The first round of MTV's Musical March Madness is in the books, and, after a hotly contested, oft-controversial first week, we've whittled the field of 64 bands in half ... as 32 acts continue on their quest to dethrone Tokio Hotel and claim the big gold trophy for their very own.
Our opening round saw shocking upsets, statement blowouts, and, of course, no shortage of cheating (sadly, it's become a bit of an MMM tradition). And though the competition has been fierce, and the combatants bloodied, there's no rest for the weary: voting is now open in all second-round matchups, and polls will close on Monday, April 1 at noon ET, when we move on to the Sweet 16.
But before we recap all the first-round action, a quick word about voting going forward: As you will probably notice, we've added CAPTCHA software to all polls, meaning, that if you want to vote more than once (and of course you do), you're going to have to enter a unique security code each time. Is that annoying? Probably. Is it about the only way to ensure that MMM remains fair? Absolutely. Like we mentioned, bending the rules has always been a part of the tournament, and, in previous years, the answer we'd give to one fanbase accusing another of cheating was simple: "Cheat harder." The problem is, as we've learned so far in MMM 2013, it's probably impossible for anyone to cheat harder than they already have. So, in order to keep things fair, and eliminate the scripts that threaten to sully the good name of the tournament, we've added an extra level of security to the voting. And, hey, MMM is supposed to show which fanbase is the most dedicated (instead of, y'know, who can design the best iMacros).
Good? Good. Now, let's take a look at everything that went down in the opening round of Musical March Madness 2013!
It was close, but #1 seed the Black Keys managed to slip past upset-minded #16 Twenty One Pilots, though it took a rather furious rally from the Keys to do so. They managed to put last year's first-round flame-out behind them, which is more than we can say for #2 the Foo Fighters. The Foos continued their streak of tournament futility — three opening-round losses in four years — by getting absolutely blasted by #15 Walk The Moon (we're already calling them the Florida Gulf Coast of MMM). Third-seeded the Lumineers fell to #14 Bullet For My Valentine, and #4 Gotye was throttled by #13 Smashing Pumpkins. But #5 Fall Out Boy lived up to their re-tournament trash talk, handling #12 Of Monsters and Men with ease, #6 AWOLNATION eeked out a W over #11 Alice In Chains, and Trent Reznor's old band beat his new one, as #7 Nine Inch Nails ripped #10 How To Destroy Angels. But without question, the result that raised the most eyebrows was the ninth-seeded Flaming Lips' shocking upset of #8 My Chemical Romance, the MMM powerhouses that had made the Final Four in the three previous tournaments, and were most experts' picks to do it again this year. Sadly, that run — and, apparently, MCR's career — came to an end this weekend. Here's a look at the matchups for round two:
» #1 The Black Keys v. #9 The Flaming Lips
» #5 Fall Out Boy v. #13 Smashing Pumpkins
» #6 AWOLNATION v. #14 Bullet For My Valentine
» #7 Nine Inch Nails v. #15 Walk The Moon
Unlike the Midwest, the top seeds lived up to the hype in the West Region, as #1 Fun. took care of "metaphorical garbage" (and 16th-seeded) Silversun Pickups in the opening round, and #2 Maroon 5 handled business against #15 the Shins. Of course, #3 Bruno Mars didn't get the memo, as his first MMM tournament came to an abrupt end at the hands of #14 Queens of the Stone Age, who won in a laugher. Fourth-seeded Green Day continued their impressive run of MMM success, ripping #13 Deftones, but #5 the Postal Service totally mailed it in against #12 Tegan and Sara. It was #6 Blink-182 over #11 Pearl Jam in a matchup that was never really close, #10 Thirty Seconds To Mars blasting off against #7 Soundgarden, and #9 Red Hot Chili Peppers, who took down #8 No Doubt in a battle of tourney vets. Aside from a few minor upsets, things held pat in the West, meaning that round two is shaping up to be a definite doozy. Here's a look at the second-round matchups.
» #1 Fun. v. #9 Red Hot Chili Peppers
» #4 Green Day v. #12 Tegan and Sara
» #6 Blink-182 v. #14 Queens of the Stone Age
» #2 Maroon 5 v. #10 Thirty Seconds To Mars
Ah, the Erudite East, where top seeds go to die. For the fourth year in a row, the #1 seed lost in the opening round, as Mumford & Sons follow up last year's early exit with a repeat performance this year, getting pasted by #16 Japandroids. Second seeds Vampire Weekend also went down in flames, as #15 Atoms For Peace jumped out to the early lead and never really looked back. Then again, that's not surprising, as a #2 seed has only advanced out of the first round once in four years (Radiohead in 2011). Also packing their bags after one game: #3 Coldplay, ripped by #14 Yeah Yeah Yeahs, #4 Phoenix, who didn't want to beat #13 Arcade Fire anyway and #6 Bruce Springsteen, who was swarmed by #11 Coheed & Cambria. Shoot, the only higher-seeded bands to advance were #5 the Stokes, #7 Florence and the Machine and, of course, #8 Tokio Hotel, who slipped by #9 My Bloody Valentine in a battle that will long be remembered in MMM lore ... mostly because it's the reason we've installed CAPTCHA. This is why we can't have nice things, people. Here's a breakdown of the second-round matchups:
» #8 Tokio Hotel v. #16 Japandroids
» #5 The Strokes v. #13 Arcade Fire
» #11 Coheed and Cambria v. #14 Yeah Yeah Yeahs
» #7 Florence and the Machine v. #15 Atoms For Peace
Top-seeded Paramore continue their quest for MMM vindication, barely breaking a sweat in their opening-round blowout of #16 Portugal. The Man. Could this be the year they finally bring home the title? They certainly look strong, and after #2 Phillip Phillips was upset by #15 Jim James, and #3 Ed Sheeran needed everything in his arsenal to slip by #14 Guns N' Roses, Paramore's path to the championship game may be easier than we imagined. The only bands standing in their way may be #6 Muse, who took down #11 Kings of Leon, or their old foes Evanescence, who ripped #10 Ke$ha and may have their sights set on a second-straight Elite 8 showdown with Hayley Williams and Co. But don't overlook #8 Metallica, who throttled #9 Alabama Shakes, or the always dangerous #13 Linkin Park, who got past #4 Jack White. Maybe even perennial MMM underachievers Modest Mouse could make a run, as they finally got their sh-- together and upset #5 Imagine Dragons. And here's who will go head-to-head in round two:
» #1 Paramore v. #9 Metallica
» #12 Modest Mouse v. #13 Linkin Park
» # 3 Ed Sheeran v. #6 Muse
» #7 Evanescence v. #15 Jim James
MTV's Musical March Madness tournament rolls on! Voting is now open in all second-round matchups and polls close Monday, April 1 at noon ET, at which point we'll move on to the third 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.