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What is the Worst Song Ever?
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   Saturday, June 26, 2004
Finals Results
Lee Greenwood - God Bless The USA: 13
Neil Diamond - Heartlight: 10

Ladies and Gentlemen..we have a new Worst Song Ever for 2004.

What a difference a year makes; a song eliminated in the Round of 128 the last time this was done, runs a gamut, taking down perennial contender "Heartlight"

Choice Quotes For God Bless The USA:
"Neil is not milking Heartlight. As far as I can tell, it is not a tour staple, and (based on cursory internet searches) hasn't been part of the setlist since 1989. It's not ruining the seventh-inning stretch at ballgames anywhere. Meanwhile, Greenwood continues to coast on his aural turd." - GS

"Heartlight has turned into kitsch. At least Toby Keith sounds like he believes the stuff he sings; Lee does not. Heartlight's stupid and pedestrian, to be sure, but Neil has some great pop songs out there: Cracklin' Rosie, Brother Love, Solitary Man. Lee has nothing, and his song does not make me laugh when I think about it, it makes me ill. If I wanted sanitized pop product disguised as meaningful patriotism, I'd listen to "America," by Mr. Diamond. But even that has a pro-immigrant message that runs against the "American History for the Blindly Stupid" themes of Mr. Greenwood's opus. God Bless remains pretentious, yet contains no listening value, except the rising melody line in the chorus that Greenwood has to strain to hit, so that doesn't work. Heartlight is good for a laugh, and that gives it more points than Lee's song. Lee Greenwood, come on down and accept your award. Make sure you stamp out the fire with your foot." - DM

"Like others have said, while Heartlight sucks, Neil can rest on a better than average catalogue. What the hell does Greenwood have?" - RT

Choice Quotes For Heartlight:
"God Bless The USA" is the red-state "Mambo #5" -- a second-rate piece of music from a third-rate genre made gut-churningly awful by context. But even without the context, "Heartlight" gets the stomach pumping enough quarts of bile to take the cake, and the context of "Heartlight" is just the ipecac frosting." - DV

"Heartlight all the way. Neil has *so* earned it. Regarding the Lee Greenwood backlash,
once a waving American flag is automatically associated with Republicans, Fox News, and NASCAR, the Democrats have officially lost the culture war. Bad news for November, kiddies!"
- GJ

"On the road the other day, I stopped in an Arby's and they had a country station on. One of the songs that played while I was in there was "God Bless the USA." And while I wasn't thrilled... I never really wanted to stab myself. It's sickeningly overpatriotic, yes, but when you get right down to it, it just isn't bad enough to win this contest. As such, my vote goes to Heartlight, which most certainly is bad enough." - DF

And with that, dear readers, the Jukebox is closed.

I am the Answer Guy, the keeper of the Jukebox From Hell, and I approved this message.





   Friday, June 11, 2004

Jukebox From Hell Finals



And now...the moment you've all been waiting for:

Neil Diamond -Heartlight (North Champion)
Defeated Beach Boys "Kokomo" (13-5)
Defeated Warrant "Cherry Pie" (11-4)
Defeated New Kids On The Block "(You Got It) The Right Stuff" (12-4)
Defeated Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You" (10-9)
Defeated Paul Anka "You’re Having My Baby" (10-9)
Defeated Billy Ray Cyrus "Achy Breaky Heart" (14-9)

Lee Greenwood - God Bless The USA (South Champion)
Defeated Rednex "Cotton Eye Joe" (14-5)
Defeated MC Hammer "Pray" (15-4)
Defeated Christopher Cross "Sailing" (16-1)
Defated Ssgt. Barry Sadler "Ballad of the Green Berets" (15-4)
Defeated Morris Albert "Feelings" (16-3)
Defeated Bob Carlisle "Butterfly Kisses" (14-9)

It's somehow fitting that Jukebox From Hell has come down to two incredibly bombastic songs dripping with oily sentiment. One appeals to Americans' sense of patriotism, and the other invokes the alien in "E.T."
"Heartlight" went down narrowly in the semi-finals last year to Celine Dion's winning "Titanic" anthem - and was on the brink of defeat twice this year until last-minute surges propelled the song onward. The pattern repeated itself - to a point - as "Achy Breaky Heart" got out to an early lead, only to see the Jewish Elvis level yet another worthy Jukebox contender.
"God Bless The USA" drew a tough first round opponent last year in "I Will Always Love You" (which also nearly derailed "Heartlight" in this year's Round of 16) but triumphed only to fall to Eric Carmen's anthem of self-pity, "All By Myself" (which then washed out against Snow's "Informer" immediately thereafter) in the following round. This year has been a different story; even Greenwood's most recent opponent, Bob Carlisle's "Butterfly Kisses" could not stay with "God Bless The USA," and the song's other matches were total blowouts, even the one against last year's runner-up, "Feelings."

