Lady Gaga and Sarah McLachlan were neck and neck until the bitter end and Aretha Franklin was finally able to separate herself from Zac Brown.
Meanwhile, the Buffalo Garden Walk was no match for the Italian Festival and Jam in the Valley was pummeled into submission by the Goo Goo Dolls.
And the Canal Fest of the Tonwandas learned a hard lesson: Do NOT mess with the Queen of Heaven Carnival.
Those were among the highlights in first-round voting for Summer Madness, Gusto’s inaugural attempt to gauge which summertime event is the most anticipated in Western New York.
With the first full round of 16 contests in the 34-event field complete – two play-in polls had been done earlier – here are some other developments:
• The biggest upset by far was McLachlan at Artpark over Gaga in the First Niagara Center. McLachlan had to win one of the play-in contests to even make it to the round of 32, where the No. 2 seeded Gaga awaited. The roller coaster contest finally ended with McLachlan winning by a single vote, 251-250.
• The match-up between Queen of Heaven and Canal Fest easily drew the most interest, with 719 votes cast. But before you conclude that there was divine intervention involved in the Queen of Heaven victory, it’s worth noting that Kingdom Bound, the annual religious gathering at Darien Lake, suffered the most lopsided loss courtesy of the National Buffalo Wing Fest: 89 percent to 11 percent.
• There were three other contests that pitted an event with food in its title against something a bit more artistic. Food lost all three: Hamburg Burger Fest had its buns toasted by the Allentown Art Festival, 77 to 23 percent; the Eden Corn Festival finished a few kernels short to Shakespeare in Delaware Park, 55 to 45 percent; and the Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts polished off the Niagara County Peach Festival, 72 to 28 percent.
• Justin Timberlake might be riding high after dethroning Kings of Leon (69 to 31 percent), but let’s see how he’ll fare against a Beatle: Ringo Starr, who beat Sam Roberts Band like a Ludwig bass drum, 60 to 40 percent, awaits in round 2.
Here are the other first-round victors:
Taste of Country over Morrissey; Blake Shelton over Gord Downie and the Sadies; Bruno Mars over Journey, Steve Miller and Tower of Power; Taste of Buffalo over the Lockport Outdoor Arts and Crafts Festival; and the Erie County Fair over Jazz at the Albright Knox.
Voting for round 2 is online at buffalo.com