Tournament of Champions II: The Final Four Become Five

Competitor Jet Tila, as seen on Tournament of Champions, Season 1. photo provided by Food Network
Competitor Jet Tila, as seen on Tournament of Champions, Season 1. photo provided by Food Network /

The penultimate episode of Tournament of Champions II looked going in like it was going to be a doozy, with the final three quarter-final rounds determining who would be the Final Four going into the finale.

However, it’s safe to say that no one was expecting the Final Four to somehow morph into the Final Five as the series saw two chefs finish with the exact same scores and will now have to face each other all over again to see who moves on in the bracket.

The first two battles of the evening didn’t exactly disappoint either and featured some of the best and most exciting cooking the series has seen so far. No. 4 seed Darnell Ferguson took on No. 8 seed Tiffani “Sweet T” Faison and while the outcome was never really in doubt with Ferguson getting the win, he made some questionable decisions that made the contest closer then it had to be.

After that No. 2 seed Maneet Chauhan had a rematch from last season with No. 3 seed Christian Petroni. This one came down to the wire, with both chefs making some amazing food. In the end Chauhan got the win and returned to the Final Four for the second straight year.

And while we’ve talked about the Brooke Williamson/Michael Voltaggio rivalry and how great it is for Tournament of Champions, keep your eyes out. There was some serious trash talk going on between Chauhan and Petroni, so much so that I would love to see them face off for a third time next season.

How is a Tournament of Champions tie even a possibility?

The main event of the evening though was No. 2 seed Antonia Lofaso facing No. 3 seed Jet Tila. Lofaso was hungry and wanted to take Tila down in her usual Warrior Princess style. The surprising thing was just how bad Tila wanted to get the win and how vocal he was about it. It’s not usually his style.

But of course, the Randomizer was not kind, giving them Dungeness crab, kumquats, the spaetzle maker and North African cuisine. I know right? What the hell are you supposed to do with that?

Well, that’s why none of us are on Tournament of Champions. Both Lofaso and Tila turned out some simply incredible looking food, with judge Nancy Silverton even commenting how good the dishes have been on this season of the show.

So who would get the win and be the last member of the Final Four? It turned out neither of them, and both of them. For the first time, Tournament of Champions had a tie. And not just any kind of tie, but a tie that provided no tiebreaker. Both Lofaso and Tila got the exact same scores in all three categories that the judges use.

Now, after some of the very weird “coincidences” that have happened this season, part of me wondered if this was legit. The odds of a tie happening like that are about as astronomical as you can get and add in the un-random was the Randomizer has been acting and you can see why I’d be suspicious.

However, in this case we all win as it means that Lofaso and Tila will have to face each other a second time next week to see who gets the final spot in the West Coast bracket and will go up against Williamson. The season finale is looking like it will be one for the ages. If nothing else, foodies will be talking about this season of Tournament of Champions for a good long while.

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What do you think Guilty Eats Nation? Do you find the whole idea of a tie suspicious? Or do you think it’s legit? Who do you think will be crowned the champion? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter page.