The season has already started and last year’s winner of the eliminated players returned to give it her all once again; Tatu Baby is back in this Tuesday summer staple episode titled “Baby Got Back.” Dave Navarro is back as host with his two other expert judges, Oliver Peck and Chris Nunez.
This season’s crop of tattoo artists is in New York City vying for the $100,000, the feature in “Inked Magazine” and the title of “Ink Master.” Competing are: Ally Lee, Chris May, Craig Foster, ES, Frank McManus, Jackie Jennings, Jason Clay Dunn, Jime Litwalk, Joey Hamilton, James Danger, Joshua Hibbard, Kyle Dunbar, Maddie La Belle, Made Rich, Mystical Mike and Tatu Baby.
When the episode opened, the group was taken to a prison. Some shuddered at the idea because they have been there before. The skills test will take place here, where some of the best tattoo artists learned their craft in places just like this. For this challenge, they will be behind bars with their human canvas and have to tattoo “prison style” using a single needle. They will have only ninety minutes to complete their single-needle tattoo.
As the time started, each contestant saw the doors open to the cell where they would be working with some of the most uncooperative clients ever. As the tattoos were being completed, the grimaces on the prisoners’ faces gave way to the pain they were inflicting. The winner of this challenge would have an advantage in the last round. The few kudos given were to Kyle Dunbar, Jason Clay Dunn, Jime Litwalk, Jackie Jennings, Tatu Baby, Joshua Hibbard, ES and Joey Hamilton. Only half of the group got passing marks from the judges. Joey Hamilton won the best overall tattoo.
This season, there will be a human canvas jury that will do some of the judging. Their vote will put one of the artists up for elimination. As their canvases walked in, they were the same inmates who they tattooed previously. They were not current inmates, but most had served hard-time at one point. This test will be a tough one right out of the gate. Their challenge was to do a cover-up of a prison tattoo; one of the hardest ones because they must disguise a tattoo that is already there, so it cannot be seen. For the elimination round, Joey had the advantage of choosing the canvases for the rest of the players as they entered their well-equipped cubicles in the large studio. He chose to give them all their previous canvas; like them or not.
They had the rest of the evening to consult with their canvases. Jime felt that he had the toughest job of all with a large tattoo to cover up with a dragon. Jime knows that in the previous seasons of the show, there have never been a dragon tattoo that got raves from the judges. He is afraid this is his kiss of death.
The next day, as the tattooing started, all was not too peaceful as some canvases were loud and obnoxious, where others had a difficult time handling the pain. Finally, the challenge was over, and the judging began. Joey’s tattoo did not win any love from the judges, because there was no texture and the dragon looked like one big red thing. Kyle did a good job covering the tattoo, but the lines were not sharp. Craig’s was an eagle, but was too flat and did not pop. As expected, Jime’s dragon received no congratulations from the judges. ES’s picture of Jesus Christ could have been more refined. Jackie’s did not look new; it was not vibrant and looked like an old tattoo. James Danger did not impress the judges because he did not cover the tattoo with enough black that it would not show through in the future. Jason’s was colorful, but not enough to gain merit from the judges. Ally did manage to cover the tattoo, but from across the room looked like an orange football. Chris did a good tattoo, but it did not resemble a koala. Frank did a gorilla with its mouth wide open showing a weird shaped tongue and gnarly teeth. Oliver said it did not even look like a tongue as the contestants thought it resembled more of a ball-sack. He was told that the tattoo showed everything he cannot do, instead of what he can do. Maddie did a terrible job. Her cover-up was way too dark, and the rest of the tattoo was out of proportion and not dark enough to hide the previous tattoo. Joshua did an alligator, but it was between two other tattoos and not well placed. Made Rich’s skull was too dull, and had no teeth. When he stated that nobody said he had to do teeth; Oliver told him nobody told him he had to do a good tattoo either. Tattoo Baby did a lovely woman, but she had a finger that was completely out of place, unless she was disfigured. Mike’s blue lion lacked definition and when Chris pointed out that it just had whiskers on one side of its face, he told them he only had one machine to work with. This statement astounded both the judges and the rest of the contestants.
As the deliberation began, Mike told the rest of the contestants that some of his machines were thrown out of a window; why, only he knows. But the agreed that he should have kept his mouth shut.
As the human canvas jury deliberated, so did the judges. The best tattoo was Tatu Baby, even with the out of place finger. Frank, Maddie and Mike were deemed the worst. Maddie had the worst tattoo as voted by the human canvas jury. Frank’s gorilla was abominable to a tattooing standpoint, and although Maddie and Mike did a bad job, Frank was eliminated from the competition on this episode of “Ink Master.”
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