Linkin Park goes head-to-head with Evanescence in another huge contest … voting in all Sweet 16 matchups ends Tuesday!
By James Montgomery
After two rounds of upsets and upheaval, MTV’s Musical March Madness has finally reached the Sweet 16, where things really start to get interesting.
Because at this point in the tournament, only the strong remain: Our last two champions are both still alive, as are the last two runners-up. There are the perennial powerhouses still looking for that elusive MMM title, and a few hard-to-kill underdogs, too, each hoping to shock the world.
And with matchups that include Evanescence vs. Linkin Park, Paramore vs. 30 Seconds to Mars and Green Day vs. James Durbin, this year’s Sweet 16 is shaping up to be one for the ages. And if your favorite band is still alive, you can help them move one step closer to the MMM title by voting now.
But you’ve got to hurry; voting in all Sweet 16 matchups closes Tuesday, March 27, at midnight ET, and on Wednesday, the tournament moves to the Elite 8.
And since time is short, we’re gonna cut right to the chase … here’s a look at all the Sweet 16 matchups in MMM 2012.
It’s #5 My Chemical Romance versus #16 AWOLNATION in the top half of the bracket, and we’d say this one should be a cakewalk for the mighty MCR … except, just to reach the Sweet 16, AWOL has already fought their way past #1 the Black Keys and the tournament-tested Rise Against!, which means they’ll probably be a tougher test than most imagine. Still, though they might face a struggle, it’s difficult to not see MCR moving on here.
The same can’t be said about the matchup in the bottom half of the region, however, as #7 Metallica squares off against #14 Five Finger Death Punch, in a hard-hitting, heavy-riffing battle that truly is impossible to predict. Metallica disposed of Guns N’ Roses in the opening round, then rallied to overtake Sum 41 in round two. (thanks, John Cena!) Meanwhile, Five Finger blew out #3 Pearl Jam in the first round, and then withstood a late charge from #11 Chevelle to secure their spot in the Sweet 16. Who comes out on top here? In a pinch, we’ll take Metallica, though this one seems destined to come right down to the wire.
Defending MMM champs Green Day draw #16 James Durbin in the top half of the bracket, and, much like the MCR/AWOL matchup, on the surface, this one looks like it’ll be Green Day in a rout. But at this point, Durbin has dumped #1 Foo Fighters and #8 Best Coast, both by huge margins. Can he dethrone the champions and advance to the Elite 8? You know what? We’re going to say yes. Consider yourselves on upset alert, Green Day.
In the bottom of the West bracket, it’s #11 Adam Lambert versus #15 Panic! at the Disco, in a matchup that pits two of MMM’s most fervent fanbases against each other. Both acts have been through the March Madness wringer before, but neither has been able to make it over that final hump. Could this be the year one of them raises the big gold trophy? Perhaps. This is another contest that’s going to be too close to call.
The march toward the inevitable Tokio Hotel/Coheed and Cambria showdown continues, as both draw lower-seeded opponents in the Sweet 16. In Tokio’s case, they get Toronto wailers F—ed Up, who have shocked everybody by taking down Mumford & Sons and Radiohead during their dream run to the Sweet 16. Sadly, we’re pretty sure that run ends here, as Tokio have been flexing their MMM muscles throughout the tourney, and may very well be the team to beat in 2012.
Then again, they’ll have to get through 2010 champs Coheed and Cambria, who draw #11 Semi-Precious Weapons in their Sweet 16 matchup. And though SPW have battled past Fun. And Florence and the Machine just to make it this far, they’ve yet to go up against a fanbase like Coheed and Cambria’s Children of the Fence … and, well, let’s just say we’re already looking forward to Wednesday’s Tokio/Coheed Elite 8 battle. It’s sure to be epic.
We’ve saved the best for last. Because things are about to get hot down in the South, with a pair of heavyweight Sweet 16 matchups that are sure to barn-burners. In the top half of the bracket, it’s lone-remaining #1, Evanescence, taking on tournament-tested #5 Linkin Park. Amy Lee and company have yet to really be challenged in MMM 2012, pasting #16 Alabama Shakes and #9 Dave Matthews Band. Meanwhile, Shinoda, Bennington and the guys have had to fight every step of the way, holding off a late-charge from #12 At the Drive In and another huge rally from #4 Jack White just to advance. Something’s gotta give here … and, in a pinch, we’re taking Evanescence. Though, again, it’s gonna be close.
