The selection process remained the same as the previous two years, with MMR VIPs picking their top 3 bands in each region, and the 16 most popular becoming the 16 seeds. Some seeding oddities appeared, and a few bands like Nickelback and Coldplay had clearly fallen from grace. Meanwhile, five newcomers entered the field, and created quite a bit of a shake-up. Their participation led to the 80's region -- normally the most stable -- as being the most turbulent and upset-laden. As evidenced by 2007, turbulence tends to lead to history, and the eventual champion, while not a complete surprise, was not a group that non-fans originally saw as winning.
- 70's winner: Pink Floyd
- 80's winner: Rush
- 90's winner: Tool
- 00's winner: Foo Fighters
- Biggest upsets: (16) The Clash over (1) Metallica, (14) Genesis over (3) U2, (10) Stevie Ray Vaughn over (2) AC/DC in round 2
- Voting in the tournament was initially available via text, phone, or web vote. However, after the first day, the web vote was pulled. Text voting was sent with a vote using the letter A or letter B, rather than 2009's method of number 1 or number 2. The phone vote and text vote were tallied and the winner with the absolute most votes won, rather than being a weighted average of the two unequal voting methods. For the first time, the DJs were rather intent on telling margins of victory somewhat accurately, rather than "I dunno, with about 60% XXX moves on."
70's Region AnalysisEdit
The first round was rather uneventful. Although there were upsets according to the explicit seedings, they were unsurprising, with Hendrix, The Dead, Marley, and the opponent of the Rolling Stones winning. The only match here worthy of any kind of mention was the Grateful Dead's match against Queen, which occured at 2 PM. This match made it more apparent than ever that time blocks on voting were significant, especially with a vigilant lobbyist in the form of Pierre Roberre handling the contest. After Pierre similarly decried Guns'N'Roses in the 80's region the next day, everyone was "grateful" that the Dead's second round match would be just after Pierre's shift. Ironically, that round was against Jimi Hendrix, and the vote essentially took place at 4:20. After a Hendrix victory, and Marley defeating The Who, both dropped to the two titans, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, who were once again on a crash course for the finals.
As one of the two expected bracket finals, Zeppelin/Floyd did not disappoint. These two had met in this exact position three times already, with Floyd winning twice and Zeppelin once. Two of those three times, the victor won the entire tournament. The stakes were certainly high, and at halftime, it appeared that Zeppelin has a noticeable, but not insurmountable lead. Once announced, Floyd fans did what Floyd fans do, and mounted a countersurge. With a very slim margin of victory, Floyd overcame the deficit and advanced for the third time.
80's Region AnalysisEdit
The only logical place to begin with this completely illogical bracket is at the beginning. The very first match of the tournament featured Metallica against #16 The Clash. It was a natural consequence that Metallica should win this match-up, but Metallica was last year's champion, and an out-with-the-old campaign began to hate vote Metallica. Combined with an 11 pm start, and the lack of reality having yet set in that Metallica *could* lose much in the same fashion that The Stones lost to Cheap Trick in '06, The Clash pulled off their second noteworthy upset in 3 years in the tourney.
However, this was only the beginning. Once everyone saw that Metallica was out of the picture, who always won the 80's region, eyes turned to the one other band who had actually won on the year Metallica had stumbled, Bon Jovi. Curiously, Bon Jovi had mustered a mere 8 seed even though they were a huge favorite in Philadelphia, and the second most successful 80's band in the tournament. They had a rookie competitor in round 1, which can go one of two ways -- either the rookie gets steamrolled since there was a reason this was only the first time they were there, or everyone suddenly rallies behind the band with "OMG, *they're* getting played on the radio??" With their opponent being Iron Maiden, it was almost inevitable that the latter would happen, and the top two threats were out.
