Ink Master season 10 episode 10 review: Josh Payne plays instigator

Josh PayneRemember when there were a few episodes on Ink Master season 10 when it looked like Team DJ Tambe was on the ropes? Well, consider those days over. The herd has been thinned and it now feels as though DJ’s team is in the best spot to make it to the finale once more.

After all, there are only eight artists left in the competition, and DJ’s Big Three of Josh Payne, Deanna Smith, and Frank Ready are still standing. They weren’t the first team declared safe in the team battle portion of the competition, but they still found a way to avoid elimination. This is largely notable in that this is a team that has cheated death now numerous times despite having some of the toughest human canvases. Josh seems like a lock to be a finalist, we’re still buying into Deanna’s winner edit, and Frank seems poised to make it to around fourth or fifth place.

Does any other artist have much of a chance? Right now, Juan Salgado and Jason Elliot on Team Anthony Michaels are probably the two strongest people not on DJ’s team — they’ve been consistently solid, even if neither has the screen time of a Josh or a Deanna so far. They didn’t really have to work that much tonight after they were safe alongside Daniel Silva through the first part of the competition.

Meanwhile, Team Steve Tefft is falling apart. Love Josh or hate him, you have to admit that his plan tonight was incredibly entertaining. Out of Steve’s team members, Josh determined that the coach was favoring Fame alongside Roly T-Rex … which meant that there was some room for him to get in there and try to drive a wedge between Steve and Jeremy Brown. It actually did seem to work, since Jeremy later did question Steve as to whether or not he intentionally gave his artists a style for the final face-off that Jeremy didn’t specialize in but Roly and Fame did. Josh smartly realized that Jeremy will be easier to beat later if he and his coach aren’t getting along; meanwhile, he could try to also eliminate someone who did have a closer relationship with Steve.

Do we think that Fame is eliminated now because of Josh’s mustache-twirling ways? Not really. He just didn’t do a strong-enough tattoo, but this little bit of theater added drama to a season that hasn’t really had a lot of water-cooler moments and we appreciate that.

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CarterMatt Verdict

Our appreciation for Josh as an artist has always been there, but at this point so is our appreciation for Josh as the gladiator screaming “are you not entertained?!” — there are many other talented people, but he is one of the few artists who seems to be fully cognizant that this is a TV show. We’re probably still rooting for Juan or Frank to win but it’s nice to have someone in there stirring the pot.

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