Down in the bottom half of the bracket, it’s #2 Paramore against #6 30 Seconds to Mars, and to anyone who’s followed the tournament over the years, well, you know that this is basically the Duke/North Carolina of MMM. Both bands have come close to winning it all (Paramore were edged out in last year’s championship game), and both are supported by huge fan armies, so, yeah, this one is serious. We’ve honestly got no idea how it plays out, so instead, we’re just gonna sit back and enjoy this one.
Is your favorite band still alive in the Sweet 16? Do you want to avenge an early exit? Well, get voting … polls in the Sweet 16 close Tuesday at midnight ET, and then we’ll head on to the Elite 8! The MMM title is within reach, and you can determine who’ll grab it.
MTV’s 2012 Musical March Madness tournament has reached the Sweet 16! Voting runs until midnight ET on Tuesday, March 27, and winners are determined by fan votes, so if your favorite act is still alive, 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 only gets more difficult from here on out.
Cee Lo appears most moved by his teams’ performances as he breaks into tears during rehearsals.
By James Dinh
It’s the final round of face-offs for the contestants of “The Voice.” On Monday night (March 26) the remainder of the aspiring singing superstars dueled it out in the last stage in front of judges Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green.
Fans of “The Voice” will begin to have their say in the performance outcomes when the NBC series goes live next Monday.
As one of the night’s most interesting duels, Xtina paired up THE LiNE and Moses Stone to tackle the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Worried about how they’ll sound, the country twosome tried to take advice from their pop-star judge. “If you’re going to be a career artist, I think you’re going to need to know how to morph into kind of someone else’s energy,” she proclaimed.
Alongside mentor Lionel Richie, Xtina urged Moses to explore his voice and utilize his gift to its full potential. Problems arose over at THE LiNE’s prep time, with Jewel criticizing their “wedding band” similarities. But everyone caught heat during rehearsal time when Xtina called her team out for not using the stage entirely.
Moses sounded like the champion mid-performance when he broke off for an original verse during the performance, but ultimately Adam and Blake favored THE LiNE. Xtina ended up going her own way and choosing Moses. “Just to know that I made my couch happy and she was really proud of me means the world to me,” Moses said backstage.
With only one pair of contestants left in the game, Blake told Naia Kete and Jordan Rager they would take on Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” Even though the country superstar admitted that the tune would probably fit more to Naia, he said Jordan had a more of an opportunity “to blow people away.”
Later on, Blake’s decision to take Jordan out of his element appeared problematic as he revealed that he doesn’t harmonize very often. And mentor Miranda Lambert wasn’t completely impressed with Jordan’s take, admitting that he had a lot of work to do. “A lot of the work is not about singing. It’s about inside his heart and his mind,” she said. Kelly Clarkson served as Naia’s mentor and suggested that the singer take some vocal risks toward the end of the number.
Both contestants took a friendly approach to their battle as they spent much of the number circling each other with smiles. Even though Jordan lost some of his nerves, Naia shined the brightest with her vocal acrobats and styling, and because of that, all the judges, including Blake, sided with the neo-soul songstress.
Team Cee Lo
Cee Lo’s first pairing of the night exemplified how unpredictable some battles can get as he brought together James Massone and WADE. Upon telling the couple that they’d be battling it out to Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” James showed some major hesitation and lack of confidence, saying the song is simply “not his style.”
Putting in some rehearsal time, the duo ended up bringing the judge to tears as they make their way through the 1986 classic. “Oh my God. It’s something about that song that makes me cry. I’m proud of y’all, man,” Cee Lo said. Even though the odds appeared in WADE’s corner, he struggled to stay on pitch and lacked the confidence displayed during rehearsal time. After some words from the judges, the vote was unanimous: James was sent to the next stage in the competition.
