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Alrighty, guys, here we go. We’re finally to the heart and soul of MasterChef. Forget the previous three episodes worth of auditions, because THIS is where the actual competition starts.
Oh, wait. That’s right. There’s one more mass-elimination round before the actual competition starts. Tonight, we’ll whittle our 38 contestants down to a mere 18. I’m not sure if you guys remember last year, but this season mimics it pretty closely. Again, this year, the producers think it’s a good idea to take 38 ordinary folks, competing for $250k and still riding an adrenaline hight, and stick them in a dark warehouse with knives.
…this looks like a good place for a knife fight…or laser tag…where’s Barney Stinson?
Right off the bat, contestants start their smack-talking to the camera. Cammy tells the judges to bring it on. Anyways, apparently, despite the contestants all following the tricks of the audition round last year, none of them knew to expect a dump truck full of some food item…there’s stunned silence, broken only by the occasional “what the fuck?”…and then followed by applause.
Apparently these are some amazing apples, that don’t bruise when dumped from a dump truck onto a solid cement floor.
Teddy, thinking he’s clever, busts out a “how do you guys like them apples?” Don’t get me wrong, I was planning on using that for the episode title, but now I can’t. I never said I was clever…
Gordie tells them that the first challenge of the day is to chop apples. He demonstrates the proper technique for peeling, and then slicing, an apple. He shows the contestants what size slices he expects to see. He tells them that they are to keep chopping the fucking apples until he or Teddy tell them to stop. Apparently Bastage gets no say in this…weird.
This is where things start getting kind of strange. Firstly, there are a whole bunch of competitors that we haven’t seen yet, because they were part of the montages of win.
I don’t even know if she made it into a montage, which automatically qualifies her as a redshirt.
Hilariously, this year even more than last, people can’t avoid cutting themselves with the knives. It looks like about half of the competitors are suffering from knife wounds. They run down to the medic station, get something sprayed on it, a band-aid, and a pat on the ass and a “get back in the game.”
What feels like not very long into the apple chopping extravaganza, our judges ask someone to stop. It’s some Indian guy, I don’t even know who he is…I remember him from a montage, but that’s all. Gordie tells him that his apple slices are cut perfectly, and he’s on to the next round! One down, 37 more to go!
I love the pose back there. “Oh, you guys are still cutting apples? That’s rough…”
Next, they stop Yi Lynne. Who? The redshirt. Was I right?
The tears say “yes”…
She gets mad because she got the boot because of a stupid fucking apple. Next to stop is New Adventures of Drunk Christine. She’s super nervous, probably because she didn’t have a bottle of wine to calm her down first…Gordie tells her the apples are cut solidly, and she’s through. Celebratory shots, everyone!!!
Then, there’s Albert the Alligator. When the judges stop him, we get a flashback. That’s pretty quick for a flashback. I assume he’s probably out, but he apparently can cut the hell out of some apples.
A few more people get through in a montage (seriously, they’ve got to stop with this, it’s impossible to keep up!). Let’s see, we’ve got Alvin and the Chem set, Born Again Christian, It’s-a Me, Mario, that kid who was almost Dennis Eckersley’s kid but instead is Rick Mannings, and the Batboy who dreams of hitting homers.
Isn’t it great? We’re all through!!
The disembodied voice tells us that an hour into the Apple Chop Challenge, 15 minichefs remain on the chopping block. And, from the camera, we have seen 6 go through. And we’ve seen ONE get sent home. What. The. Fuck. Don’t you think it’d be a good idea to show the people who were eliminated? We’ll KNOW who got through, because they’ll STILL BE ON THE SHOW!!!
Next to be stopped is Joseph…you know Joseph…the guy with the ailing wife? They showed a flashback in case you’d forgotten. I think there’s a good chance that he only got through because they couldn’t handle shooting him down in front of his wife…not after that whole story…so they decided to send him through to the next round and let him eliminate himself. Chunky apple slices appear to have been enough, and he’s gone! He says he knows he’s a good cook, and he’ll keep on cookin’.
Next, there’s a bit of a montage of failures.
