The change to the new derby system took place weeks ago. Since then, the writeups for the second and third place shirts clearly said "editor's choice" or "guest editor's choice".
There were a lot of complaints about certain styles or artists winning all the time, so woot went with a new system. Votes aren't irrelevant. It was acknowledged that the woot editors' choice did take votes into consideration. I do believe at least one guest editor mentioned looking at votes as well. One issue people had was that "great" designs would not get a lot of votes or not as much as *insert often ranted about design element here*. ("Great" means something different to everyone since we all have different interests, senses of humor, etc) So, with the new system, every design has a chance to print. Yay variety!
The design you wanted to print didn't? That happens to lots of people every week. I wanted odysseyroc's penguin shirt because it would really cheer me up at the moment. But it didn't print. Oh well. That's how the derby goes sometimes. At least there's the second chance derby. The honorable mentions tend to be the top vote getters, so you may be able to purchase your favorite design at a later time.
And, finally, can folks stop raining on orabbit's parade? I'm not going to speak for him, but if I had a design that printed and then a lot of the remarks were a rejection of my work and how it should not have been printed, that would pretty much suck any joy out of winning (well, being selected by the guest editor). It's one thing to say, oh this pop culture design isn't for me since I'm not a fan of this show or movie. It's another to say ahhhh this is terrible how could this possibly print?!
That said, I'm going to stumble off my soapbox and attempt to beat insomnia.