However, 2007 proved to be the year of the screwball upset. #15 and #16 seeds were winning multiple rounds. The Grateful Dead made a run at the title. And in the end, in a most improbable perfect storm of events, the winner would be a fairly unheralded newcomer from the 00's that would oust Pearl Jam in the finals. Plenty of questioning took place over how any of these things could happen, but in the end the winner was declared, and many Pearl Jam fans wailed and gnashed their teeth.
DISCLAIMER: This is not the official 2007 bracket from WMMR. That file is seemingly not available. Prior to 2009's tournament, the station posted all three previous years' brackets on their website, however the '07 picture was actually a duplicate of the '08. Based on recorded win/loss records, and memories of specific match-ups, this is the closest representation to the actual tournament results that could be created. Every band has the correct number of wins, however the actual positioning and opponents might be in error. If anyone has the actual tournament bracket, please upload it. Until then, this bracket will be treated as being correct. It's definitely very close.
- 70's winner: The Grateful Dead
- 80's winner: Bon Jovi
- 90's winner: Pearl Jam
- 00's winner: Breaking Benjamin
- Biggest upsets: (16) Live over (1) RHCP, (15) Skynyrd over (2) Zeppelin, (14) Grateful Dead over (3) Rolling Stones, (15) Breaking Benjamin over everyone in the tournament...especially Pearl Jam
- Voting in this tournament was accepted via text for the first time, plus the old phone vote. Several problems occured from the text vote. First, raw vote total was counted from each, and text vote dwarfed phone vote fairly easily, including some vote-stuffers that would repeat calling. Second, the actual message to vote for a band was specified at the match, but was usually either the band's name or a modified version of it, which led to some confusion due to inconsistencies. All of these issues would be resolved in 2008.
- Standard round format was maintained as one song from each band, a halftime recap, and then one more song from each band before tallying the votes and declaring the winner.
- For the second year, the station created the bracket themselves. Many bands were heavily reseeded from 2006 based on their performance, while others were left mostly untouched or even dropped following a successful 2006 performance.
70's Region AnalysisEdit
The #2 and #3 seeds both fell in the first round for the 70's bracket. The Rolling Stones had done the same the previous year, but one listener quipped that the reason the Stones-Grateful Dead matchup went to the Dead was because the match took place during Pierre's morning shift...when Rolling Stones fans were at work! Whether there is any truth to that claim, it became evident that certain bands tended to do better when their match-up occured at a particular time. After one of the two underdogs that broke through to round 2 lost, things seemed to be mostly in order, except that The Grateful Dead continued to win, making their way to the bracket finals against last year's winner, Pink Floyd. For better or worse, Pierre played host to this match-up, which was a rematch of last year's round 2 pairing that Floyd won to start their campaign for the championship. However, in a shock, this time it would be the Dead who would emerge victorious.
A few rematches and rivalries would be borne out of the 2007 bracket. In addition to Pink Floyd facing The Grateful Dead a second time, this would not be the last time the Dead would square off against Jimi Hendrix, either, The Doors were paired with Queen in round 1 for the second time, which The Doors won a second time. Zeppelin would lose to Skynyrd this year, setting up a rematch the following year and very nearly in 2009.
80's Region AnalysisEdit
2007 would go down as the only year that Metallica did not win the 80's region. In a stunner by Tom Petty, they were defeated in the second round, which opened the door for a less expected winner. In actuality, the results of this year would set the stage for establishing the three power bands of the 80's bracket -- Metallica, Tom Petty, and Bon Jovi. With all of them on one side of the bracket, U2 marched up the other side as was expected from a 2 seed. However, they did not meet the 3 seed along the way when Van Halen dropped their first round to The Clash. Instead, they drew #11 Ozzy instead. Bon Jovi, ever the Philadelphia favorite, in spite of more dubious popularity elsewhere, defeated U2 in the quarterfinals to advance.
90's Region AnalysisEdit
Based on the seeding, the only thing that happened predictably was that Pearl Jam won the bracket. Last year's #1 seed, the staff decided to make them #2 this year to change things up and put Red Hot Chili Peppers in the top position, fresh off the release of Stadium Arcadium. In spite of that, the Chilis were overseeded, and their opponent was underseeded, and they fell to #16 Live in the second year that Live would bring about a major upset. This time Live capitalized and defeated the Offspring as well to move to round 3. Another big surprise was that Nirvana lost in round 1 to Nine Inch Nails. Nirvana was cleared the expected favorite out of that foursome. Between their loss, and Live's two wins, Tool had a clear shot at the bracket finals. On the other side, Alice in Chains proved last years 3-win run was no fluke, losing again to Pearl Jam.
However, the most memorable part about this year's 90's bracket would be the finals between Tool and Pearl Jam, not because it was especially historic on its own -- Pearl Jam won handily -- but because this would set the stage for rematches in years to follow. After going to the tournament finals two years in a row, and arguably one year that they should have been declared the victor, Pearl Jam looked like an unstoppable juggernaut after 2007. Instead, this would be the last time that Pearl Jam would make it out of the bracket, being stopped by Tool in the second round hereafter.