Who is this guy? I don’t remember him from anything. I wonder if the producers ASKED him to wear a bright red shirt?
Among those sent home is Gordie’s Scottish buddy. Awe…
Nazi Max looks the camera dead in the eye and tells it that the nice thing about everyone getting sent home is that it’s fewer people for him to worry about. Well, max, I think that’s the idea of a competition like this. That’s like if Peyton Manning, in a post playoff game interview, said “I’m glad the Jets beat the Patriots, because it’d be a lot harder if we had to play them both at the same time…”
Our minichefs are suffering from a lot of fatigue. We get shots of them mopping their browns and flexing their cramping hands. Next to be stopped is Alejandra. Another flashback, in case you forgot her. She slices apples like a BAWSE, and Gordie sends her through.
Next to stop is Ben…and, scanning who’s left, I can’t find my pony #1…did they send her home off-camera? What the hell? Did they? I’ll find out soon enough, I guess. So, this could be it. Is pony #2 getting eliminated (possibly) as well? Gordie inspects his apples, and tells him to take his apron…
OVER TO THE WINNER’S PLATFORM!!! HOORAY!!!
Last standing are Pool-Boy Affleck and Tracy.
It’s come to my attention that if Tracy gets through, I’ll need to suck it up and figure out a nickname for her. As a result, I find myself cheering for PBA. Funny, too, since PBA could stand for multiple things. Pool-Boy Affleck, or, if you remember his little jailbait incident from his audition episode, Pedo-Bear Affleck. Either way.
Gordie tells them both to stop. They’ve both chopped for two hours.TWO HOURS. One of them is going to get sent home, which is just brutally cruel. And who gets sent home? Well, they prolong the suspense with a commercial break! And then…Tracy is through! PBA is sent home. He takes the decision with grace, and leaves. Everyone feels bad for having just finished cheering Tracy’s success, since it meant PBA’s failure. But oh well.
Ok, now the disembodied voice tells us that 14 were eliminated. I didn’t see 14 get eliminated. I saw like 8 get eliminated. But this gives me hope, since there are 24 left, and I KNOW I didn’t see 24 get selected. Is Monica Chung the pianist still around?
My pony got sent home off camera. After a full segment about her in the auditions, they killed her off-screen. Good grief.
So, we’re moving on ahead to the next phase of the competition, where six more people will be eliminated. Of course, they don’t really tell you this in the show, but the episode was titled “Top 18 revealed,” and I do remember my first-grade math, and know that 24-18=6.
So, these 24 are welcomed into the MasterChef kitchen. Actually, no, if I recall from last year, this is a temporary MasterChef kitchen, because the verbal handjob that Gordie gave the real MasterChef kitchen was AFTER the last weeding-out round. Alright, anyways, they’re in SOME kitchen, and then they see a gigantic 18-wheeler backing in next to the cooking stations. If you’ll remember, last season, the focal point of the first cooking competition was an egg. This year…
Well, I guess that answers that question…
So we get little interviews from the crowd. Ben loves chickens, so he’s excited. Maybe he doesn’t realize he’s going to be cooking one? Can’t tell. Then, there’s Suzy…
“I see the chicken, and I am ecstatic! …because I was hoping that we would actually butcher a live animal…”
Sounds like someone can’t wait to choke a chicken.
Ok…maybe she’s not Hindu (who remember’s Sheetal’s meltdown over the live crab last year), but … wait, who cares, what the hell kind of a reaction is that? “I can’t wait to bathe in it’s blood!!”
Gordie tells everyone that chicken is the most popular meat in America. He also tells them that if they can’t cook the most amazing chicken dish, they’ll never be able to call themselves a MasterChef. I think Gordie needs to rephrase that, or this competition is coming to a close right here, right now. There can be only one “most amazing,” Gordie. Bastage tells them that the chicken must be the star of the dish.
So the contestants get one hour, and the clock starts….wait for it…..NOW!!! A mad dash for the pantry begins, but our contestants, of course, have time to stop and talk to the camera…
I think Death Metal Derrick needs a chest-hairnet.
I’m still silently weeping for pony #1.
