And another one bites the dust. Last week's episode 12 of Spike’s “Ink Master” left viewers with their jaws on the ground as some of the top contestants in Season 6 – Erik, Matt and Chris – were put in the bottom three. Ultimately Erik was sent packing, leaving six artists in the running for the title of Ink Master, a feature in Inked magazine and the $100,000 grand prize.
Wednesday's episode 13 flash challenge focused on technical application, which is the ability to master all the fundamentals from lining to shading. In the episode, we see the remaining artists working with NFL fans to create a tattoo of a realistic football. But of course there is a twist. The judges -- Dave Navarro, Oliver Peck and Chris Nunez – introduce some guests: Allen Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tony Jefferson of the Arizona Cardinals, Khaseem Greene of the Chicago Bears, Keith Pough of the Cleveland Browns, Darius Slay of the Detroit Lions and Kamerion Wimbley of the Tennessee Titans. The professional football players autograph the skin of their biggest fans ... and the artists have to tattoo that autograph as a permanent souvenir!
Since Duffy won the elimination challenge in episode 12, she now has the power to hand out the human canvases during the flash challenge. She hooks up herself and her mentor, Kruseman, with “good” canvases. However, Kruseman doesn’t think Duffy used her head when choosing her own canvas, an older woman. But Duffy proves him wrong, getting a compliment from the judges on her photo-realistic tattoo.
The judges ultimately feel that Chris and Craig “dropped the ball” on the challenge. For Chris, the stripe on his tattoo makes the ball look warped. Meanwhile, Craig’s poor choice of color and shape set his piece back.
As for the top contestants, it's between Tyler and Matt, but the judges give the win to Tyler. Matt is obviously bummed, especially since Tyler’s win means the power is right back in the hands of Chris. However, the rest of the contestants think Tyler’s win might be the start of taking Chris down because he can’t handle his apprentice being better than him.
The elimination tattoo once again tests the artists on their fundamental techniques. However, this time the contestants must tattoo a design that the human canvases want. And the twist is that the human canvases are the NFL stars!
Since Tyler won the flash challenge, he has the right to pick his own canvas. But the remaining football players have the power to choose which artist they want to tattoo them. It's up to the contestants to sell themselves during a five-minute interview ... and point the canvases they don’t want in the direction of their competition.
Tyler chooses Khaseem Greene of the Bears as his canvas. The move disappoints Chris, who feels his apprentice chose the worst canvas of the group. Tony Jefferson of the Cardinals gets to choose his artist first and he picks Chris to complete the portrait of his baby. Kamerion Wimbley of the Titans is up second and chooses Matt to create a bird tattoo for him. Allen Robinson of the Jaguars chooses Duffy, who is not exactly thrilled to be working with him. Darius Slay of the Lions goes with Kruseman, and Keith Pough of the Browns ends up with Craig.
With six hours on the clock, the artists get to work with their famous players. Craig struggles with his canvas, who wants multiple symbols tattooed on him. The artist convinces Keith Pough to keep it simple and stick to one symbol. Meanwhile, Duffy successfully works with her canvas to create a design incorporating the Detroit skyline, area code and “D” symbol. But Allen Robinson is having a hard time sitting through the piece. He keeps jumping up to look in the mirror, slowing Duffy down.
When it comes to the critique, the judges rip apart the six artists. While Chris’ piece is clean on the ribs, he changed the details of the baby portrait. For Matt, the eagle is illegible from a distance because he failed to use heavy black. Tyler’s tattoo is not as ferocious as it should be, and his shading on a dark canvas doesn’t make the piece stand out. Duffy’s is just as rough when it comes to readability, and the details are camouflaged in the “rip” design. Kruseman’s piece is clean and readable, but Dave Navarro and Oliver Peck think he needs to turn “autopilot” off. Meanwhile, Chris Nunez argues that the other artists should get beaten by the rose. Last is Craig, who blew his tattoo from the technical standpoint. Craig tells the judges he just wants to “get through” the competition, leading the judges to believe his head just isn’t in it to win it.
In the end, Dave Navarro believes Chris has the best tattoo of the day. However, Chris Nunez’s vote is for Kruseman. Oliver Peck says there is no clear winner, and the judges agree they cannot name one contestant as the winner of the elimination tattoo. However, they can definitely name a loser. Craig, Duffy, Kruseman and Tyler get called to the bottom. Kruseman was nominated by the human canvas jury, but not because his tattoo was the “worst,” but because it wasn’t challenging enough.
Each drawing has artistic mistakes, but when it comes to technical application, Duffy’s is clean. That leaves Tyler and Craig. The judges agree Tyler’s drawing is unrecognizable and eliminate him at the end of episode 13 of “Ink Master.”