No extra ink: Season 14 of Ink Master is a wrap. After being revamped for its new residence on Paramount+, the tattoo competition show made its return to our tv units this fall with a solid of former contestants searching for redemption.
With a brand new slate of judges and extra intense competitors than ever earlier than, Season 14 was totally different from any previous season of Ink Master. Here’s the million greenback query: with all of the adjustments, is Paramount+’s Ink Master higher or worse than the unique present that aired on Spike TV?
I’m nonetheless on the fence so far as my emotions on the brand new model of the present. There had been many issues I favored, however there have been additionally some issues I wasn’t an enormous fan of. Let’s talk about!
Spoilers forward for the now accomplished season of Ink Master, obtainable exclusively on Paramount+.
Better: Bob And Angel Got Their Second Chance
Prior to Season 14, Ink Master finalists used to return residence for a number of weeks to finish a “Master Canvas,” normally a again piece. However, Season 13’s finale by no means occurred due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and finalists Bob Jones and Angel Rose by no means acquired their probability to go face to face.
To treatment the problem, Bob and Angel got spots on the Season 14 solid. While the remainder of the solid was made up of former contestants searching for redemption, Bob and Angel made historical past as the primary opponents to return to the present by no means having gained or misplaced the title of Ink Master.
Not Better: The Flash Challenges Were Reused
One of my favourite components of early seasons of Ink Master was the flash challenges, which normally revolved across the contestants flexing their inventive potential with media apart from ink and needles.
For this redemption-themed season, flash challenges had been reused from previous seasons. It took plenty of the enjoyable out of the competitors for me—positive, it’s wild to see individuals make artwork out of gunpowder, but it surely was a hell of loads wilder once I noticed it the primary time about six seasons in the past.
It additionally gave some opponents a leg up on others. It’s loads simpler to finish an unconventional supplies problem if you happen to’ve already accomplished the problem as soon as earlier than. I believe the intention was to up the extent of the artwork being created within the flash challenges, however I used to be personally bored by the shortage of creativity.
Better: The Elimination Challenges Always Had A Twist
The flash challenges had been boring, however the elimination challenges had been something however. Each elimination problem in Season 14 of Ink Master had some type of twist—whether or not the artists needed to mix kinds, end another person’s work, or tattoo a troublesome a part of the physique, not less than one curveball was thrown on the opponents in each elimination problem.
My private favourite instance of this was the problem the place everybody needed to tattoo pinup animal tattoos. The outcomes had been a number of the coolest tattoos I’ve ever seen, and that’s as a result of the loopy twists and turns within the challenges saved the artists on their toes creatively.
Not Better: Dave Navarro Was Only There Via TV
All of the original Ink Master judges are gone, changed by veteran tattooers Ryan Ashley, Ami James, and Nikko Hurtado. While I don’t have beef with the brand new judges, I positively miss the power of former Ink Master host Dave Navarro, who now solely reveals up through TV in what appears to be pre-recorded segments.
The new host is alright—Joel Madden, tattoo aficionado and lead singer of Good Charlotte, has an unbiased hand relating to judging and internet hosting. But it’s onerous to say goodbye to Navarro, who appears to be phasing out his participation within the present.
Madden and Navarro considerably shared internet hosting duties all through the season, with a TV dropping into the room at any time when Navarro had a particular twist to offer the contestants, however I wouldn’t be shocked if Joel Madden has a solo gig for Season 15.
Better: The Tattoos Are Better
The proof is within the ink: these tattooers are simply higher, and because of this the tattoos they created are a number of the greatest in Ink Master historical past.
I used to be particularly impressed by Bob’s robotic foo canine—from the popping colours to the clear strains, this tattoo is close to good.
Basically, nobody was secure on this competitors. Even artists who created nice tattoos went residence as a result of the competitors was simply that tight.
Not Better: Bringing Old Ink Masters Into The Competition Was Kind Of Unfair
Mid-way by the season, Dave Navarro dropped a bomb on the contestants: Four previous Ink Masters could be returning, and all of the contestants must face off towards them with the intention to keep secure from elimination.
But (in Dave’s phrases) “that’s not all—” the returning masters had been then given the chance to enter the competitors and compete once more for the title.
All 4 masters—Steve Tefft, Tony Medellin, Anthony Michaels, and DJ Tambe—opted to remain. In my opinion, that was a bit of unfair to the contestants who had already fought to make it to that time within the competitors—however we’ll come again to that later.
Better: Finalists Chosen By Blind Judging
For the primary time, the judges chosen the finalists blindly. I cherished it—it eradicated all bias from the judges’ choices, and it felt like the primary time the taking part in discipline was actually even.
Ink Master ought to positively proceed this custom sooner or later. Personally, I don’t assume Gian or Creepy Jason would have gotten close to the finale if the judges had identified which tattoos had been theirs, and that’s what makes it enjoyable! I would like the winner to be the one who can actually take advantage of badass tattoos, not the one the judges secretly favor.
Not Better: The Anticlimactic Decision
When it lastly got here time to determine the winner, the judges had narrowed it all the way down to 4 finalists: Bob, DJ, Gian, and Creepy Jason. In a twist, the 2 most just lately eradicated artists (Angel and Anthony) had been introduced again as a jury of friends to place one particular person as a finalist.
Angel and Anthony picked DJ, who had drawn a psychedelic again piece in a mixture of tattoo kinds. After the judges decided that DJ and Gian had been the ultimate two, their choice was break up—two votes for Gian, and two for DJ. So the selection flipped again to the jury of friends—who had simply (about 5 minutes prior) said they most popular DJ’s piece.
So, DJ gained. Wooooo. A really well-deserved victory, however most likely probably the most anticlimactic finale I’ve ever seen.
Better: No More Live Finale
The finale was boring. It was. But I nonetheless far most popular it to the hour-plus lengthy stay finale that used to cap off seasons of Ink Master earlier than the revamp.
Do I believe DJ deserved a bit of extra pomp and circumstance? Yes. Do I would like Season 15 to return to the stay finale format? Absolutely not. The previous finales had been all the time tremendous drawn out, with solely about 5 minutes of precise judging. Hopefully sooner or later, the producers can discover a pleased medium between the 2 finales.