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'Ink Master' contestants are challenged in ‘Tag Team Tatt’ on Spike

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Tonight’s episode of “Ink Master” is still at six tattoo artists competing for an editorial feature in Inked magazine, the monetary prize of $100,000 and the most enviable of all prizes; the title of “Ink Master.” Last week, nobody went home, because most of the tattoos were of a higher quality. As it comes down to the wire, they are giving it their all, and the judges felt that no artist really deserved to go home.

As the episode begins, the banter in the loft is about Gentle Jay stating that Scott Marshall is tracing his tattoos, which he claims to use as reference only. With Melissa and Jay on the chopping block, they are determining who will be sent home. Scott wants Jay gone for his accusations and feels that he is ready to try anything to get Scott out of the competition. When Matti returned first, shortly thereafter followed by Melissa, the celebration started too soon, when Jay walked in a moment later, jumped over the sofa and sat next to Halo.

When the six marched into the studio, Dave Navarro announced that there was no Flash Challenge on this day, but the Elimination Challenge would start that very minute. Oliver warned the final six that one bad line could mean elimination, if shading is not as good as the next artist, they may just leave. They were told not to take it personally, but down to the nitty gritty, it must be the very best.

For the Elimination Challenge, the judges are Dave, Oliver, Chris, America and special guest judge Luke Wessman, a traditional tattooer and no-holds-barred judge who speaks his mind. The word of the day for this challenge is Flexibility.

Dave warned the artists, that although some do not get along, they must do a collaboration tattoo on one canvas as a team. They must tattoo as a team, and each hour, they must switch artists. Jay feels that he has done well alone, but each time he is with another person, it is a nightmare. They must do a tattoo so seamlessly, that it looks like only one artist did it. The canvas is open to whatever their choice of designs is to be, and they will be judged as a team. When the three canvases arrived, they chose two random skulls, and whoever was on the skulls, was the tag team.

The first team was Matti and Sausage, not totally disappointed, Matti knew Sausage was not his first choice, but happy it was not Jay. As Jay was chosen next, Scott commented that if he was teamed with Jay, someone was going home in a body bag. But as luck would have it, she chose Melissa, leaving Halo and Scott as the last team, and as Halo put it; a guaranteed win. With the rest of the evening to consult with their canvas, they will have six hours the next day to complete their tattoo. Jay was upset that Melissa had a puss on when she was chosen as his partner, and told her to smile. Dave then announced there would be no human canvas jury, and the winners would not put anyone up for elimination. The decision would strictly be from the judges, and if they cannot show Flexibility by doing a cohesive piece, they would be going home.

Jay and Melissa were butting heads on all aspects of the tattoo of an elephant, while the other two teams were interested in winning only, so like it or lump it, they will work as a team. Sausage knows that Matti and Scott are working together, but they must complete this collaborative project together or one or both could leave the competition. At the end of the first hour, Dave told them to switch places. Matti jumped in and took over for Sausage, Jay took over for Melissa. Oliver noticed Melissa and Jay were only doing the part of the design that they created and lacked the key word of Flexibility. When Scott let Halo take over, he directed Halo as to what he should do next, and Halo knew he could not relax because Scott has to be in control of everything. At the final hour, Melissa had to do the largest part of the tattoo and felt Jay was slacking.

In the loft, the artists were discussing the previous events and felt that Jay left much up to Melissa, he felt she was a crybaby, and he stood behind his work. At the Tattoo Critique, the six marched before the judges. Halo and Scott were up first. They made a carousel horse’s head using octopus tentacles for the mane, as their canvas wanted a horse or an octopus. Gentle Jay and Melissa were next, and Oliver saw the separation of teamwork in the tattoo. The judges stated that it looked like different pieces were randomly put into the tattoo with no consistency. No filigree should have come out of the lotus flower. Jay countered with the fact that no octopus tentacles should come out of a horse’s head. Sausage and Matti were last; they chose to do Japanese artwork and Oliver could not understand that they both did something that was not their strong point. The judges did admit that the work was done well, but they should not do passion pieces, but instead, do showstoppers.

In the loft, everyone shared their opinion, Scott told Sausage that should not have done cutting-edge stuff, but stick to their forte this late in the game. Is Scott only giving advice because Matti is on the team?

When Oliver came to the loft, he told all artists to come down to the shop. As they faced their executioners, the best tattoo was awarded to Scott and Halo. On the other hand, the remaining four were told that any one of them could be going home, but it was determined that Jay and Melissa had the worst tattoo of the day and had to face off against each other by doing an identical tattoo created by Luke Wessman. The drawing will already be done; their challenge is to execute it in four hours. The one with the worst execution of Luke’s tattoo will be packing their equipment and leaving the competition.

As the face off was ready to begin, the artists were handed an outline of Luke’s design of a leopard taking a bite out of a rose. As Scott was telling Melissa to take Jay out, she was busy, but Jay felt he had much more experience and was going to send her home. Matti and Scott were giving Melissa lots of help, in the hope she would send Jay home and do Scott a huge favor, she knew that they had ulterior motives, but accepted the help to benefit herself.

When the tattoos were critiqued, each had flaws that were pointed out by the judges. However, in the end, Gentle Jay was told they did not have what it takes to be “Ink Master.” As he was about to walk out he gave Scott the one-finger salute and told the fans that it took three artists ganging up on him to finally get him out of the competition.

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