So let’s get a few things out there before we begin with this fuckery:
I was a pretty big fan of Ink Master so likely I will compare the crap out of this show to it because it set the bar for tattoo competitions in my eyes. Also, this show is a bunch of fuckery in the best way Oxygen can produce so there should be a whole lot of snark going on!
Onwards, the show opens and we learn its going to be set in California because New York was already taken over by Ink Master. Speaking of isn’t it funny that LA had Kat Von D and New York recently had Ami James. It’s like foreshadowing how I’m going to feel about Best Ink because Ami > Kat all day every day. We meet a few of the artists and they give us a little background on themselves and why we should be interested in them. So far the only person I like is Roman and that’s because he’s already proven to be a bit bitchy by calling Meghan a Rookie upon first meeting her. He’s giving me Shane O’Neill vibes because he apparently only does biomechanical tattoos much like Shane only does black and grey. I would like Nicky if he didn’t confuse me with his gender because at first glance I thought he was a she and then he spoke and I was still a little confused. Not only does he have a very androgynous look but his parents named him Nicky which could swing both ways and he doesn’t have a five o’ clock shadow so yeah. The artists meet on a boardwalk by the beach and are greeted by their host Kimberly Caldwell, an American Idol reject turned host.
Blow Up Barbie and Kim Caldwell
Really? They couldn’t find ANYONE else to host this show so they pluck this bitch out of American Idol obscurity and she presents herself as credible because according to her, and I kid you not, she is business up front and party in the back. Seriously she thinks that just because she has two tattoos on her back it makes her a credible tattoo tv show host. If that were the case, why not get someone like Teen Mom Maci, her back is full of party even though her face looks like a foreclosed business. She introduces the first of two permanent judges, Sabina Kelly, who I am convinced is an animatronic sex doll sent from Japan. She seriously stood there and just creepily smiled for about 5 minutes. In other news she is apparently a renowned tattoo judge and pin up model although I honestly have never heard of her or seen her prior work. I will say that while she is gorgeous she is no Oliver Peck.
The artists are all competing for a chance at winning a cover and feature story in Tattoo Magazine as well as $100,000 and the title of Best Ink. The first Flash Challenge will have the artists recreating a butterfly tattoo on a sketch pad. The artists all sort of struggle with trying to update their butterflies with some taking an anime approach or just adding a ton of bright colors to a standard butterfly. I just realized that this show is going to have a Pop Up Video feel to it because every couple of seconds a stupid fact box pops up correlating to whatever the artist is talking about. It happens a lot during the course of the show and I was going to try and catalog all of them but that would have required more attention and I don’t function very well that close to midnight. Anyway after 30 minutes, time is called and the artists are told they will be heading to their shop where the winner will be revealed.
Flash Challenge – Recreate a Butterfly
This is where we get to see who got the bigger budget because I think the Ink Master crew got a much better workshop with individual shops where Best Ink has all the artists in a large studio space with dividers. Granted it does look more like a traditional shop but I liked the individual and personal spaces that Ink Master had more. Once at the studio, Nicky reveals something that I had already thought about Jessica…she is obnoxious and dramatic. She pulls out a 4 sided Buddha head and says if you want to know her mood, look at the Buddha head. Ok bitch, no. Sabina announced that Charlie and Nicky had the best pieces of the group but Charlie takes the win and will learn her advantage later.
Spongebob introduces the other judge, Patrick
Next up Kim introduces us to our second permanent judge and artist mentor, Grimace. Just kidding it’s Patrick the Starfish….ok really it’s Joe Capobianco and Charlie tells us that when he walked in she let out a little pee. TMI Charlie and you should really get that checked out. Joe explains that the Ink Challenge will have the artist covering up previous tattoos while Kimberly lets us know that since Ink Master used the term canvas they have to use the term skins for their clients. Consultation time begins and we get to see each artist discuss with their skin what they want done. This is what I like about this show because I think Ink Master needed more interaction with the client shown so we know how much of it was the client and how much of it was a pushy artist. Hi Josh Woods, looking at you! Plus I think tattoos are very personal and I like hearing the backstory of why the person wants what they do. It’s what made the first few episodes of LA Ink watchable before the manufactured drama and Rock of Love rejects.
London’s client, Jodee, wants to cover a yin yang tattoo consisting of two dolphins that she got when she was younger because she loved the ocean and the yin yang symbol. Jessica’s client David wants to cover a tattoo he has of a devil because he is going to have a child any day now and he doesn’t want his kid to know what a tool he was as a youth. Michelle who I think is Alexis’ client wants a phoenix to cover up her Irish inspired rose tattoo. Heather is Tiffany’s client and she wants to cover up the phrase “how beautiful to be” with a blonde zombie girl eating a heart. Heidi is Roman’s client and she wants to cover up the word “Carmen” and a baby phat logo and suggests doing so with a toy airplane but Roman insists that if she wants a good cover-up she will let him do whatever he wants which is something to do with biomechanical parts because that is his thing. Oh we got another Shane in the midst, let’s hope he stays for awhile. Aron, Meghan’s client, wants monsters and eyeballs and Kristina, Charlie’s client wants black and grey peach blossoms. Jessica’s client wants a hummingbird and Jon’s client wants to swallow, I mean a swallow.
