If they really were running short on time in the finale, I'd suggest they get rid of that corny fallen comrades walk instead of closing arguments :nod
The only case where Malcolm's wavering MIGHT have mattered was if Denise won immunity (and honestly Denise is a good enough player that I wouldn't have seen her taking Malcolm to the finals: she knew it was between the two of them). It looked like everyone knew that Lisa and Skupin were a voting block (editing of confessionals aside), so there's no way both Malcolm AND Denise are both F3 if L/S wins immunity, and both Malcolm and Denise knew that the other was their biggest threat, so I really don't see F4/F3 playing out any way other than M/D riding immunity in or L/S deciding who wins. Malcolm had a F3 deal in place with L/S and strengthening that was all he could do. I've been known to be wrong about such things, of course, but I felt all of this before the finale and it seems to have borne out.
That said, they could also have known that putting Penner in the final spot would make a good close, too: the most eloquent man out there finishing up the TC in style is a pretty safe bet... :)
While I was surprised Lisa won fan favorite, I doubt the Pope had anything to do with it. First, I'm not even sure Lisa is Catholic. Second, even if she was, American Catholics are notorious for going their own way regardless of what the Pope says. Third, not all Christians are Catholics, so he couldn't "order" them to do anything anyway. I'm Lutheran and wouldn't give a fig what the Pope thought, unless I happened to agree with it for my own reasons.
I'm assuming it may have more to do with the fact that it was seen as a consolation prize by voters who figured Malcolm would win anyway, so they might as well vote for someone else for fan favorite. Can't really blame them. Even the other members of the final four figured Malcolm had the best shot at winning.
I wonder just how much F3 speeches matter to the jury. I think their minds are made up ahead of time and unless something very signifigant happens they know how they will vote.
Malcom does not have an attractive upper lip and his mustache is not hiding it. It may make it look worse. Young men with facial hair is tricky for starters and it does not work for him. Just sharing. Carry on. :up
In resonce to a post way back, Malcom is NOT a teacher and I doubt he ascribes to be one. Kids volunteer to teach English in foreign countries to have an adventure. The teaching they do is scant and they are housed and fed. AND they have to be funded by parents; they do not supply airfare. It is a thing to do now instead of hitchiking around the country or joining the Peace Core (I think that is defunct now). Noble, no. A fun thing to do, YES!
The thing I like about the final speeches is that it gives the finalists one last chance to react to juror's comments and questions after they've had a few moments to think about them. Whether or not that makes any actual difference in the result I don't know, but I imagine the finalists would feel a bit more comfortable having the last word.