Not to say that my image was great but I just returned from vacation too see the results of this contest. http://photoshopcontest.com/view-entry/142038/ready-to-begin.html
It's not the fact that I did not win that bothers me (The winner was a clever image) it's the fact that I don't think anyone (except for a small few) even stop to see what went into the image...
I appreciate extreme attention to detail, but, coming from a commercial art background, I think there is real value in turning the source into something eye-catching. It's training for when the boss comes in with his daughter's drawing and says, "here, this is great. Make it into the centerpiece of our next ad campaign."
I vote on workmanship, idea, cleverness of source use, and visual appeal. 3 out of 4 can make a winner.