This one was an adventure. Fug Madness has never had a final game so close; barely even a regular game so close (we have to reach back to the epic Peldon vs. Sevigny in 2008). All day, the lead swung wildly back and forth. Countless people Tweeted us to say their vote was the only one breaking a tie. Three votes here, twenty votes there, then one, then seven, then fifty, then eighty the other way. Picture it, Sophia Petrillo-style:

9 a.m. Monday. Polls open. Vanessa jumps out to a tiny lead; Lindsay quickly closes the gap.
10:30 a.m. We get our first tweets — of too many to count — from somebody whose vote broke an absolute deadlock. Diet Coke time.
2 p.m
. For the first time all day, the polling software’s rounding mechanism breaks its 50-50 claim (even though you can see by vote count who’s ahead) and gives Lilo a 51-49 edge, at which point I declare to Jessica that LiLo has it in the bag, that there is no coming back for Hudgens. We toast with some Diet Coke.
5 p.m. Hudgens comes back.
6 p.m. The lead changes six times in a ten-minute span. More Diet Coke.
9 p.m. One girl leaps out again to a 100-plus vote lead. I am out of Diet Coke.
2:30 a.m. Tuesday. With polls closing in roughly seven hours, the current leader is finally up by well more than 200 votes — the largest margin of the day. Voting had slowed down; history suggested it would be insurmountable. And so our glorious in-house editor puts the finishing touches on this year’s “One Fugging Moment” montage, proclaiming that person the victor, and I set it to upload to YouTube while we slept.
7 a.m. Last night’s leader is still up by more than 150 votes, 51 percent to 49 percent. I embed the video in our winner post and set it to go live at 10 a.m.
9:15 a.m. My in-house editor leaves for his out-of-house editing job and asks flippantly, “Did you ever check the poll results?” I say, “Yeah, we’re fine,” and then grab my phone on a whim and dial them up anew. And they’ve changed. For good. The polls are closed. I go buy a Diet Coke.

In two hours and fifteen minutes, there was a 300-vote swing. We were about half an hour away from our own GFY “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment… and we stupidly, tiredly, optimistically (or pessimistically, given who I was rooting for) hadn’t cut a backup. So that’s why this post is late. Day jobs wait for no man, and our editor is no exception.

But we’re here now. And we have a winner. Whose fug reigned (barely) supreme?

Vanessa Hudgens

Yes, that’s right. Lindsay Lohan was the winner when we went to bed, but Vanessa Hudgens and the Temple of Trouser-Sock Doom surged back to pip her at the post.


The eerie thing is, I offhandedly predicted this last year. Does this mean I am a harbinger of destiny? I hope not, because that might mean I’m also a harbinger of Destiny, which is Miley Cyrus’s actual given name, and I don’t want to be responsible for bringing more of that to you all. But if she wins next year I’m going to start playing the lotto.

Hudge won 50.3% to 49.7%. It was a 94-vote difference. I can’t decide if this means Dina Lohan’s WiFi suddenly kicked in and she was able to vote her daughter off the gold-medal podium, or Dina Lohan’s WiFi suddenly crapped out and she was unable to keep her daughter on the gold-medal podium.

So, well played, Lindsay; you avoided the Fug Madness Curse, a.k.a., falling into obscurity after taking the crown (see also: Bai Ling, Aubrey O’Day, Amber Rose, and Taylor Momsen), even though you could probably use the break. As for Vanessa, her current level of fame being higher than any of the others’ might mean she’s best poised to break the curse and even have a real shot at being our first repeat threat. I mean, surely those pants aren’t just a passing phase. Those show real commitment.

And now, here it is, AT LAST, the montage, the fromage, the melange: “One Fugging Moment.”

As a treat for those of you who supported Lindsay and are crushed that 0.6% came between her and your dream for her, here is our accidental gift: The original video that ends with her as the winner. (The rest is the same.) In fact, I saved the entire post that would have anointed her the victor, if you really want to go all-out with the fantasy. Enjoy it and imagine what might have been. And should you need further procrastinatory material, or want to compare Lindsay’s run to that of past winners (and see where she got knocked out in years past, including a surprise first-round defeat in ’08), allow me to present links to other fuggers’ triumphs: One Fugging Bai (2008), One Fugging Aubrey (2009), One Fugging Amber (2010), and One Fugging Momsen (2011). We are very lucky — no other Web site gets to say its tribute piece was edited by the person who cut both the Chuck season finale AND several of the best Top Model episodes (“Michelle Gets The Flesh Eating Disease” from cycle four, and Jade’s twin triumphs — the Cover Girl walk-and-talk ad, and the finale, wherein she does beat poetry while eliminated — from cycle six being my favorites). Bravo, good sir. We’d like to keep you.

Thanks to everyone for enjoying Fug Madness as much as we do — or at least pretending to — and thank you again for helping us win, in dominating fashion, The Atlantic’s inaugural Best of the Brackets (we even beat the Muppets, people! THE MUPPETS!). Fug Nation is the best. You know why we think this is the best of the brackets? Because of YOU. See you next March. Well, actually, we’ll see you later today, and tomorrow, and the next day, but… you feel me.