'Everybody' loves Kerry Alexander

By Hannah Johnson

Once you meet her, it’s not surprising to hear that she has become a Macalester College phenomenon. With her bright, easy smile always on the verge of laughter and her wispy blond hair, she has an aura of whimsy about her that is instantly likable. It’s no wonder her YouTube video has more than 40,000 views.Kerry Alexander ’12 won second place in the Ingrid Michaelson “Everybody” video contest. Singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson created a contest for her fans to coincide with her new album and “Everybody” single release. Fans were asked to post videos of their versions of her song “Everybody” to YouTube. The top ten videos with the most views would be featured on her website where others would vote for the top five. Then Ingrid Michaelson herself chose the winners.

“I don’t get anything done,” Alexander said during the first phase of YouTube views. “I check my views roughly five times a day. And I have other people checking it for me. I get constant updates from people like, ‘new comment on the video.’ It’s a very hectic process.”

Alexanders’ video soared to the top ten and was featured on Michaelson’s Web site for people to vote on. Voting ended Friday, April 9, and Alexander’s video had the second most votes with 7,511. Then it was up to Michaelson. First place included the opportunity to perform onstage with her. As second place winner Kerry, received various signed Michaelson merchandise.

“I still get nice comments on the video and the views are still going up,” Alexander said. “Lots of people are like, ‘You should have won.’ And I’m like, ‘Thanks guys, thanks.’ But, the way I see it, I will finally now get something in my SPO.”

Throughout the process and even now Kerry has had people approaching her to talk about her video and congratulate her. People even approach her friends, such as roommates Lillie Jacobson ’12 and Maya Weisinger ’12 about it.

“I figure these people know her, but they never do,” Jacobson said. “It’s really nice, people are really comfortable just coming up to her and just saying how much they like [the video].”

Kerry found out about the contest and decided to participate just before spring break. While she was home in Tampa, Fla., Alexander spent two days wandering around finding people to be in her video.

“My sister is featured, all of my dogs are featured, my house, the Gulf of Mexico, you know, favorite places,” she explained.

In the video Alexander can be seen playing her ukulele in a variety of places ranging from her car to a hair salon to the beach boulevard. Her high school principal makes a dancing appearance, as does a Tampa Waterworks Authority worker and several girl scouts. Not to mention the people in banana suits.

“This woman in Jamba Juice was so into it, I could tell,” Kerry said. “So I asked her, ‘You want to be in this video, in this contest?’ and she was like, ‘Yeah! Should we wear the banana suits?’ And I was like, ‘Of course you should wear the banana suits!’ And that guy [in the other banana suit] was a customer.”

Her video became instantly popular thanks to an aggressive Facebook campaign and support from friends and family, especially her roommates whom she called her “campaign managers.”

“Kerry was kind of hesitant to be too active in the campaigning,” Jacobson said, “because she didn’t want to seem too pushy, so I guess my roommate Maya and I were the pushy ones who were putting up posters. I mean, we were relentless and annoying. But I think it worked.”

People, especially at Macalester, became invested in it-the Macalester Facebook page featured the video, as did many Macalester students’ profiles. There was an event and group on Facebook created with more than 2000 people between them. Jacobson e-mailed Cheryl Doucette and Alexander was featured in the Daily Piper twice during the voting round and President Brian Rosenberg even sent her a supportive e-mail.

“I still meet new people every day at Macalester who are like, ‘I know you. You were in that video,'” Alexander said. “And I’m like, ‘I don’t know you, but high five!’ .Everyone was just really nice to me and I really appreciated it. It makes me love Macalester more than I already did.”

Alexander said she wanted her video to be different from the others, to be more than just singing in her bedroom. Now, her creativity has paid off. She explained that she is not bitter about her second place finish. In fact, quite the opposite.

“It’s over. It’s done,” Alexander said. “I mean, obviously it would have been great to get the grand prize, but overall I feel . ecstatic about getting second. It’s not too shabby.”

Alexander plans to continue with her singing and video-making. Last weekend, she opened for a Macalester-based band, Pursued By A Bear, at Dunn Brothers. Her cover of the Justin Bieber song “Baby”-complete with a Ludacris rap interlude by Jacobson-is already up on YouTube. She has also received more hits on her myspace and Facebook fan pages. And yet she doesn’t see any more contests in her near future. This one was enough to last for a while.

“I think we’re all kind of glad it’s over,” Jacobson said. “It was really consuming. It was like, the first thing you do when you go to your computer was check the vote count or how many views, but I think it was a really cool experience. I mean, we took the campus by storm. It was really fun.