Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

ValleyWho Central: How sweet are our 16?


Voting for Round 3 — our Sweet 16 — is now open and runs until 8 p.m. Thursday. Get those votes in. If you’re new to this tournament, that’s OK. Your vote still matters. New or old, head to the bracket to vote for your faves.

Much analysis below.

Round 2 Recap

  • Easily the most down-to-the-wire matchup was Philharmonic maestro Theodore Kuchar edging architect Art Dyson by a mere THREE votes. Now you know: Every vote counts in ValleyWho.
  • While this might be sacrilege to rock fans — teen pop singer Ryan Beatty and his rabid online fanbase was able to pull over another late surge to defeat Journey singer Steve Perry. And now, everybody over 30 weeps.
  • Two rounds in, it’s safe to say we’ve got a few powerhouses: Audra McDonald, William Saroyan and Bob Mathias have gotten at least 70% of the vote in both contests. Pop Laval, Kopi, David Mas Masumoto and Bobby Salazar have gotten more than 60% both times.
  • The Waving Lady, the 16-seed Cinderella of this tournament, continued to run, knocking off poet/author Gary Soto. Next up for her? Richard Kiel.
  • Just because it’s interesting: The No. 5 seeds in each bracket — Bobby Salazar, Kopi, Lorenzo Neal and Richard Kiel — are still alive. That’s the only seeding still viable in each regional.
  • A hearty “Get Well Soon” to ValleyWho competitor Jerry Tarkanian, who suffered a mild heart attack last night.
  • Somebody better look after Lorenzo Neal — he’s surrounded by dead guys in the Raisin Regional.


Round 3 Preview

  • Kuchar vs. Levine is the most distinguished bout thus far — the Philhamonic maestro vs. the U.S. poet laureate.
  • Kopi vs. Colfer begs the question: Who gets the all-important KMPH Fox 26 vote?
  • Radka vs. Mathias will be known as “Battle of the Dudes Who Have Things Named After Them.”
  • Masumoto vs. Beatty — when did you ever think you’d have to make THAT decision?

The Beehive Asks

1. As we enter our Sweet 16, what’s the biggest question in your mind?

DONALD: Will the older generation be able to hold on at all in this online contest, or will the youngsters sweep them away? So far such revered names as Saroyan and Pop Laval have survived, but they face their biggest challenges yet this round.

HEATHER: The biggest question on my mind is, “How is Crazy Bernie doing?

KATHY: Will members of the arts community that rallied behind and campaigned for local actors in the first rounds get behind the remaining actors? And can any group rally to beat the powerful Beatty fans who have generated two late come-from-behind victories?

MIKE: I’m really curious what David Mas Masumoto thinks of Ryan Beatty’s music.

RICK: What continues to surprise me is how some of the more mature contestants continue to do so well. The general thought is that the Internet is a young person’s world but you can’t tell me that young voters are backing Philip Levine with such enthusiasm. Take that, you young whipper snappers.

2. Whose strength in this contest thus far has been most surprising to you?

DONALD: Bobby Salazar. Come on, people. It’s not even the
best Mexican food in town.

HEATHER: I’m surprised by Laura Berg, who I’d never heard of until the Valleywho. I was sure Jenifer Alcorn would take her out in the last round.

KATHY: The Waving Lady. I can’t decide if her votes reflect that people support her for making our community a happier place or if it’s a camp of voters who want to see a less serious outcome.

MIKE: Laura Berg. Strictly for the reason that I don’t think I’ve seen anybody campaigning on her behalf, rooting for her or, really, saying much at all about her. A quiet but powerful following — well played, Laura.

RICK: It’s a nice surprise to see The Waving Lady do so well. The voting is a nice way to return all the happiness travelers get from her. The sad thing is either she or Richard Kiel will go out this round.

3. Who, of the final 16, would you be most appalled to see win the entire thing?

DONALD: With all due respect to Ryan Beatty’s fans, if this talented but still green singer comes out on top over such greats as Saroyan and
Audra, I’ll cringe until all of Fresno’s cows come home.

HEATHER: I’d be most appalled if William Saroyan took the whole thing. Just kidding. That Ryan Beatty kid is just too new to be crowned Central Valley icon.

KATHY: I’m not really appalled by anyone. I like the mix of serious and off-beat people who remain. But I would be surprised to see Laura Berg go all the way to the end.

MIKE: Al Radka. Since the start of this competition, the guy hasn’t responded to any of my emails. Who does he think he is?

RICK: The Sweet 16 is so strong, I would not be upset with any winner.

Social Media




Your Turn

  • As we enter our Sweet 16, what’s the biggest question in your mind?
  • Whose strength in this contest thus far has been most surprising to you?
  • Who, of the final 16, would you be most appalled to see win the entire thing?

Responses to "ValleyWho Central: How sweet are our 16?"

