July 10th, 2013
We arrived back from Carrick-on-suir in the car with no tax, last night. The little fella went out to dinner with some young one and then met friends in the local. It was a lovely night for me, sitting in the front seat of the car with the iPod in and a full box of cigarettes to get through. I also met the most amazing newly born bird down at home in Tipperary two day ago. She was a swift/swallow and had just dropped out of the nest. She said to me that she was sick of being cooped up in twigs and wanted to spread her wings. She got pretty friendly with the little fella too and allowed us to take a few snaps with her. I know we’ll be friends forever. Check out the snaps.
As for the competition, I know he’s getting nervous. He’s shooting well out of his league here with Hollywood A/B so he hasn’t a bloody hope. The butterflies are dancing around his stomach. I am just looking forward to hitting LA’s beaches and night life. My Dad was from Howard in Chicago, he lives in Barcelona now, but he loved San Diego. I get a postcard for Christmas every second year. Apart from that, I just miss my bird friend Tweetser a lot, wanna get on that plane tomorrow morning and might hit Times square in NYC as we have a shit-house stop-over of about 8 hours in the big Apple…excellent news.
All my love, TPJ x
11th July 2013
Well what’s the craic! So yesterday was a fun day.wednesday fun day they call it. Went from Tipp to Limerick to Dublin on a smelly bus and a car with no tax in it. The little fella was getting very nervous so I tried to make him happy by flirting with air hostesses and passengers. He got new gear yesterday, got his teeth whitened and then flaked up to Dublin to see a play about Priests and Holy Communions. Cristin Kehoe you legend! After that he dragged me and his twenty five kg bag to some cowboy pub beside the Workmans and they sat in saddles all night smoking and laughing away. I was happy out pulling a cat outside so she kept me busy until we headed back to Rathmines to Halligans. Twas good craic but he wasnt allowed wear his trackie bottoms in the pub so he literally whipped down his pants right there and had these horrible orange shorts on underneath. Seemingly these were more than acceptable! Dublin hey, funny aul place but a good laugh. Airport, lounge, beer and inside cigarette. Excellent news. On plane now. Cant wait for times square. I have a photo shoot with another naked cowboy to attend in our 9 hour stopover. Sweet!
We were sat beside a really nice mother and daughter on the plane, originally from Thurles in Tipperary but she had lived in NYC for twenty-odd years. It was a seven hour flight and I got on better with the little girl and the small fella talked away to the Mum – I always find kids trust me far more and accept my presence as a necessity in a grown-ups life. Adults see me as a marketing tool or a rool for a charity…they rarely see me as a friend or inspiration. We watched Les Mis and Glee (because he loves that shit), New Girl and new Arrested Development which are my kind of shows and we both managed to sleep for a while.
We arrived into JFK at 1pm and had a nine hour layover until our next flight. Times Square please! Picked up two meaty sandwiches with crisps ($12) and a pack of cigarettes ($14 haha stupid smoker) and walked down 42nd street. The buildings really are phenomenal. Ten minutes later we were joined by Hughie Taylor who we had had a pint with in Dublin the previous night. How coincidental hey? So we had two pints, one in the cowboy saddle place and one in an Irish bar called O’Donoghues off Times Square, in two different pubs, in two Continents, only organising them within 12 hours: how fun!!! We then headed and got iced coffees in Byrant Park and suddenly these yoga mats appeared and we found ourselves in the middle of a 1000 person yoga class from 6-7pm. It got us in such a nice place after it but jesus weren’t we sweating. That shit is tough. After that we hit 53rd street and flaked out in a subway, returning to JFK once more. The wait was long, the flight was delayed because of a faulty wing and we met a delirious Afghan and Indian girls named Party Slippers and Granny. They were LA’ers who spent a week in the Hamptons and had a severe dislike for screaming kids in airport lounges. In other words, they were great craic.
July 12th 2013
On this faulty winged plane, everyone was super sleepy. A cracking little 25year old called Dre sat down next to us…she put me off to sleep between her bosoms and I was out like a light. Rochie watched some espn and was super jealous. Bag collection, taxi downtown and up to bed at 5am. God bless thirty hour travel days.
