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This week’s roller derby challenge was a big reminder that we are getting down to the nitty gritty in the competition. There are still a couple of chefs who may not be up to par, but everyone else has a solid chance of pulling ahead and making it to the final round of cooking. Case in point: Micah, who has cooked his way right into the middle of the competition all season, finally came through with a quickfire win, earning $5,000 to boot.

With the quickfire out of the way, the chefs settled down for a night of relaxation, that is, until Josie went off her rocker once more, yelling at Micah and calling him a man “trapped in the closet.” Her temper tantrum was ridiculous and uncalled for, and I’m pretty sure everyone was rooting for her to go home this week. Unfortunately, it was not her time, although she did land herself on the bottom during this week’s final challenge.

Last night’s episode called for another team challenge, and featured two chefs creating one dish based on a different girl’s food-based name for a female roller derby team. Kristen and Stefan teamed up, as did Bart and Josie, Josh and Sheldon, John and Brooke, and Micah and Lizzie. John and Brooke cooked their asses off, creating a beef dish with tons of Thai flavor that wowed the judges, earning the two this week’s win. On the alternate side of things, Josh and Sheldon’s tempura was simply not cooked up to par and Josie and Belgian Bart’s dish simply lacked in flavor and consistency. While Josh and Josie both ran their mouths, the judges contended the tempura was more Sheldon’s fault and the lack of flavor on the other team had to do with Bart. Ultimately, it was Bart who was axed this week.

The Top Chef Power Rankings are an ordered compilation of weekly lists put together by TV Blend writers Jessica Rawden and Mack Rawden. Each week after viewing the episode, they each rank the competitors in order. Eighteen points are given for a first place vote, and this week, ten were given for a last place vote. Nine competitors have already been eliminated (not counting those chopped in the early rounds); therefore, those people automatically occupy the bottom slots. Here is how this week’s voting panned out, complete with analysis on how the contestants might fare moving forward.

The Favorites
#1) John Tesar (35): John picked up his first elimination challenge victory this week, and with it, he vaulted back to the top of the Top Chef rankings. Out of all the contestants, he’s most proven to be a threat to win week in and week out, and it would be a serious disappointment if he didn’t at least make the finals.

#2)Kristen Kish (34): Kristen had a decent week. The judges enjoyed the dish she created with Stefan, but it wasn’t quite enough to land her in the top during the final challenge. Still, over the course of this competition, Kish has proved time and time again that she has what it takes to create unique and tasty dishes. Landing in the middle this week isn’t going to hurt her much.

#3) Brooke Williamson (33): Brooke may have been pretty non-descript for her first four weeks in the competition, but over the past three episodes, she’s arguably been the strongest player. She won both the quickfire and the elimination challenges during episode six, and this week, her partnership with John led to a duel victory. I’m not ready to call her a frontrunner yet, but she clearly has a hell of a lot of talent beneath that chef’s coat.

#4) Stefan Richter (30): Stefan finished in the middle of the pack across the board this week. That’s been his M.O. lately, but considering he threw together inside out chicken with made to order eggs during a meal for 100 this week, it’s hard to accuse him of playing it safe. For whatever reason, it just hasn’t come together this season, but until he’s eliminated, there’s always a chance he’ll turn it around.

The Contenders
#5) Sheldon Simeon (28): Sheldon has been all over the board during this competition. He’s been high on several occasions and low on several occasions, but the one thing he has not yet attained is a final challenge win. He and Stefan will continue to hang out in the middle of these power rankings until they can pull through with a final challenge win and prove what it takes to be Top Chef.

#6) Lizzie Binder (25): Lizzie hasn’t won an elimination challenge yet, but she has finished in the high group on four separate occasions. She’s clearly a competent chef, and she’s clearly a woman capable of putting out good, highend food. It’ll be interesting to see whether she can ever kick it up one more notch in order to seriously have a shot at winning.

#6) Micah Fields (25): I’m really happy that Micah won the quickfire challenge. He seemed really emotional in regards to creating a dish for Emeril, and that fried oyster looked divine. Micah continued his run this week, landing high in the final challenge. He clearly has talent, but he still needs to prove he has more than one good week in him to move up in these rankings.

#8) Josh Valentine (22): I’m so over Josh and his attitude. After landing in the bottom—again—he tried to tell the judges that he doesn’t understand how Micah and Lizzie’s dish was up to par with the rest of the challenge. It’s like he’s constantly looking for a verbal bitch slap, and quite frankly, he hasn’t been cooking to back up his mouth, landing in the bottom for the last four out of five weeks.

#9) Josie Smith-Malave (20): Josie was in the bottom yet again this week. Her partner Bart wound up going home, but considering it was her fourth time in the low group, it’s hard to imagine she’ll be sticking around that much longer. She’s had a nice run, but we’re getting to the point in the season in which it’s time to separate those who can possibly win from those who cannot.

Here’s a look at how each of the two ballots shook out:

John Tesar (18)
Brooke Williamson (17)
Kristen Kish (16)
Stefan Richter (15)
Sheldon Simeon (14)
Lizzie Binder (13)
Micah Fields (12)
Josh Valentine (11)
Josie Smith-Malave (10)
Kristen Kish (18)
John Tesar (17)
Brooke Williamson (16)
Stefan Richter (15)
Sheldon Simeon (14)
Micah Fields (13)
Lizzie Binder (12)
Josh Valentine (11)
Josie Smith-Malave (10)
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