to the point of why they were here.
"We are here to present the award for Best Pop Video," Kristy said into the microphone. "The nominees are..."
She trailed off and a video presentation took over on the many screens around the theatre.
"Katie Sperry," a female voice said over the loud speakers as images from Katie's music video were displayed on the screens. "'Friday Nights'."
The video changed, showing another artist "Stella", the voice said again, introducing the new artist. "'The Deep'." The voice continued on to list the nominees: Mark Bruno for 'Flashbang' and Whitney Sears for 'The End of the World' before the screen shifted to a very familiar scene.
I watched, mesmerized, as scenes from my own music video were broadcasting. "Sarah Carerra," the voice said one last time. "'You Can't Hurt Me'."
I smiled. I was sure that it was being broadcast across the nation, but I didn't care. It wasn't likely that I was going to win anything tonight other than possibly the award for Best New Artist, but just hearing my name called was an amazing feeling!
The video presentation of the nominees ended and all focus was directed back to the stage, where Kristy and Travis were still standing.
"And the winner is..." Travis said before the two of them opened the envelope together.
"Sarah Carerra, 'You Can't Hurt Me'!" Katie screamed into the microphone over the already cheering crowd.
I felt a lump form in my throat, choking me. I turned to Emily, shocked. She was smiling and wrapped her arms around me in a hug.
"Congratulations, Megan," she whispered into my ear. "I knew you could do it!"
I nodded, or at least I thought I did, before I turned and made my way down the aisle toward the stage. The lights seemed too bright. The sounds seemed to be too loud. Time stretched on into eternity as I walked. Someone grabbed my hand and helped me up the few steps onto the stage, and then before I knew what was happening I was standing in front of a microphone with something heavy in my hands.
I looked down, shocked to find one of the award statues there. For a moment I just stared at it. I tried to understand what was happening. My mind was racing so fast that I couldn't even remember what I was supposed to say in the unlikely event that this moment happened. I knew I had prepared something, but I could no longer remember it.
"Um," I said, which was not a good start. "Wow," came next, but it didn't help any more. "This is unexpected," was third, and it caused a bit of laughter from the crowd. It was probably pretty obvious that I hadn't thought this was going to happen.
"This is more than I ever expected to have happen tonight," I said, finally finding some of the words that were jumbling around inside my brain. "I was honestly just happy to be nominated for these awards. I need to thank God for giving me this opportunity. My family for being so supportive. I miss them dearly and can't wait to see them again. I have to thank my former manager Don and his family for helping me find a start and giving me a place to stay. Scott Crawford for giving me the chance to sing. Olympic Records and all of the many wonderful people that have worked with me. My band 'Pop Fly' and Sophie and Holly. Xander and Chloe, my two best friends. None of this would have happened without them. But most of all I have to thank the fans for believing in me. I have been so amazed with how wonderful you guys have been. Thank you."
I took a deep breath, amazed that I had been able to get all of that out. Whenever we sat at home and watched these awards shows I always thought it seemed so fake when the winners started spouting off name after name, but now, after going through it, all I could think about were all of the other names that were now popping into my head that hadn't come out of my mouth earlier. I hoped they didn't hate me for not mentioning them.
Music started, and I was moving, being led somewhere. Some moments later I realized that I was backstage on a couch, trying to catch my breath.
"Are you okay?" a young woman asked from nearby.
"Yeah," I replied, breathing deeply. "I just... I didn't... Yeah. Just give me a second."
"Okay," she replied. "But don't take too long. The media is waiting for pictures and interviews before you need to get ready for your performance."
I nodded, but things still seemed so surreal. The only thing tethering me to the ground at this point was the weight of the statue in my hand. I held it tightly, trying to wrestle myself into some semblance of order.
I still didn't feel normal moments later when the young woman led me further down the hall. I didn't feel like myself as I posed for more photos and answered questions posed by a large contingent of press in an appointed area backstage. I wasn't even fully aware of what was going on as I changed into the 'You Can't Hurt Me' dress in my dressing room backstage and let Stephanie do my makeup.
It wasn't until I was up on stage performing 'You Can't Hurt Me' for the crowd that I started to feel normal again. There, surrounded by five of the people whom I had thanked during my speech, I finally found my breath again.
It was nearly 45 minutes later by the time I made it back to my seat next to Emily. After my performance I had to change back into my original dress, return the performance dress to Stephanie for safekeeping, and then I had to wait for a commercial break before I could be escorted back to my seat. Emily was happy to see me, of course, and hugged me once again. She wanted to see the award immediately, but I'd had to turn it in to someone instead of holding it in my seat throughout the night. I was still unclear if I was going to be able to take the award home later this evening or if it was going to be delivered to me later, but I no longer needed it to ground me in reality. I had Emily for that.
We watched the rest of the show in wonder. Emily readily admitted that they were a lot more fun in person than on TV. Josh was nominated for Best Male Video, but he didn't win. Eventually, they got to the next award that I had been nominated for: Best New Artist.
After winning Best Pop Video I felt really good about my chances at winning this award. Many people had commented on my meteoric rise to fame, and I thought that might give me a chance to win one more award tonight. This was likely the only other shot I had at getting back onto stage this evening.
"And the nominees are..." the actor and actress on stage said before the familiar video presentation started once more.
"Sarah Carerra," the female voice intoned my name once more. "'You Can't Hurt Me'." It then went on to name my competition: For The People for 'Kickers', Caleena for 'Wasp', Shauna for 'Last of Me', and someone named Geisha that I had never heard of for a song oddly entitled 'Coochie Coo'.
"And the winner is..." the actress said.
"For the People, 'Kickers'!" the actor said.