For the first time in the night, Justin Hopkins and Tony Vincent appeared content to battle it out over one of Cee Lo’s all-time favorite songs, Journey’s “Faithfully.”
In pairing up two very different singers, Justin admitted his fear over Tony’s range and Broadway background. Emotions got the best of Cee Lo once again during prep time, as he removed his sunglasses and wiped away some tears.
During mentoring time, Babyface came in to advise Tony and suggested the vocalist step up his strengths. “Tony’s a pro!” the R&B veteran admitted. Justin appeared to take more away from his one-on-one mentoring time with Cee Lo and Ne-Yo, as he attempted to mirror some of their notes.
Once the duo began their performance, it became clear that both contestants put a very different spin on the Journey classic. However, Cee Lo found Tony’s vocal styling more suitable in comparison to Justin’s rough twist and advanced him to the next round.
Mr. Maroon 5 wasted no time in announcing that Nicolle Galyon and Mathai would go head-to-head, covering Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song.” Surprised that the judge would pair such a contrast of vocalists together, Mathai appeared worried about how she would fare against Nicolle. And, as expected, Nicolle talked to Adam about beginning the song on the piano — only to be warned that her vocals shouldn’t be compromised because of the instrument.
“I’m really excited to rock out on the piano,” she said, adding, “It’s really an advantage. It makes me … me.”
With the guidance of Adam and mentor Robin Thicke, Nicolle feared Mathai’s abundance of attitude. Mentor Alanis Morissette was on hand to help out Mathai in techniques the young singer wasn’t familiar with. Rehearsal time shook things up for the duel, as Adam decided to eliminate Nicolle’s piano. Ultimately, it is Mathai who prevailed over Nicolle for stage presence and the skill that was emphasized during rehearsal time.
Up next for Adam’s team was a duel between Karla Davis and Orlando Napier. Despite his initial song pick (Hall & Oates’ “Rich Girl”), Karla and Orlando were relieved when Adam switched up his choice in favor of the Commodores’ “Easy.”
Leaving her nerves behind, Karla let go and used her 20-minute prep time to shake off reservations with Alanis Morissette as her mentor. Orlando benefited from his time with Robin Thicke by learning about note enunciation.
Orlando kicked off the performance with some strong notes and confidence, but Adam picked Karla as his winner, citing how much she’s blossomed throughout the competition.
Atlanta MC Killer Mike will also stop by on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET on MTV.com
By Rob Markman
Last week Odd Future dropped by for a crazy episode of “RapFix Live,” but this week, things are about to get real nasty. Nasty Nas will stop by MTV on Wednesday to chop it up with Sway, taking a trip down memory lane and looking toward the future and his upcoming album Life is Good.
Wednesday will mark the first time the rap legend has sat on the “RapFix Live” couch. It’s been 18 years since Nas dropped his iconic debut Illmatic, and the Queensbridge MC proved that he is just as vicious as ever when he dropped his latest single, “The Don,” earlier this month. Backed by a reggae-tinged beat (co-produced by the late Heavy D), “The Don” finds Nas delivering lyrics with the tenacity of hungry teen who is looking for his first break. It’s a vibe that Esco successful captured on his 2011 single “Nasty” as well.
If “The Don” and “Nasty” are any indication, Nas’ 10th LP, Life is Good, is already shaping up to be one of the most-anticipated rap albums of the year. We’re sure he will have plenty to say about his upcoming release as well as his career in retrospect.
Atlanta MC Killer Mike will also be stopping by the “RapFix” set this week. Killa Kill made his rap debut on OutKast’s unforgettable 2000 album Stankonia and has since carved out a unique lane for his brand of street-laced, politically charged raps. Last year, Mike partnered with T.I.’s Grand Hustle label and dropped PL3DGE, the third album of his I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind series. Next up, Mike is partnering with former Company Flow MC/producer El-P to release their collaborative R.A.P. Music LP. The album’s first single, “Big Beast,” features Bun B, T.I. and Atlanta newcomer Trouble.
Catch Nas and Killer Mike on “RapFix Live” Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET on MTV.com, and be sure to join the Twitter conversation using the hashtags #RapFixLive. Send your questions for the artists to @MTVRapFiX!
