On Monday, when we revealed the second-round matchups in our Musical March Madness tournament, few clashes stood out quite like the #4 [artist id="1219791"]Rise Against[/artist]/ #12 [artist id="1790812"]Patrick Stump[/artist] tilt in the Midwest region.
After all, this is a battle between friends. Both acts hail from Chicago, both have come up together (RA frontman Tim McIlrath was actually in a band with Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz back in the day), and both share a respect for the other. So, it's nothing short of cruel that there can be only one winner.
And that sentiment is shared by Stump himself, who spoke to MTV News about his MMM matchup Tuesday morning (March 22). He is conflicted, to say the very least.
"It's kind of one of those win/lose kind of things ... there's really not a clear victory," he said. "Because if I lose, I guess I lose — 'Hey, no big deal' — because I like Rise Against. I would've voted for Rise Against if I weren't in it anyway, so it's a conflict. ... I don't know how honest I want to be, because Rise Against is a pretty good band. I will be very happy with whomever wins this.
"In a perfect situation, we [wouldn't be] up against each other," he continued. "Because if I didn't have a record coming out and I wasn't in this election at all, it would be fun to watch, and I would be cheering for Rise Against. This is, by definition, a conflict of interest. ... What do I choose? I don't know."
While he's quick to throw his support behind Rise Against — a tact his FOB mate Wentz employed in his first-round matchup against the band, much to his detriment — Stump isn't about to go quietly into the night. In fact, he's in MMM to win.
"I'm saying, 'Vote your conscience.' Vote what you really feel, man," he laughed. "I know I would vote for Rise Against if I weren't me. Well, that's not true. I know I would vote for Rise Against if I weren't a Patrick fan. And I am, because I'm me."
But even if he doesn't win, Stump's already happy with his MMM showing. Mostly because he didn't even expect to beat Neon Trees in the opening round. And really, at this point, anything can happen. After all, as the lone 12 seed left in the tournament, he's already the underdog of underdogs.
"If I make it past this, I honestly don't know what I'll do," he said. "I'm really surprised I beat Neon Trees, and I know I was kind of goofing around and stuff, but, for real, I didn't expect to have any chance against them. I was pretty shocked. I'm Mr. Upset."
MTV's Musical March Madness has moved on to the second round! Voting is now open and will continue until Sunday, when we'll begin the Sweet 16. All winners are determined by your votes, so if your favorite act is still in the tournament, it's be up to you to guide them to glory. You can rally the troops on Twitter using the hashtag #MMM — but get ready, things only get tougher from here on out!