I immediately felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. Best New Artist had been the one award that I thought I could win this evening. It had been the one award that I wanted to win, and it hadn't happened. I kept a smile on my face as I watched the band that had won climb onto the stage. Even they seemed a little shocked that they had won. But they did make good music, and despite my disappointment, I was happy for them.
Emily grabbed my hand and squeezed.
The rest of the awards show went better. After I had resigned myself to taking home the one award I started to enjoy myself again. Emily and I enjoyed the other performances. We enjoyed the silly banter that the presenters tried to entertain us with. We even managed to enjoy listening to the ‘thank you’ speeches, something we normally joked about. But even Emily seemed to recognize how important they were after her own name had been included in one.
That was why when my name was said during the nominations for Best Female Video I sat back and enjoyed the applause I received while smiling and waving at the camera that was pointed at me.
"And the winner is..." the presenter said once again. "Stella, 'The Deep'."
I kept smiling, knowing that I was being watched. But I still had to think about how weird fan-voted awards shows were. Earlier I had won Best Pop Video over Stella's own video, but now she had turned around and won Best Female Video over me. It didn't make a whole lot of sense when anyone really thought about it. If she had the Best Female Video then it seemed to me like she would have the Best Pop Video too.
Then again, I was glad the award was fan-voted because it did give me the chance to at least win something. Jonothon had done a great job in coming up with not only a perfect idea for my video, but also in directing it to make sure that his vision came to life. I loved the video, and it seemed like my fans liked it enough to vote for it in at least one of the categories that I had been nominated for. I was also happy that Jonothon had won his own award for the video.
I applauded as hard as everyone around me. She had a great music video that deserved the award just as much as I felt mine did. I would have certainly rather heard them call my own name, but there would be other times and other awards shows. I knew Sarah Carerra wasn't going away soon if my fan base was any indication, which meant I would likely be back here at some point.
There was a bit of 'fluff' and another performance between the presentation for Best Female Video and Video of the Year. Emily sat by and watched as Travis Edmunds performed for us. We enjoyed what little time was left. Who knew when we would get to experience something like this again?
When it finally came time for the big award of the evening I smiled when Josh Holliday walked out on stage with Isabelle Frost, who was an actress not much older than us. Josh hadn't mentioned to me that he was a presenter this evening, so I sat forward in my chair to listen.
"The Video of the Year award culminates your favorite music video debuted over the last year," Josh said.
"Video of the Year has been awarded to some of the biggest names in the music industry," Isabelle told the crowd. "And this year we get to add one more name to that distinguished list. The nominees for Video of the Year are..."
The screens lit up once more showing clips from the music videos as they announced the names. "Katie Sperry," the voice we had been listening to all night started. "'4th of July'".
There was some applause before the clip on the screens changed to another video I had seen more than once during the evening. "Stella, 'The Deep'." After winning the award for Best Female Video, Stella was my guess for the winner of this award.
The next video made me smile. It was nice to be included at this point in the night. "Sarah Carerra, 'You Can't Hurt Me'." I sighed. I loved that video. It would have been nice to have it honored more throughout the night, but there were some amazing videos winning awards this year.
"Travis Edmunds, 'Make Some Noise'," the voice continued. Travis, who had presented my award, had also won the award for Best Male Artist. If anyone could give Stella a run for her money, it was Travis.
The screens changed once more and the song that had started the evening blared out into the crowd once again. "Allyson Sutterfield," the voice reminded us. "'Helpless'."
The screens went dark briefly before displaying the two people still waiting on stage. Isabelle reached for the microphone first.
"And the Video of the Year award goes to..." she said before opening the envelope with Josh.
Josh and Isabelle both smiled at the same time, but it was Josh who spoke. It was Josh who rattled my world to its core.
"Sarah Carerra!" he screamed excitedly into the microphone. "'You Can't Hurt Me'."
The deafening noise in the theatre fell to a murmur in my mind. My eyes caught Josh's, and I saw him mouth "you deserve it" much like I had said to him earlier this summer. Then I was blindsided by a little ball of energy as Emily wrapped her arms around me and squeezed tightly. By the time she let go the theatre was starting to go dark, but it wasn’t because of lack of oxygen.
Slowly I made my way down the aisle once more and up onto the stage. Not once had I ever thought that I could win the top honors this evening. Never had I believed that 'You Can't Hurt Me' was good enough to win Video of the Year. I had nothing prepared for this, and my mind was blank.
Once I reached the stage I was handed another statue. This one felt ten times heavier than the one that had been given to me earlier. For a moment, I thought that it was going to make me fall over. It was two more steps to the microphone, but I didn't make it there before Josh wrapped me in another hug.
"Congratulations, Sarah," he whispered before letting me go. I smiled back at him and did my best to try to figure out what to say to everyone watching me have a mental breakdown.
I stepped up to the microphone. There was still a lot of clapping and cheering in the theatre, but they quieted down almost immediately. I still didn't know what to say and looked down at the award once more.
"Wow," finally came out, mirroring my earlier comment. I looked back up at the crowd. "I was happy just winning the other one."
There was some laughter around the theatre now, which helped to bolster my nerves and give me an idea of what to say. I'd already pretty much thanked everyone for helping with the song already. But I had something else that I had to say instead.
"This song came from one of the lowest moments of my life," I told the crowd. "To go from there, all the way to the amazing feeling that is coursing through me right now, is something that I don't know how to describe. I wrote this song for myself, but it has grown so far beyond its original meaning." I held the award up for everyone to see. "I'd like to thank everyone who voted for self-esteem. I'd like to thank everybody who voted for learning how to live their own lives. I'd like to thank everyone for voting for the future. May this song remind us all that we are strong. We are capable. And we can make our own decisions."
I paused for a moment. I could already feel the tear streaking down my left cheek.
"Thank you for voting for a better life."
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