We’ve broken down the first round matchups in each of the four regions (which can be found here), and now it’s time to move on to the Round of 32. Without further ado, here’s what you can expect in the second round of the Bigger Dance.
1. Hayden Panettiere vs. Jessica Simpson. An agonizing decision to be made in this one. Do we go with the seemingly omnipresent Simpson, or the up-and-comer in Panettiere? Both had strong showings in the 2008 Bigger Dance, with Simpson winning three matchups and Panettiere two. But here’s a hint for you when making your picks: If you can’t make a decision right away, go with the contestant you think a woman would pick. There’s no doubt in my mind that most women would lend their vote to the engaging Simpson. That gives her the edge and the nod into the Sweet 16.
2. Elin Nordegren vs. Megan Fox. I’m doing you a favor by telling you right now, without divulging any further information on our later-round picks, that this is Megan’s year. It’s the year of the Fox, and Mrs. Tiger Woods just happens to be standing in her way.
3. Alessandra Ambrosio vs. Mila Kunis. Neither of these two will advance past the Sweet 16, but we like Ambrosio more than Kunis. Ambrosio has the “Wow” factor, while Kunis is best known for lending her talents to the voice of Family Guy’s Meg Griffin. That has to catch up to you at some point, and now it does. Ambrosio with the W.
4. Jennifer Love Hewitt vs. Keeley Hazell. A battle of experience versus youth, as the older crowd will be tempted to pick Love, while the youngsters will pine for Hazell. While each has the talent to run deep into this tournament, we’re going to have to give the edge to Hazell in this one. The British bombshell has bested the waning Love Hewitt in terms of media publicity in recent months, meaning she’ll be fresh on the minds of voters come gametime. Hazell wins.
5. Nicole Scherzinger vs. Jessica Biel. Scherzinger should just be happy to find herself in the second round. Up against the likes of Jessica Biel, the Pussycat Doll has zero chance. Hand this one to Biel on a silver platter.
6. Adriana Lima vs. Brooke Burke. Goodbye, Brooke Burke. Lima trounces her way into Round No. 3.
7. Eva Mendes vs. Halle Berry. The former Mrs. David Justice, Berry will put up a fight early, but eventually fall to perennial powerhouse Mendes. Mendes overwhelms Berry with exuberant youth as she runs away late.
8. Brooklyn Decker vs. Gisele Bundchen. We’re tempted to go with the stunning first-timer Decker, we really are. But Gisele is the Albert Pujols of the Bigger Dance: you might be tempted to pick against her, but she consistently comes through no matter how your expectations may have changed. Bundchen advances.
9. Ana Ivanovic vs. Scarlett Johansson. The tennis pro gets caught flat-footed in this high-seed, low-seed matchup. “W” is Scarlett’s letter, as Johansson moves on.
10. Anne Hathaway vs. Erin Andrews. We generally try to remove all objectivity from our selections, but we buckle for Erin Andrews. The sideline reporter is our Davidson of 2008, George Mason of 2006, and Gonzaga of 1999 all rolled into one; the pick we love to bank our hopes and dreams on as she keeps the magic flame burning deep into the tourney. Give this one to Ms. ESPN herself, Erin Andrews.
11. Angelina Jolie vs. Julianne Hough. The dominant Mrs. Pitt takes on the knuckleballing waltzer Hough in a matchup of power versus finesse. Brawn takes precedence in this contest, however, as Jolie cruises into the Sweet 16.
12. Jessica Alba vs. Jennifer Aniston. We sure do like Jennifer Aniston. But how can you argue against the three-time reigning Bigger Dance champion in Alba? Let’s face it, you just can’t. Alba moves on.
13. Lisa Gangel vs. Marisa Miller. It pains me to say this, but Gangel will not move past the second round. Don’t feel too badly. Paul Silvi didn’t even make the field, after all. Miller stays alive.
14. Maria Sharapova vs. Kim Kardashian. Almost a pick ’em scenario, but you have to figure that Kardashian’s going down. No, not on Ray-J again, but in this matchup with the Russian tennis sensation. Sharapova steals one as she advances.
15. Taylor Swift vs. Carrie Underwood. Women everywhere are agonizing over who to select in this matchup. Tears will likely be shed over the outcome of the Crossover Country Music Superstars Battle, but you can’t vote against Carrie. Underwood takes down the newbie and moves on.
16. Eva Longoria vs. Keira Knightley. We hate Tony Parker, but we sure do enjoy looking at his wife. That affection will help Eva crush (and I mean absolutely wallop) Knightley as she moves on to Round No. 3.
Tomorrow: Our breakdown of the Sweet 16.