00's Region AnalysisEdit
The Foo Fighters fell to Evanescence in round 2, unexpectedly, which gave Godsmack a free ride to the bracket finals. Godsmack was a band that benefitted very heavily from stylistic differences compared to their opponents, as was heavily evident in the first round against the supposedly much higher seeded Coldplay...the portion of the phone vote that was aired showed that almost all the male voters supported Godsmack, and only a portion of the female vote was for Coldplay. What became evident was that the 00's voters heavily support bands that are either nu metal or have a hard rock sound that bears passing resemblance to it. The only point at which this claim is contradicted was Evanescence's victory over Disturbed.
However, the biggest story of the tournament was Breaking Benjamin. Even before the tournament had begun, Jaxon had said on-air that maybe it was time to pick some new winners this year rather than repeat the same old, and openly came out supporting Breaking Benjamin. His listener base followed him, and curiously, each of Breaking Benjamin's early matches took place during Jaxon's shift. Although BB was listed as a 15 seed, their #2 seed opponent was clearly not the #2 band in the bracket, and The Killers went out without a fight. Rather than facing Incubus in round 2, they benefitted from a very temporary wave of popularity for My Chemical Romance, and defeated them soundly in round 2. By the time they hit round 3, they faced Shinedown as equals, and eked out a victory behind cries of support for Jaxon, thus bringing them to the finals against Godsmack. Godsmack was last year's semifinalist from the 00's, but it was not to be -- the Breaking Benjamin was gathering momentum as a bandwagon that carried into the semi's.
Pearl Jam fans had to be especially licking their chops at this point. There was blood in the water. There wasn't a band from the 90's that could stop them, so it would take the 70's or 80's winner to do it, as had happened last year with Pink Floyd. However, Floyd was nowhere to be seen. Nor was Led Zeppelin or Metallica. Pearl Jam would only have to beat the Grateful Dead, and then the winner of Bon Jovi and...Breaking Benjamin? Well, whatever, anyone can win the 00's bracket. An 11 seed won last year. So, Grateful Dead and then Bon Jovi.
Pearl Jam did their part and overcame the Grateful Dead resurgence that not even their superior the previous year could match. The final three matchups were occuring on the weekend, and just maybe this had some bearing on the turnout. Rather than riding a heavy day vote, as they had in each match-up, the semifinals were a very different population of listeners, and the Dead's vote dried out. However, the other bandwagon did not. As popular as Bon Jovi is in Philadelphia, it would be Breaking Benjamin's tidal wave that would come crashing into the finals against Pearl Jam. Of all the unlikely finalists, who could have predicted the #15 seed from the 00's would get here? But surely that just meant the victory belonged to Pearl Jam, didn't it?
Well, it should have. But it didn't.
Throughout the tournament, the match-ups occured at precise times, and some fans who weren't able to sit by the radio and listen in simply looked at their watch and texted at the appropriate time. However, the PJ-BB finals did not start at the exact correct time, and many would-be Pearl Jam voters missed the correct voting window. Above and beyond this, the message to vote for Pearl Jam had changed each round, from PEARLJAM to PJ to PEARL to JAM. While some of the DJs who had served as adjuducant for matches had been very lenient about what exactly was texted in, particularly Pierre's producer, Jason, the finals were being conducted by Randy Kotz, who was only accepting the proper vote of PJ, and many of the same listeners that had heard "JAM" from the previous contest two hours ago failed to listen closely and texted the wrong message. Meanwhile, the Breaking Benjamin posse was listening intently, attempting to make history, and didn't miss a beat.
So even though the BB voters were actually outnumbered, the Pearl Jam voters were overconfident and inattentive, and so after the first songs were played by each band, Breaking Benjamin had a lead! This did buzz the hornet's nest a bit, as the legions of rabid PJ fans descended, but due to their texting issues (and a very small quantity of phone votes by comparison,) BB was still holding their own. At the end of the second song apiece, Randy counted the totals and declared the contest too close to call. Rather than making a judgement call based on what he thought seemed to favor Breaking Benjamin by an extremely narrow margin, he reopened voting and played a third round of songs. At the end of the third set, the vote was still extremely close, but Breaking Benjamin had actually extended the lead slightly, and Randy declared them the victor.
The phones lit up more wildly than they had during the contest, but Randy put things in no uncertain terms: Breaking Benjamin had won. When listeners started to press him, he calmly pointed out that his favorite band was the Rolling Stones, who had lost in the first round two consecutive years as a #1 and #3 seed, partially thanks to the way voting took place and who actually got off their butt and voted. In light of the reward the winner was to receive, an extensive playlist of songs alphabetically, the station recognized that Breaking Benjamin had just two albums -- one fairly unknown -- and that a solid A to Z would not be very extensive. To show Pearl Jam respect as the should-have-been winner (which Randy later confirmed when he looked at the number of "JAM" and other miscellaneous texts,) the station elected to play an abbreviated setlist from Pearl Jam as well. This did not completely quell the contraversy, and quite a few fans were angry with Randy for playing things so impassively, but Randy once again explained himself coolly and collectedly, and showed the Pearl Jam fans the bitter, ugly truth -- they had lost. Pearl Jam didn't lose the contest...the voters did. And in so doing, the most spectacular perfect storm of events allowed an unheralded newcomer to win in their first year participating in M-M-R-ch Madness, a feat that will likely never be matched.