Syesha's Scrapbook: Deggans Tries His Hand at Photojournalism
The Pulitzer committee doesn't need to be alerted just yet. But I had more fun -- and success-- than I expected shooting pictures of American Idol contestant Syesha Mercado's visit to the Tampa Bay area Friday.
Tracking the visit itself was like walking the Bataan Death March -- cruising to Tampa at 7 a.m., Sarasota by lunchtime, then back to St. Petersburg in rush hour traffic to hassle with the crowd at Tropicana Field so I could watch Syesha nail a national anthem she's sung at baseball games since she was 9 years old.
-- Syesha's dad Jose said he didn't mind the barbs directed his way by idol judge Simon Cowell because most of his criticisms are just a shtick, anyway.
-- Idol is still a phenomenon, and huge draw locally for WTVT-Ch. 13. Still, it was a little surprising to see the amount of news resources the station devoted to covering her visit, including two remote trucks and their helicopter.
-- When Palmer failed to hold a handstand on her first try during Mercado's visit to the Ringling Museum, the mayor cracked "I pulled a Brooke," in referenced to ejected Idol Brooke White, who had two false starts while competing on the show.
-- Reality was rarely good enough for idol's camera crew; Mercado had to redo her entrance at WTVT twice and redo her departure from the stations three times before they got the footage the producer wanted. Palmer had to say the name of the song Randy Jackson picked for Syesha to sing Tuesday four times before she got it right.