The hotel is rocking, a metropolis of LA with flashy rooms,outside escalators and views to die for. The lifts feel like rollercoasters and the pool is genuinely incredible. Outside, between four skyscrapers and perfectly built to catch the sun. The weather is like 27ºc here which is doable so we grabbed breakfast and then Rochie jogged a two miler to wake up – down to the Staples centre where the Lakers play, and around Flower st. He picked up an adapter for all of his technology because he hadn’t remembered one at home…feckin idiot.
We grabbed a tasty apple for lunch, hit the pool at one pm and registered for the competition at 3pm. Now this place was absolutely crazy. I’m guessing around 200 competitors from 50 different countries as well as all their entourages, family, talent scouts and friends. I could see the little fellas face change. He can’t even stand on the tube without feeling claustraphobic of his personal space. On came the earphones and he was out for a while. I took photos of dancing team Australia and Holland because I don’t mind hyper-excitement. I like being hugged constantly. It’s what I was made for.
Gwen Wilson, Patrick Hart, Scott Murphy all spoke well at the orientation and we were left with a sense of positivity and doability after they were finished. I know Rochie feels like his pieces aren’t strong enough for Hollywood A and the talent here is exceptional but it is not impossible as long as he leaves everything he can on the stage. I think everyone is doubting themselves (except the unbelievably confident and talkative kids) so we’ll just see what happens. Opening ceremonies are tomorrow and a meet’n’greet/kareoke party and we have a full 12 hour workshop today. He went for beers with Danny Forde and Team Norway last night so he’s not too nervous yet. I’ll be there on stage with him to make sure all goes well anyways. First heats of the World Championships of Performing Arts start on Monday morning and there is a live stream of the competition on wcopa.com and youtube maybe.
It’s 6am now in LA and neither of us can sleep because of time differences but it does mean we get to see our first LA sunrise. You take care of yourselves now you hear. Until tomorrow, Love TPJ xxx
Saturday blurred into one long day of training and workshops with super experienced professionals from Hollywood, Nashville and Broadway. We went from room to room with people from all over the world learning and training all day in acting, dance and vocal specialties. We managed to grab the biggest slice of pizza at lunchtime in a local pizzaria with Norway and Australia and returned into the blur of people. 5 of the guys landed scholarships with Millenium 2000 dance company in LA and the news spread like wildfire. At 9pm we all crashed by the pool, over looked by skysrapers all around us and we ended up singing all kind of songs until about one-ish. It felt like a crazy day…little did we know what was to come.
13th July 2013 The little fella was up first and into the gym at 7pm. He’s a determined creature over here. We missed breakfast and headed to one of the coolest memories we have together to date…the Opening Ceremonies. I got the nod and was allowed travel in his new Irish team pants and I’ll tell you what-it was one of the coolest events I’ve ever had the privilege to witness. We all lined up alphabetically in countries in our respective costumes. Some of them were amazing. Notable attires were Trinidad and Tabago, Guatemala and South Africa. Jamaica were right behind us in the walk two blocks to the outdoor water stage and they were awesome and we were in the same group as India, Indonesia and Italy all with one member each so we didn’t feel too lonely. As we walked to the stage setting there were cameras everywhere. We all sat down, stood up, danced together and went for a party in the water fountain as well as listened to many singers who had dominated the stage of wcopa previously. It truly was amazing. Everyone was absolutely shattered and one could feel an air of tension and nerves in the air, underlying the excitement as I think everyone realised that this was real and heats were the next day. We returned to the pool and played with Team Holland, Columbia, France, Australia and Holland to try to loosen up. Big Danny Forde came in from Venice beach and took Rochie and Patrik through an intense yoga centre then I sat in on Brian and Dan working through an original song…it’s looking well I have to say. We hit a meet and greet party at 7pm and outside to the pool for a beer and songs again. The level of talent in this place is phenomenal!!! People all are so friendly and I have never been hugged by as many people before. Now it’s bedtime, my eyes are closing from an honest weekend’s work. Extremely tired but it is an amazing all round experience. Bring on these heats tomorrow. Ready to give them our all. Seemingly I am allowed on stage with him to perform to see if he’s ok. We’ll look after him, don’t worry.
