I was discussing the final outcome with someone the other day, and he was a little baffled at how Dex and Branch, looking so different can place 1st and 2nd.
I rationalized that it was Apple and Oranges (I used the same example to discuss Julianna Malacarne and Dana Bailey's placings as well). Some judges will go for one look, while others will go for the other. THere was an old article I read years ago by a seasoned judge, who explained that while it's posible to favor either size, or condtioning slightly over the other, you should weigh if the amount of one, truly outweighs the amount of the other - this is when comparing an 'apple' with an 'orange'.
Of course, the one year Branch took 2nd to Cutler at the Olympia, the best explanation by John Romano, was that if the criteria used to give Jay the win was adhered to for everyone else in the line up, then no one else BUT Branch could have believably placed 2nd (even though there were a good number of competitors who overall looked better to most onlookers).
One thing that stood out to me upon looing over photos, is just how impressive Justin Compton was. I'm sure there were plenty of folks who would have had no issues if he edged Dex (great shape and balance) or Branch (great conditioning), or both.
Evan,.. well, I like Ev, but this is kind of what I was thinking would happen. In the lineup, he actually looked kinda thick in the mid-section, which is always going to be an issue with his structure.