Friday, November 18, 2016

Recap 2016: Day 4 Part 1 (Sea Day)

The last day of this cruise was bittersweet because it's sad knowing the trip is coming to an end, but we had an action-packed day ahead of us.

Blackjack Tournament
There was barely time to eat breakfast this morning because I had to wake up to try my luck at blackjack with AJ. I was pretty excited about playing since the I did quite well last time and shockingly made it into the finals to play with Howie. So I definitely went in with confidence this time around perhaps a little too much confidence though.

I knew I would be back to back all day with a lot of fun events, which didn't really give me time to grab breakfast. So me in my fangirl brain decided to bring my breakfast down to the casino where I hunched over a slot machine to eat my eggs. I was totally getting weird looks from the dealers but I didn't care because some times we all do crazy things for BSB. 

I tried studying how the rounds were going and trying to pick up any tips or hints that would help. No sooner than I finished up my breakfast it was my turn to take a seat in the go for broke. So just like last time, it was seven hands and you were competing against everyone who was participating in the tournament. The top six players with then go on to play with AJ. So before my round was going I looked at leaderboard and knew where I had to be. It seemed doable at that point in the day but I also knew I had to shoot a little higher to make sure I would hold my spot. 

Unfortunately by the end of the second hand, I knew it was a lost cause which was really an upsetting feeling. I think my optimism and luck from last year made me think I could actually stand a chance but unfortunately I just didn't get the cards this year. There was one glimmer of hope that I still had and that was they would let you do a re-buy. So for those of you who might not be aware, a re-buy is when they'll let you pay another fee to try one more time. I was torn because I knew that the events on the pool deck we're going to be start starting very soon but at that same time might I knew it was feasible for me to actually have a chance to play with AJ and its something I really wanted.

I was waiting for what felt like eternity before I finally got my chance to play. Real Caribbean was definitely more strict than Carnival was a last year. During the past cruises on carnival they were a lot more lax when it came to these tournaments. You could practically come and go as you wanted. But nonetheless I wanted to play blackjack with AJ so I sat and waited not so patiently for my name to be called. Finally I heard my name called so I headed toward my seat at the table and prayed for better car cards this round. While I did do a lot better it sadly still wasn't quite enough to hit the leaderboard. Boo!

Friday Tease with AJ
So by the time my seven hands were over, AJ's event was getting ready to start up on the pool deck real soon so I bolted upstairs to see what kind of spot I could get. Surprisingly I was able to get kind of near the front of the stage Sean a few rows back which I was content with him considering I was running so late. I was super excited to see all of the solo events I think it's such a great chance for each of the boys to shine in their own spotlight.

Before we got our Friday tease, we actually had a little tease with Kevin. Mr. Perfectionist wanted to come up and do a soundcheck (surprise, surprise). It was quite endearing to see how nervous he seemed. You'd think someone who has been in the business as long as he has wouldn't be that nervous. Heck, even AJ and Brian both brought it up during their solo events.

So anyway, AJ was up first though many of us thought Brian was going to be first. No complaints from me! AJ explains that his Friday tease was going to be him singing songs off his new solo album he told us the release date was going to be in September if 2016 (which has obviously long and come and gone with no sign of any album). I swear AJ needs to finish a project. I love that man but he needs to actually finish something he starts because I keep getting my hopes up. One day I'll learn. Granted I can't stay mad at this face for too long...

AJ shared some stories about his new album as well as some of the songs off the album. I was so delighted to hear him sing you a good six or seven songs. They were all really fast and upbeat/ I think the major tone throughout all of those song's is that they were quite sexual in nature and some a little inappropriate. But of course I wouldn't expect anything else from AJ. I think one of my favorites was the title track, Naked. As he explains below, its about being vulnerable and exposed.

AJ performing the title track, Naked

He also sang 'Shot', 'Thousand Times (Billionaire)', 'Get On It', 'Love This' and 'Live Together'. You also have to remember that this was AJs first cruise solo events. In 2013 when he was supposed to do a solo event it got canceled due to rain. I really enjoyed seeing him in his element - shining apart from the rest of the boys. The other awesome part is that we got to hear brand new songs that have never been heard before. So all in all I really enjoyed AJ's event. Great songs, good vibe, and great way to kick off kind of the parade of solo events, if you well.
Feed the Body & Soul with the Littrells
The next boy to take the stage was Brian and of course he could not do his event without Leighanne by his side.

