20150901_seoulbeats_got7_jackson1This week we kicked off our annual March Madness bracket game; but there is a twist. Unlike prior years, which were sorted by category, this year’s bracket is categorized by year of debut. You can have a gander at the bracket here, and we want to hear your thoughts on it!

Specifically: What are some potentially intriguing matchups to watch out for? Which underdog is most likely to pull off a surprising upset? Who are the clear favorites to win the whole thing? Which idols are you betting on?

Sarah: I think there are definitely a few clear favorites in the mix. I’d expect Hani or Rap Monster or Jackson or Hwasa or either of the iKon boys to go far. Whether they’d win the whole thing, well, I’m always one to root for the underdog, so I have to say ‘I hope not’. Not that I wouldn’t be happy if any of them did win. I totally think they’d deserve it. But, Rap Mon is up against the lovely Do-kyun of History, and both Bobby and B.I. are battling my faves from the newest rock bands, Jaehyun of N.Flying and Jae of Day6. So, really I just have to vote for them instead. As far as other underdogs who might pull off surprising upsets, I think it could be Ren from the Class of 2012, Eddy Kim or Joy (is she really an underdog?) from Class of 2014, or Minju from Class of 2015 (Go, awesome hip hop ladies!).

Qing: It would be interesting to see a matchup between Eddy Kim and AkMu‘s Chanhyuk, since they both sing well and compose their own songs which have an Indie/ Folk sound to them. I’d actually pick Seulgi over Joy because although Joy sings well and is making her variety presence felt, I think Seulgi beats her in dancing. Like Sarah, I’m rooting for Minju; I wish more people knew about The Ark because they’re amazing dancers (see their cover of BTS’s “Boy in Luv“) and they can sing too. Speaking of BTS, I’m hoping Jungkook makes it to the finals! The kid can dance and rap and sing, and he delivers stable live performances both vocally and dance-wise.

20130523_seoulbeats_lee_hiMadi: I agree with Qing. If BTS’s Golden Maknae doesn’t win his class, I will be really upset. Jackson too.

Feeling sort of terrible because a lot of these females, I’m not too familiar with them. Can I root for everyone? No? Okay. But I will say an interesting match up would be between Lee Hi and Yezi.The latter has flown into my radar considering Unpretty Rapstar blew up in a way that you could not not hear about it. Both are talented, I’m aware of that much.

For me, an interesting battle would be between Ravi and D.O.. Both are accomplished males in their own way. To me, they don’t have an even fighting ground. I respect Ravi’s talent but have been blown away by D.O.’s acting. I can’t compare a rapper against a singer either. But sadly, I think D.O. would wind up winning just on the sheer popularity because of how large EXO‘s fanbase is compared to VIXX. I’ll still be here, unable to choose between the both of them.

And as much as I adore B.I. in my own way, I have to pass him up for Jae from Day6 because he’s entirely too entertaining on Twitter.

Sonya: Personally I think interesting battles will be amongst close friends like Ravi and Kai or B.I. and Bobby. Since fans are usually aware of their bias’s friends, and unintentionally get sucked in, I think it’ll create some interesting results. From these two matchups, I’d vote for Ravi to win for his compositions and Bobby just because I like the grit in his rapping voice.

Ideally, I’d like any girl to win, but if I had to be specific Lee Hi. She’s always been great at singing, but I feel like she’s really taken the time to develop her range and dabble with different genres while still staying true to her sound.

20130828_seoulbeats_spicaErianne: I’m with Sarah and Qing on the whole ‘underdogs’ thing. While MAMAMOO has been gaining popularity these days, I still think that these fab retro divas are still overshadowed by girl groups from larger and more established companies. On that note, I am looking forward to a Hwasa vs. Boa from SPICA bout since they’re both clearly underrated yet they have similarly amazing vocal abilities (also, I am a sucker for husky female vocals). On that note, a Solar and Ailee battle would also be interesting. Their Diva Off stage with Eunji and Luna during the 2015 SBS Gayo Daejun severely lacked some serious Solar vocals, so I guess this match up would be Solar’s revenge in a way since Ailee pretty much stole the entire stage.

As for the guys, Jungkook already wins it for me–at least, I would like for him to win, that is. The boy is definitely one of the youngest in this competition yet he’s got some serious talent and stage presence that it would be a sheer disappointment not to notice that.

Pat: On the ladies side, I’m definitely expecting Hani and someone from Red Velvet to go far. I’m a Seulgi fan, so I’m hoping she goes far. Dancing, singing and pretty good personality – she’s my only unproblematic female bias and is often overlooked. Maybe it’s just me, but Joy and Irene are the members that are praised left and right. So I’m glad that Seulgi is the second member.

As for the males, consider me another on Team Jackson or Jungkook. Realistically, I know someone from iKon is going to go far, how could they not, but I’m going to cheer Jungkook and Jackson on.

20151125_seoulbeats_vixx_raviMadi, let me just say that when I saw Ravi up against D.O., I laughed so hard. I’m Ravi trash, we all know that he is my weakness and makes me ramble on and on, but honestly, D.O is going to win with a landslide victory. It’s a rare day when VIXX’s fandom manages to pull a win over EXO’s humongous fandom, and I’m willing to bet that this will not be the case.

