It's been a wild opening week in the 2012 Musical March Madness tournament, with plenty of potential upsets in the works and even more allegations of voter fraud levied by angry Tokio Hotel fans (a yearly MMM tradition!)
And while there's still time to vote in all first-round matchups — polls close Sunday at midnight ET — as the week wraps up, we figured it was a good time to recap all the action: the shocking results, the 4chan-inspired chicanery and all the fierce, fan-driven mania that makes Musical March Madness tick.
But first, let's address the allegations lobbed by Tokio Hotel's fervent fanbase. After jumping out to a huge lead over fifth-seeded Arcade Fire in their first-round matchup (something like 140,000 votes), TH's supporters watched in abject horror as the Fire quickly closed the gap and eventually took the lead. Gains of this size don't happen every day, so we started getting a lot of feedback from Tokio fans, most claiming that there was something fishy happening with the votes (of course, others just said we were part of a massive conspiracy against their beloved Kaulitz brothers).
Since the integrity of MMM is our top priority, we investigated, and it turns out those fans were right. It seems some overzealous, web-savvy fans were helping swing things in Arcade Fire's favor, writing scripts that repeatedly voted for AF ... and we mean repeatedly (like 90,000 times each). And while that level of cheating was definitely inspired, well, it's still cheating, so we scrubbed all the votes in question, and returned Tokio Hotel to their rightful lead. They're up by some 200,000 votes at the moment, and appear a lock to advance to the second round. We'll be monitoring things much closer from here on out, but, for the moment, all is right with the world. And please, let's keep it clean, folks. Cheaters never win.
Of course, there are still plenty of other eye-opening (and legitimate) results to discuss as the first round wraps up, perhaps none more shocking than the upset brewing in the East region, where top-seeded Mumford & Sons are on the verge of getting booted from the tourney by Canadian crushers F---ed Up (we see you, Damian!) Right now, it's the underdogs in the lead by nearly 11,000 votes, and we'll be watching to see if they can hold on to the lead. Mumford fans, you've got your work cut out for you if you want to keep your favorite band in the tourney, so get cracking.
Things are looking equally grim for the West's #1 seed, the Foo Fighters, who are getting absolutely blasted by #16 James Durbin. The "American Idol" bandanna enthusiast surged to the lead early in the week, and has yet to wilt beneath the Foos' full-court press. Can he keep it up through Sunday? We'll just have to wait and see, but it appears like Durbin may be bound for round two.
And while both of those matchups are verging on blowouts, others are too close to call, and probably will remain that way until the last vote is counted. The West's #3 seed, Blink-182, are getting all they can handle from #14 Korn, and the East's #3, Florence and the Machine, are on the brink of getting booted by reunited Swedish vets Refused, who hold a slim (like 2,000 votes) lead. Also in the East, #6 Fun. fell behind #11 Semi Precious Weapons early, but have rallied, and now lead by roughly 1,000 votes. Oh, and there's quite a battle brewing between Maroon 5 and upset-minded Lana Del Rey, who have been locked in a fierce back-and-forth all week. Right now, it's Del Rey by less than 2,000 votes. Can she shock the world? We'll be watching closely.
And speaking of shocking the world, there's a potential game-changer taking place in the East's Coldplay/Arctic Monkeys tilt, where the Monkeys lead Chris Martin and company by just 200 votes. These two have been going back and forth all week, and this one seems destined to go down to the wire. And that's fitting ... like we said, it's been a wild ride already.
Is your favorite band on the ropes? Get voting. And check back Monday, when we reveal the 32 bands that will move one step closer to hoisting the big gold trophy on April 3.
MTV's 2012 Musical March Madness Tournament is under way! 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!