We made it through the first round, which was to get approved for the voting rounds.
There were 119 contestants that made the cut, and the second round was a voting round: We had to make it into the top ten in terms of votes to make it to the finals. Thanks to the many friends and family members we had voting, we made it into the top ten pretty easily, and the top five or six of us stayed pretty close in the vote tallies the whole week through.
The finals started last Monday and went through 11:59 last night. The way the contest worked, people had to register with the radio station's Web site, and then registered users could vote once a day. The rules said that each person could only register once.
As the week started, a few of us jumped out -- we had 50-60 votes a day while some others only had a handful. But then as the week went on, two people started to get more and more votes; they went from getting 50 votes to 90 votes to 150, to finally getting nearly 400 votes overnight. And it was always overnight; I'd go to bed at midnight down by 20 or so votes and wake up at 5 to learn we were down by 150.
Friends told me I was a fool to not register multiple email addresses and vote from all of them.
But we didn't do that. (And for the sake of full disclosure, it was half because it was dishonest and half because I didn't want to get CAUGHT being dishonest and in turn get disqualified. I'm not all holier-than-thou; I'm also a healthy dose of scardier-cat-than-thou!)
As the week went on, though, it started to seem that among the top five (we finished fifth), the top three were, in fact, doing something ... well, a little more than we were doing. 400 votes in a night? We didn't even invite that many people to our wedding! And almost all of the votes coming in the overnight hours for an east-coast contest? I refused to publicly cry that something was fishy, but something definitely seemed fishy. But what if the votes really were honest? What if they were just better at beating their drums than I was? (What if they grew up on the west coast, or if their little girls are sick? I don't pretend to know their stories, so I don't want to jump to the "you won, you must have cheated" conclusion just because they were so much better at getting online votes than the rest of us were.)
And then I learned from friends that there are entire Facebook groups dedicated just to voting in contests like this, and chat rooms that do the same, and, well, you get the idea. I guess some of the comments on the photos led some of my friends to think something was amiss. A few folks pm'd me saying I should contact the radio station. (Talk about your lose-lose situation! There's no way to not look like a sore loser there ... even if the station needed -- at least for future contests -- to tighten their rules a bit, there is absolutely no gracious way to have that conversation, as best as I can tell.)
Oh well. The prize, as far as we were concerned, was the Taylor Swift tickets. We're pretty lucky that if we really want them, we can just go buy them. In fact, one of my sisters even offered to do exactly that as a gift to CAM. Maybe those other folks can't do that.
So, in the end we didn't win. It took them hours to post the winners today and for a while I had a glimmer of hope that they had done some digging. (We would have been in second place at best, if they'd disqualified the first three people, so I wasn't hoping for the tickets as much as for honesty.) In the meantime, CAM and Mick and I had a conversation about how we had a LOT of people vote for us and take time every day to do something nice for us JUST BECAUSE, and how that means a whole, whole lot. And we did it honestly. That we got so many votes the right way is a testament to you guys -- our friends and family.
I still don't know if the winners really did cheat (or even if they broke the spirit, if not the letter, of the law), or if they're just awesome at getting online votes. I'm just as content for having entered and the fact that we made a good showing. I'm really proud of what we did and how we did it. It sounds so incredibly cheesy, but it's true. This wasn't a one-of-a-kind prize; it was something cool to do and to try to win. We tried to win; we didn't win; we're okay.
Thanks, everyone. We're so thankful for how well we did -- and it's all because of you.
--Jen and CAM