They are totally playing MASH.
After consultations, Charlie learns that her advantage is that she can swap skins with another artist. No not in the creepy sex way. She can trade for any other cover up she wants but she decides to keep her skin because she believes in karma. Charlie explains that people come to her to celebrate benchmarks in their lives and that it was fate that she was selected to do these peach blossoms on her client. The artists get 4 hours to complete the tattoo which is crappy because on Ink Master they had 6 hours and that was down to the wire for them to do decent jobs. I am pretty sure we are about to see some shitty work you guys.
Charlie doesn’t want to swap skins with Joe, clearly.
Most of the artists get right down to work and some show a little fear in completing the challenge within the time line. Tiffany’s client drank the night prior which is a big no-no when you are getting a tattoo because it tends to make the person bleed more. Tiffany is concerned but pushes forward because she has one of the larger pieces to complete. Jessica’s client gets a call from his wife and she freaks because she thinks he has to leave since his wife could be in labor but it turned out to be a false alarm. Why are we even watching him taking this phone call if his wife isn’t going to bust a baby out just yet? Meghan’s tube comes loose and she has to stop tattooing to change it because it could cause the needle to barb and leave her client with hamburger skin. The artists all finish up and it’s time for the critiques but first we meet the third judge which will be a rotating guest each week. This week it is TJ Hernandez who specializes in cover ups though again I have never heard of him before. I’m just glad that Kimberly is not an active judge and an actual host. It makes me actual appreciate Dave Navarro a little more because now he seems to be more credible as a judge.
At least she had a large area to work on
Something that Ink Master lacked is that we didn’t see the judges actually evaluate the tattoos on the humans, we saw them judge based on pictures of the finished pieces. Best Ink excels again because the judges are shown pictures and the skins come out so the judges can see what the piece looks like on actual skin and get to talk about how the skins felt. This is key because the pictures the judges saw on Ink Master were clearly enhanced to some degree with photoshop. Seeing a tattoo on skin allows you to really judge the color saturation and details. The judging went by pretty quickly so I wasn’t able to really ascertain who was liked and who was not liked as they all seemed to get decent reviews. We also learn there is a little twist as the judges will pick the winner but each artist is allowed to nominate by secret ballot 3 fellow artists to go up for elimination. I kind of like and dislike this because smart people will always pick the strongest competitors to get them out early and have a better shot at winning. This way we might lose someone who should actually win and it’s not going to be based on actual talent. At the same time, we might be able to get rid of the more annoying contestants earlier. But again, can you imagine if Ink Master did this because we wouldn’t have had so many awesome Al Fliction moments. Anyway, at least the artist the judges pick as the winner will get immunity and can’t be sent home even if nominated.
Elimination Challenge – Cover ups
The judges select Jon and London as the best of the bunch but London takes the win and the immunity. The bottom artists are Meghan, Tiffany and Jessica who all start crying like little bitches. Joe tells Jessica that during his mentoring he explained that she had better not cop out and cover the devil with a giant black mountain and yet that is exactly what she did. He calls her piece piss poor and tells her the colors were terrible. However she is safe because the client truly enjoyed his piece. Meghan’s tattoo was well drawn and fairly executed but the cover up was mediocre while Tiffany’s biggest issue was the color saturation. Even though she claimed the skin was bleeding more than normal Joe didn’t see it that way and no one on the panel even liked her cover up. With that, Tiffany is sent packing while Meghan is safe. I would have thought they would have wanted to keep the pretty girl around a little bit but I guess pretty doesn’t always help you through life. Honestly, they should have sent home Meghan for that god awful tattoo. Can you imagine having to live with wonky eyes for the rest of your life…I mean I know Paris Hilton does it but come on! Tiffany cries and explains that being the first to go makes her feel like she had the worst but she will continue doing tattoos in Jersey as long as they aren’t zombies.
Bye Bye Tiffany!
This season looks decent enough but I am concerned that the drama will be heightened for tv since it is Oxygen and all. In the previews, one of the guest judges is Aaron Carter of all people. What does he have to contribute to the world of tattooing? Do you like the show so far or is it just a rip of Ink Master? What do you think about the contestants getting to pick the bottom 3 each week and is that really fair? Are you in love with Grimace/Patrick or do you miss our little Beaver? See you next week Gasmii!!