When it was announced a couple of weeks ago that Christina Aguilera was to perform at Greenbrier High School's prom, the event became the talk of the school.
"You may not like her music, but how many students get to have an international pop star at their prom?" said Donna Rushing, a social studies teacher at Greenbrier.
Many students feared prom would turn into a concert and Christina would upstage all the girls there. Even so, that didn't cut down on attendance and more than 600 tickets were reserved for the event April 28 at the Sacred Heart Cultural Center.
To prevent a media mob, school principal Gloria Hamilton declined all requests from media to cover the prom except from the syndicated TV show Access Hollywood, which was traveling with the teen star.
"Christina Aguilera is coming to our prom, we are not going to her concert," Mrs. Hamilton said.
However, members of the school press, including myself, were selected to interview the teen pop star and Grammy-award winner after her performance.
Forty-five minutes before Christina performed, a crowd gathered in front of the stage. Due to additional security and a film crew, it took several minutes for the prom king and queen, seniors Erik Fletcher and Laura Newton, both 18, to make their way through the crowd.
When Christina finally came onstage at 11:15 p.m., the crowd roared. She wore a black top and a long gray skirt. Her necklace was loaded with sparkling gems.
"Tonight, in the spirit of prom, I wore a dress. But, since I can't really dance in it..." and with the whisk of a hand, the skirt flew off, revealing jeweled denim capri pants. She opened with her hit What a Girl Wants, which she flawlessly belted out while dancing without a misstep.
"She can really sing. She's a great performer," said junior Daniel Patrick, 16.
As predicted, the prom began to look more like a concert. A few students began crowd surfing, to the dismay of the teachers. But the students were enjoying themselves. Christina's second and last song, Genie in a Bottle, was greeted with more shouting, clapping and boys yelling, "Christina, I love you!"
After Genie Christina quickly thanked the audience and ran off stage.
"That was it?," several students complained. I myself was a bit disappointed but had the interview to look forward to.
Winners of a random drawing, their dates and Greenbrier student journalists went into another building to meet Christina. She entered 20 minutes later wearing an orange tank top and green baggy pants. She smiled for pictures and signed autographs before her managers quickly led her out of the building.
What about the interview?
"The interview is over," one woman in the entourage said.
I returned to the cultural center to find the prom committee removing remnants of the decorations.
"It was a prom from hell. The performance was good, but it wasn't worth waiting around for an hour with a bunch of sweaty people," said Linda Ferrekes, 16, a junior.
I had to agree. Covering the event, I became totally disillusioned with the music industry. Now I wonder if any of the entertainers are real.
-- Dorothy Hatch, 16, is a junior at Greenbrier High School. She is a reporter at the school's newspaper, The Greenbrier Dispatch.