Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

2012: The Beehive Year in Review

Yes, we’re halfway into the first month of 2013 — but I realized I forgot to do one of these Beehive Year in Review posts. I swear it’s the last looking-back-at-2012 post I’ll write. If I didn’t do this post, though, how would you know which contests you entered the most and which commenters are still in our “top 10?” See. You’re welcome.

So without further ado — unless you want me to drag this out another 14 days — here are the most read and most commented Beehive posts of 2012, along with our most prolific commenters.

Whether you’re on the list or not, thanks to everyone who participates in the site, either by reading and responding, sharing links with your friends or even grumbling to yourself about what we write. You’re all appreciated.

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Ryan Beatty takes New York City

Last we checked in on Fresno-bred young pop singer Ryan Beatty, the 16-year-old was scorching up iTunes with his debut EP, “Because of You.” Well, it eventually went to No. 1 on the iTunes pop charts and Beatty rode that wave all the way to New York City.

During his recent NYC trip, he met was met with a crowd so big the fire marshall had to be called and young Beatty needed to be escorted away:

In addition to get swarmed by teen girls, Beatty also appeared on CNN and spent some time with Seventeen and Billboard magazines.

Remember: You can catch Beatty — The Beehive’s ValleyWho champ — at The Big Fresno Fair on Oct. 13, performing with Ariana Grande. Also, if you happen to be in Vegas this weekend, maybe you’ll see Ryan. He’s playing at radio station KLUC’s End of Summer Block Party.

ValleyWho: Ryan Beatty has something to say

On-the-rise pop singer Ryan Beatty won The Beehive’s ValleyWho game, knocking off notables such as Pat Hill, Chris Colfer and William Saroyan along the way. I met with him Sunday to give him his award. But Ryan, 16, had something he wanted to say about the award and about ValleyWho.

In other Ryan Beatty news: Sunday proved to be a good day for the kid. He was on the weekend edition of “Access Hollywood” and his current single was played on influential L.A. radio station KIIS-FM.

RELATED: Revisit all our previous ValleyWho coverage.

ValleyWho: And the winner is …


What do Pat Hill, Steve Perry, David Mas Masumoto, Richard Kiel, William Saroyan and Chris Colfer have in common? They were all beaten in successive rounds by Ryan Beatty in our Beehive ValleyWho contest.

Never underestimate the power of a teenage fan base, especially in an Internet voting contest.

Beatty — an on-the-rise pop singer who has amassed a tidy national Internet following — was supposed to be announced as the winner at Beehive Birthday 7, but rain prevented that

Beatty, 16, received 52% of the vote against Colfer, a star of “Glee,” in the final round, finishing less than 75 votes ahead.

Thanks to everyone who participated in ValleyWho. We hope you had fun.

ValleyWho Central: The final two, the final hours

Well, ValleyWho is all over but the votin’. In these final hours of the final round only your votes will decide who gets to wear the ValleyWho crown — Chris Colfer or Ryan Beatty. Figuratively, of course. We didn’t get an actual crown.

Anyhow, deadline to vote is 8 p.m. today, so go here and vote. Even if you haven’t participated in previous rounds. It’s cool. Just vote.

A little bit on how the two of them got to the finals:

Colfer: Defeated California Raisins and Trent Dilfer in the first two rounds, Kopi in the Sweet 16, Philip Levine in the round of 8 and Audra McDonald in our final four.

Beatty: Defeated Pat Hill and Steve Perry in the first two rounds, David Mas Masumoto in the Sweet 16, Richard Kiel in the round of 8 and William Saroyan in our final four.

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ValleyWho: The Final Two — Colfer vs. Beatty

Our final matchup proves that ValleyWho was indeed a young man’s game. The bracket of 64 is now down to two — “Glee” actor Chris Colfer and rising pop singer Ryan Beatty.

A little semi-finals recap: Beatty beat Saroyan handedly, getting 67% of the vote, and, actually, getting more than twice the votes Saroyan did. Colfer/McDonald was closer — with Colfer winning 53% of the vote.

So will it be the 21-year-old Colfer, a Clovis East grad, a Golden Globe winner and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people? Or Beatty, a 16-year-old with a rabid online following who has been pegged as the next Justin Bieber, both by us and by Access Hollywood?

Voting is open now. You decide.

ValleyWho Central: Can Ryan Beatty be stopped?

The semi-finals of ValleyWho come to a close in four hours — go vote! — and despite even his own best efforts to sway his minions, rising teen pop star Ryan Beatty continues to look unstoppable. Even against local hero and literary icon William Saroyan.

