MTV’s Musical March Madness Begins!

Voting is now under way in MTV's Musical March Madness tournament! 64 bands enter ... but only one will reign supreme.

It’s back. MTV’s 2013 Musical March Madness tournament tips off today, as 64 bands begin the quest to hoist the big gold trophy and forever earn their place amongst the all-time greats.

Much like the actual NCAA tournament, we’ve put together a bracket bursting with top talent, and, just like previous years, there is no shortage of storylines: Will Tokio Hotel become the first band to repeat as tournament champs? Can Green Day overcome a year of turmoil to once again reign supreme? Or will 2013 be the year perennial powerhouses like Paramore or My Chemical Romance finally put it all together and claim the crown?

Well, that’s all up to you … voting is now under way in all first-round Musical March Madness matchups, and polls will close on Monday, Monday, March 25, at noon ET. We’ll continue on from there, until we reach the 2013 title game, set for April 8!

But, as anyone who’s followed the MMM tournament can surely attest to, there’s a long way to go before we reach the championship. Over the next few weeks, legends will be born, dreams will be dashed, and accusations of cheating will no doubt be hurled with aplomb. The battle has just begun … and here’s a look at the 64 bands that enter the fray.

Midwest Region
It’s long been dubbed the “Meat and Potatoes” region, and once again, the Midwest is bursting at the waistband with hard-riffing, radio-clogging rock acts. Top seed the Black Keys look to put last year’s first-round upset behind them, though they’ll get all they can handle from upset-minded Twenty One Pilots. The second-seeded Foo Fighters also enter this year’s tournament with something to prove , as they’ve never advanced beyond the second round of MMM (last year they were dumped in the opening round by James Durbin), a trend they’ll look to reverse against Walk The Moon. My Chemical Romance — the only band to have made three Final Fours — also begin their championship quest in the region, drawing #8 the Flaming Lips in round one. Trent Reznor goes head-to-head against himself, as Nine Inch Nails take on How To Destroy Angels, and Gotye looks to prove he’s more than a one-hit wonder in his matchup against the Smashing Pumpkins. But the sneaky pick in the region may just be recently-reunited Fall Out Boy , who enter the tournament for the first time and may just be the band to beat, or Bullet For My Valentine, the darkhorses to end all darkhorses. Let’s look at the matchups in round one:

» #1 The Black Keys v. #16 Twenty One Pilots
» #2 Foo Fighters v. #15 Walk The Moon
» #3 The Lumineers v. #14 Bullet For My Valentine
» #4 Gotye v. #13 Smashing Pumpkins
» #5 Fall Out Boy v. #12 Of Monsters and Men
» #6 AWOLNATION v. #11 Alice In Chains
» #7 Nine Inch Nails v. #10 How To Destroy Angels
» #8 My Chemical Romance v. #9 The Flaming Lips

West Region
The Wild, Wild West is topped by Fun., who let it be known last week that they consider their competition to be “garbage” (metaphorically speaking, of course). Can they back up that talk against #16 Silversun Pickups? Maroon 5 are the surprise #2 seed in the West — the selection committee liked their RPI — and they look like locks to advance past #15 the Shins in the opening round. Tourney vets No Doubt and the Red Hot Chili Peppers will battle it out, and Blink-182 draws Pearl Jam in an opening matchup that’s sure to be a barnburner. And don’t forget about 2011 MMM champions Green Day, who lost a nail-biter to Tokio Hotel in last year’s championship and are out for revenge. Other storylines to keep an eye on: Thirty Seconds To Mars, who take on Soundgarden, and look to finally make good on previous tournament successes, and another surprise MMM entrant, #3 Bruno Mars, who may not necessarily rock (though he can write a decent Police cover ) but could be poised for a deep run if his fans have anything to say about it. Here’s a breakdown of the matchups:

» #1 Fun. v. #16 Silversun Pickups
» #2 Maroon 5 v. #15 The Shins
» #3 Bruno Mars v. #14 Queens of the Stone Age
» #4 Green Day v. #13 Deftones
» #5 Postal Service v. #12 Tegan and Sara
» #6 Blink-182 v. #11 Pearl Jam
» #7 Soundgarden v. #10 Thirty Seconds To Mars
» #8 No Doubt v. #9 Red Hot Chili Peppers

East Region
The Erudite East is packed with decidedly bookish bands — #1 Mumford & Sons, #2 Vampire Weekend, #4 Phoenix, #13 Arcade Fire — who, if history is any indicator, will probably all lose in the opening round. This is the only region to feature two previous MMM champs, including reigning kings Tokio Hotel, who open against #9 My Bloody Valentine, and Coheed and Cambria, who draw Bruce Springsteen in the first round. Needless to say, they seem destined for yet another epic matchup in this year’s Elite 8 (their rivalry is about as close as MMM can get to Duke/North Carolina). Can anyone else compete with the Aliens and the Children of the Fence? Probably not, but stranger things have happened. Let’s take a look at all the first-round tilts:

» #1 Mumford & Sons v. #16 Japandroids
» #2 Vampire Weekend v. #15 Atoms For Peace
» #3 Coldplay v. #14 Yeah Yeah Yeahs
» #4 Phoenix v. #13 Arcade Fire
» #5 The Strokes v. #12 Fiona Apple
» #6 Bruce Springsteen v. #11 Coheed and Cambria
» #7 Florence and the Machine v. #10 Passion Pit
» #8 Tokio Hotel v/ #9 My Bloody Valentine

South Region
Way down South, it’s Paramore who nab the #1 seed, based on their previous performances and their much-anticipated new album (which, funnily enough, is scheduled to drop during the MMM championship game). “American Idol” champ Phillip Phillips is #2, and he’ll take on #15 Jim James in a battle of namesakes. Breakout star Ed Sheeran opens play against Guns N’ Roses, in the kind of matchup that can only happen in Musical March Madness, and Jack White goes toe-to-toe with Linkin Park in a contest of tourney-tested bands. And Evanescence, who lost a heartbreaker to eventual champs Tokio Hotel in last year’s Final Four, begin their quest for redemption against Ke$ha (who may or may not have been doing Kegels in anticipation). Here’s a look at all the matchups:

» #1 Paramore v. #16 Portugal. The Man
» #2 Phillip Phillips v. #15 Jim James
» #3 Ed Sheeran v. #14 Guns N’ Roses
» #4 Jack White v. #13 Linkin Park
» #5 Imagine Dragons v. #12 Modest Mouse
» #6 Muse v. #11 Kings of Leon
» #7 Evanescence v. #10 Ke$ha
» #8 Alabama Shakes v. #9 Metallica

MTV’s Musical March Madness tournament is back! Voting is now open in all first-round matchups and polls close Monday, March 25 at noon ET, at which point we’ll move on to the second round of action. All winners are determined by your votes, so if your favorite act made the cut, it’ll be up to you to guide them to glory! You can spread the word on Twitter using the hashtag #MMM — but get ready, it’s gonna be a war.