There are more and more contestants talking to the camera. “I can’t decide what I’m going to cook, I have to figure it out!!” “There is no more room for mistakes, I have to be perfect,” etc.
Meanwhile, the judges confer. Gordie tells the other two that the biggest challenge will be not overcomplicating their dish. They then discuss what they’d do with the chicken. It all sounds a bit complicated to me, but what do I know?
Now that the contestants are really cooking, the camera guy is walking around getting everyone’s stories.
Bastage tells the other two judges that the competition was won or lost in the 5 minutes in the pantry. However, we still have to watch the last half of the episode…
The judges run around checking in on the contestants. By “checking in on,” I really mean “striking fear and doubt into the hearts of.”
You are so fucked. So, so fucked. SO FUCKED.
So of course, all of the contestants are a bit indignant that these three world-renowned chefs are doubtful that they can pull off whatever culinary feat they’re trying to pull off. They all tell the camera things like “this isn’t my first rodeo,” but I’m pretty sure they’ll be proven wrong. Seby (the Indian kid who was the first to win the apple chop) hasn’t started cooking his chicken yet. Albert the Alligator is trying to cook a gumbo in an hour. Tracy is trying to make a chicken pot pie in an hour. Oh, and then her chicken skins, which are in the oven broiling to crisp up, catch on fire.
I bet Gordie is mad that he sent that firefighter home now, huh?
Tracy, unlike the other contestants, isn’t mad at the judges, she’s just mad at herself.
Off to the side, Bastage is giving us the Madden play-by-play. He tells us he’s seeing a lot of breasts being cooked in advance, which is a bad idea for one reason, and then he’s seeing a lot of slow-cooking techniques, which (in an hour) is either risky or stupid.
…and now is where the annoying factor is kicked into high gear. Suzy keeps tasting her dish and loudly proclaiming how amazing it is, and how amazing SHE is for showing America that she can cook butter chicken from scratch. This seems to start annoying people, and a rivalry is born! I’m getting chills…going back to the epic Lee vs Sharone rivalry from last year. But I’m not yet sure which one is which.
“Suzy is so fucking arrogant. She thinks she’s a professor of culinary arts. I just hope that she’ll slip up.”
Ok, so the shit talking leaves a little something to be desired. But he’s young…I’m sure he’ll get it eventually.
Mario is cooking Chicken Cacciatore. I wonder what will happen when he has to branch outside of Italian cuisine.
And then, there’s Esther. The jury is still out on her, for me. I can’t decide if I am going to like her or hate her. It won’t be in the middle, though.
I do appreciate that she always finds a way to end up in a tank top. Who does she think she is, Michelle Rodriguez?
Then there’s Ben. Ben is trying to make biscuits without baking powder. Gordie notices, and asks him wtf he’s thinking.
Ya don’t make biscuits without baking powder…!
We’re in the intense final minutes of the round. The judges keep pointing out that the contestants are almost out of time! The contestants are running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to plate their dishes. Batboy isn’t sure he’s going to be finished in time! Neither is anyone else, though, this is just how it goes, guys. Get used to it.
Gordie counts down from 10, and we get a montage of people panicking trying to get their dish together in time.
Alright, so, the dishes are all plated, and amazingly the last nearly HALF of the episode is going to be the judges judging. Here goes…
Gordie calls the first two rows up for judgement. Nazi Max is first. He’s made southwestern chicken with (sufferin’) succotash. Second is Angel. She made chicken and dumplings. That is NOT a meal you make in an hour. Even I know this. Gordie tells her the dumplings are undercooked. No kidding. BECAUSE YOU COOKED IT IN AN HOUR. Third is Zoidberg. He made a brick chicken with rosemary mashed potatoes. Bastage doesn’t like the taters. Almost-Eckersley steps up, and he’s prepared some kind of chicken salad. Gordie says he can’t really taste the chicken. Alejandra is next, and she’s made a Moraccan chicken tagine. Last, Alvin steps up. He’s made a variation of beer-can chicken (remember this from the redneck sushi) that can be cooked inside any time of year. Gordie says the chicken is good, except he’s not keen on the use of raw spice.
