bpmod wrote:It was actually that his pen stopped working as it is designed to do when the thirty seconds is up.
The light-pen issue: Paul suspected that he might have trouble with it, and so during the briefing about it he tried to ask about the paper and Sharpie, and what exactly the procedure was for switching to the non-computery answering method. They didn't really answer him, saying that pen problems rarely happen and he shouldn't worry about it. So when he started having trouble during FJ (I've heard problems can arise from touching the screen with your hands while writing), he started trying to get some sort of high sign from the judges to switch to paper. (He could be seen giving up on the light-pen just as the camera was panning away from him.) Alex, seeing Paul nonplussed and pointing at his pen to the judges, asked if there was a problem, and told him to write his response on the paper. So Paul did, and was declared the winner, which was amended to Paul and Tom being co-champs, since Paul had gone over time writing his response, and Tom hadn't.
It was posted on the old board that people at auditions asked the contestant coordinators about the situation, and they explained that it was determined Paul would go on as a champ because the time it took him to write his response on paper was faster than the time remaining when he started attempting to write on the screen.
It wasn't "I was going to write the correct response, but time ran out, so I'll claim malfunction." They surely wouldn't have let him be a champ had that been the case.
edit: forgot to add that the light pen spiel now includes, "If you have a problem with writing your response, write it on the card. You don't have to tell anyone, no one's going to give you a signal, just write it on the card."