The third round of the Choose the Cover of Rolling Stone contest is under way! After hundreds of thousands of votes were cast online, the 16 acts vying for the cover of Rolling Stone – as well as an Atlantic Records contract – have been narrowed down to a group of four. Our finalists recently visited New York City, where they performed in Rolling Stone's studio and met with a panel of mentors including rocker Patrick Stump, Atlantic Records A&R director Mollie Moore and Rolling Stone editors Touré and Christian Hoard for some thoughtful advice and constructive criticism.
Canadian boogie rockers the Sheepdogs impressed Stump with their harmonies. "I don't know a lot of bands that pull them off that succinctly," Stump said. Rolling Stone's Hoard was also into the band's sound, remarking, "You guys have a really nice affect, a good presence." (Watch video of the Sheepdog's critique.)
The Chicago quartet Empires got the panel excited with their high-energy performance. "I liked when you guys interacted a little bit and there was a smile between you," Atlantic's Moore said. "It's a serious thing and I get being in your own self, but part of an audience watching an artist is wanting to be a part of that." (Watch video of Empires' critique.)
Utah rockers Fictionist got a thumbs up from Hoard. "I like the guitar tone a lot, the guitar hook is a good one," he said. "It's kind of a cool space rock jam and there's room in there for you to extend things a bit." (Watch video of Fictionist's critique.)
Photos: Fictionist Visit New York City
Los Angeles singer-songwriter Lelia Broussard won over the panel with her joyful spirit. "I really like what you're bringing to the stage, it's very charming," says Touré. "I liked that you smiled," Stump added. "It was a very simple thing, but it says a lot." (Watch video of Lelia Broussard's critique.)
Voting for this round will close on May 13th. The two surviving bands will advance to the final round – an epic battle on stage at the Bonnaroo festival in June. The winner of the contest will be announced on the August 2nd episode on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon where they will also make their live television debut. In the meantime, please check out all of the songs and vote for your favorites.