But I'm going to take a swerve and say you were a delightful surprise.
Not your work itself - I've been a fan for quite some time at this point. But it's rare to see poetry and songwriting rewarded. It's happened, but the biggest victory for it was during a mini season, with a big reveal at the end that put him over the top.
You had a "big reveal" of your own when you changed it up to show people just how great you are at longer forms of prose as well. I think that might have been the secret ingredient that pushed you over the top and into the finale. People came in "expecting" one thing and you managed to surprise and impress them. (You've done it before, but let's be honest, people tend to forget! :D)
Your Portfolio may be my personal favorite of all time, and (provided that I remember to look at my notes when the time comes) has changed how *I* look at, and will be treating them, from now on.
For anyone to do that - it's pretty huge. If anyone missed it, or somehow forgot just how damn good it was... or just wants to study it for the future: https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1159535.html?thread=86997615
You also had one of my personal favorite final entries. If this was Gary-only voting, and that was the sole criteria - you would have the crown on your head. I don't say that to diminish the other two, which were both great and they deserved every single vote they received. But again, I've been reading those final entries now for a really long time and I thought I'd seen nearly every variation. You surprised, and delighted, me with the song, and your words, as always, got to the heart of it.
Then again, in the last couple of weeks, you had gone from someone that I was enjoying every week, because there was a good chance it was the last, to the front runner! The closer to the end we got, the more you seemed to hit your stride. I've seen that happened before, and it's as exciting for me to watch as it is dangerous for your fellow competitors!
I really thought you had momentum on your side, and you may have very well won up against any other combination. It's difficult to say with 100% certainty, but you've been solid all season and that tends to be rewarded in the end. (Making it to #3 is definitely testimony to that)
The song of your season may be over, but it's going to linger in my heart, and echo in my head, for a really long time.
Congratulations, to our 3rd place finisher of LJ Idol Season 11 - encrefloue !