Tommy says:

I hope everyone votes for the Waving lady…yep…I found my racehorse…haha.

Stephen says:

Just further proof that the seeding committee didn’t take enough into consideration – sure, they considered the regular season performances of Alan Autry and Ray Appleton, but didn’t factor in the all important “character” consideration or whether they were good team players in the locker room – which they clearly aren’t.

Meanwhile I gave an extra happy/hearty wave to the waving lady this morning. I wonder if she is following all this fun?

The raisin regional is close, and the almond is still proving mysterious as to why some of those people are in there. Laura Berg is maybe the most famous of the softball national champs, but she was just one great player in a team of greatness. Margie Wright should perhaps have been the better pick?

Even tho he’s not smoking through with big votes, I think Phillip Levine will face off with Audra in the final four. The other regionals? Who knows, but I’m with everyone else – if it’s Ryan Beattie I’m going to vomit.

Tommy says:

I agree that Ryan Beatty and the Waving Lady is the attempt of sabatuers that would like to envoke a valley “Vote for the Worst”.Some take this as light-hearted fun, and others just find this event funny perhaps.

birdbaby says:

This game is so random. lol It seems to be the teeny boppers vs. the older generation.

Kevin says:

Wow. Some pretty cold/harsh comments about my son.

Ryan has a succesful single and music video out.
He is writing and producing with some of the biggest names in the industry.
He is backed and supported and has impressed men like Ryan Seacrest.
He is slated to tour China next month.
He has been fetaured and promoted in many national magazines and featured in our own Fresno mag.
And much more. All in less than one year.
He has created a following that started from doing covers on a $19.00 webcam in front of the bunkbeds in his room.
He is far closer to John Mayer or Bruno Mars than Justin. However the automatic pre-judgement and labeling is revealing. I encourage you to listen before labeling.
We love Fresno. Love Clovis. I grew up with Journey. but wow…… Fresno is harsh.
But my dad always said talk is cheap. So lets see what time will tell……

Topguy says:

Mr. Beatty, no disrespect to your son, but his accomplishments do not compare to the likes of Steve Perry. That being said, it would be crazy to think that even Steve Perry would be crowned the winner. Saroyan & Levine are icons who’s work your son may read about in school someday.

That being said. I voted for the Waving Lady. Not to mess this game up, but she really brings a smile to my face, when I drive home from work. But that smile is not enough to get my next vote.

Stephen says:

One year, Dad.

One year does not a ‘celebrity’ make. Ryan might be the next Justin Timberlake, but he’s not yet.

Steve Perry’s been a successful pro musician forever, has several #1 hits, many awards, and has been repping Fresno for over 30 years as a performer.

Pat Hill was an icon who brought the mid-major football team to national prominence and coined the nationally regarded “Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere” phrasing, all while putting a “V” for the Central Valley on player’s helmets to support Fresno.

I’m okay with Ryan barely beating Pat Hill, cuz Pat got fired and Ryan’s still going and has the tween vote locked up.

But Ryan over Steve Perry? Well. Okay, whatever.

Now he could beat Mas Masumoto, someone who has been writing about and farming about the Central Valley for longer than YOU’VE been alive, Kevin.

We’re not saying Ryan isn’t possibly a future phenom, but for now he’s made a couple of youtube videos, has performed at The Tower Theatre. We haven’t seen him ‘featured’ in any national magazines, and getting featured in The Fresno Magazine as a local is like the waving lady getting featured on the Beehive. Yeah, whatever, fun, but…whatever.

Impressing Ryan Seacrest is not a claim to fame. Going on American Idol and telling Ryan Seacrest you couldn’t have done it without being from Fresno? That works! Audra Mac has won 4 Tony awards and has made sure to thanks GCP and Dan Pessano every time. She’s the real deal.

Even KFed has actually danced around the world with Michael Jackson, Beyonce, etc.

Ryan might be the future, but right now? He’s a kid with a dream…

Danielle says:

“men like Ryan Seacrest”



ed says:

really? if you’re son is going to be in the public eye you’ve got to get a little thicker skin. if you think the comments here are cold or harsh you may want to peruse the rest of the internet. try the comments on your son’s youtube videos. not all rainbows and lollipops.

Anna says:

…if you wanted Steve to win, more people should have voted for him. He’s your generation of music but Ryan is ours. Whether you think he’s talented or not, he has over 200,000 and there’s nothing you can do stop that. Most people probably didn’t even hear him sing before. Most.. dare I say “old” people think every singer since Justin became popular is a “Justin Bieber wannabe” Considering i’m the same age as Ryan and you are all probably over 40, I figured older people would have more respect.

Tommy says:

At Anna…Ryan winning proves that his fans love him so,but Steve does not need to defend himself in this…he’s above it and Ryan,well,he’s perfect for little contest like this.