On Monday, Beatty himself took to Twitter and said he was voting for Saroyan. But would his fans listen? So far, it sounds like the Team Beatty isn’t emulating its leader.


In the other matchup: I hear things are tight between Audra McDonald and Chris Colfer. Once again, it could come down to just a handful of votes, so be sure to cast yours before 8 p.m.

I’ve know at least a few people are pulling for a Saroyan-McDonald final, but what if it ends up being Colfer-Beatty, who I believe, between the two of them, have a whopping 37 years on this planet?

Beehive Birthday 7: It’s this weekend!


Hey y’all, we’re just a few days away from Beehive Birthday 7. If you missed the previous announcement: The party is at 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday at Rotary Playland. We’re envisioning an after-hours party at Playland, fit for both kids and adults.

We’ve added some Fresno-centric twists to a few of the rides, set up a beer garden, recruited some familiar faces to join us and, of course, we’re going to be announcing the ValleyWho winner.

Things are starting to take shape on our end, so I thought I’d fill you guys in:

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ValleyWho Central: Our final four is set


What was once a tournament of 64 ValleyWho contenders is now down to four: Audra McDonald, William Saroyan, Chris Colfer and Ryan Beatty. Voting is live now and runs until 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The final matchup will be announced Wednesday morning and voting will last until 8 p.m. Thursday. The ultimate winner will be announced Saturday at Beehive Birthday at Rotary Playland. Remember: We hid the results for the final two rounds to keep y’all surprised.

(1) William Saroyan vs. (10) Ryan Beatty
(1) Audra McDonald vs. (1) Chris Colfer

It’s an interesting mix, I think, that will surely put generations at odds. Represented is the past (Saroyan), the present (Audra and Colfer) and the future (Beatty). Our final four is diverse in that includes an author, actors of TV and stage and a singer. We’ve got a Pulitzer Prize winner, a Tony winner, a Golden Globe winner and a teenager with 200K+ Twitter followers.

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ValleyWho: The battle of 8


Voting for Round 4 — our Only 8! battle — is now open and runs until 8 p.m. Sunday. Go vote. Even if you haven’t voted before, you can still jump in with your vote. Your votes matter. Just ask the ValleyHopefuls who lost by a matter of votes in previous rounds.

Let’s analyze.

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ValleyWho: OK, so now who?


As we approach tonight’s 8 p.m. deadline to vote in the ValleyWho Sweet 16 round (go here!), I thought it would be fun to ask some of the now-eliminated ValleyHopefuls who they’re supporting in the competition.

Here’s what they had to say:

STEFANI BOOROOJIAN: “Honestly, I’m pulling for Richard Kiel. What is so bizarre is that I had scheduled an interview with him the day this contest was revealed. He is so genuine and nice and was concerned about beating me. Needless to say, he squashed me. But that’s OK, I still want him to win.”

ANTHONY TAYLOR: “I’m picking Audra McDonald to win this whole thing. She doesn’t need my support, but she’s a great representative of what I believe is one of Fresno’s greatest assets: the theatre and arts scene here. Plus, she’s from the Peach Regional like me so she’s got cred there too.”

RAY APPLETON: “There is only ONE name. William Saroyan. How could it be anybody else? Really!!!!!”

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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.

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ValleyWho Central: Writer and waver in tight battle

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There are less than six hours left to vote in Round 2 of The Beehive’s ValleyWho contest, and the closest race is between The Waving Lady, who has a narrow 52-48 lead over poet Gary Soto. The contest has drawn more than 2,600 registered users, and voters have taken an obvious shine to Ms. Lady, who as a No. 16 seed knocked off former mayor Alan Autry. Who says pressing the flesh (or at least waving at it) doesn’t pay off?

Polls close at 8 p.m. for ValleyWho, the Beehive’s March Madness-style game that will wind up crowning our favorite local icon. (For those who don’t know about ValleyWho, here’s a quick link to all you need to know.)

Among the late developments:

RYAN BEATTY VS. STEVE PERRY: Beatty, the young Internet singing sensation, has been creeping up on the former lead singer of Journey all day. Perry is leading right now at 53% of the vote. At one point, Beatty was in the low 30s against Perry, but he overcame a similar deficit in the first round. Will his fans come through?

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ValleyWho: Onward to Round 2


Round 1 is done and now ValleyWho Round 2 is up to you. Voting in the round of 32 started this morning and runs until 8 p.m. Tuesday. So get those votes in.

