It happens once every season of MasterChef. At some point, usually around now, the show quietly eliminates 6 people without telling anyone. You don’t remember ever seeing anyone else in the competition, mind you. Those 6 people don’t have names or anything. It’s just that one episode there’s heaps of people left, and the next there appears to be next-to-none. No one ever explains why or how this happens, but suddenly there’s like… not that many people left in the competition at all. Thursday: Heaps. Sunday: Fuck all. That’s how it happens. That’s the magic of television. The glitz and glamour of the small screen, baby.

With seven weeks in the can and now apparently only a few more to go, here’s where the Power Rankings are sitting leading into Week Eight. Here we go!

ELIMINATED: Jess Liemantara

Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

I tell you what, I much preferred MasterChef when it was all nice and everyone could hug and we weren’t cutting Jess loose from the competition and leaving her to stand alone and cry while everyone else also stood alone and cried and no one could do anything about it.  I much preferred MasterChef when it wasn’t crushing every dream Jess has ever had on national television for the “purposes” of “entertainment.” I much preferred MasterChef when it wasn’t ripping my living, breathing soul right out of my asshole by booting Jess to the curb for the “crime” of putting “too much red wine” in a dish. There is absolutely no such thing. What the hell. What’s the point of this anymore. Who the hell are they gonna get rid of next, Reece?? Oh sweet merciful crap they’re gonna get rid of Reece. I can’t take much more of this, I cannot.

11) Simon Toohey

Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

I have a massive bone to pick here. Not really with Simon, but with Jock. Well, a little bit with Simon. But mostly Jock. Alright a lot with Simon and a lot with Jock. 50/50.

In last night’s elimination challenge, we throw all the contestants into a wild ice cream challenge where the brief, and the demand, is to be brought ridiculous flavour combinations. Jock even sternly tells everyone that if it’s boring and safe, he will not be eating it. He looks them all in the eye and says this.

Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

If he doesn’t taste it, you go into round two. But then not only does Jock greedily lap up every single dish that is brought before him, he willingly puts up with Simon’s Peach & Molasses bullshit. Peach & Molasses. Peach, and molasses. Mans spends 30 minutes staring blankly at the pantry like I do once a week while trying to decide what to cook before landing on a slide of dry square bread, and then the best he can come up with is peach and molasses.

Mr Whippy probably does a peach and molasses swirl nowadays. I could root around in a Coles fridge and find peach and molasses on a stick. Dixie Cup probably does a peach and molasses flavour because it is safe for literal babies.

If you’re going to level a threat on people, Jock, at least have the common decency to show them you’re serious. You can’t just Chekhov’s MasterChef Challenge Twist it in act one and then pretend you never said it ten minutes later. Good god, man.

10) Callum Hann

Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

What the hell has happened to Callum over the past few weeks. I know everyone on MasterChef is in lockdown and isolated because of [gestures vaguely at outside] all of that, and I know that it absolutely sucks. But bloody hell, what’s going on here. Did he sell his cooking soul for some magic beans at the Showground entrance? Did he accidentally kick the Kitchen Troll that lives under the big pile of Thermomixes in the stock room? Did he go to take a swig from a bottle of Verjuice but accidentally picked up the You Suck Now Juice instead? I’m losing my mind here. He’s supposed to be good at this! He won All Stars that one time they did that and no one remembered it! What is happening!

9) Laura Sharrad

Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

Laura’s been quiet the past little while, but it’s a threatening quiet. She’s up to something. She’s biding her time right now. She’s done enough to get into whatever good judge graces she needs to to sail her on through to the pointy of end of the competition, and then she’s poised to strike. Laura’s moving chess pieces around like bloody Bobby Fischer at the moment and it’s ominous as shit. I don’t like it. It do not like it one little bit.

8) Tessa Boersma

Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

I have been watching this dumbass show for 11 years now and I’ve been saying it the same damned thing over and over and over again: You only have to win one MasterChef challenge, and that’s the last one. For everything else you just have to be Not Last a whole fucken lot. It doesn’t matter if you stink the joint up time and time again, as long as you’re Not Last you will not get eliminated. That is how it works. At no point should you ever strive for greatness in the MasterChef kitchen, you should simply strive for Not Lastness. And Tessa, this season, might be the most Not Last contestant out there. There are no limits she will go to to be Not Last. The skill and precision with which she attains that coveted Not Last result time and time again is a sight to behold. Tessa is the Michael Jordan of being Not Last, and Back To Win is her Last Dance.

