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