The preview for Ink Master season 9 episode 11 that aired following Tuesday night’s installment can easily be described in one word: Intense. We’re getting near the end of the season, and as a result of that, things are getting ratcheted up to another level.
So who are the favorites to win? Among the newbie teams, we’re starting to feel as though Unkindness Art is a little bit ahead of Artistic Skin Design, who tend to be far more inconsistent. Erin Chance is a beast on Unkindness, and she showed it yet again on season 9 episode 10 with her performance in the portrait challenge (favorite tattoo of the day for us hands down!)
At the same time, you can also go ahead and look more towards Old Town Ink if you’re looking for a great example of a veteran shop that seems to be really holding its own. While they’ve been more in the background the past two weeks, DJ Tambe may be the best overall artist on the show this season and Bubba Irwin’s held his own most of the time, as well. They’ve been solid, and people seem to get along with them enough that they often don’t get some of the hardest tattoos in the skull picks.
Obviously, you have to consider some of the later teams to arrive as huge threats — Golden Skull Tattoo, Empire State Studio, Black Cobra Tattoo, and Basilica Tattoo all are very good and have great artists across the board. Yet, we wouldn’t be shocked that one of them goes next week in what is being hyped as one of the biggest eliminations of the season. If one of the teams slips up, we wouldn’t be shocked to see the judges want to get rid of them. This format showcases one of the biggest flaws in this format where artists arrive over the course of a season: There’s less investment in some of the people who arrive late, and it’s harder to justify giving the title to someone who missed a good four or five elimination challenges over someone who was there for the whole time. They’ve gotta be amazing throughout to earn that — Golden Skull and Black Cobra have been especially great, but both are still reasonably new to the season. They need to be perfect throughout to have a shot at earning that title as much as a shop that has been there since the beginning.
Beyond the surprise elimination, it does seem as though things are getting heated between Christian Buckingham and Ulyss Blair of Allegory Arts — we feel like if we were Ulyss, we’d probably steer clear of that sort of stuff after the scary moment we saw with him a little bit earlier this season. Still, Christian does have that way of riling people up that is tremendously effective in the midst of a competition that is very stressful.
What do you want to see on Ink Master season 9 episode 11? Be sure to share some of your thoughts in the comments!
Meanwhile, you can head over here in the event that you do want to get some additional news and insight when it comes to the show. (Photo: Spike.)