July 14th 2013
Day 1 of the official competitive rounds started. Everyone was extremely focused/nervous before going to bed and you could feel the tension building between the competitors. There is 130,000$ worth of scholarships and prizes to be fought for. I tried to relax Rochie but when he woke at 4am and started thinking about the pieces he was off into his own world. He hit the gym at 7am, the pool at 8am and started watching all the other contestants perform in their opening heats.
We weren’t on until the afternoon session but I know all the waiting was making him super tense. At one pm we went for lunch with Norway and Holland and just talked through everything. Patrik had finished his acting pieces and was happy out and the Dutch team were awash with agent and manager offers for Go-Sees on Thursday. This basically means a one on one meeting with an LA or New York manager to have a chat about the future. They are very special and important for a performer as it means you have stood out in the competition.
I persuaded Rochie upstairs just to unwind and have a lie down which he agreed to but there was no pulling him back. His head had been in the game since 7am gym so he was just quiet. He had a bath, went through the two routines and headed down there at 4pm.
The models took forever to finish up and I could tell he was ready to go. This is the worst possible thing that could have happened. His first heat was original vocals which he and Danny Forde had put a music accompaniment to the day before. He kept on pacing up and down, was warmed up about two hours before he went on and put sunglasses into the rap part. Now the song went well, its an original so he surprised everyone with the pop to rap back to pop part and the lyrics were good…but he rushed it, the music was soft so he had to bar count in his head so missed a couple of crucial breaths which led to straining and unfinished notes and because he was nervous his choice of movements were poor and far too uncontrolled.
As he left the stage, he picked me up and brought me back to the dressing room. He knew it had gone poorly but there was no time to wallow, heat two was twenty minutes away. The shitty performance was in the past. Patrik from Norway came back stage and had a quiet word about the judges and nerves so he calmed him down a lot and when the second performance was called, Rochie was very controlled. Like a machine, he walked onto the stage with the mic stand and didn’t move a muscle that wasn’t supposed to move. The performance was the last of the night for all competitors and was The Parting Glass by Willie Clancy so it truly was a great end to the show. Some nerves showed through but testament to the song, a judge came up after and said it was beautiful and Irish and they had to talk more tomorrow. He left the competition feeling a hell of a lot better but still gutted about I Like Girls who can Sing.
Patrik him and William from the US went for beers and whiskey after a long ass day. They deserved them and I stayed up to Skype a cheeky little bootilicious tiger in Guatemala. We hooked up for a week in Holland before she had to get found by her owner. Man did she rock my world and her owner is bringing her on holidays to Ireland in August. Excellent news for Round Two.
Until tomorrow, love TPJ xx
14th July 2013 Day two of the heats came and went and I could tell from his face that it was a much better day. It started out at 9.30am in the Catalina room with Acting and he said it went really well. He spoke nicely and projected well and the piece, I like girls who can sing, is very strong in rhythm and rhyme structure so it stands out well with a good delivery. He then had to race up the stairs to the Self-Accompaniment Vocal room where lots of people with guitars were waiting to go on and perform. Brian obviously didn’t bring any instruments and they were about to say he couldn’t go on without one, so what did the looper do-he ran down the stairs again to the breakfast room, grabbed two spoons and went on with them. He had never played spoons in his life so it was so funny watching him trying to keep the rhythm going with sweaty hands. They were slipping around the place so half way through he just stopped using them and kept an acapella beat going with his foot as a bass drum. Haha it was priceless. Needless to say that one didn’t get selected for semis. After a nice decent fish and chips lunch we headed to the pool. It was nice and relaxing for but with dance in the afternoon his head was fully focused. We went and got ready and he got into costume and soon we were warming up in there san francisco room, a brilliant room for performing which holds about 500 people. I was allowed on stage with him this time and as he was playing a bullied school boy, I worked well as a prop. Soon the audience was clapping and sheet work over. He had a few interviews with cameras after the dance section and was supposed to shoot a commercial for wcopa but he missed it because of time constraints. The fun part of the day came when he brought a Columbian friend to the the 35th floor of the hotel where there is an unreal restaurant over looking the city and mountains.They hit a rooftop terrace and bar at The Standard and lounged away on waterbeds. Sleep came at about 2am.