I love that Leighanne is wearing a BSB hat :)

This event was very 'Brian'. Fun but still a little different than I was anticipating. I was expecting a more lighthearted events with cooking stories and of course some of the poems that were submitted.

So I'll be honest I did submit a poem and I thought it was quite good if I do say so myself. I'm debating if I want to post it here so at least it wasn't written in vain.

Apparently the winners were notified on board because they had such a tough time narrowing down the list. And knowing that the winners were still not announced when we boarded gave me some hope. However after hearing all of the poems that were read throughout this event it seem like mine was not in the direction that Brian was clearly going for. I just figured on a cruise that they wanted something more lighthearted and fun so my poem went with more of a lighthearted tone. 

Some of the poems that were read during the event were more serious and actually quite sad. I think the fans' stories were very touching. Though I suppose if I was in charge of the event I would have probably gone for a more lighthearted tone. I just think in those sorts of situations, sitting around the pool, you want to laugh and have a good time. So again nothing against the fans with their stories, but perhaps I just wasn't in the mood to shed some tears.

Picture of Brian, just because
Aside from the poems, Brian and Leighanne shared stories while the Royal Caribbean chef made some breakfast omelettes. I feel like I've heard Brian talk about these breakfast omelettes before so it's kind of cool to see him prepare them and learn how they both liked to cook on the tour bus. I think I was hoping for him to share more stories like that because I like getting little glimpses into their worlds and hearing new things that I don't already know.

The other fun anecdote that they shared was how he and Leighanne play this thing called the song game. It's cute because they really try to incorporate songs into their conversations. I suppose looking back at their interactions and just how Brian carries himself on stage I kind of see where this song game fits into his personality. Just because he's always singing something and turning an answer into song.

Brian explaining his 'Song Game' with Leighanne

At one point during the event Brian came into the audience to feed a few lucky fan some of his breakfast omelette. I was super close probably, maybe an arm's-length away from him. It was one of those scenarios where I was so close but so far. So even though I didn't get a bite of his burrito, I still got up close and personal with Brian which is good enough for me! Overall I enjoyed this event. I liked all the different pieces of it I think I was just hoping for more stories. But I think the nice thing about the event is that it suited Brian's personality quite well.

One on One with Kevvy Kev
Kev was up next for his duet events. I cannot sing to save my life so I did not enter this particular contest. However one of my good friends, Lalie, not only entered but also won! So I was super excited for this event not only to see Kevin sing, but also to see my friends up there and have her moment with Kevin.

Serious Kev

Singing Kev
I thought this event was really fun I think the fans that were picked were all really super talented. I really enjoyed Kevin's solo event from last time and I think this event was just as great. We don't get to see Kevin shine as much as some of the other boy it's so nice to see him have his moment and really get a chance to hear him sing.

One by one all of the fans went up and sang their songs. He sang everything from Grease Lightning to Danny's Song. Maybe I'm biased because she's my friend,but my favorite was Lalie singing with Kevin, A Whole New World. Kevin get a little choked up as he reminisced about his days playing Aladdin at Disney World. I think what was so fun about this particular song is it mixes my love of the Backstreet Boys and Disney. So with that - I'll leave this video here for you to watch.

A Whole New World

Another cool thing is that Lalie was able to share with me a little bit of the behind the scenes that went into putting on this event. She was notified in advance via email that she was selected to sing with Kevin. She then got to select a few song options and Kevin chose which he preferred. And the most exciting part - they got to rehearse together on board prior to this actual event.

So again, overall I really liked this event because so it was different, but still played well to Kevin's talents. I also like that he did little anecdotes in between the songs. I think my only minor minor criticism is that it felt a little bit long to me. I think it would've been perfect if it was maybe one or two songs of shorter. The main reason I say this is because I think the Q&A got shortened as a result of Kevin's event running long. If this was the only event of the day - then yeah, I would've listened to song after song! But if forced to pick - I would've rather seen more of the Q&A.

BSB Behind the Scenes (AKA Q&A)
So at this point I've been standing by this pool deck all day I haven't gone to the bathroom nor I have an eaten since my breakfast that I scarfed down in the casino. I was definitely starting to get tired but again those comfort come secondary when you're on a BSB cruise.

So the next event was all the boys coming up on stage for the Q and a. This is always a favorite event of mine and it just never seems to get old. All the fans submit their questions prior to boarding and I really like that aspect because it vets some of the bad questions that tend to get asked at a sound 

check party for example. I also find the questions are generally really unique.