7) Brendan Pang
Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

I believe in my heart of hearts that Reece will survive just fine in the competition without Jess or Brendan, but I believe with absolute certainty that Brendan will not. Without the Audrey’s by his side he will be lost in time, like tears in rain. He may put on airs like he’ll be fine and everything’s alright, but then the camera will cut away from Poh pushing a boiled spud through a ricer to Brendan sitting on the roof, alone, in the rain, singing Words Fail from Dear Evan Hanson or something like that. Fortunately, it’s not a reality he’ll have to confront this season. Or at least I hope it is.

6) Khanh Ong

Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

Despite a middling week that he reefed from the brink of utter disaster by chucking a bay leaf in his wacky ice cream like he thought it had pantry moths, Khanh continues to do his best work off-field and online, mostly through his dedicated and fearless efforts to exposing Reynold’s secret lurker Twitter account.

You cannot teach that kind of journalistic nous. It is pure instinct. The man has sniffed out a scoop and he is doggedly pursuing it as far as he can.

5) Sarah Tiong

Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

Call me sadistic, call me callous, say I revel in the misery of others, I don’t care. Sarah Tiong stifles out a big cry and toughs her way through it in the same way that Bill Hader’s SNL Boston cop family does and I simply cannot ever get enough.

Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

Same energy. Absolutely 100% the same energy in those two things right there. Beautiful.

4) Poh Ling Yeow

Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

I genuinely have no idea what Poh is going to do next at this stage. There’s no modelling for energy like this. There’s no way to predict her movements. Scientists work for years trying to come up with ways to forecast how someone like Poh operates, and they always come up short. It’s all well and good to say that MasterChef has benefitted from the fresh attitude of the new judges. But secretly, deep down, the real weapon is the fact that Poh is a true Wild Card, the likes of which has so rarely been seen on Australian TV. What’s gonna happen next? Who knows, man. Maybe her nerves get the better of her and she spends and entire episode making a low, guttural moaning sound at a slowly baking oven. Maybe she tries to do that thing where you like… crack an egg on a footpath on a really hot day just to see if it’ll cook. Maybe she’ll invent a method of serving food where you load it into a tiny trebuchet and launch it into the eater’s mouth from 10 feet away. Who knows at all, really. All I know is I’m up for whatever.

3) Reece Hignell

Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

I mean, I mean, I MEAN…

…Reece is Australian Royalty at this stage as far as I’m concerned. My dude got Melissa Leong to pull a Drag Race reference on prime time network TV. That’s miracle work. The man be a Saint.

2) Reynold Poernomo

Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

Were time travel a possibility – and I’d like to think that it is – the smartest thing anyone could ever do with it would be to travel back in time to the point that every individual user signed up for a Bodybuilding Dot Com forum account, and slap them repeatedly until they reconsidered. Did he cook arguably the best dish in MasterChef history this week? Absolutely. Is he, as always, a big kitchen freak? Sure. Was it deeply silly of him to not completely scrub that dark internet stain clean the moment he got cast on a major TV show? You bet your ass. Come on, dude. Use your head here.

1) Emelia Jackson

Power Ranking ‘MasterChef’ By Who Even Gives A Shit Now Jess Is Gone

Fuck it, I’m all in on Mils. That was the most complete and perfect week of cooking you’ll see in MasterChef. Two cooks and out. Bang, bang. The old one-two Kostya Tszyu. Imagine fronting up to work on Monday and doing the first two things given to you so right that you get given the rest of the entire week off. Emelia spent an eternity up on that gantry last week. She could’ve dragged her entire hotel suite up there after she won the first Immunity and it would have been literal days before she would’ve had to make room for someone else.

I do not know where this sudden burst of insane savoury cooking has come from, and I’m starting to suspect it’s the longest of long cons. She knew, somehow, way back in Season 6, that Back To Win was coming, and she’s been sitting on her hands for this exact moment. She was always a gun capable of winning MasterChef in a canter, and only now is she fully playing her hand. It’s a damned hustle, and it has been from the moment she walked into the kitchen back in 2014.

Is that a conspiracy theory? Maybe. But if it is, just wrap me in tin foil and call me Jesse Ventura, because I’m fully off the grid now.