15th July 2013 I was awake first this morning which I was happy about. At 7.20am he went down to check the results and came back up beaming. He made it through to the semis in acting. The talent was so high in vocals and dance that, without proper training, his world championship hopes in these categories was minimal. But he made it through in acting. The performance came and went, but it went well and a full room of people cheered and clapped afterwards. Seemingly Team Ireland have made friends here haha. Everyone was very complimentary after it but as only three to five go through to the final, nobody can know. If he gets the nod I know he will be delighted. So it’s 4.45pm and the announcement is at a gala dinner and presentation at 5pm. He’s in the shower now. I’ll let you know how we get on. The rest of the day was spent in fake relaxation mode. All the semi finalists were on tender hooks, nervously talking to each other and their respective teams, everyone sure they had failed and praying they had not. Irish Ellen de Generes lay by the pool and obviously listened to his sleep playlist. It was all very fun and emotional for me watching him sweat a try to take his mind off it. Danny Forde took him and Paddy (Patrik) through a yoga session and that appeared to relax them momentarily. Finally 5pm came around and they suited up and hit the already packed Catilina room. The announcements started and we were sitting next to our boy Will from the US team who was just as nervous as the rest of us. He had made plans for the Thursday so wasn’t expecting a run out in the finals. Rochie hadn’t made any which meant his hopes were up. I could see the danger in that so said a little prayer for both of them. Results of juniors came thick and fast and South Africa, USA and Australia were all very well represented going to the finals. Every name was greeted with cheers from their respected teams. On to the senior finalists. Jeff Krapf did an amazing job at building the tension with nervous pauses. Even he could feel the emotion draining from parents, friends, national directors, scouts and competitors alike. Will’s hands were in his head when they read out is name as top 5 in the vocal category for Friday evening. We all shouted loud, I think everyone in the crowd did as his rendition of Adele’s Skyfall was subtly beautiful and haunting at the same time. Senior actors were named out, two south African girls and Cecile, an amazing Actress from France. No spot for Rochie, he had left everything on the semi final stage and lay exhausted on the battle field. His head dropped and he clapped for the finalists. I didn’t see him for about an hour. He went for a walk byself and seemingly got frozen ice cream with strawberries, jelly beans and m’n’ms – that was his way of dealing with things…chocolate and the realisation of where he was and how strong the competition was. He strolled back in to the hotel smiling and had dinner with Paddy, Bob Yaffe of Infinity Management and Mohammed from Qutar. I advised going out on the town and getting out of the hotel for a little bit. Some competitors were still crying in their rooms for up to six hours so it would be nice to just head out and breath in the city. The lads hit the standard on 6th and Flower. Brian had been their before on a date and had recommended it to the crew. Will and Paddy were coming too with Mohammed. The four of them left the hotel and competition for a break and a clear of the head. Now this place sounded amazing. 15th floor roof top terrace, pool, waterbeds, dance floor and sofas-my kind of spot. They came back with team india, belgium, phillipenes and colombia who also had a night off and said it was a lovely night. 12.15am midnight. Tame by anyone’s standards…professional arts people hey. Lotsa talk but the princesses needed their beauty sleep. He crashed and crashed hard.
