I'd take a Colt, or Para Ord. over a Springfield G.I. I believe the G.I. is manufactured in Brazil, or Philippines and it is bare bones as fare as features (WWII sights? How did our boys kill Germans with these!) compared to the other two. And the ones I have seen in gunstores seem a little cheaply built.
I have fired a Colt Mustang, which looks similar to the defender in size, and it seemed to be well built, though it did stovepip several times. I have never shot a Para, but they seem well built and I know people who sware by them.
If it was me, I'd go to Gun Broker, Davidsons, etc, to get an idea of current prices on the Colt and Para, and then head to the gun show and handle the two to see which one is a better fit for you, and look around for any deals. They are both quality brands and, as with any 1911, you will probably end up modifying it anyways, so keep your options open and look for good deals.
Just my 2 cents.
EDIT: I do kind of wonder why you want a compact, and not a full-sized, 1911 if you don't plan on carrying it concealed? Certainly an extra 2 inches barrel length wouldn't impede the weapon's ability to be hiden in a nightstand or under a car seat? I say this because, in my experience, compact 1911's tend to have more FTF's then full sized 1911's. I'm sure other's experiences are different.