Welcome to the year’s final installment of the Top Chef Power Rankings. We’ve had a few great predictions and plenty more that didn’t turn out so well, but in our defense, I’m not sure the judges would have even called Mike, Tiffany and Carla all making the final five. In a season where every one of the competitors is decent, the margin of error becomes so much smaller. That was a hard lesson early favorites Angelo, Dale T., Tiffani and Marcel found out, but hey, maybe they’ll get another crack in an all-star season five or six years down the road.

As for this time around, poor Antonia is going home. She cooked her ass off this season, impressing viewers, the judges and her fellow competitors alike, but she drew the short end of the stick in this week’s elimination challenge. Preparing Chef Morimoto’s final meal of rice, raw fish and miso soup, she crushed the rice portion but fell short everywhere else, especially with an oversalted soup the beloved chef was very disappointed with.

Conversely, Richard was just as good as Antonia was mediocre. He drew Wolfgang Puck, cooking goulash that would have made the icon’s “mother proud” and baking his first apple streusel to the raving of Gail Simmons. Mike was just a step below, but unfortunately for him, was forced to duke it out with Antonia in a winner take all one-bite challenge after Richard won and was put through. Mikey won a split decision, 4-3, axing his cousin and becoming one of the most unlikely Top Chef finalists in history.

This week’s Power Rankings are taking on a slightly different form. With only two competitors left, Cinema Blend writers Mack Rawden and Jessica Grabert have decided to take opposing viewpoints in a Top Chef great debate. Jessica is convinced favorite and old standby Richard Blais will take home the title while Mack has slowly come around to the underdog Mike. Read their opinions below and then vote for who you think will be declared Top Chef

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The Favorite

Richard Blais will win. I say this because he has more talent and credibility than anyone else cooking this season. Even though Dale and Angelo and many more were fierce competitors, Richard was still at the top of our lists. In the Top Chef world, one bad week could send a person home. Richard doesn’t have bad weeks. In the one elimination challenge Richard was low, he wasn’t close to rock bottom—he’s so talented, in fact, he’s never really been in a position to be kicked off the show. Never once in Blais’ Top Chef history has the man been told to pack his knives and go home.

So, he had a bad break in season 4. Shit happens. He came back harder, faster, and stronger. It won’t matter if Richard disguises root vegetables as pasta or uses liquid nitrogen on weird sauces to freeze them because audiences can be certain he has any number of other tricks up his sleeve. Richard Blais has struggled, he has used his skills to their utmost extent, and he will put his head down and win this competition. If he didn’t have confidence he was going to win, then why the fuck even bother to grow out a playoff beard?

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The Underdog

Mike Isabella will win because he has a better attitude. Three months ago when this competition began, the Top Chef Power Rankings placed Mike sixteenth out of eighteen contestants. If he were asked to vote, he likely would have placed himself somewhere near the middle of the pack. How couldn’t he? While the likes of Richard Blais, Angelo Sosa and Marcel Vigneron dominated their individual seasons, Mike finished seventh. Worse, he never even won an elimination challenge. He came back on the show to prove he could compete and maybe even win a few rounds, but as the eliminated contestants piled up and his individual results started improving, his mentality completed shifted.

Since week 5, he’s won four quickfires, two elimination challenges and narrowly missed several more victories. Even better, he’s carried himself with a confident swagger, assuming greatness rather than just hoping for it. You never bet against the hottest horse in the field, especially when the frontrunner is keenly aware of the expectations placed upon him. Mike has nothing to lose, and as Richard crumbles beneath the weight of his own hopes, the Italian chef everyone counted out will steal the top prize.

Who Will Win Top Chef?
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