So for this particular event I think it went to about 25 minutes. I again I really hoped for a little bit longer. Here's a cliff notes of the Q&A:

The boys during the Q&A
  •  Which TV character are you most similar to?
    • AJ - Chandler Bing. 
    • Howie - Speedy Gonzalez
    • Nick - John Snow
    • Kev - Gomer Pyle
    • Brian - Rosco P Coltrane
  • Why does Backstreet time exist? 
    • Everyone points at Kevin
    • Kevin then explains that back in the day how they had a photo shoot at 4:00 in the morning, had to wait 3 hours for them to get set up, and he learned quickly. Its 'hurry up and wait'.
    • Other guys then continue to throw Kev under the boss
    • Nick, "If Kevin can do it, so can I"
    • Nick had to pay more than $30,000 in self-imposed 'late fees'
  • Most emotional moment on stage?
    • AJ - Announcing he was going to be a father in London during the NKOTBSB tour. Close second is during the cruise concerts
    • Howie - Hollywood walk of fame. Though i recall Howie was the only one who visibly wasn't choked up
    • Nick - "Oh, I have to answer this?" Tells a story about AJ falling through the stage.
    • Kevin - "There are so many for me" True story, Kev. True story. But he shared a fathers day in Cincinnati where AJ surprised him on stage with a video from his kids. 
    • Brian - Lexington on the Millennium tour singing the Perfect Fan with his mom
  • Best part of cruising?
    • AJ - "You"
    • Howie - "The best thing about cruising is boozing"
    • Nick - No sleep.
    • Kevin - Getting to go to exotic places all over the world. Partying on the private yacht.
      Brian -  The experience - the costumes, the parties, the friends, the yachts... the ass-grabbing. 
  • Who has the biggest package? 
    •  AJ - I think we're all doing pretty damn good. Of course we were going to get the politically correct answer.
    • Nick - I have big balls. Like I do a lot of things. *Shakes head.*
  • What have you said to your wife that resulted in you sleeping on the couch?
    • AJ - Called Rochelle by the wrong name.
    • Howie - He shared a story about James drawing something like 'Mommy's favorite place to sleep is the guest room.'
    • Nick - I've never had to sleep in the other room. I just go back and apologize because women are always right!
    • Kevin - Nothing
    • Brian - He gets selfish sometimes and gets on his high horse which has caused him to sleep on the sofa
  • What habits of each other bug the shit out of you?
    • Howie - Everything.... "I'm perfect"
    • AJ - He picks his fingers a lot. 
Nick - My smelly gas.
    • Then AJ elaborated that he blows ass all the time during meet & greets.
  • Keeping it spicy on the road with your wife?
    • Brian - Photos. I'm kinda surprised with this one.
    • AJ - We used to do pictures but now its hard to find time to find that narrow window when Ava is asleep. He also likes Rochelle to wear a red nightie
    • Nick - Watch porn together. He tells her what to watch. Ummm, alright then.
Kevin - "No Nakedness over the Interwaves"
    • Kevin - He doesn't trust technology so instead he has "interesting conversations" with his wife
  • Biggest Regret
    • Howie - For the Millennium tour they were offered stadiums but Brian wanted to stick with arenas 
AJ - Recording If You Want it To Be Good Girl
    • AJ- And not taking action against Lou Pearlman earlier
    • Brian - Not suing that bastard sooner
    • Nick - None
    • Kevin - We had the opportunity to meet the pope and Howie wanted to go but we declined. Howie then shared a story about getting Wayne Gretzky's autograph and signed hockey stick from the all star game. Brian wanted it all these years and the only way he'll give it to Brian is they would trade for the pope stick.
  • What is the group dynamic?
    • Kevin - We all have our disagreements, usually over creative differences
    • AJ- We've all laughed and cried together. We're a family, not just a group that was put together.

      AJ- "We live, eat, breath and shit one another. We're family"
  • What your favorite song to perform?
    • Nick - Straight Through My Heart. It's becoming the Get Another Boyfriend from AJ.
    • AJ- Get Another Boyfriend
    • Howie - All I Have to Give. But I get nervous doing that hat routine because I drop that hat.
    • AJ - He said it warms his heart when we started going nuts over hearing the first few notes of a song. Aww i love this answer! It came across so genuine to me.
    • Kevin - He likes songs that have a lot of harmonies like Drowning
    • Brian - He wants to bring back Darling. He also wants to switch the set up from night to night.
And so ends another successful Q&A. I know I've already said it, but I love this event!