Both these songs are worthy candidates for Worst Pop Song Ever. But only one of them can carry that title this year. Which one will it be?

Voting on the Finals of Jukebox From Hell close on Wednesday, June 16 at 9:00 PM EDT.






Announcement

For those of you who love these exercises :

* Craig's TFTD blog has a tournament like this - currently in its middle phases - one that attempts to determine the Best "Saturday Night Live" skits ever.

* Rick's Livejournal will have a tournament that attempts to determine the Greatest Movie Ever.

Tonight, the finals begin!




   Thursday, June 10, 2004
Semifinal Results

Semifinal #1
Billy Ray Cyrus – Achy Breaky Heart: 9
Neil Diamond – Heartlight: 14
Choice Quote: Neil lays the schmaltz on so thick, it's solidified into schmutz. The Jewish Elvis is the only guy who can go toe-to-toe with country musicians in the over-emoting game. - DV
Answer Guy: Achy Breaky had an early lead, but was crushed, like so many songs before it in this competition, by the utter absurdity of Diamond’s unasked for ove song to E.T.

Semifinal #2
Lee Greenwood – God Bless The USA: 14
Bob Carlisle – Butterfly Kisses: 9
Choice Quote: I love America, but this is a song not for people who love America but for people who are secretly worried that they don't love America like they should and overcompensate by listening to sickeningly patriotic music. - RF
Answer Guy: Carlisle and his dreck come far closer to derailing the Lee Greenwood Express to the inner circles of Jukebox Hell. But not nearly close enough to make a difference.





   Tuesday, June 08, 2004
SEMIFINALS

Our Fetid Four this year is three hicks (Billy Ray, Bob, and Lee) and a Jew (Neil Diamond, the "Jewish Elvis"). which, come to think of it, sounds like the setup for a tasteless ethnic joke of some sort.

Semifinal #1
Billy Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky Heart (West Champion)
Defeated Amy Grant "Baby Baby" (11-3)
Defeated Starship "We Built This City" (10-7)
Defeated Vanilla Ice "Ice Ice Baby" (13-4)
Defeated Color Me Badd "I Wanna Sex You Up" (10-7)
Defeated Bryan Adams "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" (14-5)

Champion of the West Bracket, Cyrus’ song has run a gauntlet, taking out many a bad pop song, and finally getting past a schlocky ballad in Adams’ offering last round. But can it turn the trick again against "Heartlight?"

Neil Diamond -Heartlight (North Champion)
Defeated Beach Boys "Kokomo" (13-5)
Defeated Warrant "Cherry Pie" (11-4)
Defeated New Kids On The Block "(You Got It) The Right Stuff" (12-4)
Defeated Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You" (10-9)
Defeated Paul Anka "You’re Having My Baby" (10-9)

Heartlight is, at this point, perhaps the song other songs in this competition least (or most, depending on your perspective) want to see on the other side. Can Diamond’s pathetic attempt to latch on to the E.T. phenomenon survive the song that brought line dancing to the mainstream?

Semifinal #2

Bob Carlisle - Butterfly Kisses (East Champion)
Defeated Scorpions "Wind Of Change" (15-4)
Defeated Richard Harris "MacArthur Park" (8-6)
Defeated Michael Bolton "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You?" (11-8)
Defeated Baha Men "Who Let The Dogs Out?" (16-3)
Defeated Meat Loaf "I’d Do Antything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)" (13-6)

A newcomer to Jukebox From Hell, I’d had the good fortune to never have been exposed to Butterfly Kisses before it was suggested to me by no fewer than three different people. And it has since racked up some impressive wins over some horrible songs, even avenging its lower seeding at the hands of Michael Bolton by taking out the other NTAC entry in the field. But it faces it’s toughest challenge yet…


Lee Greenwood - God Bless The USA (South Champion)
Defeated Rednex "Cotton Eye Joe" (14-5)
Defeated MC Hammer "Pray" (15-4)
Defeated Christopher Cross "Sailing" (16-1)
Defated Ssgt. Barry Sadler "Ballad of the Green Berets" (15-4)
Defeated Morris Albert "Feelings" (16-3)

What can I say about this song – an inevitability whenever war or terrorism strikes – that hasn’t already been said? After being taken down in the Round of 128 last year, it has destroyed all its competition, including some very formidable dreck, up to and including last year’s runner-up, Feelings. Can it get past Butterfly Kisses and reach the final?

Voting on the Semifinals closes on Wednesday, June 9 at 9:00 PM EDT.




