Yes, well. It will surprise almost no one that Schlumbergera cvv. defeated Haworthia spp. in match 7.1. The score was 88 to 54. In so doing, Schlumbergera also wins the Rumble overall.
So let's ponder where it all went so terribly, terribly wrong.1, 2
I know a lot of people were disappointed with the final two choices. This was probably inevitable, given the way that the tournament worked. I mean, 127 of the options were going to lose, and there's a pretty good chance that your favorite was going to be one of those 127, just statistically.3 I think maybe the expectation is that the group of contestants in each round will steadily get more and more awesome until one that's super amazingly awesome wins, but that was probably never going to be the case, because of everybody having different ideas about what makes a plant super amazingly awesome.
We've already raised the idea that maybe it won partly because we're in the middle of Schlumbergera's blooming period now, and it therefore was more on people's minds or whatever. Might well be the case, especially since it wouldn't have taken that many people flipping their votes to have knocked it out of the competition. Schlumbergera won match 5.2 against Phalaenopsis / Doritaenopsis by only 12 votes (out of 136), and match 6.1 against Saintpaulia by only 6 votes (out of 124), so even a small seasonal effect might have kept Schlumbergera from advancing and resulted in a different winner.
There's also the theory that while Schlumbergera might not be anybody's absolute favorite plant, it might have won by being less polarizing than some of the other possibilities. I mean, plenty of people think Schlumbergeras are too common to be interesting, but I don't recall ever hearing anybody say they just despise them, unlike a lot of the other contestants. Maybe being loved is less the key to winning these things than merely being not-hated.
I pondered the option of having a direct-vote poll asking who should have won, to see if a different winner would emerge, but I don't think Polldaddy would support a 128-option poll, and even if it did, I don't know that it'd be reasonable to expect anybody to read through all the options and choose some of them. I thought about trying to cut the list down (perhaps to only those plants that received 45% of the vote or more in the first round), but that still left 75 choices. So instead, I'll leave it up to the comments. If you want to pitch me a list of five (or fewer) plants that you feel deserved to win the tournament (Schlumbergera can be included too, if you think it deserved to win), leave it in the comments and we'll see if that looks any different. The full list of participants is here.
I'd also be interested in what people think it "means" that Schlumbergera won. How/why did this happen? Should we interpret this to mean that we have a group consensus that Schlumbergera is the best houseplant of all time? If not, why not? Or, you know, leave whatever comments you want: comments about the Rumble, comments about Schlumbergera, comments about unjustly robbed plants, links to photos of a Schlumbergera with a photoshopped tiara/belt/trophy, whatever.
1 I'm fine with Schlumbergera winning, personally: I think they're perfectly nice plants and have never had any huge problems with them. (On the other hand, the very similar-looking Hatiora cvv., sold as "Easter cactus" or Rhipsalidopsis, seems determined to shatter and shatter and shatter until there's nothing left of it. Obviously I'm doing something wrong, but damned if I can figure out what. But I digress.)
2 I plan to post a full list of the matches and scores tomorrow, because people had asked, but that should be the last Rumble-related post, unless / until we do this again many months from now.
3 The alternative would have been if there'd been a huge group of people who all adored the same plant. This would have made for a really boring tournament, since every time that plant came up for a vote, it would have blown the competition away, making it perfectly obvious which plant was going to win. I like the way it actually did work out better.