Well, that was a mouthful. Now for the judgement. Nazi Max and Mad scientist Alvin are called forward first. Gordie tells them that they’re both through. Next is Alejandra and Zoidberg. They’re ALSO both through! Unfortunately, Angel also gets a yes, so mini-Rick Manning gets sent home, because his dish was something that should’ve been cooked with leftover chicken. Seriously, how do you send someone through who tries to cook dumplings in an hour?
Poor guy is headed back to Cleveland…
Next up are the back two rows. First to go is Suzy. She’s glowing with confidence, until Teddy tastes her dish and tells her the spice is kinda bland.
Pictured: head deflating…
However, the actual chicken is really good. Hearing this last bit upsets me as much as it upsets Max. Second is Born Again Christian. His dish is doing well until Bastage tries the risotto. Third is Cammy. She’s made chicken and fruit. No responses are given. Ben made…
Seriously, I would not even taste this…
Gordie again admonishes him for the attempted biscuit-sans-baking powder. Aaron made some tiny, tiny, tiny dish out of the whole chicken. The judges aren’t happy. New Adventures of Drunk Christine shows up with her dish. Bastage rhetorically asks if the dish is too simple.
Suzy, Born Again, and Cammy are called forward first. They’re all sent to the winner’s circle. Drunk Christine and Aaron are called up. Aaron gets sent home his gaffe. Drunk Christine is going on. Ben is all alone. TG tells him he’s sorry…COMMERCIAL!!!…but Ben isn’t going home!!
Alright, the next two rows are up!
WTF, Josh Duhamel is on the show? He’s dreamy, rich, AND can cook?!?!?
Gordie tells Josh D that his chicken is great, but the pasta takes like baby vomit. Then there’s Erryn. He’s made BBQ chicken. It seems to be ok. Then there’s Rhonda, who basically made 2 chicken salads. The judges are not impressed at all. Albert the Alligator presents his gumbo. Apparently his pride got the best of him, and gumbo really can’t be done in an hour. Next is Joey, and he’s made chicken picatta.
Seriously, what would you expect his name to be? It’s like a crossover MasterChef/Jersey Shore special!!
Bastage isn’t impressed. Last up is Batboy Adrien! He apparently nailed his dish.
The judges are dreading this round of…er…judgement. Rhonda’s two-way chicken salad gets her sent home. Josh D, Erryn, and Batboy Adrien step up next. They’re all sent through! The two remaining are Albert the Alligator and Joey Shore. Joey Shore is sent home. While Albert is waiting on his fate, there’s another commercial. Back from the commercial, Albert is sent home.
The final group of six are called forward. First up for the judges is Esther. Teddy tries it, and then issues a rather cryptic response… “It tastes good, but remember everything is of equal importance…taste, texture, creativity, and appearance.” He doesn’t bother to indicate which of those traits are causing him to say this. Second is Derrick. His chicken etouffee does not meet Bastage’s expectations. Well, that’s not fair, the etouffee may, but the rice is “pretty pedestrian.” Third is Jennie. Look at what she made…
Chicken wrapped in prosciutto. How can this not be good?
Gordie tells her the chicken is great, but it’s obvious that she’s never made couscous. Ouch. Fourth is Seby, the first one to finish the apple chop challenge. Both Bastage and Gordie start out by saying the chicken is seasoned really well, but the sauce that it’s in is way way way too sweet. Whoops. Next is It’s-a Me, Mario. Both TG and Bastage seem to find the chicken cacciatore flawed. Last is Tracy and her Chicken Not Pie. Gordie seems to take exception to the lack of pastry crust.
So here we are, one last time for the day…judgement is being passed. First on the block are Jennie and Esther. Gordie tells both of them that the dishes weren’t perfect, but the chicken was the hero, and they’re through. Seby and Mario are next. Mario is through, despite the earlier misgivings, but Seby is sent home. There goes one of the two 18 year olds. Gordie tells him to keep cooking. The final two are Deathmetal Derrick and Tracy. Gordie tells them they both know they should’ve done better, but it was just good enough for them to get through. Yay, or something!
Alright, so…next week brings in the MasterChef kitchen! I can’t hardly wait! See you all then!!!