Eyes then scanned the upper half of the bracket, the half that annually contained Metallica, Bon Jovi, and Tom Petty. Those three competitors always clashed, and the victor always emerged from the bracket. The lower half winner could never stand up to this threesome. So surely the door was wide open for Petty, nee? Petty's round 1 competition was Ozzy Osbourne, the prince of unpredictability, and it was a 5-12 matchup to boot. NCAA followers know that 5-12's very frequently favor the 12 seed. True to form, Ozzy lashed out of his cage in a 7 pm matchup, and defeated Petty. It wasn't until #4 Van Halen beat #13 The Police that anything resembling normalcy arrived, and it quickly departed again when the 3 seed (U2) and the 7 seed (GNR) also fell -- U2 to a previous challenger that accomplished the same feat in '08, and GNR to angry Flaming Terd chants led by the station.
Entering round 2, there was a rather motley line-up remaining, but still some players. Perhaps this would finally be the year AC/DC proved their mettle. Alas, they fell to upstart Stevie Ray Vaughn, amidst tons of "OMG, *they're* getting played on the radio??" voters. In a battle of two underdogs, Iron Maiden defeated The Clash, but then proceeded to pound out Van Halen in a not-even-close match that left them facing the winner of Rush and SRV. As the only remaining band with any legitimate credentials on the station's playlist, Rush refused to let the 80's be represented by a newcomer and defeated both Stevie Ray and Iron Maiden handily. Rush's path to victory included seeds of 11, 14, 10, and 9, easily the "softest" path to a bracket final that has been seen yet. That hardly meant they would be a pushover, but would they be just weak enough to let the 90's winner in?
90's Region AnalysisEdit
An immediate glance at the initial bracket revealed one simple conclusion: the Pearl Jam/Tool match-up would actually be the regional finals this year, rather than occuring in round 2 and then watching as the winner eventually marched over the competition. This was a more interesting path, since it gave both bands three chances to falter along the way. Tool took absolutely no chances, completely blowing out Collective Soul, the Chili Peppers, and then STP. Pearl Jam, however, was showing vulnerability, barely sneaking past #16 Live, having to come back from a halftime deficit against The Offspring, and then having difficulties with Alice in Chains. It seemed almost inevitable that Tool would crush Pearl Jam.
Unlike the 80's, there would be no surprises here. Pearl Jam gave it the good fight, but even with Matt Cord filling in for Pierre during a noon match-up, PJ ultimately fell short. The region that had been perenially predicated by a single match-up was decided. The bands left behind in their wake left a few minor surprises, like Sublime besting Nirvana, and the STP/Green Day match going into double overtime. Still, the 90's have remained strictly the property of Tool for the last 3 years.
00's Region AnalysisEdit
The 00's always has its share of surprises. One of these was #15 Muse. Leading into the tournament, against a #2 Linkin Park that had only released one new song in the last several years, the red-hot Muse was coming off a best-selling album and a concert to the area the week before. If there was *ANY* upset in the tournament that was actually an upset, and could have been predicted, this would have been it. Muse fought hard, and damn near made it happen, but ultimately 2009's regional winner prevailed. Facing a legitimate but undermatched Shinedown, they would inevitably face Breaking Benjamin, right?
The other new contender in the 00's was Kings of Leon, whose major debut had won them three grammies and garnered all sorts of press. They looked to be an overrated flash-in-the-pan, but auspiciously, they began as a #3 seed against another not-so-hard band, Coldplay. Still, Coldplay was the proven favorite, and KoL absolutely destroyed them. Perhaps Kings of Leon were the real deal, and would do to the 00's what Iron Maiden and SRV were doing in the 80's....nope. Breaking Benjamin defeated them. Meanwhile, Godsmack and Foo Fighters had also reached the sweet 16, and it was apparent that for the first time, 2010 would return a previous winner since the only four bands remaining were the past 4 years' champions. Foo Fighters defeated their achilles heel, Godsmack, and then bested Breaking Benjamin to take the field in the favorite four.
