Valentina Valentini | Longreads | April 2018 | 9 minutes (2,320 words)

After 16 hours, 5 hot dogs, 2 nacho bowls, 3 sodas, and 20,000 people, I felt more like an idiot than an idol.


Walking down the steps to Qualcomm Stadium’s field level, I wondered how I’d gotten there. Four days prior I was tuned into my go-to San Diego radio show, “AJ’s Playhouse” on 99.3 FM, when they plugged upcoming American Idol auditions. I cursed aloud to no one, because two years earlier — as an even younger and more attention-hungry woman — I’d promised myself that if they ever came to the city I was living in I would audition.

Ten years later, as a supposedly mature 34-year-old, seeking 15 minutes of fame is very low on my list of priorities, far below items like “find a great yoga studio” and “figure out which hair dye…

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