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TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS II: And it’s on to the Elite Eight

The First Round concludes and the defending champ kicks off the Elite Eight. Can The Randomizer be more evil? Yes, most definitely YES...

Time for our weekly update of Guy Fieri’s Tournament of Champions II, where we discover that yes, The Randomizer can be made even more ridiculous.

First off, we have two matches in the East bracket to conclude the Sweet Sixteen (First Round).

Our initial battle of the evening featured #3 seed Christian Petroni vs newcomer and #6 seed Bryan Voltaggio. Petroni pulled off a first round upset as a #7 seed last season, while Voltaggio’s brother is a returning competitor in the West. Another interesting side note is that Petroni has a restaurant chain called “Fortina” in the NYC metro area, and one of those is located in my town of Stamford, CT. I’ve eaten there multiple times and the food is great, although the service has been suspect on a couple of occasions.

As Fieri refers to The Randomizer as the “silver devil,” it’s first offering is not so devilish:

The seemingly straightforward ask would continue a trend of “easier” preparations not turning out so great in the end. A new panel of judges also changed the past confusion based on their comments as tonight it was fairly clear who would win following the panel’s review even if they were a bit harsh with the scoring.

This contest would turn into Italian vs Rustic, and eventually came down to taste. Despite Voltaggio producing a gravy that Fieri referred to as “redonkadonk,” the judges felt that overall his dish lacked more robust flavor. Although Petroni’s classic Italian serving felt more like an appetizer portion, the rest was strong enough to advance in a battle where the scores were not anything to write home about:

I would add that I have yet to see a dish prepared that would warrant my describing it as a “dinner” portion based on the restaurants I frequent, so the critique of Petroni’s plate was kind of bullshit.

The final Sweet Sixteen match would feature one of last season’s Final Four contestants, #2 seed Maneet Chauhan, going up against newcomer and former Chopt Grand Champion Madison Cowan as the #7 seed. The interesting part of this contest was that Chauhan knocked out one of the judges (Rocco DiSpirito) last season.

The Randomizer quickly made up for it’s first rather soft display:

As with our first matchup, this would feature two very different approaches to the requirements. Chauhan would go with a version of meatballs and Cowan plated a loin.

Again, the judges comments basically gave it away, as Cowan got good marks for each element, however the panel felt the elements as a whole didn’t really go together. Chauhan moves on to the next round with an easy win as the scores continue to be a bit low:

Here’s our Elite Eight:

This is very much like March Madness in that we get some upsets along the way, but in the end the usual contenders emerge. Three of the Final Four contestants from last season remain (Williamson, Lofaso, and Chauhan), and the missing person (Freitag) was upset by #8 seed Tiffani Faison in the First Round. I’ve mentioned this before, but Ferguson is a really intriguing pick here as his loss in the Elite Eight last season was due to not plating one of The Randomizer requirements.

To kick off the Elite Eight we get a heavyweight rematch from last season. Defending champ and #1 West seed Brooke Williamson faces off with #5 seed Michael Voltaggio who just watched his brother get eliminated. Williamson upset Voltaggio in the First Round last season as a #7 seed, and Michael has posted the highest score by far this season with a 95 in round one. Brooke was clearly a bit tight as Fieri introduced the chefs.

The twist for this round is....THE RANDOMIZER GETS HARDER!!!!!

Yes, the Wheel of Satan has gone global with it’s requirements, and right out of the gate it drops a doozy and produces our “Randomizer Reaction of the Night”:

Williamson: “What is a Takoyaki Pan?”

This got serious quick, with very little joking by Fieri and not a lot of banter between the chefs and their “shadows” (the commentary chefs charged with presenting the final dish to the judges). It also seems to set a precedent that when The Randomizer drops craziness, that’s when the chefs do their best work.

I can’t even begin to describe what these two prepared, but oh my God both dishes looked magnificent.

Once again the judges gave it away, with DiSpirito remarking on the defending champ’s plating, “This dish is singing in five-part harmony.” Both presentations were excellent and I thought the panel was a bit tough not giving higher scores based on their comments in what was easily the closest match of the evening. Williamson moves on to the Final Four:

That’s it for this week. Up next will be the rest of the Elite Eight featuring:

  • #3 Jet Tila vs #2 Antonia Lofaso (West)
  • #8 Tiffani Faison vs #4 Darnell Ferguson (East)
  • #3 Christian Petroni vs #2 Maneet Chauhan (East)