This year's great eight was one of the most entertaining. Maiden/Rush was a blow-out, and PJ/Tool was decided well before the end, but Floyd/Zeppelin and Foo Fighters/Breaking Benjamin were extremely tight contests that only served to rev up the listeners for the favorite four. The first semifinal was Rush vs. Tool. Morning show host Preston Elliott had made his case known beforehead to the early listeners who he favored, however this was occuring during Jaxon's shift, who is a notorious Tool fan. The early vote was in favor of Rush, who built a lead, with many phone voters expressing sharing sentiments with Preston. However, after the halftime announcement that Rush was leading, Tool charged back to bring the match to a near tie. Thus is continued until the final votes were taken, and Jaxon had to label the match too close to call. It was only after a commercial break to give the beleaguered DJ and his producer a chance to tabulate the votes that it was decided that Tool actually had a significant lead -- about 60 votes. The other semi-final was significantly less interesting, and although it was revealed that Foo Fighters didn't completely go out quietly, and still managed 48% of the vote, this match was Floyd's to begin with. Thus, the finals were set: Tool vs Pink Floyd.
On the surface, Pink Floyd would seem like the band to pick. A past champion, a proven classic favorite, it was hard to dispute this position. However, there were a number of factors that worked to Tool's advantage:
- The Pearl Jam effect: Tool is a less-played band. Although their A to Z would likely be less prolific, listeners are not as tired of listening to them.
- The Metallica effect: It was apparent from listening to the inaugural match that left the returning champion outed in the very beginning that the crowd prefers to see new blood. Pink Floyd is a past tournament champion, albeit that happened in the very first M-M-Rch Madness. Tool has made the finals, but they have not previously won.
- The Grateful Dead effect: 5:00 is the perfect timeslot for Tool. It features a DJ who claims them as their favorite band, with probably the highest percent of Tool fans listening during the day. Said DJ did not attempt to throw the match and was incredibly fair and impartial, but this factor can't be ignored.
- The Breaking Benjamin effect: Bandwagons are a powerful thing. Although Tool's tide may not have been a sudden tsunami so much as a rather strong current, they have won an increasing number of matches each year. Tool fans were prognosticating that this would be their year, and they convinced everyone else of it, completely crushing and demoralizing everyone they faced up until Rush.
- The Coldplay effect: Style clashes always leave someone on the short end. Certain matches are just destined based on the type of sound each band has, and style clashes *usually* favor the band that rocks harder, with the exception being during early afternoon matches, which this was not.
- Past precedent: Did we mention yet that Tool beat Pink Floyd last year?
Voters are predictable. If you can consider all the factors that go into a match, none of them are really THAT big a surprise. When you consider all of the factors listed here put together, Tool's victory with 53% of the ballot is really not a surprise. Curiously, either of the other two bands in the favorite four would have stood a better chance than the giant Pink Floyd. Rush did fare better against Tool.
This was the information from "This Year's Tournament" as it unfolded...
- Game 1: The Clash beats Metallica!! Who could have possibly seen this coming? This just goes to show that the listeners don't like to see repeat winners. The Clash pulled about 58% of the vote. I hope the DJ's keep telling us the margin of victory.
- Game 2: Pearl Jam beats Live with 61% of the vote.
- Game 3: Led Zeppelin knocks off The Ramones with 59%.
- Game 4: Foo Fighters narrowly escape Three Days Grace, by a "margin of 22 votes." Presumably that's significantly less than 1%.
- Game 5: Bon Jovi is upset by Iron Maiden with a 53-47 margin.
- Game 6: The Offspring trounce Weezer with over 60% of the vote.
- Game 7: Bruce Springsteen beats The Doors. (details unknown)
- Game 8: Incubus beats Disturbed, surprisingly. (details unknown)
- Game 9: Ozzy Osbourne upsets Tom Petty, competing a trifecta of 80's powers being bounced at the beginning of the tournament. (details unknown)
- Game 10: Alice in Chains defeats Soundgarden. (details unknown)
- Game 11: Unsurprisingly, Jimi Hendrix ousts Aerosmith. (details unknown)
- Game 12: Godsmack tops Audioslave (details unknown)
- Game 13: Van Halen handily takes down The Police, with nearly 70% of the vote.
