Would you believe that, somehow, we have now made it through ten entire weeks of MasterChef: Back to Win? Ten entire weeks. It’s sobering to think about just how much the world has changed in that relatively small amount of time. And with this season now seemingly set to extend out into the distant future, it’s not a stretch to suggest the world will be a even more different place when it eventually wraps up, in February 2024, at which point maybe I’ll be able to go home to Tasmania and visit family. Maybe. Not really holding my breath on that one if we’re being honest.
Seven remain! Six hundred weeks to go! Who will survive and what will be left of them! Look upon my MasterChef Power Ranking for Week Ten, ye Mighty, and despair!
ELIMINATED: Brendan Pang
Sorry, don’t have the emotional space to writing anything pithy about Brendan right now. Too busy trying to cope with the fact that immediately after he was eliminated, Brendan’s eyes went straight to Reece and we got this gut punch of a shot.
He can’t even maintain eye contact with him without having to look away! Oh god.
I’ll say this much for Brendan: It’s rare that you see someone experience so much personal growth inside a single reality TV series. Even after participating in his first MasterChef season and even after opening his own business in between, Brendan still walked back in to the kitchen deeply unsure of himself. There was a palpable sense of self-doubt oozing out of him as he stood amongst people he, probably, considered out of his league.
But over ten weeks we saw a shy young lad slowly gain the confidence to finally understand that not only does he belong there with them, but that he’s just as good – if not better – than most of the other cooks in this year’s series.
A true and rare privilege, to be able to watch that. That’s what MasterChef does best.
7) Reynold Poernomo
Controversial as this may seem, I simply cannot let an outrageous cock-up like “gets eliminated from Cube Challenge by ham” slide. Ham. Reynold rolls into the MasterChef kitchen looking like several pork shoulders taped together and yet can’t pick a cube of ham to save himself.
Better yet, he bombs out of the Cube Challenge after calling the ham “turkey.” Just straight up no idea. He identifies it as “meat” and lobs out a random word. Old mate blindly picking meats like me hammered drunk trying to order a dirty sandwich from a NYC bodega.
“Ham, turkey, who gives a shit, man. Fuck me up with it.”
The Cube Challenge is fair and just, and Reynold got his ass bit. Last place.
6) Tessa Boersma
Remember that time that I said the Cube Challenge is fair and just? Throw that out the window completely. The Cube Challenge is rigged bullshit and Tessa copped the absolute sharpest end of that shitty stick. Because in what moon man world is this pasty garbage celery?
Honestly. And that was in the easy pile? The skunk bit of a celery stalk that every person in human history has heaved directly into the bin without a second thought. You couldn’t just mash a bunch of green bits together and stuck a toothpick through it? You just had to get clever by squaring up compost scraps and putting that in amongst everything. Technically the gross purple roots on a potato are still part of the potato, but I didn’t see that shoved into a square mould on the table you jerks.
Honestly, Tessa sitting there absolutely fuming about it was, as the kids say, a Big Ass Mood™.
I would’ve too.
5) Emelia Jackson
I like Millsy. Honestly, she’s probably my favourite competitor this season overall. But in no way, shape or form am I abiding a chocolate/Vegemite flavour combination in a dessert. I’m sure it tastes delicious. I’m sure it was a spectacularly balanced dish. But I simply cannot reconcile it in my head. It is a totally foreign language to me. I like salty & sweet, but my brain is recoiling at the mere thought of shoving a Dairy Milk block into a Vegemite tub and basing an entire dish around that. I just can’t do it, man. It’s like salt baking a Cherry Ripe, to me. Like stuffing a Boost bar down a salmon’s throat and plating that up. Like wrapping a block of Caramilk in anchovies and going to fucking town. I can’t do it, man. And I refuse to.
4) Poh Ling Yeow
Poh’s such an enigma in the context of all this. Because on the one hand her chaotic brain gets distracted by the (admittedly) very over-stimulating MasterChef kitchen environment, meaning she’s had to repeatedly pull something completely out of her ass in less than 5 minutes in order to – at least believably – save herself from elimination. But on the other sometimes gets a Laser Focus buff and identifies the mere presence of feijoa from fifty feet away while blindfolded. Didn’t even need to sniff or taste it. She just knew it was in the room. It’s like a Spider Sense but for uncommon tropical fruits.
3) Laura Sharrad
Full credit to her, chopping inches off your hair mid-major reality TV show filming is easily the bravest decision anyone on the show has made this season. And for Laura, it’s a belter of one.
— MasterChef Australia (@masterchefau) June 21, 2020
Honestly, can’t fault it. Great look. Renewed energy. Good food. That’s a hell of a week, it cannot be denied.
2) Callum Hann
Sorry, having a really hard time reconciling this shit.
“I feel really unsure about this one” and then a blind guess of “starfruit” do not belong in the same sentence. If I’m whipping a random dart at a board full of fruit it will never land on starfruit. I’m getting blood orange at best. This is wizard-level bullshit from Callum and I’m staggered by it.
1) Reece Hignell
TWO IMMUNITY WINS IN A ROW FOR THE KING.
Reece is not only firing on all cylinders as far as the actual cooking goes, but his reaction game is reaching untold heights.
“Hey man! You’ve won Immunity!”
That reaction by itself is God Tier work, but then he turns around and does this literal seconds later:
I just bloody love him so much. A superstar. An icon. A kind and gentle Prince. There is no one I wish to Stan harder.
BONUS POWER RANKING: JUDGES EDITION
Because there’s only a handful of contestants left in the competition and I absolutely love making more work for myself, here’s a little bonus Power Ranking of the show’s (equally fantastic) judging panel.
3) Jock Zonfrillo
Daddy Zonfrillo is a handsome Scot with a calming voice and just enough mystery and edge to him to keep you utterly captivated with his every move. But then once a week he screams an eliminated person’s name like he’s a boxing ring announcer and it makes me want to shrivel up and die.
So it’s a real Devil & God Are Raging Inside Me scenario for me, as far as Jock goes.
2) Andy Allen
Turns out the Cube Challenge is the perfect format for Andy Allen. He leaned in so hard I’m surprised the entire building didn’t fall over. The Cube Challenge hits so many of Andy’s personal interests it’s not even funny: A surprisingly deep knowledge of food? Tick.
Tense, arbitrary competition that he can hang his whole emotions on and produce over-the-top reactions like this to?
Seriously, like it’s a thing he can absolutely lose his mind over?
A vague excuse to fuck liberally with blindfolded contestants by doing sneaking up behind them and giving them a big spook?
If James Corden can get standalone Carpool Karaoke spinoff, then Andy Allen should be able to get one for Cube Challenge. It’s only fair.
1) Melissa Leong
Honestly, Melissa Leong is a goddamned national treasure. Are the Logies still a thing? Give her the Gold one immediately. Don’t even bother handing any others out at the ceremony. Just give her the award, and then give her 3 hours of uncensored live TV air time to say whatever she wants.
I mean when even your outtakes are so wholesome that we’re putting them to air…
…you’re doing very well indeed.