The first round of Newsday’s “That’s SO Long Island” tournament wrapped up Wednesday night with some close battles, spectacular comebacks and a celebrity social media war.
With only a few hours left in the competition, WWE Hall of Fame wrestler and Ward Melville High School alumnus Mick Foley was being dominated by singer Ashanti. Glen Cove native Ashanti, who tweeted the contest to her fans, had a 600-plus vote lead over the grappler best known as Mankind. But Foley wasn’t ready to tap out.
With five hours left to vote, Foley instead tapped his 1.1 million Twitter fans, asking them to “Hook a brother up: I’m locked in a battle of #LongIsland icons …. and I am losing to @ashanti.”
Ashanti countered with another tweet to her followers, and for a while, it looked like she might retain her lead.
Then, it happened: At precisely 3:03 p.m., Foley posted a selfie with his kids to his Facebook fan page, which also has a million followers, with the following rally cry: “WIN ONE FOR THE MICKER.”
He went on to write, “I’m currently engaged in a knockdown, drag out brawl for the bragging rights to Long Island with #Ashanti – and I’m almost ready to tap! There are two hours left to turn this bad boy around.”
And he did. In a matter of minutes, he blew past Ashanti and won with 5,432 votes to 4,761 to earn himself a Round 2 matchup with his good friend, Twisted Sister frontman and “The Apprentice” star Dee Snider.
Another celebrity battle practically came down to a photo finish. For most of Round 1, pop icon Debbie Gibson and “Karate Kid” Ralph Macchio were separated by about 100 votes, but in the final stretch, the gap closed to only a handful of votes. With about an hour left, they tied, then Macchio managed to “sweep the leg” and take a slight lead, but ultimately, Gibson edged him out, winning by just three votes.
Gibson had tweeted to her fans on Tuesday asking for a different result: “Can we tie? I love him!”
Sorry, Debbie. As you sang so eloquently in “Foolish Beat,” we’re sure you “never meant to hurt” Macchio, but now he’s gone.
Gibson is moving on to Round 2, where she will face off against Elsa from “Frozen,” Syosset’s Idina Menzel.
Also, moving on are Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Billy Joel and Theresa Caputo, “The Long Island Medium.”
Bagels, Oyster Bay oysters, Blue Point beer, Chicken Parmesan hero, Peconic Bay scallops, Grandma pizza, Italian ices and Briermere pies have also made it to Round 2 in the “Food” category. As for “Attractions,” Montauk Lighthouse, the Big Duck, Fire Island, The Hamptons, Adventureland, Jones Beach, Splish Splash and the Long Beach Boardwalk advanced.
And in the “Activities” category, Boardy Barn made a last-minute rally to earn a spot in Round 2. The popular Hamptons hangout roused its Twitter fans to vote and within hours, came back from a deficit of more than 400 votes to overtake “Fishing off a charter boat.”
Boardy Barn will now have some stiff competition from outdoor festivals in Round 2. They will be joined by Jones Beach concerts, Long Island Ducks games, U-Picking, Long Island wine tours, over-the-top celebrations, and “catching the last LIRR train home.”
To start voting in Round 2, click here.
(Mobile readers: Use the link above to access the tournament.)
There’s also still time to enter our contest to win $500 by predicting the four finalists. The entry period ends July 6 at 11:59 p.m. See contest details via the link above.