I did not see or experience Jason L.'s act in person or as filtered through any media; however, I remain fascinated by the sundry criteria that exists "out there" regarding what makes up an award-winning act.
When I initially started out in magic and for a long time thereafter, an overriding criteria for what motivated me to buy, learn, or applaud any trick was the BAFFLEMENT FACTOR. If I was not utterly FOOLED, I merely noted the trick, nodded, maybe grinned, and then moved on.
I still love the sensation of being baffled. It was swoon-inducing to be fooled to the max by my peers...Guys like Skinner, Jennings, Dingle, Solomon, Aronson, Cervon, and others regularly "toasted" me. Marlo did it more often than anybody.
Nowadays, however, I look for other, subtle ways of evoking enchantment; of creating a different, more satisfying dreamstate--no matter how novel and offbeat.
I suspect that Jason L. somehow tapped into this so that what he did resonated for MOST of the judges and members of the audience.
Perhaps too we should put these awards into perspective? I'd love to write an article titled "FISM Winners: Where Are They Now?"
Regarding this I recent ran across an old TOPS magazine that featured photographs of contest winners. I noted that the Third Place winner was a then unknown magician named Mac King. I also noted that ALL of the other winners that year did not go on to become household names. In fact, they disappeared from the landscape entirely.