As a love of all reality competitions, we were excited to see “Best Ink” return to Oxygen last night. It’s actually the second tattoo competition we watch alongside “Ink Master,” and last year it felt like the insecure little brother at times. While the Spike show was more angry and intense, this one was more about bright colors and making sure that the clients all had a story to tell. The other issue was simply that the tone of the show (and even the network) don’t seem to fully fall in line with the tattoo community.
While there are still issues, the good news is that there were some changed evident from the get-go during Thursday night’s season premiere, with the most obvious one merely being that Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy is now the host. In some ways, it makes the “Ink Master” comparisons even more apparent given that Dave Navarro, another famous rocker, hosts the other show. While Pete could have a little more energy, he does have a little bit more of an edge to him than Kimberly Caldwell, who honestly just didn’t seem like enough of a tattoo fanatic.
There is a pretty nice array of contestants working on the show this time around, including some cocky guys (Derek, this week’s challenge winner in DJ), some people with unique looks, and even a few people (Dollarz) who don’t have much experience in the business yet. Some of these artists are clearly head and shoulders above the others, and we also learned early on that doing good in flash challenges is not always representative of being a great tattoo artist. Melvin, after all, won the flash and was in the bottom three for biting off more than he could chew.
While we hate the idea still of having the top artists choose the bottom three (mostly because that’s why you hired judges), they at least picked the right people this time in Melvin, Kelly, and Carolyn. The sad thing at times about this show is that the more interesting characters can leave early, and that’s what happened this week, as Carolyn with her vampire fangs was sent packing.
“Best Ink” may not be for everyone, but as someone who loves artistic expression, we’ll be hanging around here for most of the season. Be sure to check back for more, and you can read our last review of “Ink Master” over at the link here.