My Friday Five: Happy Trails, Idol(?) & Local Stories

Photo: Chris White

1. Happy Trails, Idol(?)

American Idol officially signed off on Thursday night. Although I’ve voiced many displeasures with the show this season, it was definitely bittersweet to watch the finale. And what a finale it was! The finale was teeming with Idol alums from all the previous 14 seasons as well as contestants from this season. The original three judges – Randy Jackson, Paul Abdul and Simon Cowell – returned for a segment with host Ryan Seacrest. Even Brian Dunkleman, who co-hosted with Seacrest during season one, returned. I wonder how much they paid him to do that? As far as the performances from Idol alums, I have to go with this one as the best of the night…

In the end, Trent Harmon was crowned champion. I would have been happy with either him or La’Porsha Renae but Trent has been one of my favorites since I saw his first audition. Plus, he was the first of the Idol contestants to follow me on Twitter, so that gives him extra points in my book. Beyond that, Trent brought down the house on Finale Performance Night on Wednesday.

Just check out Trent’s performance of his coronation song “Falling” for proof.

Now that Idol is gone – at least for now, that’s why I put a question mark in the title of this segment – I will definitely miss it. But it may not be over. There has been a lot of hinting in recent days from show creator, Simon Fuller, about some form of continuation for the series and host Ryan Seacrest ended the show Thursday night by saying, “Goodnight, America…for now.” Honestly, I wouldn’t give it two years before Idol returns, perhaps, in an all-digital format like Netflix. But, for now, goodbye Idol. Thanks for 15 years of crazy auditions, shocking eliminations and incredible memories.

2. ACC Barnstorming Tour

Instead of a bunch of stuff I don’t need, I typically ask people to give me things like tickets to special events and other things I can use for my birthday and Christmas. My birthday was April 1 and I couldn’t ask my mom to get me anything better: VIP tickets to the ACC Barnstorming Tour, which is making a stop at my high school alma mater next Thursday! The tour features players – predominately seniors – from the “Big Four” schools in the area: UNC, N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest. The VIP tickets include front row seats to the event as well as a private after party and photo/autograph session with the players. So, basically I’m going to meet Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson and Joel James, among others! I’ve always wanted to meet them, especially after their awesome college careers have now officially come to an end. I’m sure it’s going to be a blast and I’ll have more about my experience in next week’s Friday Five.

3. IHOP in Raleigh Closing

An iconic spot in Raleigh is closing this weekend. IHOP? It may not seem like a big deal, but the IHOP on Hillsborough St. still boasts the restaurant chain’s classic A-frame building design and “International House of Pancakes” sign, a rare sight with IHOP restaurants today. According to an article from WRAL, the location was built in 1968 and is one of the last remaining A-frame restaurants in the country. The restaurant will not be gone for good but will be moving about a mile down the street to a new location near N.C. State. If you want to catch one last meal in the A-frame building, you can do so until 2:30pm Saturday.

4. The Scrap Exchange Turns 25

The Scrap Exchange is celebrating its 25th year in business. How about that?!? Seeing this story pop up on my Facebook timeline brought so many memories – and a smile – to my face. I used to go to the Durham institution quite a bit when I was a youngin’ and it was at its original location at Northgate Mall. The Scrap Exchange is a non-profit organization that takes in all sorts of materials for people to purchase and re-purpose into crafts and other projects. It’s a neat concept for a store and one that has been valuable to the community. Cheers to 25 and to many more years in the future!

5. Bruce Springsteen Cancels Show in Greensboro

Not that I’m a big fan of Bruce Springsteen anyway, but I thought this was worth talking about. Springsteen announced that he’s canceling his show scheduled for Sunday in Greensboro due to HB2 – commonly dubbed as the “bathroom law” – that, according to its opponents, discriminates against the LGBT community and particularly transgender people. Now, I in no way support HB2 or believe that it is the right thing for North Carolina. Anything that facilitates discrimination is deplorable in my book. However, I think that it’s grossly unfair that the actions of some small-minded politicians in Raleigh are casting a cloud over many of the good people of North Carolina who are against the law and are making them miss out on, perhaps, something they’ve waited to see for quite sometime.

Like I said, I’m not a fan of Springsteen, but a more interesting event for me is the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, which is scheduled to be held in Charlotte. There’s growing pressure to move the game out of North Carolina because of HB2, which would affect me since I want to go. I definitely get the bigger picture and I support all the efforts to repeal this disgusting law. But canceling shows and punishing the good people of this state who are against the law but can’t do a thing with the politicians in Raleigh isn’t the answer either. Canceling shows, etc. will unfortunately not change the minds of some politicians who are set in their ways. At least, I don’t think it will. If you don’t agree with what I just said, drop me a (constructive) comment, I’d love to hear what you think.

Thanks for Reading

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