Ink Master season 9 episode 15 is airing on Spike next week, and after tonight, it feels pretty clear that there are some big things that could happen as this season enters the home stretch. (Warning: Spoilers ahead from tonight’s episode!)
After the elimination of Golden Skull Tattoo, the season feels almost wide open in terms of competition. Cleen Rock One and Aaron Is are now both gone after an incident with a Buddha’s hands (read our full CarterMatt review of this week’s episode for more on that), and this means four shops remain: Old Town Ink, Unkindness Art, Basilica Tattoo, and Black Cobra Tattoo. All of them have their strengths and weaknesses, and we think it’s time to shine a spotlight on all of them.
Unkindness Art – They bring with them some of the best work of the season, and they’re also the only remaining shop that has been around since the very first episode. The two of them winning would be a huge coup for the newbie artists who started off the season. However, on the flip side you can argue that this is the most unbalanced team, with Erin Chance doing more of the tattoos and receiving more of the acclaim than Doom Kitten.
Old Town Ink – Probably our pick to win at the moment just based on their total number of wins and creative artistry. These guys have been threats from the moment that they’ve shown up, and they’ve had a favorable edit most of the time, as well. You can easily say that DJ Tambe is the alpha of this team, but Bubba Irwin has held his own when he’s been called on to do good work. He has definitely grown as an artist since the last time we’ve seen him on Ink Master.
Basilica Tattoo – Christian Buckingham is entertainment gold, and there would be something really sad about him making it to the finale and placing third again. He’s got a good chance of making it to the end, as he and Noelin Wheeler are probably the most balanced pair still remaining in the competition.
Black Cobra Tattoo – We really like Matt O’Baugh and Katie McGowan’s art; in terms of personal preference, they’ve been a favorite ever since their first go-around on the show. We’d feel pretty terrible for Matt if he ends up stuck in the third again (and not having his master canvas judged!), but for now, he just needs to worry about surviving one more week. They probably have the most pressure just because they’re the shop that has been around the shortest amount of time.
The cool thing about season 9 is this: No matter who makes it to the finale, all of them are really good shops and we’d have no problem with any one of these shops winning. We can’t say that about some of the other seasons that we’ve seen over time, where there’s been an artist or two who stick out like a sore thumb.
What do you want to see on Ink Master season 9 episode 15, and who are you rooting for to take the win home? Share some of your thoughts in the CarterMatt comments section below! (Photo: Spike.)