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There are but a few precious weeks of MasterChef: Back To Win remaining. We don’t know how many weeks exactly. We could be slowing things down to one elimination per week in order to stretch this thing right out until August. We could be barreling through the entire field over the next four days in order to get Bachelor in Paradise onto the air as quick as possible. There is literally no way to tell. All we know is that, like all things, MasterChef will end soon and we will be cast into the throes of winter with not even the glow of a Hibachi Grill to keep us warm.

It also means we’re at the point where there’s far more eliminated competitors in the opening titles than there are remaining ones. Which means watching that every episode is a bit more like looking at a High School yearbook from half a decade ago.

Amina! I haven’t seen her in YEARS. I wonder what she’s up to now.

Here’s your official Week Nine MasterChef Power Rankings for you to enjoy. Bone app the teeth.


I wrote this about Sarah Tiong in last week’s Power Ranking and honestly the only thing I got wrong was the timing.

Maybe it was blindly optimistic of me to think that MasterChef might have mercifully held off on running me over with a steamroller for a few weeks, rather than doing it as immediately as humanly possible. Maybe after 12 seasons I should know better than to give them that much benefit of doubt.

But hey! It’s cool. At least they did it on the Tuesday elimination. It’s not like they turned around and ripped my fucking heart out all over again later in the same week or anything. MasterChef would simply never do such a thing, for they are a normal and kind show. The most normal and kind.

Two gutwrenching eliminations in one week? Impossible!


Oh you rotten little shits.

No. No no no no no no. I can’t take this. I cannot possibly navigate the rest of this season without Khanh breaking the tension with a moment of sass. I cannot possibly make it through the however many weeks of this remaining without my dude casually outperforming everyone on the giving face stakes by a measure of 10 to 1. And above all else I certainly cannot possibly make it through the rest of this series if I have to emotionally absorb Melissa Leong‘s mighty heart shattering into a million pieces each time she has to boot out another BIPOC contestant.

I can’t keep this up. That amount of inner anguish exceeds all recommended daily limits. Send me a $14 bottle of shiraz and a MasterChef-branded weighted blanket, you cowards. It’s the literal least you could do for me right now.

8) Tessa Boersma

Never in my life have I seen anyone fluke a MasterChef team challenge like Tessa and Brendan did last night. You’re talking about two people whose entire experience with Mexican food probably doesn’t extend much beyond Old El Paso TV ads, tasked with recreating authentic Mexican street food from scratch. And nailing it.

In part one of this insane spectacle, Tessa spins a big Wheel Of Meat and lands on “quail,” which gets her over the line on a regional technicality. Thank god Melissa Leong was there to pick that one up. You think Andy Allen knows that quail is a traditional cooking bird of southern Mexico? That dude probably had his brain bent in half by a taco in a non-hard shell. I’d bet hands to houses that he thinks “elote” is what you do when you run off and get married.

Tessa even bashes her way into a perfect hot sauce in just over an hour, all while pronouncing it “HALA PEE NO” without deviation. What the hell, man. What the fuck.

7) Brendan Pang

In part two of the above, Brendan – who I have to stress has never once in his life even thought about attempting to make a tortilla – throws some shit in a bowl and makes perfect ones first try. I took me at least four tries before I could open a packet of store-bought ones without ripping the bag completely. He’s not reading off a recipe or anything either. He’s guessing. A completely foreign flour-based product. Eyeballing it. Throwing stuff into the bowl. Hoping for the best. And coming out golden. What the hell, man. What the damn fuck.

Of course, Andy gushing about the tortillas could well just be leading us all astray. There’s a fair chance he likes his tacos in those weird hybrid boat tortillas because it gets too sloppy otherwise. My dude out here thinking Al Pastor is a Holy Man in Guadalajara, is what I’m saying.

Anyway, Brendan and Tessa second last and last because it infuriates me that they Ahh Well’d their way into fluking perfect Mexican on the first try and yet I’m over here feeling vaguely racist every time I order a Cali Burrito from Guzman.

6) Poh Ling Yeow

I am 10,000% all in on the tinfoil hat theory that Poh has a full-season contract that means she is guaranteed, by legal decree, to make the Final Four. I have never believed anything more blindly in my life. The moon landing was definitely real, but Poh’s unbreakable contract definitely exists. I am fully prepared to torpedo my career and become a Poh Truther Instagram celebrity. The ACCC will level me with a five-figure fine for attempting to sell a BioCharger-like device that I will claim can heal all physical maladies, but all it does is project a video of me screaming about MasterChef onto the wall.

