MTV's Musical March Madness tipped off Monday, and already things are heating up. We've got potential upsets brewing (James Durbin over the Foo Fighters), ungodly massacres unfolding (Tokio Hotel up 133,000 votes on Arcade Fire) and a whole bunch of contests that are just too close to call (the Radiohead/Bruce Springsteen and Metallica/Guns N' Roses battles are most definitely going to come down to the wire).
With first-round voting open until Sunday at midnight ET, there's still plenty of time for things to change — and it's up to you to determine who advances to round two. We realize that with 64 bands battling it out, sometimes, you need a little help to make your decisions. Which is why we're breaking down each MMM region, beginning with Tuesday's in-depth examination of the mighty Midwest, and continuing today with a look at the wild, wild West.
It's a bracket topped by the aforementioned Foos, and features a host of other big-name talent like Blink-182, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, defending champs Green Day and No Doubt. There's also potential dark-horse favorites like Skrillex, Panic! at the Disco and Maroon 5. But, just who will survive to round two? Read on for our picks in each opening-round matchup.
#1 Foo Fighters vs. #16 James Durbin: On paper, this one should've been a cakewalk for the Foos, who have more Grammy nominations (25) than Durbin has years on earth (23). But, as MMM history tells us, nothing is assured in the tournament, and right now, thanks to a full-court social blitz from the "American Idol" fave, this one is too close to call. The Foos hold a slight edge, but given their lack of social involvement, can they withstand the hard-charging underdog? We're going with Durbin for the upset.
#2 Red Hot Chili Peppers vs. #15 Panic! at the Disco: Welcome to the West, where favorites go to die. In one of the most hotly debated opening-round contests (at least in our comment section), it's Panic! who hold a commanding lead over the higher-seeded Peppers. We don't see RHCP mounting a comeback, which means that once again, Panic! advance onward, proving they're an MMM force to be reckoned with.
#3 Blink-182 vs. #14 Korn: Another potential first-round upset brewing here: MMM faves Blink leapt to an early lead, but with a little Facebook bump, it's now Korn who hold a slight edge. If Blink want to avoid an early exit, they better start rallying the troops (we're looking at you, Mark Hoppus). We'd like to believe at least one top seed advances to round two, and we believe in Blink-182. They stem the tide and move on.
#4 Maroon 5 vs. #13 Lana Del Rey: OK, this is more like it. Rewarded for their tremendous year with a #4 seed, Maroon 5 are holding serve, trouncing Lana by a large margin. Still plenty of time for Del Rey to rally, though we think the title of her major-label debut is oddly prescient when it comes to MMM: She's Born To Die. In the first round.
#5 Green Day vs. #12 The Decemberists: They won it all last year, and after early voting, Green Day look like they may very well be the band to beat this year, too. They hold a commanding lead over the overmatched Decemberists, and given the way the rest of this bracket is shaping up, they may very well waltz all the way to the Final Four. Can anyone stop them?
#6 Foster The People vs. #11 Adam Lambert: Never underestimate the power of Glambert Nation. Right now, the "Idol" icon is up big on heavily favored Foster (and his People). Can they pump up their kicks (sorry) and rally? Not looking so good. We're taking Lambert to move on.
#7 Van Halen vs. #10 No Doubt: Burned in last year's tournament by eventual runners-up Paramore, No Doubt are making the most of their opportunity in MMM '12, keeping the reunited Van Halen at bay. Can Diamond Dave summon some of his samurai skills and help guide his squad to victory? We wouldn't bet on it; No Doubt will advance.
#8 Best Coast vs. #9 Skrillex: Note to Bethany Cosentino: It's OK to acknowledge MMM's presence (as opposed to tweeting Drake lyrics); in fact, it might actually help Best Coast advance. As this one stands right now, it's Skrillex who holds the huge lead, and if early fan support is any indication, he might be poised for a deep tournament run.
MTV's 2012 Musical March Madness Tournament is underway! Voting in the first round runs until midnight ET on Sunday, March 18, and winners are determined by fan votes, so if your favorite act made the cut, it'll be up to you to guide them to glory. You can rally the troops on Twitter using the hashtag #MMM or by downloading one of our custom badges — but get ready, it's gonna be a war.