Liberty family's video will be finalist in $100,000 midseason show

Amber and Mike Cordell and their daughter, Taylor Cordell, pose with America’s Funniest Home Videos host Alfonso Ribeiro Oct. 20.

LIBERTY — Amber Cordell, along with her husband, Mike Cordell and daughter, Taylor Cordell found themselves on “America’s Funniest Home Videos” in October. While the Liberty family didn’t win the midseason $100,000 prize, Amber said people should take a chance and enter.

“On a whim, I sent in a video of Taylor talking about the different Halloween things on her leotard,” Amber said. “She had a jack-o’-lantern and the Grim Reaper. She was around 3 at the time and told me the reaper, ‘That’s a killer.’ I’m not doing it justice in my description, but my daughter is a really funny kid.”

Amber said she took the video and then discovered it about a year or so later.

“I think it was about four months later that I sent in the video,” she said. “I took a chance. Then I got a call that the video might be featured. If it was, we would get a T-shirt. The next day, I was called and told the good news that the producers had selected our video to be in the top three.”

With that, the family was sent information about their coming trip, which Amber said, the studio paid for including flight and airfare to California for a September taping.

“We were also sent directions on wardrobe choices,” she explained. “They offered suggestions of jewel tones and no patterns. We understand they want us to look our best on camera.”

The family viewed the trip as a miniature vacation.

“My husband and I are both self-employed,” said Amber, who owns Stars Unlimited Dance. Her husband is a Realtor with Platinum Realty. “Having a family vacation was a great gift. We stayed at Manhattan Beach and spent two days enjoying the beach. It was the first time Taylor got to see the ocean. It was an incredible escape.”

Because Taylor is 5 years old, she and Amber stayed in a green room during the taping until the end.

“I stayed with her and my husband got to be part of the audience,” she said. “The kids got to watch a DVD and had snacks. It was super nice. Then, when the final segment was to be shot, we were brought out. The audience seating was rearranged as the three finalists got to be in the front.”

The Cordells were announced the winners, taking home $10,000.

“Taylor was the one who spoke and bantered with host Alfonso Ribeiro when he asked her about her favorite Halloween costume,” Amber said. “It was a one-time shot because they want a natural response and that is what they got from us. We were totally shocked.”

Using the $10,000 prize, the Cordells were practical. They purchased some needed garage doors, paid taxes and added some money to Taylor’s college fund.

“I suggest people give it a try and submit a video,” she said. “The whole experience was a great gift.”

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at or 389-6630.

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