Guilty Pleasures, Round Two: Neil Diamond (7) vs. Barry Manilow (2)
EW’s Music Mix is searching for the Greatest Guilty Pleasure Musical Act of All Time. With 16 seeded contestants remaining (see all the matchups), this tournament is continuing to change hearts, minds, and lives, as well as make some people remarkably agitated! Read/listen to the following, and then cast your vote in the poll after the jump; reader comments will be used from here on out, so we encourage you to also post a comment explaining why you chose the way you did. Note: In case of a tie, please select the artist you feel more ashamed to adore. Also note: Yes, the bracket was rearranged to be in proper bracketing order. Thank you.
UPDATE: This is the final matchup of Round Two. Polls will remain open through the long weekend. Enjoy your Labor Day!
Round One was a cakewalk for Neil Diamond, who mopped the floor with poor John Denver — even though Denver inspired the most (occasionally queasy-making) devotion in the comments. The Game Commissioner blames the Red Sox.
“I love the man but he is the very definition of a guilty pleasure for me. My husband STILL laughs at me every time I pull out ‘The Jazz Singer — 25th Anniversary Edition.'” — swerds
“I’m 53 years young I have liked Neil Diamond ever since I was high school. This comes from a guy who likes Hard Rock music. Neil ROCKS!” — mutigers
“I have to go with Neil Diamond, because I went to a concert of his, and was embarassed to admit that I was really excited about going. Even more embarassed was my Heavy Metal Fan friend that I dragged along, who still had a helluva time.” — Elizabeth
“Guily Pleasure: Neil Diamond. This one’s a little out of my league, but I’m at the point in my life when I’m going to a lot of weddings, and you can’t imagine how many times I’ve watched a group full of drunkeness sway along screaming the chorus of ‘Sweet Caroline’ and I’ll shamefully admit I’m usually right in the middle of it.” — Kristi
There was a moment where it seemed indignant Matchbox Twenty fans might have the chance to take him down, but Barry and his Fanilows survived the first round unscathed. Whew.
“One word: Copacabana.” — Heather
“Barry all the way! I am and always will be a FANILOW! Guilty as charged.” — Karen
“Barry Manilow for the win. If only because he gave us the song that JHud destroyed on AI leading to the Great AI Is Racist and So Are You America/Elton John-a-thon and that was an awesome moment in pop culture. Well, that and the fact that Angel on Joss Whedon’s seriously under-rated Buffy spinoff, Angel, was a huge Manilow fan and I still remember his love of Mandy as one of his more endearing qualities.” — kat hayes
“I was mocked mercilessly when I was a teen in the 80’s for my Manilow fandom, which makes him more of a guilty pleasure. Have Matchbox 20 fans ever had to endure the same type of ridicule of us Fanilows? By the way, it was Barry’s arrangements that ushered in the popularity of the power ballad, which later became a staple of so many hair metal bands – which makes Barry a guiltier pleasure on another front – as the pioneer of the whole guilty pleasure of power ballads. Many acts who are in this bracket wouldn’t have had any success at all if Barry hadn’t come first and paved the way.” — Tim
“We all love Barry Manilow’s catchy and kitchy songs but not many admit it! It’s like Neil Diamond!” — AMJ
Photo Credit: Both: Everett Collection