We recognize the big-screen adaptation’s time constraints, but we missed these moments from the book.
By Fallon Prinzivalli
Translating a novel into a Hollywood blockbuster is not an easy task. Since there is limited time, a lot of the juicy tidbits get lost in translation. With a book as popular as “The Hunger Games,” fan criticism lurks at every turn and the screenwriters are careful to include as many of the beloved scenes as possible.
Luckily, the adaptation of the book to the big screen left this weekend’s moviegoers extremely pleased. While we are understanding of the time constraints — the movie is already over two hours — there were a few key “Hunger Games” book scenes we would have loved to see in the film.
For those of you who have yet to read the book, there are spoilers ahead. (Also, what are you waiting for?! If you enjoyed the movie, the book will fill in all the missing details.) From Haymitch’s drunken fall to District 11′s respect for Katniss to Katniss’ fight to get back to Peeta, here are our picks for the five key scenes from the book not in the movie:
Haymitch Falling Offstage at the Reaping
From the start of the Reaping scene with Prim stopped dead in her tracks to the end when Katniss is escorted to her holding room, the audience is left shaking in their seats. Katniss volunteering in place of Prim saw quite a few audience members already in tears too. In the novel, before Effie begins her infamous “Happy Hunger Games!” speech, there is a quick scene where Haymitch is so drunk he falls off the stage. It adds a little comic relief to his introduction, but it also sets up the mentor’s troubled state and shows the effect the Games had on him years later as a grown man.
Peeta’s Father Bringing Katniss Cookies
In the book, before Katniss and Peeta board the train for the Capitol, Katniss gets a surprise visitor: Peeta’s dad, the District 12 baker, brings her a plate of cookies and informs her that he’ll make sure Prim is eating. It’s a touching gesture that confuses Katniss at first. She is familiar with Mr. Mellark because he buys the squirrels she hunts in the woods, but he has no obligation to her or her family. Katniss comes to believe it is because everyone merely tolerates her but they cannot help but love innocent, friendly Prim. The scene sets the audience up for Katniss’ distrust of Peeta throughout the book.
District 11 Sending Katniss Bread
The District 11 uprising after Rue’s death in the movie adaptation is absent from the novel. In lieu of this scene, Katniss is sent a sponsor gift containing a loaf of bread. During their training before the Games, Peeta explained to Katniss the different types of bread in each district, and Katniss immediately recognizes the loaf as coming from District 11. In recognition of the gift, she says a thank you to the district out loud. While the movie scene shows the power Katniss already possesses against the Capitol, the book scene slowly sets up the other districts’ willingness to trust her.
Katniss Telling Peeta the Story of Prim’s Goat
While Katniss attempts to nurse Peeta back to health — to no avail, as his leg gets worse — a feverish Peeta asks her to tell him a story. Knowing that the Capitol and Gamemakers are listening to every word, she leaves out the details of her and Gale hunting in the woods and tells him the story of how she bought Prim’s goat, Lady. After selling a young buck at the Hob, Katniss has enough money to buy Prim a nice birthday present. She passes on a hairbrush and cloth for a dress in favor of an injured goat. Prim loves animals, and with her mother’s help, they were able to nurse Lady back to health. The milk from the goat helped the Everdeens survive after their father’s death. Katniss’ ability to open up to Peeta adds to the love-triangle dynamic. The more Katniss reveals about herself to Peeta, the more she starts to care for him and vice versa, whereas Gale was around to experience these moments with her.
Katniss Screaming for Peeta After the Games
One of the more powerful scenes in the book comes when Katniss and Peeta are airlifted out of the arena and onto a hover craft. Katniss sees Peeta being taken away, but at the time, she is unaware of the reason. As they are separated, Katniss begins pounding on a glass door while screaming Peeta’s name. While the audience is left to wonder whether Katniss is really in love with Peeta, this scene shows that, regardless of whether it was all an act, she cares about him. Later on, this scene is replayed in front of the Capitol during an interview with Caesar Flickerman and shows that the star-crossed-lovers act just might save her life — at least for now.
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