"What did you say, Taylor?"

"You heard me, Gabriella, American Idol is coming to Albuquerque!"

"And you think what?"

"That you and Troy should try out!"

Troy walked up to the friends, leaning on Gabriella's locker, grinning.

"American Idol! Duh! It's coming on Saturday!"

"Why don't you want to try out, Gab?"

"Well…" Gabriella looked at her feet, embarrassed. "Simon's mean."

"Only to people who can't sing!" Taylor chimed in.

"Fine!" Gabriella said finally.

In the Waiting Room at the Auditions

Gabriella wiped her sweaty palms on her light blue jeans. Troy patted her on the shoulder. "You nervous?"

"Just a little."

"Well, aren't we all?" A voice next to her said with a Texas drawl. Gabriella turned to see a girl with titan hair, brown eyes and freckles sprinkled all across her face. She gave Gabriella a bright smile and stuck out her hand. "Jenny Swift. Nice ta meet 'cha." Gabriella noticed this girl wasn't nervous. "Gabriella Montez." Jenny looked pointedly at Troy. "Oh, and I'm Troy Bolton."

"Nice to meet you both. What are ya'll going to sing?"

Gabriella piped up, "I'm gonna sing 'A Thousand Miles."

"Oh, Gawd, I love that song! What about you, Troy?"

"I haven't decided."

"Oh, good!" Jenny started to laugh. "Me either! I can't decide between, like, three songs!"

"Which songs?"

"Passenger Seat by SHeDAISY, Safe in the Arms of Love by my personal fave, Martina McBride, or Jesus Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood, aka the BEST American Idol ever to live!"

"Country girl?" Gabriella asked with a laugh.

"You betcha!" Jenny said with a wink. "So, do ya think you'll go to Hollywood?"

"No." Gabriella said.

"Yes she will. She and I starred in our school's musical," Troy cut in.

"Ohhh…which was it?" Jenny asked eagerly.

"One that a girl in our school composed. Why?"

"Wow, cool. Oh, and because I starred in Annie last year. It was so much fun!" Jenny said with a giggle.

"Next!" One of producers called Gabriella to come in the dreaded audition room. She turned pale and walked toward the room. She stuck her sweaty hand out to open the door, took a deep breath, and pulled the door open.

Inside the Audition Room

Gabriella walked in with as much gusto as she could work up. She got to the center on the room and smiled sweetly to the judges. "What's your name, sweetie?" Paula started her. "Oh..sorry! My name's Gabriella Montez, and I will be singing 'A Thousand Miles' by Vanessa Carlton."

"Makin' my way downtown,

walkin' fast, faces pass and I'm homebound.

Starin' blankly ahead, just makin' my way,

makin' a way through the crowd."

Simon put up his hand, telling her to stop. Gabriella's face fell.

"Paula." He said in his far-too-familiar British accent.

"I thought it was really good. You're so sweet. You definitely have my vote, sweetheart. What about you Randy?"

"Yo, dawg. I thought it was pitchy in a few spots, but otherwise very well done! Simon?"

"Umm…listen, Gabriella."

"Yes?" Gabriella said timidly.

"The only problem is that you were pitchy in a lot of places, so it's going to be a no from me."

"Well," Paula said reassuringly. "It's two against one, so you're going to Hollywood!"

Gabriella jumped up and down over and over again. "Thank you so much!" She ran the best she could in her heels and grabbed the golden ticket. She opened the door and rushed into Troy's arms. "I made it!" She screamed. Troy congratulated her as she jumped up and down even more. Jenny winked at her and said, "Hey, girly, great job." Then the producer called Troy's name and he went into the audition room…


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