Upon high school graduation, Alexis “Ali” Shields created a bucket list with the number one goal of meeting Ellen Degeneres. Once her friend secured tickets to the popular daytime “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in Burbank, California, Shields, who had never previously performed, emailed DeGeneres “a dumb song,” believing “nothing would happen with the email.”


Shields stood corrected when DeGeneres, in accordance with her usual television persona, stunned Shields by playing her song and inviting her onstage. DeGeneres furthered Shields’ surprise by extending an offer to fly her and a friend to the American Music Awards the next week to conduct live interviews with musicians on the red carpet.


Following the star-studded affair, Shields returned home with not one, but three kisses from Usher, Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood and Mike Posner, her first-ever kiss. Shields also brought home a renewed resolve to expand her bucket list.


“I went home thinking anything is possible, so I added new things to my bucket list,” Shields said.


Although Shields had never previously performed in front of a live audience, she began attending open mic performances in preparation for season 11 of American Idol.


“I made it my goal to make American Idol’s Top 24, so I tried out this past summer in San Diego,” Shields said.


For her tryout, a bubbly Shields rapped Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now,” and after encouragement from judges Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson, sang a portion of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Like a Star.”


After an ecstatic Shields danced out of the room upon her acceptance to the eleventh season, Tyler remarked, “she rides her confidence like a [expletive] bicycle.”


While she declines to reveal how far she advanced in the rounds, Shields will admit she “did make it to Hollywood,” and encouraged audiences to watch this season of American Idol.


Although her schedule as a student athlete for UVU Track & Field and employee at Orem’s Cupcake Chic keeps her on her toes, Shields retains a youthful optimism about her future.


“I don’t know what’s gonna happen,” she said. “I’m just living life.”


By Deven Leigh Ellis
Asst. Life Editor