Bracket Released for Advent Caroling Madness #1

Without further adieu, I present you with the bracket for the battle to discover the best version of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”:

Emmanuel bracket

Bethany Bylsma nominated Whitney Houston’s version, which I must confess I had never heard. Her peerless pipes earned her the #1 seed!

Pentatonix is what started this whole contest. Did that earn them an undeserved #2 seed? Too high for this upstart group?

Paula Hampton and Josh Reid both nominated The Piano Guys. A classic style, simple, executed brilliantly.

Remember that “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” began as a Gregorian Chant. The #4 seed is a version I found sung by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. Can the old school survive in head to head battle with today’s best?

I also brought The Civil Wars to the table. Big with the college crowd, a solid #5 seed.

#6 seed Steven Curtis Chapman is a sentimental favorite of the committee (me). Elaine Koskela recommended this one!

Steve Sherwood recommended Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Philharmonic, from “The Glorious Sounds of Christmas”. It makes him cry every time. But so does the lighting of the beacons in Return of the King, so I’m not sure that’s going to be enough support for this #7 seed…

In the dreaded #8 seed slot is Sufjan Stevens, recommend by J Rourke and Sara Kelm. This is always where a good contender ends up in trouble, because after they win in the first round, they have to face the #1 seed. But Sufjan may be up to the task!

Facing Sufjan will be Mark Johnson’s nomination, the David Crowder Band, the #9 seed.

In the #10 slot is Bethany Bylsma’s recommendation, Branches. I had never heard this one, but they are good!

Josh Reid recommended The Punch Brothers, also new to me, and they earned the #11 seed.

Sixpence None the Richer is a surprisingly low #12 seed…but we all know the #5-#12 game often produces an upset…

#13 is Phil Wickham, nominated by Josh Reid; #14 is Future of Forestry, suggested by Jamie Johnson; #15 is Peter, Paul & Mary, Melanie Mock’s recommendation; and #16 wraps up the bracket with Rob Halford, the singer from Judas Priest. He comes courtesy of Mareesa and Michael Fawver’s recommendation.

Bubbles Burst:

So many versions lie in mourning, having to hope now for an NIT invitation. Bethany Bylsma also recommended First Call and Dustin Kensrue. Lisa Nauman offered Big Daddy Weave.

Michael Fawver has already collected THIRTY versions of this song! He offered several that did not make their way into my bracket: August Burns Red, A Rocky Mountain Christmas Collection, Easy Anthems, Viktor Mastorides, Alex Acuna and the Unknowns, and Phil Driscoll. Those are all very diverse and well worth the listen!

Good luck in the NIT as well to Pedro the Lion (Michael Chapman recommendation), Philips, Craig and Dean (Scott Cornwall), and several that I originally wanted in but got bumped by all your great recommendations: Wendy Goodwin and Company, Francesca Battistelli, Groove for Thought, and Kari Jobe.

Watch tomorrow for analysis of the brackets! First round battles will take place Thursday, second round on Friday, and on Saturday we will have the semi-finals and finals.

PLEASE DO YELL AT ME IN THE COMMENTS! I want this to be like March Madness, where everybody talks about how biased and stupid the committee (me) is. 🙂


15 thoughts on “Bracket Released for Advent Caroling Madness #1

  1. Versions of the same song…I have 5 of this, 9 of O Holy Night, and 4 of O Little Town of Bethlehem. Not to mention the Tannenbaums, and the All Ye Faithfuls. So many song titles beginning with “O”!!!!!!


  2. You don’t say how this is going to be decided. Assuming it’s a vote, here are mine for round one:
    Houston (barely)
    Civil Wars
    Punch Brothers
    Piano Guys
    Eugene Ormandy (in easily the best game of round one, a late game pull away)
    Peter, Paul & Mary


    • I CAN’T with this bracket. Obviously Whitney is queen. I can’t believe Beyonce has even attempted a career at all. But that’s another comment for another time. While we’re on the topic of takeovers – put college students today in a room with college students from 2001 and you tell me who wins the Sixpence vs. Civil Wars battle. I mean…2001 was a rough year for a lot of us, and I have enough aggression left over to kick Joy Williams in the teeth. Even if I am a “friend”.

      SPEAKING OF FRIENDS – you are one of the most ridiculous people I know. If there are volumes of books written about great pastors of the early 21st century, I hope you get an appendix for this bracket. But only if Whitney. And Peter, Paul and Mary survive. If they don’t – forget it. 🙂


      • Bethany, your comment would have been the best thing in the world, except that you’re kinda stealing my punch line for the post I’m writing right now… 🙂


  3. Putting Peter, Paul and Mary vs Pentatonix in the first round is killing me. Maybe in the semi’s – maybe in the quarters – but not in the first round. Come on…. This is awesome. On a “web design” note … Can you make the links to the songs open in different tabs? I know I could right click and open in a new tab, but might be nice the other way (sorry, the computer teacher in me just came out…) Looking forward to seeing this play out.


  4. My votes:
    2)Crowder Band
    3)Sixpence was a strong favorite going in, but the simple arrangement of The Civil Wars wins out!
    4)The fourth match is a scratch because the Benedictine link didn’t work for me and I disliked the Wickham too much.
    5)SC Chapman loses, if only for the Thomas Kinkade paintings in the video, but I also liked the Punch Bros. better.
    6)The Piano Guys
    7)The Philadelphia Philharmonic
    8)Pentatonix because PP&M have the cheesy choral background


  5. Pingback: Vote for your favorite version! | Out of doubt, out of dark, to the day's rising…

  6. Dr. Bracketology brings his game to a new level. This committee is clearly biased (but that is self-evident as all bring bias), but the general expertise, diversity and excellence of the bracket shows that the NCAA selection committee may need to watch its back.

    Given the brilliance of Dr. Bracketology, can this committee be the early recommendation for the selection committee for the 2014 4 team post-BCS college football playoffs? The selections show not only regional, but also historical and cultural diversity. Clearly this guru has done his homework and doesn’t ignore the late night West Coast talent – nor those who have been lingering in Gregorian Chants for the past centuries.

    Plaudits all around to the selection committee. We expect honorary doctorates in bracketology to be following soon.


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