Locals taste limelight
You could turn on “The X Factor” any Thursday this fall and see Indiana’s Zach Beeken, whose country-singing group Restless Road soared to popularity as it continued to advance through round after round of voting.
Restless Road survived 10 weeks on the singing competition on Fox, all the way to the semifinals before being voted off the show earlier this month.
The group was seen by millions of people each week, and they’ve had a No. 1 hit in the country genre on iTunes with “Wake Me Up.”
And along the way, Beeken had a loyal following at weekly watch parties as his group moved on through the competition.
The son of Ryan and Jennifer Beeken, of Indiana, he graduated from Indiana Area Senior High School in May.
But just because the group was voted off the show doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for Restless Road. Beeken said earlier this month he expects the group to get a recording contract.
“We’re going to keep going with it. … We’ve written a couple of songs together and, whether we get signed or not, we’re going to still take charge and try to make it happen.”
While Beeken certainly garnered national attention with his appearances on the show, there were a few more current and former Indiana Countians who appeared on national TV this year, too.
In March, David Eldridge, of Blairsville, along with business partners Mike Kane and David Artuso, of Westmoreland County, pitched their invention, Cellhelmet, on the ABC primetime reality show “Shark Tank.” The product is designed to help your smartphone survive a fall. In fact, they guaranteed it will.
The men got a chance to show off the Cellhelmet in front of business-savvy millionaires Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, Kevin O’Leary and Robert Hershbeck, who grilled Eldridge’s partners on their claim and business model. In the end, none of the “sharks” bit on the idea.
Nonetheless, Eldridge said he was happy with the attention: “I’m excited by the idea that we just exposed our brand to 7 million-plus viewers,” he said.
‘PRICE IS RIGHT’
For Lucernemines native Christopher Catalano, the price was almost right on “The Price Is Right.”
Catalano — who said he’s been a lifelong fan of the show — made it all the way to the Showcase Showdown on the long-running daytime CBS game show in an episode that aired in April. But he was outbid by his opponent, losing his chance to win a trip to France, an expensive watch and other prizes.
He did come away with several prizes for making his way off Contestants’ Row, and meeting host Drew Carey was a thrill, he said.
Catalano, who now lives in Philadelphia, is the son of Karen and Dennis Catalano, of Lucernemines.
An Indiana native and his partners in the operation of a popular North Carolina barbecue restaurant appeared on “BBQ Pitmasters” on Destination America last summer.
Robert Moreau, a co-owner of Bibs Downtown in Winston-Salem, competed for bragging rights as America’s best barbecue restaurant. While they made it through the first round of the competition on a program that aired in June, they didn’t advance on the episode that aired in early August.
Amber Holmes, originally from Indiana, opened up her Paris home to viewers of HGTV’s “House Hunters International” in an episode that aired in June.
Holmes, who graduated from Indiana High School in 2002 and Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2006, moved to Paris a year or so ago to become a fashion designer. That’s after stints as an investment adviser at AXA Advisors, Fidelity Investments and J.P. Morgan in New York City.
The show followed Holmes’ transition from her ritzy lifestyle on the Upper East Side of New York to life in the capital of France, said Holmes. She is the daughter of Brenda and Tom Holmes, who still live in Indiana.
‘MY CHRISTMAS OBSESSION’
Harold and Kris Eisenberger, of White Township, showed off their massive collection of more than 3,000 Santa Clauses on an edition of TLC’s “My Christmas Obsession: Christmas Collection 2” earlier this month.
What started as a modest collection of about a tenth of its current size has grown over the years to fill about 60 large plastic tubs that the couple stores in their basement for most of the year. Setup usually starts around Halloween, Harold Eisenberger said.
With filming in April, the Eisenbergers had to push aside their collection of 500 Easter bunnies to instead festoon their North Sixth Street house with Christmas decor in the middle of spring. Sound equipment used for shooting was so sensitive, he said, the film crew had to ask neighbors to refrain from mowing their lawn.
All of that Santa paraphernalia again fills every nook and cranny of their home for the holidays.