If there was ever a doubt that Ink Master is one of television's most underrated competition series, last night's one-hour live season 2 finale certainly confirmed it, delivering a fast-paced, action-packed finale that should make its genre counterparts embarrassed.
After a long battle between artists, where getting thrown under the bus and receiving a "jacked" tattoos commonly occurred, Steve Tefft was crowned the Ink Master, besting Sarah Miller and Sebastian Murphy in the final competition, the 24-hour tattoo. Before the finale, Katherine "Tatu Baby" Flores was eliminated from the competition - but even that came with its own twist.
In the live finale, viewers were allowed to vote for one eliminated contestant to return for Ink Master season 3. Although the always enthusiastic Clint Cummings made a push for a second chance, it was recently ousted "Tatu Baby" who received the most votes, securing her another chance at the title next season. While some shows would be happy with that sole twist in the finale, Ink Master continued to deliver content throughout by also throwing in canvas confrontations, intimate interviews and an audience-driven elimination.
Ink Master is easily one of the most honest competition series on the air, where the judges and contestants constantly confront each other about the quality of their tattoos, often leading to a thoroughly entertaining and interesting resolution. Judge Oliver Peck's declaration of loving "ugly tattoos" was one of many highlights this past season. By bringing this element into the finale, audiences were able to receive answers to many of their questions – and Sarah got a chance to comment about her sanity.
Whether or not Sarah is "crazy," the fact that the judges and the contestant commented on her behavior over the course of the season was as refreshing as it was entertaining. And the honesty didn't stop. By bringing on former canvases who received "jacked" tattoos, viewers were able to witness the extremely uncomfortable, though thoroughly realistic, conversation of hating the tattoo they received, even if it was free.
But at the end of the day, did the best artist take home the title? Without a doubt, Steve was one of the strongest tattooists on the show. However, after a string of surprising eliminations, namely Jamie Davis and Jesse Smith, did Steve go into the finale against the best competitors possible? Sebastian Murphy, who was outed by viewers votes early in the finale, won few competitions along the way yet was in the finale three.
What say you, the fans? Did Steve have an unfair advantage going into the finale?
Ink Master season 3 premieres in 2013 on SPIKE