Season 6 of “Ink Master” is three episodes deep and things are starting to get heated. Sixteen contestants remain, and each tattoo artist is ready to fight to take home the $100,000 grand prize and feature in Inked magazine.

Episode 3 starts off with the judges – Dave Navarro, Oliver Peck and Chris Nunez – at the American Museum of Natural History. The theme of the week is “sink or swim,” and what better way to highlight that than to assign the first challenge – the mythical Kraken. The focus of the challenge is contrast, and the artists must display that on their human canvas. Each human canvas wants the Kraken tattooed on their hands … but the twist is that the contestants will be forced to work in teams of two. They will have to tattoo both hands at the same time – the Kraken in black and grey and it’s enemy in color. While the first two weeks found masters and apprentices together, this challenge paired the contestants at random.

The judges revealed that the duo that wins would have the opportunity to assign the canvases during the elimination challenge. But that’s not the only bonus for winning. Kraken Rum is giving the winners an all expense paid trip to Vegas for a tattoo convention. Needless to say, everyone is ready to bring their A-game … however, not everyone delivers. The teams are:

  • Katie & Marisa
  • MV & Kito
  • Chris & Erik
  • Tyler & Craig
  • St. Marq & Miami Burgess
  • Dave & Kruseman
  • Earl & Duffy
  • Matt & Big Ceeze

Although the judges like Katie and Kruseman’s work, their partners ultimately dragged them down. The winners for the challenge are Erik and Chris. As a team they win the opportunity to assign the challenges for the elimination tattoo.

The elimination challenge is a stained glass tattoo, which is a brightly colored image broken up by black lines to mimic stained glass. Like every other challenge, the twist is that they have to tattoo the same subject head-to-head against another artist. Six hours is on the clock, and there are clear winners and losers at the end:

  • Big Ceeze vs. Craig = Craig
  • MV vs. Chris = Chris
  • Erik vs. Tyler = Erik
  • Marisa vs. Earl = Earl
  • Kito vs. Matt = Matt
  • Kruseman vs. Miami = Kruseman
  • St. Marq vs. Dave = St. Marq
  • Katie vs. Duffy = Katie

The judges view Big Ceeze, Kito and Miami’s work as the worst tattoos of the day. The human canvases nominate Big Ceeze as well because of the lack of color and off-centered design.

Ultimately Kito receives a pass because he at least created a stained glass tattoo. That leaves Big Ceeze and Miami. As Oliver Peck explained, the judges have to “go back to fundamentals” when both contestants miss the mark on the challenge. In the case of Big Ceeze and Miami, the judges decide that Miami does “not have what it takes to be Ink Master.”

Do you think the judges made the right call? Tweet your thoughts to @AmandaTVScoop.