There are some intriguing matchups — Colfer vs. Dilfer, Perry vs. Beatty, Seaver vs. Radka. This is gonna be fun to keep an eye on. But first, let’s recap some of what transpired in Round 1:

  • Teen pop singer Ryan Beatty and his rabid fanbase pulled off a wild comeback to swing a matchup that Pat Hill had been dominating throughout. Beatty lovers made up a more than 20% deficit in the final hours. Going up against Steve Perry in Round 2 is going to be a task for Team Beatty.
  • The Almond Regional was full of late surges. Patrick Contreras got close to Nick Watney, Stefani Booroojian almost topped Richard Kiel and Gnarley Charley got within yee-hawing distance of Christopher Gorham. It was the Booroojian/Kiel pairing that ended closest. Kiel won by 47 votes.

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ValleyWho Central: Graciela in a nail-biter

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Time once again for a ValleyWho update, this on the second day of voting as we head toward an 8 p.m. Sunday deadline for the end of the first round of competition.

(For those who don’t know about ValleyWho, here’s a quick link to all you need to know.)

Let’s get down to the Beehive’s March Madness:


GRACIELA MORENO VS. GARY SOTO: It’s so close that as of this writing, only ONE vote separates the two. (That’s out of more than 950 registered ValleyWho voters, according to Jody Murray, our hard-working online content producer, who has been obsessing over the stats like a baseball fan in a pennant race.)

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ValleyWho: Game Central (updated)

Welcome to ValleyWho, our bracket-style tournament featuring some of the central San Joaquin Valley’s favorite folks. ValleyWho looks much like the NCAA basketball tournament bracket. There’s a big difference between this and a basketball game: You control the outcome. Your votes will decide which FresNotables move on in each round. Think about it: Who’s more loved, Kopi or Chris Colfer? Christopher Gorham or Tom Seaver?

It’s easy to participate: You can sign up, vote and check results on our special ValleyWho game page here. For lots more info on the contest, continue reading this post for an introduction, a FAQ section and extended descriptions of our 64 contestants.


Who is the Valley’s most beloved icon? That’s what we’ll spend the next two weeks determining in ValleyWho — a bracket-style tournament featuring some of the central San Joaquin Valley’s favorite folks.

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ValleyWho play-in: Carr vs. Dilfer


We’re a mere two days away from the reveal of our ValleyWho bracket — where your votes will crown the Valley’s favorite local icon. Buuuuuuut: We had trouble deciding between two popular Fresno State QBs: David Carr and Trent Dilfer.

We debated back and forth until we decided the best thing would be to do what the NCAA does. Have a play-in game. So head over to our Facebook page and get your vote in for which quarterback deserves a spot in our field of 64. Dilfer is a current ESPN analyst who won a Super Bowl quarterbacking the Baltimore Ravens. Carr, meanwhile, is a former No. 1 pick who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He won a Super Bowl this year as the back-up QB of the New York Giants.

The choice is yours on our Facebook page. Voting is open until 11 a.m. Tuesday.

ValleyWho: Who are YOUR No. 1 seeds?


Yesterday, we announced our upcoming ValleyWho game — which will crown our favorite local icon through a March Madness-style bracket where people you decide the winners. As followers of the real March Madness know, right now is when all the hoops pundits are projecting seedings.

So let’s do the same. Tell us, people of Fresno and the Valley, who would be YOUR four No. 1 seeds? These are, in effect, the top four contenders, the four favorites.

This won’t change our rankings at all. Our field of 64 is finalized. We’ve spent about five hours debating and arguing — so we know how difficult it is. But we thought it would be fun to see who you guys would pick as the top seeds in each of the four brackets. Ready? Set. Go!

Introducing: ValleyWho — a game that will crown our favorite local icon


Next week, we’re launching a March Madness-style bracket game that will crown the Valley’s favorite local icon. It’s called ValleyWho and much like the NCAA’s basketball tournament, it’ll start with 64 hopefuls and eventually wind down to one glorious winner.

There’s a big difference between this and a basketball game though: You control the outcome. Your votes will decide which FresNotables move on in the competition. Think about it: Who’s more loved, Kopi or Chris Colfer? Christopher Gorham or Tom Seaver?

The entire Beehive crew has spent weeks poring over our homegrown heroes. We’ve brainstormed, argued and had to make some tough calls. Our field of 64 — featuring people from The Bee’s coverage area, from Tulare to Merced — will be revealed March 14, rankings and all. Voting starts March 15. The winner will be revealed March 31 at Beehive Birthday VII.

Until then, we leave you to stew in anticipation.