The season 10 finale of MasterChef surprised finalists with an unexpected elimination in the middle of the episode. By the time the contestants were getting ready to present their second course of the night, judges Gordon Ramsay, Aarón Sanchez, and Joe Bastianich stopped the timer and revealed a major game-changer.
Season 10 of MasterChef has been one for the books. The judges repeatedly announced to contestants throughout the season that they should be expecting surprises around every corner, and they kept their word to the bitter, stress-inducing end. Between double eliminations and eleventh hour menu additions, season 10 lived up to the hype in terms of keeping its contestants on their toes. And, by the time the season started wrapping up in the two-part penultimate episodes, Ramsay repeatedly reminded (threatened?) the home cooks that a final twist was imminent - though they likely weren't expecting it to spring up so late in the game.
In the finale episode, with just over 20 minutes on the clock in the second part of their three-course challenge, home cooks Dorian Hunter, Sarah Faherty, and Nick DiGiovanni were forced to stop cooking as Ramsay stopped the clock, announcing that one of them would be eliminated after the second course. They'd no longer have the luxury of winning over the judges with their dessert, assuming the first and second courses weren't strong enough on their own.
After their desperate struggles to bring their game (without overcompensating under all the pressure), the remaining home cooks literally sweated their way to the end of the second course. And, when all was said and done, the elimination that followed was unexpected. Gordon, Aarón, and Joe ultimately decided to eliminate Nick - mostly on account of Aarón's undercooked striped bass - despite Nick appearing to be a favorite among the judges.
Despite all of the three remaining home cooks being strong contenders for the MasterChef title, plenty of personal weakness were on display in the finale. Dorian's dishes appeared to be a bit too simplistic for the level of professionalism the judges were looking for, Sarah's menu seemed too safe and by-the-book, and Nick wasn't showing enough restraint. In the end, though, Nick stood out the most on account of flying too close to the sun, and given how everyone was bringing their A game, the slightest missteps were big enough to warrant elimination. That said, given how far all three of them came, there were no actual losers in the MasterChef finale.