‘Ink Master: Rivals’ season 5 premiere review: Joshua Hibbard, Jason Clay Dunn are all in

Ink Master season 5To say that we have been excited about the premiere of “Ink Master: Rivals” would be an understatement. We have been at the edge of our seat, bubbling over with anticipation for this season and the reason why? The return of Joshua Hibbard and Jason Clay Dunn. Their rivalry has been well documented in season 3 and with the theme of this season centered all around this type of relationship, we couldn’t wait to see how deep their rivalry has become (also Joshua is such an instigator, we know he’s going to bring the drama to the next level). So without further ado… let’s dive in!

Flash challenge/Tag Team: Upon seeing all of the artist for the first time it’s easy to see that there is some serious tension going on. Everyone has something to prove, but before they have a chance to go up against their rival, they are forced to work with their rival in the very first flash challenge of the season. They have to create one tattoo on the same canvas and they must tag team (only one person tattooing at a time and must switch out every hour.) What’s very cool about this first flash challenge is that they have open canvases, something every artist dreams of on this show and is usually only reserved for the finals. They are being judged as a team and on all essential skills as a tattoo artist.

This is a great first challenge for the judges to really see who has the fundamentals and who doesn’t deserve to be there. The first flash challenge is also where we get to see who can handle the pressure of this competition and who ends up throwing up in the bathroom like LT did. While many of the teams didn’t seem to be able to get over their issues and work together, we were pleasantly surprised to see Jason and Joshua put their differences aside and work together in harmony which resulted in a gorgeous raven tattoo.

Elimination challenge: Juila, Caroline, Ty’esha, LT, Mark and Ryan all missed the mark with their tag team flash challenge and had to go head to head to prove that they have what it takes to stay in the competition. One rival will win, and one rival will lose and out of the group that loses, one person will be sent home. They are all given open canvases once again, but the catch is that the rival will pick the style that the other must tattoo. Everyone of course gave the other person a difficult style to expose their weaknesses.

The winners of the face off’s were: LT, Ryan and Juila,  leaving Ty’esha, Mark and Caroline in the bottom. These are 3 artists with years and years of experience, being beaten out by newcomers. in the end we lost Caroline who basically produced the exact same skull and roses that landed her in the bottom in the first place.

Judging: We’ve given the judges a lot of crap the past 2 seasons for not giving proper, constructive criticism that the artists could work with, but in both the flash challenge and the elimination tattoo, they stepped up to the plate and gave good feedback.

Top Instigator: It’s worth mentioning that we have an artist that is there to stir up trouble for no reason and it’s Emily Elegado. Once she was called out as safe by the judges, she started antagonizing everyone in the bottom, shaking their cages to see what happens. It seems that she wants everyone as a rival.

We were a little worried that because this is a rivals season that the premiere was going to focus more on the bad blood and less on the actual tattoos, but that wasn’t the case. Obviously there was some tension and drama, but the tattoos we saw give us hope that there is going to be a real battle for the top prize. Also, seeing Joshua break up a fight and help calm someone down instead of being the instigator… amazing. Episode grade: A-

If you are looking for more news on “Ink Master: Rivals” then head over to the link here where you can check out a preview for next week’s episode. Also if you are interested in getting a deeper look at the show, then you’ll want to check out the “Ink Master: Rivals” podcast with Jessa and Bart.

To get even more great TV news sent straight to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter. It comes out every Sunday and is full of previews, interviews and news on all of your favorite shows.

Photo: Spike TV

Love TV? Be sure to like CarterMatt on Facebook for more updates!