Guilty Pleasures tournament bracket: Follow all the match-ups here!

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Above, please find the official bracket for’s Music Mix Search for the Greatest Guilty Pleasure Act of All Time Tournament Poll Challenge Thing. Hundreds of you wrote in to share your picks, and through a completely not-scientific compilation process, we’ve come up with 32 contestants and seeded them according to strength, popularity, and general guilt. We’re pitting them head to head until we reach a thunderdome of epically cheesy proportions, and walk away with a winner, so check out the match-ups, print out the bracket so you can play at home, and leave your comments after the beep.

NOTE: The role of Savage Garden will be played by Poison for the remainder of this competition. Savage Garden were forced to drop out due to an unfortunate combination of astute reader response pointing out that somehow we totally forgot to put any hair metal on the list — a truly egregious oversight we hope has now been sufficiently remedied — and because certain proprietors of the Guilty Pleasures game could not come up with anything interesting to write about Savage Garden. The Music Mix regrets any confusion.

Round One
Nickelback (1) vs. Phish (16)
Britney Spears (1) vs. Pussycat Dolls (16)
ABBA (2) vs. Hootie & the Blowfish (15)
Barry Manilow (2) vs. Matchbox Twenty (15)
Journey (3) vs. Fall Out Boy (14)
Spice Girls (3) vs. Rihanna (14)
Ace of Base (4) vs. Stone Temple Pilots (13)
Backstreet Boys (4) vs. Duran Duran (13)
Meat Loaf (5) vs. Garth Brooks (12)
Celine Dion (5) vs. Will Smith (12)
George Michael/Wham (6) vs. Phil Collins/Genesis (11)
Hall & Oates (6) vs. Poison (11)
Neil Diamond (7) vs. John Denver (10)
Styx (7) vs. Air Supply (10)
Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana (8) vs. Lady Gaga (9)
Ashlee Simpson (8) vs. Mariah Carey (9)

Comments (105 total) Add your comment
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  • Paul

    Why is Stone Temple Pilots considered a guilty pleasure? That one doesn’t quite make sense to me.

    • flh

      Agreed – STP is one of the best bands to come out of the 90s. Nothing shameful about their music.

      • Cara

        I’m ashamed everytime I hear ‘Praise You’, they sing that right?

      • @ Cara

        Um no… they didn’t
        Are you talking about the Fatboy Slim song?

    • Me too

      I agree too. They are awesome! And putting them up against Ace of Base? Whitney Pastorek needs to get a new job.

    • AR

      I agree. Stone Temple Pilots were in their heyday during my high school/college days so I hold a fond spot for them in my heart. Aside from that, they are a talented band…one of the best of hte 90’s and don’t fit the “guilty” part of this description.

    • Anth

      Yeah, I’ve never encountered anyone who is embarrassed to admit to liking STP. And I’ve told people they’re my third favorite band of all time and haven’t gotten one disgusted or perplexed reaction. STP being on this list makes no sense whatsoever.

      • Luis

        Stone Temple Pilots a guilty pleasure? Whoever submitted STP as a guilty pleasure must be retards.

      • Cara

        I’m embarrased to knowing who they are… actually, Who are they?

      • Ed

        You should be embarrassed. STP were imitators and not even good ones at that.

    • agent227

      I’m kind of wondering about this one myself. Not that I really think ALL of their catalog is great shakes, but please, interstate love song is a modern classic, and black hole sun still blows me away. no, this is unacceptable, EW. unacceptable.


        I like Black Hole Sun too, but that song was Soundgardens.

      • agent227

        oh, snap. you are so right.

  • paige

    awesome! haha Mariah fans Should feel guilty- she sucks lol

    • Lance

      haha. agreed. love that she made this list.

  • lefty

    I don’t understand the Rihanna guiltiness either…she better be a low seed haha.

  • Scott

    Stone Temple Pilots? Guilty pleasure? …really?

  • Joel Butts

    Garth Brooks? How can arguably the most popular country star of all time be considered a guilty pleasure?

    And Mariah? I can’t stand her music, but there is no denying her talent.

    Now Meatloaf, there is a guilty pleasure I can get behind. :)

    • Agreed

      I agree with you on Garth Brooks. How can he be a guilty pleasure?

      • Nate

        Garth is a guilty because he’s country and those who don’t usually be caught death listening to country listen to him….in secret. I’m not one of them, I’ve never like Garth, I’m a Hank Williams Gang fan all the way.

      • AMJ

        I agree with Nate…many of us wouldn’t be caught dead listening to country but I have 2 country guilty pleasures Garth Brooks and Shania Twain.

  • Mitch

    ABBA all the way!

    • elr

      My sentiments exactly! ABBA for the win…

  • Bobbie

    I totally agree with Nickelback and the Pussycat dolls being guilty pleasures. I can’t stand it.Every time I hear it on the radio,I switch the station.But I don’t agree on people saying that Mariah sucks,she doesn’t,the woman can really sing.How many Miley’s and others like her can say that ?

    • wrp

      I agree Mariah can sing. She just chooses terrible songs.

  • PDT

    STP, Phish, and Phil Collins? I didn’t think people were afraid to admit they loved these guys.

    If Britney and Nickelback don’t walk away with the first round, people are lying.

    • agent227

      I think most people that like Nickelback don’t consider it a guilty pleasure. I wouldn’t think most of them ever pick up an issue of Entertainment Weekly, let alone vote in an online poll on I’ve noticed a certain standard of intelligence in the average EW subscriber, and, as we all should know just by listening to them, Nickelback are not a smart man’s band. Britney Spears will take the win.

  • AngieLam

    Neil Diamond for the win!!! “Ooh, I love my Rosie Child…”

  • MD

    Yes – my money is on Neil Diamond too!

  • Mark M

    Oh yeah…Air Supply made the list…but it’s up against Styx…curse you EW…Curse you for making me decide between these two…

    • Christa C

      I KNOW!!!! I hate decisions like these.

    • elr

      I felt the same way. Boo Hoo! But I had to go with Styx.

  • Chris

    I vote for Britney and Phish!

  • JC38

    There should be no guilty pleasures in music. If you like something, why be ashamed of it? Just enjoy it, guilt free.

    • YouAreAllMySons

      People should be guilty of enjoying the Pussycat Dolls.

  • Sebastion

    Why is Beyonce’ not on the list? She is the best and should be on here. Dont worry B, u are my Guilty Pleasure

    • peaches

      Exactly! Along with Beyonce let’s add Fergie to the list. They’re like the Taco Bell and Jack in the box of pop music. Not good for you but so tasty, tasty!

      • Eddy

        Good point! Why not throw Fergie and the rest of the Black Eyed Peas in there too? Although I don’t know how much of a pleasure they are- their music drives me batty.

  • Katie

    Backstreet Boys vs. Duran Duran? I can’t decide! I love them both, and neither one is a guilty pleasure for me.

    • AMJ

      Yes, this one is so tough for me too! I love them both but ultimately I don’t admit Backstreet Boys to too many people. And, Duran Duran it’s still kind of cool to say you were a fan in the 80’s….it’s retro. Tough one!

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