July 16th 2013 The Thursday was a bit of a dissapointment. He knew he should have been there. That’s all he wanted so himself and Paddy went to the swimming pool as customary practice. He didn’t even hit the gym at 7 to meet Will and Priscilla from Colombia who had got into the 7am routine of gym work until 8am. Himself and Paddy went to the walk of fame and met a friend called Mary. I think they went up to the Griffith Observatory and waved at Saturn. I was too hungover to care so I rang room service and ordered some food and Pussy cat. She was amazing at back and paw massages so I tipped her well. I don’t care, I’m a tiger, I don’t value money…so I gave her five dimes and a quarter and she left happy out with six shiny coins to play with later. Rochie came back with presents for his brother and we slept for an hour. They went out again to the Standard with team Colombia, Norway, Jamacia and Jeff Krapf the presenter of the show and a terribly nice man who as it turns out, it was his birthday that day. I didn’t feel well so I stayed in and played with my ball and twine Patrik brought me back from Universal studios. Photos :
July 17th 2013
The finals were that night. I went out eventually with buddies I met from WWF. They couldn’t believe I was from Eftiling in Holland so we went through the whole story of me and Rochie and my Dad getting found in Chicago and jumping ship on Las Ramblas in Barcelona. They were hard work but eventually we got there. I threw them out just before Blondie came back. He doesn’t like to know of my escapades fully so I usually throw the other teddy out the window before he comes in…it’s ok, they are teddies so they land softly.
Here are some photos of his night. It looked epic! The finals, competition and VIP after party…lucky man
The fly Mr. Kyle Haggerty and Jane Lynch from Glee
July 19th 2013 It was time for the medal ceremonies to take place. We met up at 10pm and got some fish and rice. Paddy was his usual chirpy self, choosing ‘Yeah Bro!’ as his personal greeting of the day. The medals are given out for performance in your category from the heats, be they Vocals, Dance, Acting, Modelling, Instrumental or Variety. It was all very exciting, I hadn’t been hanging with the group for a while, letting small male Barbie do his own thing but I came to the awards ceremony. I thought he might need some company and support. I’m nice like that. The little fella won four silvers and a gold in Vocal World. He also got himself a scholarship to New York Conservatory of Dramatic Art for next year and was granted the title of world champion performer in the Vocal World category. Are you serious like? Now I have to listen to him spout on about being the best in the world for that vocal style for a full year!!!! Completely unfair! After lots of photos and interviews he retired to his bed with five bits of metal, a plaque made out of wood and a bit of paper. He collapsed on the bed, drained of all energy and I went out on the piss with some Lion King guys. I know he may have had a date that night but I didn’t ask.
July 20th 2013 The next day, whatever that day was, or even it might have been the same night, WCOPA through a bri
leaving party for everyone who had attended. It was outside in the courtyard by the swimming pool and the DJ was busting out some Summer Jam and Venga Boys when we came down. Rochie and Paddy suited up and I was naked as usual with my fur gelled all pretty like…gotta give the girls what they want! Fresh food, red carpets and Lemonade greeted the guys and me and my new troup of tiger teddys went off bush drinking cocktails all night.
The night was magical, tinted with sadness as everyone realised what the magical, beautiful time was coming to a close. I said goodbye to my friends the only way I know how, with passionate kisses, and Rochie did his usual thing of inviting everyone to say goodbye and playing music. Danny Forde came in for the night and Irish strolled hand in hand with Iris until she had to pack up for Colombia. I know he misses her now. He and Danny then crashed in his and had breakfast in the morning. Everyone was leaving, all the brilliant Dutch girls who had been do friendly to us said goodbye at 2pm, all the dancers from New Zealand said Good Luck at noon and we saluted the Aussies off before we checked out. Over the next five days we hit Venice Beach, Santa Monica, North Hollywood and finally Long Beach and made some brilliant memories too but I know that Zach Morris from Saved by the Bell doesn’t like me to talk about his holiday time that much so I won’t go into it. We surfed, we played music and we laughed our heads off with friends and rollerblades.
I know Brian wishes to thank everyone at WCOPA especially Griff, Gwen, Phillip, Scotty and all of the administration staff who organised the competition so well. Also to Judy O’Connor and his little bro Dave for helping with the pieces. All of his photos were of smiling, happy, talented people together for the snap and that’s what this competition embodies. Happy, smiling people from different nations meeting each other off stage and battling it out fully and honestly on stage. It really is a brilliant competition and I would recommend any aspiring performer to compete if they have the bottle and ambition. The world is yours if you want it. What a crazy adventure, until next time.
TPJ and the White Power Ranger