Twenty-two contestants remain on MasterChef. Who will be the last one standing in the kitchen? The competition really gets going this week on MasterChef and some of the contestants start to show who they really are. This truly is a competition, and these contestants will use every advantage they have.

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First Mystery Box Challenge: Baking

The competition officially begins with the first mystery box challenge. The contestants have 90 minutes to cook with what’s in their mystery box: chocolate, strawberries, honey, brandy, coffee, extracts and other ingredients. They’re going to have to make desserts. As always, the judges will taste everything. But there’s one more twist: someone will go home at the end of this challenge! These judges really love sending people home quickly. The judges talk about how the contestants are probably going to try to do too much. That’s always a big flaw.¬†

Willie seems confidant in the kitchen. He’s my favorite contestant so far. He lives in a house of 13 people and is the only one to cook. He wants to show his nieces and nephews that they can do anything. Astrid’s nervous, though. This is a tough challenge for her. She’s never baked before! Jamiee is so endearing. She’s a bakery assistant. She says she needs to win this challenge. She always feels like an outsider, but this is her chance to show how confident she can be. She even has a mixer tattooed on her thigh. I really want her to win this one!

The Competition Really Begins

The competition is heating up now with Elizabeth calling Leslie out for talking too much. He strikes back. He talks about how he’s worked hard to get to where he is, but Elizabeth just provokes him some more. The judges are not happy. Gordon Ramsay says that Leslie’s the oldest and should start showing it. Things are getting intense! Leslie definitely struggles and suffers after the drama.

The First Elimination

The judges want to take a closer look at some of the final dishes. They call Cutter, Astrid, Courtney and Big Willie. Two are in contention for the worst dish and two in contention for the best dish. The worst dishes are Cutter and Astrid. Cutter has a cappuccino pudding. He even has a MasterChef logo on it. Gordon Ramsay is appalled. How could he put the logo on like that? Carter is not living up to the MasterChef standards.

Astrid has a lemon tart and it’s completely raw. She’s never baked before, but she should be able to do better. Ultimately, Astrid is sent home. After her dirty kitchen debacle last week and this weak dessert, she just doesn’t cut it.

Courtney’s Choice

The judges move on to taste the top two dishes. Whoever wins this competition gets an edge in the next competition and gets to join the judges in the MasterChef pantry. Courtney has a honey cake. She makes a smart choice using salt, and the judges notice. Willie has a gingerbread cake. It looks incredible! The judges say that the dish itself looks so great, and then there’s Willie. Willie laughs about it. Gordon Ramsay even calls it a party in his mouth. The winner ends up being Courtney, though. She’s overcome. I really thought it was going to be Willie.

Courtney is now in control of the elimination test. She gets to pick what they’ll be cooking. They have to cook with one of the most popular ingredients: ground meat. She picks between meatballs, meatloaf and a hamburger. They talk about how America’s the only one that cooks a loaf of meat. Courtney also doesn’t even have to cook for this challenge. She can just sit back and relax.

Courtney also learns a shocking third advantage: only half of the contestants have to cook and she gets to choose who’s safe. She’s pretty cruel about it. I feel so bad for Jamiee, who is one of the contestants that she picks. Courtney says that she doesn’t like what she has presented and thinks that she’s easy prey. Poor Jamiee has always felt like an outsider. This must have been so hard to hear. Courtney also has a pretty maniacal laugh. She’s definitely showing her true colors. She picks each safe contestant with clear determination. She calls the other contestants pawns and is very deliberate in her choices. She says this is like chess. She chooses to save most of the people she isn’t threatened by.

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The Elimination Test

The judges reveal that Courtney chose the meatloaf. The remaining contestants have one hour to make a meatloaf. The remaining contestants rush off to get started on their meatloaves. The judges all agree that their biggest issue would be to not taste the seasoning.

The judges are a little concerned about Stephani’s untraditional meatloaf choices right away. They don’t seem convinced by her. She should have just stuck with what people know. The judges keep criticizing everything. Can these contestants do nothing right? Hopefully, it’s all helpful to them and isn’t super deterring.

Willie vs. Courtney

Willie is not happy that Courtney didn’t save him, but he’s stepping up his game. Gordon Ramsay says that he’s the one sending a message to everyone rather than Courtney. “Courtney’s just running her mouth,” Willie says. Will he get his revenge?

The Elimination

It’s finally time for the judges to taste the dishes. Francis is up first. He’s never tried meatloaf and burrata before, but he wanted to try something new. It worked! He’s in this to win.

Stephani is next. Her alternative style meatloaf isn’t working for Gordon. He actually spits it out! He wants her to go home right away. It’s just terrible. Whitney’s up next. Some of the other contestants are not impressed, and the judges seem to agree. It’s not good at all. It’s bland and poorly presented and has some weird ingredients.

Christine’s next. It’s good, but her fried egg is unnecessary. Jordan’s doesn’t go so well. He’s really young, though, and the judges say it shows. Daniel’s is great. They have nothing bad to say about it.

Big Willie’s highly anticipated meatloaf is up next. It’s great and he makes a point of pointing up to his competition on the balcony. Dan’s next. He’s really confident about his dish and has been saying some bad things about the other dishes. Does his food live up to his mouth? Nope! Gordon Ramsay calls it “absolutely disgusting.” Dan’s rightfully devastated.

In the end, Francis wins the competition. He gets a huge advantage in the next challenge. But there were three bad dishes: Stephani’s, Dan’s and Whitney’s. Dan gets to stay. At least Dan admits that he let his ego get too big. Hopefully, he’ll learn from this. Gordon Ramsay asks Courtney if she knows who they’re going to send home. She thinks it’s Whitney. She’s right. Whitney’s sent home. She just isn’t passionate and creative enough for MasterChef.

MasterChef airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Robin Lempel

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV