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Two or three times a year I spend a few days in Scottsdale, Arizona, but I usually don’t visit the Arizona desert in August. I’m not a big fan of the monsoon season, or 113-degree weather, even if it is a dry heat. Still, when Scott MacIntyre and Christina Teich invited me to their August wedding in Scottsdale, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I made the right decision, even if I did experience 113-degree heat on Thursday and a dust storm sweeping over the Phoenix area. That’s because I also experienced a totally joyous ceremony that united two people very much in love, and got to spend time with a remarkable family that I’ve become very close to over the last two years. The weather? Well, it’s just a footnote now.
I first met Scott and his younger brother Todd in the green room at American Idol in May 2009. It was top three week of season eight and along with the rest of the eliminated finalists, Scott was back at the show to start rehearsals for the season finale. We made an instant connection and a few seconds after I introduced myself, we felt like we had known each other for years, though I cant explain why. A week later, I saw Scott again, this time the night of the finale results show, at the 19 after-party. He was with his mother Carole, and the same thing happened again: I immediately felt like I had known her for a very long time.
Over the last two years my friendship with Scott and his entire family, including his sister Katelyn and his father Doug, has only grown. Multiple trips to Disneyland, lots of dinners in L.A. and Scottsdale and a family viewing of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest have all been shared experiences that have drawn us closer.
Maybe that’s why I was so emotional sitting inside the North Bible Church in Scottsdale yesterday for Scott and Christina’s wedding. I wasn’t the only one crying. Reciting his vows, Scott couldn’t help himself as his tears flowed. Christina spontaneously reached out and wiped them away with a loving touch. I was also moved by a brilliant performance of “The Prayer” by Todd and Katelyn MacIntyre. Most people don’t realize that Scott, Todd and Katelyn all tried out for American Idol at the same time, and all survived the first rounds until they sang for the executive producers, and then Scott was the only one to move forward. I wish the producers had been there yesterday to hear Todd and Katelyn’s vocals on the song made famous by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. They’ll have a chance to hear Katelyn again – she recently won the “American Idol Experience” at Disney World in Orlando, giving her the right to audition for “Idol” in any city she chooses without waiting in line. Watch out for her in season 12!This wasn’t the first wedding I’ve been to where the groom sings during the ceremony – my friend Wil broke out into song at his summer wedding last year. But it is the second. Waiting for the ceremony to begin, I noticed a keyboard on stage so it wasn’t a complete surprise when Scott and Christina moved to stage right mid-ceremony so Scott could sing his self-penned “Possibilities” to his bride.
There was more Scott MacIntyre music at the reception that followed in nearby Phoenix. We were gathered at the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church waiting for the buffet dinner to be served when the DJ played “Running Scared,” a duet by Scott and Katelyn. It’s not the Roy Orbison classic, it’s a cover version of the winning song from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. A few weeks ago I brought a DVD of the 2011 broadcast to Scottsdale and we had a viewing at the MacIntyre home. When Scott heard the song from Azerbaijan, he proclaimed it as his favorite even before he knew it was the winner. That night, he decided to record his own version of the duet with Katelyn, as I explained to the other folks at table 18. Now he’s offering the song as a free download (http://tiny.cc/RNGscrd).
The evening was filled with dancing and toasts. We learned that Scott, who is visually impaired with two degrees of vision (he describes it as looking at life through a coffee straw), enjoys boogie-boarding and skiing and in a surprising revelation from his father Doug, we learned that Scott has also driven the family car. It seems that one day, Doug asked Scott if he would like the experience of driving and Scott said yes. So the family went to a huge empty parking lot and Scott got behind the wheel, following verbal cues from his family about what to do.
Scott has had a remarkable life with his parents and siblings and now he’s going to have a remarkable life with Christina. If you watched his journey on American Idol, you know that his brother Todd was with him as a sighted guide, as was his mother Carole when Todd couldn’t be in Los Angeles. The day before his wedding, Scott was in Texas for a speaking engagement, accompanied by Carole. It was a bittersweet trip for Scott’s mother, knowing it was probably the last time she would travel with her son as his sighted guide. That was something Christina would be doing from now on.
Scott and Christina departed the reception by limo to a nearby hotel and woke up early this morning to leave the continental U.S. on their honeymoon. Since they didn’t ask me to join them (what were they thinking?), Doug and Carole kindly invited me over for breakfast instead. But I look forward to many more Disneyland trips with the newlyweds and bringing them up to date on all the Eurovision Song Contests they haven’t seen. Scott, I’m glad I was in the green room that day and that you and your family have become a part of my life. Mazeltov!
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