As for surprises, never doubt Ren. Ren is a whole different entity. People who don’t know or care about NU’EST knows Ren. Ren is the one to look out for, I think.

Madi: Sly use of the song title there, Pat. I bet you didn’t even catch that. I have a weak spot for both Ravi and D.O., I honestly do. This is why the decision is difficult for me.

Well for the Kai and Leo, I definitely picked Leo. I have to put my vote for VIXX somewhere.

Pat: Lay it on me, Madi. What song title because I still don’t see it.

Madi: “I’m Ravi trash, we all know that he is my weakness and makes me ramble on and on…” Or am I now VIXX trash because I picked up on that? hahahaha…ha….

Pat: OH. Well, I’ve used that one so many darn times I must be desensitized. It’s just way too easy.

Totally with you on the Kai and Leo vote. Kai may have been a bias once upon a time, but that was like, MAMA-era, so Leo it is.

20150608_seoulbeats_aoa_choaLauren M.: 2012 has some serious competition. After hearing his latest single, I think D.O.’s voice is really distinctive and rich and the boy has fans, so he’s probably going to take it. If I had to pick an upset, it would be B.A.P.‘s Yongguk. He has very passionate fans as well. For the girls, AOA‘s Jimin and Choa are gonna be duking it out with Hani most likely. But Hani might just win the whole shebang.

I want Rap Monster to win 2013 (and go far in the poll in general) because he’s honestly one of the most promising idols currently, but I think it’ll go to Jungkook, who deserves it almost as much (my bias is showing, just a bit ha). I really liked Ladies Code‘s newest comeback and I feel like they would be more influential had it not been for their tragedy. But I’ll go with Dahye from Bestie. Wildcard!

2014 boys will probably go to Jackson. He’s immensely popular. Who doesn’t love Jackson? Winner‘s Mino will probably be runner-up. For girls, I think Mamamoo has more individual member recognition than Red Velvet, so I think it might go to Hwasa. 2015 is probably the one I feel most confident about – Bobby and Tzuzu seemingly have the most name recognition – although I hope my girl Momo will be a dark horse contender.

Mark: I’m anxiously awaiting the 2013 holy triumvirate of Bestie, Ladies’ Code, and Wassup to duke it out. It’s rare to see such legendary groups stacked up against one another. But in all honesty, can we talk about what a wash class of 2013 is for both the males and females? Other than BTS, there’s really nobody in that region who can seriously contend.

In the meantime, class of 2012 is seriously stacked. It’s going to be a blood bath in both genders but I see Ailee and Yongguk coming out of that mosh pit and making a strong push to win it all.

20140925_seoulbeats_ailee2As for underdogs, I’d like to see the AkMu siblings pull a few upsets but I think they’ve been out of the limelight for too long. Like Sarah and Qing, I’m also big on Minju. I just don’t think enough people know about how she’s a singer/dancer double threat, which is such a rare combination for females. I wouldn’t be surprised if Yezi and Jimin pulled off upsets in the first round though. It be nice to see a potential second round matchup between the two. Make it happen!

Justin: Mark is right about the 2013 brackets. For the boys side, it’ll probably end up with one of the BTS members on top, but i’ll give my vote to Eric Nam. On the girls side, i’ll pick Nari, but it’s not because of her body of work.

The 2012 bracket for the ladies is stacked! I’m going to vote for Ailee, but this ones a toss up.

We’ve only had a year to get to know the people in the 2015 bracket, so it’ll be interesting to see who fans gravitate to more. I’m hoping for Bobby to come out on top on the boys side. I’m thinking Momo might be able to edge out Tzuyu in this one. Although Tzuyu gets a lot of attention, there are a lot of Momo fans out there, and it’s hard not to like her. She’s sexy, cute, and a great dancer!

Gaya: I cannot wait for the Kai and D.O. match up in the round of 32, just for the dilemma it may present to Kaisoo stans. I’m picking D.O. to win that match-up, thanks to his singing and acting gigs.

As much as I would love to see a lady win, we will undoubtedly have yet another male winner. In which case, my money is on Jungkook. BTS fans be everywhere, man. For who I want to win, though, that would have to be Hani — I think she has the most exposure among the ladies.

20140411_seoulbeats_akmuSarah: I’d like to second both the Ravi vs. D.O. matchup and Kai vs. Leo. I do expect the insanely large EXO fandom to pull out all the stops, but I hope everyone else votes based on true merit, in which case I feel they’re all pretty evenly matched. And I’ll be voting VIXX on both sides.

If any battles between groupmates come to light, that’s what I’m really excited for. Once the fans have to choose – that’s when it’ll get bloody.

In the end, it would be great to see someone like Ailee competing against the iKon boys, or Mamamoo vs. Winner. There also might be a chance for someone other than Jackson to win the Class of 2014. He’s got some very steep competition. I’ll probably be rooting for Chanhyuk there.

What about you, readers? Who are you all rooting for? And don’t forget to look at the bracket here and participate!