How I Turned 33 Cents Into Dinner With Tyler Florence And 80′s Pop Star Tiffany, And Won The Internet *Update*

20140109_152639by Bryan Coonrod

Earlier in the week I saw a post on Facebook that 80′s pop star Tiffany would be performing at the Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville. My curiosity was quickly piqued as the first thing that popped in my head was the documentary “I Think We’re Alone Now” which details the day to day life of stalkers of said pop artist. Would these people show up in Lewisville? Would there be others? People watching would be quite the spectacle at this event, and I was in with a mission to try and meet Tiffany and take a goofy picture.

I had told a few friends of my plan and they had a chuckle not thinking I was really going to do it. I was able to find a friend and her son that were willing to go with me so that I myself would not look like one of those stalkers.   

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Now the post I saw online had no mention of why Tiffany was performing in Lewisville at a mall which was kind of odd in my book, but that would reveal itself later. I wondered if this would be a mad frenzy like it was in the 80s when Tiffany last performed in a mall. Regardless, I was going to see how this would unveil itself. I had some time to kill before meeting my friends so I stopped in a Half Price Books store by the mall to dig through some records. While digging through a stack of 45’s I come across a copy of Tiffany’s huge hit ” I Think We’re Alone Now” for the low, low price of 33 cents. This would be the key to Castle Grayskull.

Upon arriving at the mall 30 minutes before the show was to begin, there were just a handful of people near the stage, mostly moms bringing their kids out to share their teenage past with them. I did not figure it would be too insane since this was 3:30 in the afternoon on a Thursday, which was another odd thing that made me wonder why this event was happening. Looking around I notice a film crew in the food court on the 2nd floor and what appears to be Tiffany instructing a small group of people how to dance or do some skit. It turns out it was Tiffany and that was a film crew, this was all for an episode of Food Court Wars hosted by Tyler Florence on the Food Network.

3:30 had past and the small gathering of people had turned into several hundred fans of all walks of life trying to get a good spot to view the teen idol. And yes there were a couple of stalker types amongst the crowd acting like a hunter in search of a trophy buck, trying to spot Tiffany before anyone else does. While we are waiting a Lewisville police officer comes up to me in the middle of the crowd and asks me if my name is Bryan. I tell him yes wondering how in the hell does this guy know who I am? He then tells me he needs to talk to me after the show.

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I figured somebody is pulling a joke on me, and yes I was correct. This is what happens when you check in at a place where someone’s husband just happens to be the police on duty. Got to love my fun loving friends, though the person I was with must have thought I was some kind of outlaw being approached in a crowd like I was on an episode of America’s Most Wanted. Finally a spokesperson comes out to address the crowd to let them know they would be filming this for the show, and as a special bonus they were  looking for a few “enthusiastic” fans to appear in the episode. Now while I am nowhere near a hardcore fan I did have a 45 in my hand that I raised in the air and was quickly chosen to be on the show. The fun can now begin.

Tiffany takes the stage, says her greetings to the crowds and goes into a country song called “Feel The Music”. Yes a country song. Tiffany started out as a country singer before she was molded into a pop singer. Of course the crowd just wanted to hear one song, but before that she performs her version of The Beatles ” I Saw Her Standing There” which really got the crowd going, and then finally everyone gets to sing along as she performs “I Think We’re Alone Now”. The whole show was maybe 30 minutes as this was for TV she sang the first song again to get a better video of the crowd and then everyone was able to meet and greet her. I must say this she is quite the people person.

My friends 10 year old son’s dog had passed away earlier in the day and he told her that when she asked how he was doing so she reached over and gave him not one but three hugs…., ok he asked for the other two; he is a smart kid. I got my hug too, as well as an autograph on that 33 cent 45 I purchased earlier. Now for everyone else the show was over, but for us with the VIP pass it had just begun.

We were sent upstairs to the food court and told briefly what is required of us (they had me at free food). If you are not familiar with Food Court Wars it is a show on Food Network that pits two aspiring teams of cooks against each other to win a spot in a food court of a mall for a year rent free and with startup money to get them going. We are told to hang out and wait for the food to be prepared and the filming will begin then.

As we are waiting I notice the host Tyler Florence is perusing the other offerings at the Food Court and actually sits and eats from Panda Express. I guess you can say he is a normal guy, I mean he could have chosen Sonic, but hey they can’t possibly compare to Beijing Beef.

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We are now told food is ready and are asked to get the two offerings, but I am not allowed to discuss this portion of the day. However, neither were anything spectacular but once again luck falls our way and we are sat at the judges table with Tyler and Tiffany and her husband. This is where I give lots of respect to both of them. Yes, they did the song and dance for TV but it was their interaction with the fans that got me. My friends son has a thing for Ferrari’s and asked Tyler if he had one.  Most celebrity’s might blow off a kid like that, but not Tyler. He gave this kid advice to never stop dreaming about having a Ferrari. Kudos Mr. Florence. Watch the video and you too will say wow!

Mr Florence also could tell I knew where to get good BBQ, and of course I sent him in the right direction. So if you happen to see him at Pecan Lodge or The Slow Bone this weekend, you know who sent him.

As for Tiffany she proved to be a down to earth person while she still records, these days she is going back to her country roots. She now lives on farmland outside of Nashville with nine dogs, most of which were rescues, and a barn cat. She also has a clothing and jewelry boutique, and tries to repurpose products. After sitting and talking with her I didn’t feel this was a celebrity, I felt like this was a friend.

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Now you might ask how did I win the internet? Well go ahead and post a few pics of you with Tiffany and eating dinner, and you pretty much will be the envy or the ridicule of your Facebook friends. The comments they left on my page are quite hilarious. Quite an interesting day it was. I came here on a goof and ended it with this story, and it started with a 33 cent record.

UPDATE: Taking Bryan’s advice, Tyler Florence just left Pecan Lodge with an armload of BBQ.

Bryan Coonrod is a local entertainer, DJ and contributor to craveDFW.

6 Comments

Filed under Bryan Coonrod

6 responses to “How I Turned 33 Cents Into Dinner With Tyler Florence And 80′s Pop Star Tiffany, And Won The Internet *Update*

  1. Chris Phooka

    That’s my homie right there!

  2. Did we ever hear what the policeman said to you later or was it simply he wanted to freak out your companion?

  3. slade

    cool story…

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