It's certainly a bit of a roundabout, insofar as those on the feed do get extra publicity. This in turn brings more people to interact with their content (comments, Wizz likes, social network clicks etc), which contributes towards keeping them at 100% for a while.
However, to be in the popular feed on the front page, you have to have 100% already. This is what I was waffling on about here. I've just checked and every article currently in that feed does have the rank.
I'm just a writer, so my understanding is based solely on observation. But this is how I think it works.
Say that me, you, Mary and four other writers all got an article to 100% at the same time. The whole of the popular feed would suddenly change to reflect those seven articles. I'm unsure what would happen if an 8th person did the same, but I'm suspecting that the first of those 8 to reach the rank would suddenly disappear again, as the 8th would be the latest one to achieve it.
I read somewhere that Wizzley up-dates the ranks three times a day. Without confirmation here from any of the team, it's my personal feeling that it happens once. At that point, the feed would grab the latest seven articles at 100%, then randomise them into the popular list on the home page.
However, there are two other feeds on there, which can be pretty instant on the up-dates. As soon as ChefKeem or another editor awards an Editor's Choice, that article will appear in the relevant feed.
Also I think that Wizzley's algorithm is monitoring comments in real time. It is looking to see which articles have people talking, then taking the top seven to display on the 'buzzing' feed. I've seen some go up within an hour or two of getting enough comments. (My guess is that anything above two comments puts it in the zone to be picked up.)
Those in the Editor's Choice and Buzzing feeds are more likely to achieve 100% quickly, thus ending up in the popular feed. But they won't go there until that have that rank.
I've also observed that the first feed you see, when going onto the home page, is also randomised. It selects between the three each time an IP is registered for the first time that day. It could be a different feed to the one you first saw, when you visited yesterday. That gives a pool of 21 articles to keep things fresh for the browsing public.
That's my understanding anyway!