This theory will be proven to be true if she makes it to the Final Four and then immediately bombs out in fourth place. Because if that happens, we know with almost complete certainty that the judges have been turning in forced assessments on her food, only to turf her out the moment they’re actually allowed to do it. But if she makes it past there, to third, then her assessments leading up have been legit and no contract exists. I have absolutely no evidence to back this theory up, but since when did anyone need even a skerrick of that shit.

Poh goes out 4th: It’s all been rigged.
Poh goes out 3rd: She’s a true chaotic genius who you should avoid wronging.

That’s the hill I’m willing to die on right now.

5) Laura Sharrad

I’ve said a lot about Laura this season – some of it warranted, some of it probably a bit needlessly nasty – but I have nothing but the utmost respect for her this week. And that’s purely because she didn’t reach over the desk and clobber Jock upside the bonce with a hot pan after he swanned in during the pumpkin challenge to give her this deeply rude shit.

Dude, it’s a pumpkin challenge. What do you want? It’s three rounds, they get 30 minutes per round, and there’s no breaks in between. You give them one heaving big fuck-off pumpkin and Laura’s giving you fresh pasta in under thirty minutes and that’s a “yawn fest?”

Jock grew up skipping around Scotland where breakfast is half a fish served in a bin. The national sauce is “brown.” Everything cooked there is crammed full of bread crumbs because it gets so cold in winter that it’s not safe to shit.

I’m as proud a Scot as there is, do not get me wrong about this. But in no way, shape or form should a Glaswegian raised on square sausage and Buckfast be allowed to call anything – much less a fresh pasta dish handmade in under half an hour – a “yawn fest.”

4) Callum Hann

Callum yo-yoing up and down the MasterChef form guide is doing my head in. He’s up, he’s down. He’s back, he’s forth. He’s winning Immunity in a landslide, he’s having a big anime “?!” appear over his head when someone suggests adding cream to his cookie-based dessert. Maybe he’ll turn up and run the table on the competition and win out from here. Maybe he’ll flame out after pouring half a cup of oil on an open Hibachi Grill because he “really wanted to get some deep char” on a prawn. There’s literally no way to tell, and that’s the beauty of Callum.

3) Reynold Poernomo

This cheeky lil bitch, I swear. My new working theory is that the curious recent batch of challenges where Reynold has eaten shit have been deliberately thrown. He’s been tanking for airtime. At some point throughout proceedings he realised that wantonly kicking everyone’s ass day in/day out means you’re only getting featured in around two episodes per week. The more you fall ass over tit, the more screen time you get. But by the time it gets to a Sunday elimination all anyone at home remembers is the last dish someone cooks. So Reynold’s figured out that he can faff about during the week and pretend to be a big kitchen baby, turn on the afterburners in the Sunday elimination, and come out of the week looking like a million bucks.

More screen time = more times he can very casually bring up KOI in his confessionals. That’s true business hustle. You can’t teach that on MasterChef. Old mate is swanning about like he’s Warren Very Buff-et at the moment.

2) Emelia Jackson

Between saying that a pumpkin is her “best friend” and giving the emotional gutpunch interview about how she’s worked her ass off for six years to perfect her chosen craft and that one failed choux pastry a couple of weeks ago nearly brought her to the brink of a full-on existential meltdown, I don’t understand how anyone could want Millsy to fail at anything. You’ve worked so hard, mate. Please, achieve your dreams.

You must have them. It is the only right and just thing.

Anyone who disagrees with this has never burst into tears after exploding packet muffins at 4am.

Baking-related heartache is real, and it hurts.

1) Reece Hignell

Imagine having such a good MasterChef week that even when after you win Immunity and rock up to an episode taping where you should be appearing in about 0.3% of it, and still all anyone can talk about is you because you’ve casually rocked up looking like an absolute dream.

Reece got two full body outfit shots because his shorts and socks were so bloody good that they demanded equal, separate treatment.

You know what that is? That’s King shit, baby. That’s high-level operation. No one else gets that shit. But Reece bloody does.

I cannot stress this enough: