‘MasterChef’ season 7, episode 1 review: The audition round begins

MasterChef -

The new season of “MasterChef” is here, and it’s … better than we expected?

We gotta be honest: After sitting through most of the first episode, we actually do think the two-judge format really isn’t too bad. We do miss Graham Elliott, but the way this format worked was just fine. The reality here is that over time, criticisms blend together. This is a show about cooking, but it’s also a show about contestants. It’s up to the folks over at casting to bring out people who the majority of Americans are going to want to see on TV, and for that, the premiere delivered.

The construction of some of these “battles” proved to be effective, as we saw dads competing against each other, two people working on the perfect steak, amateur bakers face off, and even four firefighters going head-to-head in a situation where only two of them would make it. Some of these winners were fairly obvious, but it’s a cooking show and there is only so much an edit can do to hide obvious mistakes. What’s most important is that you’ve got some people with great energy, and then also some others who are probably too cocky for their own good. You want both!

Tonight’s biggest surprise? That the show has its oldest contestant to date, and he probably only had a few minutes of screen time. Why wasn’t he interesting enough to put on the air? Maybe he won in such a blowout that it wasn’t interesting.

The downside to this “audition” format is that you really don’t get to know anyone’s name or really their personality other than a few basic traits (like firefighter, baker, or poker player), but, the premieres are never really where this show shines. This wasn’t tremendous or the best start to the series ever, but it was far from a disaster. Consider it solid, but not spectacular. Grade: B-.

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