My life as Janet Jackson’s stalker
When we heard that Janet Jackson was going to have a world tour and that there were stops in Singapore and Hong Kong, we debated over the all-important question.
Singapore or Hong Kong? Hong Kong or Singapore?
And then we found out that there was a Manila stop too so the answer was neither, we were watching in Manila.
On the day of the concert, Jill and I left early (as in three hours before the show) and headed excitedly for our seats, because we had been told that the tickets we bought were for good seats. Third row.
So imagine our surprise when we realized that we did have good seats – if we wanted a view of the bouncers and the freaking boom mic. It was a disappointment, especially since we paid a lot for the tickets. And when I say “a lot,” I mean that when our friends heard how much money we shelled out for our tickets, their voices became one octave higher as they asked, “Seryoso?!”
We resisted the urge to throw a conniption, even though better seats in our area had been left unoccupied – which means they could have been given to us instead of our crappy seats.
People trickled in slowly and the show started an hour late.
But we forgot about everything – the bad seats, the slow people, the lateness – when Janet appeared just to our right.
She was right there, just a few feet away.
So maybe the seats weren’t so bad after all.
We spent the next hour or so screaming, clapping, dancing, singing and resisting the urge to cry.
Janet was fantastic.
I hardly sat down the entire concert.
My favorite part was when she sang Together Again, a song that has become her tribute to her brother Michael.
At one point she lifted her hands up and looked towards heaven and I almost cried.
And then just like that, the show was over.
“Waaaaait! No way! She hasn’t sung Every Time yet! And Someone To Call My Lover! And Got ‘Til It’s Gone!” I told Jill as we yelled for an encore.
But yes, the show was done.
We watched lucky people line up for a meet and greet and resisted the urge to ask them to name ten Janet Jackson songs to prove they were really big fans.
We left PICC exhilarated because it was a great show and disappointed because we didn’t want our Janet experience to be over yet.
“Let’s go to Makati Shang!” I told Jill. We were planning to go out for drinks anyway. Janet was staying at the hotel and maybe, just maybe, we can catch a glimpse of her after the show.
Jill resisted at first but I played the Kavana card. “If you did it for Kavana in Edsa Shang, why can’t you do it for Janet?”
Soon we found ourselves at the lobby of Makati Shangri-la Hotel with Coco, ordering sandwiches and a salad.
I spoke to a couple of hotel employees about Janet, the concert and our desire to see her. They shook their heads sadly. “Naku Ma’am, sa secret entrance yun dadaan, hindi dyan.”
Still, we remained hopeful.
Every single time someone walked into the hotel, we craned our necks to see if it was her.
It was never her.
Then a group of people walked in.
“Oh my god, the dancers!” Jill said and we all shot out of our chairs so fast you would think they were on fire.
We caught them just before they got on the elevator.
Jill waved her camera at them and said, “Hi, can we please have our photo taken with you?”
“Of course!” they said and they gamely posed with us.
“Love your shirt!” they told me.
“Thanks!” I said.
“Bleach Catastrophe!” Janet’s dancers and I said in unison.
Between shots we talked about the show.
They asked us if we enjoyed it, we told them they were awesome.
And they were.
I was taking one last photo of Jill and Coco with them when Jill said, “Hurry up, we’re taking up their time!”
And one of them said, “No problem, we have until 3:30!”
We all laughed.
Soon they got into the elevator and we went back to our table where my burger was waiting.
“Wait, they’re leaving at 3:30?! That’s just three hours away. If we don’t catch Janet arriving, maybe we can catch her leaving!”
And just like that, we decided to stay until they left.
Yes, we’re crazy. Yes, we’re stalkers.
And these stalkers saw no sign of Janet.
Giff soon arrived to hang out with us and join the stakeout.
The three hours passed by much quicker than I thought they would – we ate and talked and laughed until 3 a.m.
At about 3:15, Janet’s team started to appear one by one.
The band. Some roadies. Some executives.
And then an African American woman with Janet’s haircut appeared.
Oh my god! It’s Janet!
Coco’s knees were shaking, Jill’s heart was beating super fast and my breath became all raggedy. It was hilarious how the thought of meeting Janet turned us into giggly little fan girls.
But wait… why is Janet standing at the front desk? Is Janet checking herself out? Doesn’t she have people to do that for her?
Giff and Coco went for a closer look while Jill and I tried to hold back our laughter.
They walked back to our couch shaking their heads. That lady wasn’t Janet.
Soon, the dancers appeared again. We talked to a couple of them for a bit.
And then they left.
And we figured it was time to give up.
A hotel employee told Coco that Janet had left through the secret exit.
When we walked out of the hotel, the last members of Janet’s team were getting into a couple of sleek black coasters.
We should have been sad but we weren’t. Because stalking Janet was a fun adventure.
And we had the chance to meet her dancers who were were so warm and had such positive energy.
And we still have Janet’s songs stuck in our heads.
And now we’re thinking – Janet’s concert in Hong Kong is just a few days away. Should we go?
Photos by Jill Lejano.