Memphian and former American Idol hopeful Alexis Grace made an appearance shortly before noon in front of a packed room of realtors and unsuspecting fans.
Before kicking off the Crye-Leike contest -- in which employees sang their hearts out in front of a panel of judges dressed-up as Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell -- Grace took the mic and answered a few questions from her adoring fans -- including one from a realtor who asked, "Will you buy a house from me?"
Grace also shared some insight into her American Idol experience. "Simon is actually a really nice guy," she said. She wouldnt say which contestant she's rooting for now that shes been voted off because, she said, "everyone is very good."
Grace -- who exclaimed, "The Flyer is my favorite paper!" -- took a moment to talk with us between signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans.
She said that her mom (who has friends at Crye-Leike) set up the appearance, so she could show her appreciation for her fans. "These are the people who voted for me," she said. "And I want to thank them all, because without them, I wouldn't have gotten this far."
As we talked, several people stopped to tell her, "We loved you," "You were great," and "We are so proud of you." When asked about her sudden celebrity status, Grace said, "It's a little overwhelming, and sometimes I forget that everybody knows who I am now. It's really sweet though; it feels good, and I can't thank the show enough."
Grace said she's not sure what the future holds, but that she will definitely continue singing. She said she's "pretty sure" she'll be performing at the Sunset Symphony, and she hopes to record an album within the year.
"I've been singing since I could speak," Grace said. "I've known for a long time that this is what I wanted to do."
Grace says overall she took a lot from her American Idol experience. "I learned how to be a better performer and business woman. I learned a lot about myself. And it changed my life, forever."
-- Shara Clark