Earworm Smackdown: Sweet Sixteen

So the other day I was trying to get the Imperial March out of my head (seriously, it’s been stuck there for days), and Nick very helpfully suggested that I sing Adam Sandler’s “At a Medium Pace” instead. This almost always works for me—it’s a terrible, profane song, and once it enters my head it generally never leaves. But this time, no dice. Adam Sandler is no match for the supreme awesomeness of the Imperial March (respect to John Williams).

All of this led me to the following question: what is the earwormiest earworm of them all? I have to know! So in the spirit of March Madness, I have created a tournament bracket filled with my top 16 most potent earworms, and I am making them duke it out for real estate in my conscious brain. This is the project of the century, people! I have already done the first round of these, and some of the results have really surprised me. (I would have bet big money that the Time Warp would at least make it to the Final Four.) Which will be the dominant earworm? Will a heartworming Cinderella story emerge from the mix? Will a decades-old favorite fall from grace? Stay tuned to find out!

Preliminary results are as follows:

1. Imperial March (Star Wars)  

Imperial March

   ?    ?    ?
16. At a Medium Pace (Adam Sandler)
8. The Final Countdown (Europe)  

Oxford Comma

9. Oxford Comma (Vampire Weekend)
5. Under Pressure (Queen & David Bowie)  

Under Pressure

   ?
12. Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)
4. All These Things That I’ve Done (The Killers)  

All These Things That I’ve Done

13. All About That Bass (Meghan Trainor)
6. Time Warp (Rocky Horror)  

Hollaback Girl

   ?    ?
11. Hollaback Girl (Gwen Stefani)
3. Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey)  

Don’t Stop Believin’

14. Just a Friend (Biz Markie)
7. Paper Planes (M.I.A.)  

Paper Planes

   ?
10. We Didn’t Start the Fire (Billy Joel)
2. Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes)  

Seven Nation Army

15. Barbie Girl (Aqua)