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'Ink Master' competition welcomed ‘X-Men’s Hugh Jackman’ to Spike

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Tonight’s episode of “Ink Master” is now down to thirteen tattoo artists who are competing for the title of “Ink Master,” an editorial feature in Inked magazine and the monetary prize of $100,000. Last week, Randy Vollink was eliminated from the competition, while a few others are teetering on the edge of elimination.

As the episode begins, the non-eliminated artists went to the loft, where they complained about the judging, it was a real pity party until Sausage stated that it was time to own up to their work and not blame it on the canvas or the judges.

For the Flash Challenge, the theme of the day was Technical Precision, making sure each line and shading were exact. Dave Navarro explained that it all started with a comic book over 50 years ago. Since that time, there have been six feature films, grossing over $2.3 billion dollars. He was talking about the “X-Men.” Sausage stated it was his love, and he had a few hundred of their comic books. Each “X-Men” character has a super power caused by a mutation. Today’s challenge is for them to create a tattoo with a super power, that their canvas wants to have. As the canvases were introduced, they stated what super powers they would like to have. They ran the gamut from freezing time, sonar power, a shield to represent a force field, a realistic sun to melt everything seen, super strength, immortality and similar powers. The complaints started immediately for those who lacked imagination. Scott won the last competition with best tattoo and could choose his own canvas for this challenge; he chose telepathy with a raven. As the rest of the canvases called out their artist, Sausage got what everyone believed to be the most difficult; the realistic sun. With only three hours to complete their tattoos, it was going to be a demanding challenge for the Technical Precision in so short a time.

When time was up, they faced the judges. Bubba did a perfect circle with a tree inside; it was liked by the judges. Jim’s crystal ball with an eye inside was not recognizable as a crystal ball. Halo did a tornado that was simple and detailed, but Gentle Jay stated it looked more like the Wizard of Oz without Dorothy and Toto. Lydia’s clock to stop time lacked the precision the judges desired. Jay made large wings on a woman’s back, but too large a piece to be as precise as they desired. King Ruck did an hourglass lying on its side with good precision and depth. Kyle made a shield that needed a bit more life. Keith’s bat was well done. Melissa’s was a Zippo lighter with a flame, but had it been a larger flame; it would have been perfect. Scott did the raven with telekinetic energy that was super clean, but did not have a crow’s beak and was more like a black eagle. Sausage’s sun was nicer close up, but from afar; it was difficult to tell what was going on. Matti improvised his Thor hammer and made it look very real. Roland’s cheetah design lacked precision of the round spots and ended up looking more like a flesh-eating disease. The winner of the Flash Challenge was Matti, who plans to hand out some whoppers in the Elimination Challenge.

For the Elimination Challenge, the judges were as usual, Oliver Peck, Chris Nunez and Dave Navarro, the viewers at home and the human canvas jury. In keeping with the theme of the “X-Men,” each artist had to tattoo a color portrait of the superhero of the canvas’ choice keeping with the Technical Precision qualification. If this is not done precisely, fans all over the world will know it was botched. As Matti handed out the skulls, some were happy, but most, especially Melissa, who received a full body of Bishop, that seems nearly impossible to do in six hours. With the rest of the night to confer with their canvas, the heat was definitely on. With two Wolverine portraits, Matti decided to go toe to toe with Scott, so each will do a Wolverine. Sausage was delighted to get Professor X as his creation. The rest of the field was not that excited, as some had a tough job ahead of them. Melissa was so perplexed about her tattoo, that she asked Halo for help. He gave her advice, but Matti was dismayed to see Halo give out advice like it was government cheese.

The next day, the tattooing began. As the judges went around checking the progress, Chris noted that Kyle worked off of animosity and anger, and the more he rides him, the better he does, so he will not stop, as Kyle is tired of being in the middle of the pack and feels that he must insure his place in the competition and not let America down. Lydia had Warpath, and she took out his knives, but Sausage knows that without his knives, he is no longer Warpath and could just be anybody. Lydia did not feel she had the time to add the knives to the tattoo. When the time was up and the machines were put down, the critique began. Melissa was first; her portrait looked very much like the actor and only lacked a bit of contrast. Jim did Iceman, but it lacked a lot of precision. Keith did Storm, but it did not look at all like Halle Berry. Kyle did Beast, and took liberties by not making him a bright blue, but he did a good job according to the judges, and Chris noted how he plans to stay on his back. Lydia, rather than put in Warpath’s knives, left a blank space where they should be. She did not do his face according to the portrait, and the missing knives left the beholder to wonder who he was. Sausage did an awesome portrait of Professor X/Patrick Stewart and received praise for his work. Halo’s portrait of Rouge was excellent and by upping the contrast, it was even better. King Ruck redeemed himself on his portrait making the comic book effect on the helmet and the portrait effect on the face. Bubba did not capture the likeness of Mystique, and his portrait lacked definition and her face seemed out of shape. Jay did not capture the look of Professor X and totally changed his expression by shading where it was not needed. Roland’s portrayal of Blink was completely off the mark; her pretty face looked more garish in his depiction. Matti’s Wolverine was received with high marks, he took some liberties in the face, that made it better. Scott’s Wolverine also received high marks, for his technical work on the mesh and the way it stood out on the skin.

As a bonus to the artists, they received a sneak preview of the movie coming out on May 23, “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” Then the canvases were brought in for one last look. However, before the judging started, there was one more person brought in to check out the portraits; Wolverine himself, the very extra-special superhero, Hugh Jackman. As the oohs and ahs finally subsided, and Melissa stole a big hug, Hugh was introduced as the guest judge. Each artist brought their canvas to Hugh for him to assess. He loved every one of the portraits and admired the artists for their details; no bad marks were given by this superhero. Hugh even got to announce the winner; Scott, who will now be able to put up one artist for elimination.

As the judges chose the worst tattoos, the human canvas jury deliberated. Oliver came to the loft to ask Scott, who he put up for elimination; he chose Roland. Then he called to the shop, Scott, Roland and Lydia, who was chosen by the human canvas jury as the worst of the day.

Dave then told Roland he did not have what it takes to be “Ink Master.” Oliver told him it was a challenge of high skills, and as the competition progressed, it was evident he did not have the abilities necessary to proceed. As he packed his bags to leave, he stated that he was an artist and interprets his work they way he sees it, and will continue doing what he does.

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