Westlife Wednesday: #ThisTrophyIsVeryHeavy
Let's start from the beginning. Not the real beginning from fourteen years ago, which will finally end sooner than I'd like to think, but one of many mini-beginnings that lead up to mini-endings that don't have too much bittersweetness mixed up in them.
It all started (as we say) two weeks ago, when Westlife member Nicky Byrne retweeted someone's tweet to him about about an "online poll" Westlife had been entered in.
What a misnomer. Calling a tournament bracket an "online poll" is like calling the Olympics a "sportsfest." And you all know how I feel about tournament brackets, don't you?
This was an easy choice. The Backstreet Boys were pretty good as boybands go (maybe even better because they danced so much) and definitely deserved to go to the second round . . . but I wasn't about to vote for them over Westlife. Besides, the BSB were already in the lead, so they didn't need my help.
So I voted exactly once for my lads in The 'Life, then exactly once for Take That (who were up against the New Kids on the Block), exactly once for One Direction (whose Round 1 opponents I can't even remember), exactly once for The Beatles (although their boy band status is highly dubious), and even exactly once for both 5ive and The Wanted, although I don't like either of them, because I wanted the British/Irish boybands to take over
Then I went back to Twitter to laugh about someone in MTV hating 98 Degrees so much that they were the boyband paired against The Beatles in the first round. And to check how else other people were voting by following the #BBB hashtag. That was how I learned that the most heated of these sixteen battles was Backstreet Boys vs. Westlife . . . and that the Westlife fans on Twitter had just become really strategic about taking the lead.
It turns out that when you're power voting, in a group, at just the right time, you can do things like this . . .
I helped, of course. I went back to vote until I was blocked. I watched Westlife take the lead and keep climbing. I noted that it took a little over thirty seconds (or about a dozen clicks) to get their share to go up by 0.01%. I chuckled silently (but with empathy) as I read the distressed tweets from BSB fans who couldn't believe what was happening. And I got retweeted several times by fellow Lifers after I encouraged "Asia" to keep voting while the "Americas" were asleep and "Europe" was taking its time to wake up.
(We could argue that the way the contest was set up meant that the Asian fans' favourite would have that edge. Not only did MTV USA accept votes from all over the world, but it also timed each poll to close when US voters would be at work or in school, while European voters had already clocked out of both and Asian voters would have been at home for several hours.)
Now, some hysteria among fans is expected. But I had to ROFLMAO when I read that BSB member Nick Carter was contesting the final figures. (Dude, it's a power voting game, not a Lifetime Achievement Award.) BSB fans took his lead, demanded a recount, and accused us "Lifers" of cheating. (Again, it's a power voting game . . .) Yes, I know that there were some Lifers who tried using auto voting programmes; but I was certain MTV would have anticipated a move like that and found a way to block those votes. And I was right.
That didn't stop the BSB fans from throwing their support behind O-Town in Round 2--although, going by the results, all their righteous rage didn't seem to amount to much.
After Westlife beat O-Town by that huge margin, they had more of a struggle going head to head with The Beatles--but also, for obvious reasons, less drama. The Fab Four's fanbase isn't the type to go nuts over an MTV.com contest.
Nothing of hilarity to report, so let me share the final numbers and move on.
Nor was there much of a scuffle when Westlife took on The Wanted. No surprise there. The former did ask the latter to open their final concert ever, so there's no bad blood between their two fan bases. There's also a lot of overlap between those two groups. But The 'Life still has the edge because they've been around much longer . . . and because the "new generation" is still split between The Wanted and One Direction.
The two other "older" boybands who could have caused a similar "split" for Westlife--namely, A1 and Blue--weren't even in the bracket. (I'm still a bit disappointed by that.)
I'm sure it helped that some Big Time Rush fans, disappointed that The Wanted had beaten their group in the previous round, had thrown some support behind Westlife as well. So did some One Direction fans, after their boyband was eliminated, likely because, as I tweeted feverishly during the last few hours of Round 1, Niall Horan is in Westlife, too. =P (Thanks, Rushers and Directioners!)
But I'll bet that very few of those who had power voted for The Wanted tried getting similar revenge on Westlife by power voting for the other "boyband" that had made it to the championship round: the Jonas Brothers.
This time, results of the voting were kept secret so that nobody could see who was in the lead. I made sure I was online during the last few hours of voting . . . which was why I was able to see the celebratory tweets from three members of Westlife one full hour before the polls closed.
I was a bit confused. How could they know they had won when the MTV Web site was still accepting votes? And then I remembered another MTV contest from many years ago . . .
It was 1999. MTV Southeast Asia had nominated musical acts from four different SEA countries for our region's International Viewers Choice Award. (Anyone else here remember when the VMAs had those??? And weren't they great?!?! =D) Representing the Philippines was Alternative Rock band Parokya ni Edgar, who were eventually crowned the winner. And I remember this because of the rumour that circulated after the win, that MTV SEA had stopped counting votes days before the deadline because Parokya ni Edgar had already received so many that there was no conceivable way any of the other acts could still overtake them.
But as we say in the Philippines, "It's true, but good luck getting 'proof.'"
I think what happened with Parokya ni Edgar back in 1999 is exactly what happened with Westlife a few nights ago--and the final numbers are on my side:
Considering how many votes it takes to get even a 0.01% bump up on the competition, even if MTV had closed the polls as many as six hours in advance, there's no way that Westlife would have lost their lead.
But you should have read the tweets from the JoBro fans who believed that the premature tweets from Westlife were evidence that the Battle of the Boybands was rigged. And not just rigged, but also bought--by Westlife! Excuse me while I ROFLMAO one more time.
Honestly, when I first saw the BBB bracket, I thought the Final Four would be The Backstreet Boys, The Wanted, N*Sync and One Direction. I'm sure MTV USA isn't very happy about this outcome, either--and I must be the only Lifer in the world actually shocked that Westlife won. This post is less about celebrating their victory than about scrambling around for the reasons we were so successful. (Well, why not? The very first Westlife Wednesday post I ever did was scrambling around for the reasons Westlife were even successful. =P)
And if you're wondering about the title of this Westlife Wednesday post . . . It's the hashtag of Nicky Byrne's second celebratory tweet, which specially tags . . . Nick Carter.
#Sweetness #ROFLMAO #DancingBananas
Image Sources: a) MTV's Battle of the Boybands, b) Backstreet Boys vs. Westlife, c) Backstreet Boys vs. Westlife results, d) Westlife vs. O-Town results, e) Westlife vs. The Beatles, f) Westlife vs. The Wanted, g) Westlife vs.The Jonas Brothers