MasterChef season 9 episode 1 review: Does the new twist work?

MasterChef season 9MasterChef season 9 episode 1 aired on Fox Wednesday night and overall, we would say that the series has delivered on its most successful twist in ages.

Basically, the show took a page from The Voice or Ink Master in having the home cooks audition to earn a spot on one of the judges’ teams. There will be three teams of eight competing for the title — we’re not sure how different things are going to be different down the road, but for the time being it’s added a new energy to an “audition” format that was previously one of the hardest parts of the show to get into.

Consider things this way: At the start of the season, there are so many different contestants that it can be hard to keep track of them all. In giving the series this structure, however, you keep the focus a little more on the judges and you get to know the contestants more through their lens. You also put Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Aaron Sanchez in a play in which they can be a little more involved in the process. At the end of each tasting, they had a chance to give one of their aprons to any of the home cooks competing. If two judges handed an apron to a home cook, they got to decide their mentor.

If there’s one obvious problem with this format, it’s quite simple: Gordon Ramsay is the biggest culinary star in America at this point and basically every contestant with a chance to choose him is going to pick him. He’s basically the Blake Shelton of MasterChef that way. (For those who don’t know, contestants on Blake’s team often have a good shot of winning The Voice.) Meanwhile, we were actually a little bit surprised that Joe managed to snatch a possible contestant away from Aaron given that we thought his status as a restauranteur rather than a chef per se would hurt him.

The one thing that we were somewhat deprived of in this episode tonight was a chance to see a three-way battle between all of the different chefs for a contestant. Maybe that’s something that we will have a better chance to see down the road since there wasn’t that particular opportunity here, at least the in the first hour. Instead, the most dramatic thing we saw was a teary-eyed contestant named Mark who was at first eliminated before Joe gave him a second chance to save himself … provided that he was ready to do what it takes.

CarterMatt Verdict

It’s still far too early for us to know or have a lot of say when it comes to the individual contestants, but we do think that MasterChef season 9 is off to a really promising start. The format is interesting, the food tonight looked delicious, and we still think the casting of this show is some of the best out there.

What did you think about MasterChef season 9 episode 1? Be sure to share right now in the attached comments!

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