- Game 14: Sublime takes over 60% of the vote against Nirvana.
- Game 15: The Grateful Dead come back from a halftime deficit to best Queen, finishing with 56% of the ballot.
- Game 16: System of a Down crushes Nickelback. (no percent reported)
- Game 17: Rush destroys Talking Heads, more than tripling them.
- Game 18: Tool beats Collective Soul (details unknown)
- Game 19: Black Sabbath is defeated by Bob Marley (details unknown)
- Game 20: Breaking Benjamin tops The White Stripes (details unknown)
- Game 21: Genesis upsets U2 for the second time. (details unknown)
- Game 22: RHCP edges out Blink 182 52-48.
- Game 23: The Who trounce Neil Young.
- Game 24: Kings of Leon blows out Coldplay, with 61% of the vote.
- Game 25: Stevie Ray Vaughn beats The Flaming Terd with nearly 70% of the vote, thanks partly to some lobbying by the DJ.
- Game 26: STP beats DMB. (details unknown)
- Game 27: The Rolling Stones lose in round 1 for an unprecedented fifth straight time, this time to Lynyrd Skynyrd. (details unknown)
- Game 28: Shinedown bests The Killers. (details unknown)
- Game 29: AC/DC beats Motley Crue by a 2:1 margin.
- Game 30: greenday/ratm
- Game 31: Pink Floyd takes 68% of the vote against ZZ Top.
- Game 32: Linkin Park comes back at the end of the round to eke out an 11 vote victory over Muse.
- Game 33: Iron Maiden knocks out The Clash
- Game 34: Pearl Jam survives a scare from The Offspring, who had just taken the lead at halftime.
- Game 35: Led Zeppelin takes one from Bruce Springsteen
- Game 36: Foo Fighters beat Incubus 56-44.
- Game 37: Van Halen blows away Ozzy Osbourne.
- Game 38: Alice in Chains beats Sublime
- Game 39: Despite 300 votes from Trucker Pierre, Jimi Hendrix knocks out The Grateful Dead.
- Game 40: Godsmack takes down System of a Down
- Game 41: Rush defeats Genesis
- Game 42: Tool one-ups RHCP
- Game 43: Bob Marley upsets The Who
- Game 44: Breaking Benjamin stops the upstart Kings of Leon
- Game 45: Upstart Stevie Ray Vaughn keeps it going past #2 AC/DC
- Game 46: In a double-overtime match, STP outlasts Green Day
- Game 47: Lynyrd Skynyrd drops to Pink Floyd
- Game 48: Linkin Park wins going away against Shinedown
- Game 49: In a surprise runaway, contrary to what phone votes indicate, Iron Maiden blows out Van Halen.
- Game 50: Pearl Jam stops Alice in Chains for the third time in five years.
- Game 51: Led Zeppelin doubles Jimi Hendrix
- Game 52: Foo Fighters win comfortably against their rival, Godsmack.
- Game 53: Rush takes out upstart Stevie Ray Vaughn
- Game 54: STP keeps it respectable against Tool, being their closest match so far with about 44% of the vote.
- Game 55: Bob Marley drops to Pink Floyd.
- Game 56: Breaking Benjamin overcomes Linkin Park.
Round 4 Edit
- Game 57: Rush completely destroys Iron Maiden, more than doubling them.
- Game 58: Tool takes 56% of the ballot against Pearl Jam, reported as about a 60 vote difference.
- Game 59: Returning from a halftime deficit, Pink Floyd pulls 51.3% of the vote against Led Zeppelin
- Game 60: Foo Fighters narrowly gets past Breaking Benjamin, with 51.6% of the ballot.