   Sunday, June 06, 2004
Quarter Finals Results

West Final
Bryan Adams - (Everything I Do) I Do It For You: 5
Billy Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky Heart: 14
Choice Quote: Billy Ray Cyrus - simply because it inspired an equally horrible Weird
Al parody.
- DG
Answer Guy: Jukebox voters have, in this round, stopping Blaming Canada, instead focusing most of their ire on the American South. Last year was the Year of the Movie Ballad - this year is the Year of the Mullethead. But can everyone's least favorite excuse to line dance succeed in taking out "Heartlight?"

North Final
Paul Anka - You're Having My Baby: 9
Neil Diamond - Heartlight: 10
Choice Quote: This song [Heartlight] is why E.T. had to go home--he was so embarrassed by it. - EB
Answer Guy: The lone representative of the Blue States remaining is the Jewish Elvis, who squeaks through for the second straight round. I guess signing a love song to a pregnant significant other is less painful than one sung to a space alien. Shockingly, Canada goes 0-for-2 in the Quarterfinals this year.

East Final
Meat Loaf - I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That): 6
Bob Carlisle - Butterfly Kisses: 13
Choice Quote: Someone has to defend the Lepidoptera against this egregious slur. - JS
Answer Guy: We never got to find out what Mr. Loaf won't do for love. Then again, I'm still waiting for a good explanation of what "butterfly kisses" are. On ward goes Carlisle and his allegedly inspirational song.

South Final
Lee Greenwood - God Bless The USA: 16
Morris Albert - Feelings: 3
Choice Quote: Greenwood: A song written for grade schoolers to sing at assemblies, in case the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance isn't enough for the authorities to proclaim the children "American." - DM
Answer Guy: "Heartlight" becomes the last surviving song from last year's competition, as "Feelings" goes down for the count as the latest victim of Greenwood and his cloying tribute to using obnoxious hyperpatriotism to sell records. But he's never faced anything as maudlin as "Butterfly Kisses" before.




   Monday, May 31, 2004
Quarter Finals

The winners here reach the legendary Fetid Four. Of last year's lucky 4 songs, two of them - including defending champ "My Heart Will Go On" - have been eliminated from competition. Our Evil Eight this year features three repeaters, four songs that fell short last year, and one song making its debut.

West Final
Bryan Adams - (Everything I Do) I Do It For You
Defeated Heart "All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You" (12-9)
Defeated Neil Diamond & Barbara Streisand "You Don’t Bring Me Flowers" (12-9)
Defeated N’Sync "Bye Bye Bye" (9-8)
Defeated Kenny G "Songbird" (10-9)

Billy Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky Heart
Defeated Amy Grant "Baby Baby" (11-3)
Defeated Starship "We Built This City" (10-7)
Defeated Vanilla Ice "Ice Ice Baby" (13-4)
Defeated Color Me Badd "I Wanna Sex You Up" (10-7)

South of the Mason-Dixon Line. North of the 49th. One of them walks away with the West Regional Final.

North Final
Paul Anka - You're Having My Baby
Defeated Mr. Big "To Be With You" (9-3)
Defeated New Kids On The Block "Please Don’t Go Girl" (9-4)
Defetaed Aerosmith "Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing" (9-7)
Defeated Limp Bizkit "Nookie" (11-8)

Neil Diamond -Heartlight
Defeated Beach Boys "Kokomo" (13-5)
Defeated Warrant "Cherry Pie" (11-4)
Defeated New Kids On The Block "(You Got It) The Right Stuff" (12-4)
Defeated Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You" (10-9)

Two masters of schlock square off in a contest to see who can induce the most nausea.

East Final
Meatloaf - I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)
Defeated Bon Jovi "You Give Love A Bad Name" (13-3)
Defeated Paper Lace "The Night Chicago Died" (12-5)
Defeated Tony Orlando & Dawn "Tie A Yellow Ribbon (Round The Ole Oak Tree)" (14-5)
Defeated Cher "Believe" (10-8)

Bob Carlisle - Butterfly Kisses
Defeated Scorpions "Wind Of Change" (15-4)
Defeated Richard Harris "MacArthur Park" (8-6)
Defeated Michael Bolton "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You?" (11-8)
Defeated Baha Men "Who Let The Dogs Out?" (16-3)

Having dispatched the Vocoder of Doom (fresh from taking defending champ Celine Dion), Mr. Loaf faces his toughest challenge yet in "Butterfly KIsses," another song that's on the wrong side of the thin line between inspired and insipid.


