Yes, gdesignr, you're right. It was pretty awesome for Doritos to run this contest. I did really enjoy it and thank them for doing it.
After the finalists were announced and some of us posted times for submission, I got PMs from one of the finalists and one of the other potential finalists asking me what happened (as if I knew, hehe (the process has been extremely secretive, which was kind of interesting)).
I completely understand the selection process regarding picking 3 from the top 10. They have a business to run and what they did makes sense from that point of view. They have certain interests to protect. However, they set certain expectations in the "Official Rules". To wit, that the first three would be chosen and if unable to participate (for whatever reason) could designate a stand-in that Doritos would find acceptable. They could have protected themselves well enough with this selection process, had they given themselves time to do so. Or if they had stated in the "Official Rules" that they were going to select 3 from the first 10, I could accept that. I just ask, if they are kind enough to sponsor a competition like this in the future, that the rules be set/stated in a way that doesn't cause confusion like this. I think this would be to their benefit as well as the competitors.
BTW, there was speculation that the live event would be in Memphis, as there is a pyramid there and it was centered in the big triangle on the map. But the live event will actually take place in Vegas, from what I was told.
Anyway, congratulations again to the Finalists. Have fun in Vegas! I can hardly wait to see what they have prepared for you.