South Final
Lee Greenwood - God Bless The USA
Defeated Rednex "Cotton Eye Joe" (14-5)
Defeated MC Hammer "Pray" (15-4)
Defeated Christopher Cross "Sailing" (16-1)
Defated Ssgt. Barry Sadler "Ballad of the Green Berets" (15-4)

Morris Albert - Feelings
Defeated Paula Abdul "Cold Hearted" (15-4)
Defeated Britney Spears "Baby One More Time" (14-4)
Defetaed Creed "With Arms Wide Open" (10-7)
Defeated Puff Daddy & The Family "I’ll Be Missing You" (11-8)

Greenwood's ready-for-Branson-the-moment-it was-recorded anthem to hyperpatriotism is the lone song that has never had to worry much about elimination in this year's Jukebox. But this time, it faces off against the defending South Regional champion, "Feelings."

Voting on the Quarter Finals closes at 9:00 PM EDT on Wednesday, June 2.




   Sunday, May 30, 2004
Round of 16 Results

West Semifinal #1
Kenny G – Songbird: 9
Bryan Adams - (Everything I Do) I Do It For You: 10
Choice Quote: This is one time when Kenny G's lack of lyrics helps, because the lyrics of Bryan's song are insipidness incarnate. - RG
Answer Guy: Finally, the Saxophone of Evil has been silenced as Adams returns to the Regional Final.

West Semifinal #2
Billy Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky Heart: 12
Color Me Badd - I Wanna Sex You Up: 7
Choice Quote: any song that inspired a crappy dance gets extra hate. - DF
Answer Guy: Once again, Achy Breaky line dances its way into the inner circles of Jukebox Hell.

North Semifinal #1
Limp Bizkit – Nookie: 8
Paul Anka - You're Having My Baby: 11
Choice Quote: No, Paul, I'm not, nor do I want to. - DC
Answer Guy: For the second straight year, we find an oldie hideous enough to take out the obnoxious Fred Durst and company.

North Semifinal #2
Neil Diamond – Heartlight: 10
Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You: 9
Choice Quote: I Will Always Love You is a respectable Dolly Parton song that Whitney butchered. Heartlight is a cheap attempt to cash in on a phenomenon Diamond had nothing to do with. It's down there with Meco. - GS
Answer Guy: By the slimmest of margins, the Jewish Elvis and his love ballad for a space alien advance as Whitney finally runs into something even more bombastic.

East Semifinal #1
Cher – Believe: 8
Meat Loaf - I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That): 10
Choice Quote: Cher's song is horrible, and way overplayed, but not as bad on a grand scale as Mr. Loaf's ditty. It's like the difference between a bad commercial and Plan Nine. - DM
Answer Guy: Mr. Loaf and the Mystery of What He Won’t Do For Love triumphs over Cher and her Vocoder of Doom.

East Semifinal #2
Bob Carlisle - Butterfly Kisses: 16
Baha Men - Who Let The Dogs Out?: 3
Choice Quote: As bad as the Baha Men tune is -- and new superlative forms of the word "wretched" will need to be invented before its badness can be properly described -- at least nobody ever thought it was life-affirming.
- DV
Answer Guy: Butterfly Kisses has been gaining more and more momentum as its awfulness is exposed to more voters, and the Baha Men and their dumb stadium anthem never stood a chance.

South Semifinal #1
Lee Greenwood - God Bless The USA: 15
Ssgt. Barry Sadler - Ballad of the Green Berets: 4
Choice Quote: Lee gets the nod. His piece of s*** gets played at every Branson wedding and GOP commercial activity. Somebody find the kid whose Reader's Digest essay his buddies stole to write that song. - DM
Answer Guy: The Battle of the Superpatriotic didn’t turn out to be very exciting, as voters decided that Sadler wasn’t really a recording artist and wasn’t laying it on nearly as thick as Greenwood’s Branson-ready anthem.

South Semifinal #2
Morris Albert – Feelings: 11
Puff Daddy & The Family - I'll Be Missing You: 8
Choice Quote: Morris Albert's work has been covered by Julio Iglesias, Johnny Mathis, Jim Nabors, Roger Whittakerm Richard Clayderman, and Ferrante & Teicher. I think this says it all. - CB
Answer Guy: The bland sap of Feelings overwhelms yet another worthy contender. Puffy and his obnoxious exploitation of a dead friend will have to wait until next year.





   Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Round of 16 – Part 2
East Bracket

Cher - Believe
Meat Loaf - I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)

Have there ever been two less welcome “comebacks” than those of Cher and Meat Loaf?

Bob Carlisle - Butterfly Kisses
Baha Men - Who Let The Dogs Out?

An all-animal matchup as dogs chase butterflies.

North Bracket

Limp Bizkit - Nookie

Paul Anka - You're Having My Baby

Remember, ladies…nookie can lead to having babies. Fortunately, though, nookie with Fred Durst will not give you Paul Anka’s baby.
You’re still better off with abstience here, methinks.

Neil Diamond -Heartlight
Whitney Houston -I Will Always Love You

This pairing is brought to you by Advil.

Voting on Part 2 closes at 9:00 PM EDT on Thursday, May 27, 2004.