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‘MasterChef 12’ Top 15 power rankings: Brandi Mudd and Derrick Fox heat up the kitchen

Season 12 of “MasterChef” reached an important milestone on July 20, when the All-Star competition revealed the Top 15. For the first time ever, “MasterChef” re-opened its doors to some of the most memorable and talented cooks in the series’ history. Shayne Wells was the most recently eliminated chef. The 18-year old from Spring, Texas was preceded by Stephen Lee, a 54-year old from Palm Springs, Cate Meade, a 30-year old from Chicago, Alejandro Valdivia, a 40-year old from Atlanta and Samantha Daily, a 23-year old from West Des Moines. There are now 15 cooks remaining in the competition to become the next MasterChef.

Read our “MasterChef 12: Back to Win” Top 15 power rankings below (from worst to best) for our thoughts on how each of them could potentially take home the $250,000 grand prize. Then be sure to sound off in the comments section about your favorite home cooks on Fox’s reality TV show and who you think will ultimately join the “MasterChef” winners list.

SEE Did ‘MasterChef 12’s’ Shayne Wells deserve to be eliminated in Episode 8? [POLL]

15) Tommy Walton: There will never be another contestant as entertaining as Tommy. When he nails a dish, he really nails it, but this season has not been kind to the eccentric cook. The 59-year old has more misses than hits so far. Creatively, he has been playing it a bit safer than his last go-round, but his dishes are far from boring. 

14) Willie Mike: Willie seems like the nicest person on the planet (or at least in the MasterChef kitchen). Saying that, his dishes have not made me go “Oh I would try that!” this season. He is playing it safe and it shows. The Texas native may have slid by so far, but we want creative Willie back!

13) Shelly Flash: Shelly has the X-Factor in spades. The New Yorker has also taken more risks in the last two episodes, which is great. At the same time, the dishes from the previous episodes were a bit tame for someone with such an incredible palate. Shelly is one contestant that has the ability to make the room light up, but her food doesn’t always measure up to her personality. 

12) Gabriel Lewis: Gabriel, without question, is extremely talented and leaning on the technical aspects of cooking is his wheelhouse. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he is not doing nearly as good as he did in his original season nor is he producing any dishes that look or sound particularly appetizing. Gabriel’s low key nature hides the fighter underneath and we need that fighter back!

11) Michael Silverstein: Any reality television viewer knows that editing is often an indicator on future episodes. Michael is getting some great editing so far. In the team challenge, he came across as the savior for his team. He has yet to be shown having a misstep. This could bode well for him or mean that he is going to have a really bad week soon. Time will tell. His dishes look pretty solid.

10) Fred Chang: Fred is a great chef, but this season has been a bit of a roller coaster for him. Yes, the dishes look great but most of them do not sound particularly appetizing. Kudos for taking risks, which everyone should be doing, but some of those flavor combinations seemed a bit questionable. 

9) Dara Yu: Dara has had a bit of a roller coaster ride this season as well, which is not the kiss of death on this show since you are only as good as your last dish. Saying that, the 20-year old’s dishes have looked pretty impressive and there is no denying that she is going to be one to watch out for. 

8) Shanika Patterson: Shanika seemingly is on a solid path this season, but has yet to really shine like she did in the fourth episode. Her dishes have all looked incredible, with a “home cook meets restaurant vibe” to them. My gut feeling is that we have yet to see her best performance this season, but she is going for it every episode with gusto and creativity. 

7) Emily Hallock: Emily is an incredible chef that is sailing through the competition so far. Honestly, the dishes look and sound great, but they also seem to be very safe or predictable. The Wisconsin native does not seem to be taking any risks to stand out, which is sad. Delicious food is the name of the game but so is great television. Here’s to hoping that she takes some risks sooner rather than later. 

6) Brielle “Bri” Baker: I am going to start with the good news. Bri has been very consistent thus far. Saying that, while visually gorgeous, the dishes do not seem to be exciting the judges. We all know that she is a beast in the MasterChef kitchen and once she gets that ball rolling, she could become unstoppable. Until then, this cook seems content just surviving week to week. Probably a smart move, but who wins playing it safe?  

5) Amanda Saab: Amanda may have placed 13th on the sixth season of “MasterChef,” but in this 12th season she is quickly becoming a frontrunner to win. With two wins and immunity in the eighth week, Amanda is clearly back with a vengeance. Her dish in the seventh week of competition is the highlight of her journey thus far. 

4) Bowen Li: Bowen is slowly becoming one of my favorite contestants of the season. He is not only one of the most consistent chefs, but he is producing some of the most visually appealing dishes of the season as well. Bowen’s dish in the sixth week  sounded especially delicious, but his dish the following week was easily the best looking dish of the season. 

3) Christian Green: Christian is one of those rare culinary competition contestants that can make anything work and look delicious. So far he has exceeded any expectations that I had. In fact, I’m rooting for him to win. The dish in Season 7 winner Shaun O’Neale’s challenge is the highlight of his journey so far. 

2) Derrick (Peltz) Fox: Derrick is one of the top tier contestants in the history of the show. He seemingly has a restaurant-worthy dish prepared for every challenge. The 35-year old has skills that can rival any celebrity chef. Saying that, it seems like we are getting two versions of Derrick this season. The first plays it safe and gets deemed safe for a dish that is not exactly memorable or delicious. The second is taking risks and nailing challenges. It is an interesting strategy to say the least. 

1) Brandi Mudd: There are certain things about this season that are givens, for lack of a better term. One of these was that Brandi would pick up where she left off, knocking out incredible dishes consistently. Brandi, at least in my opinion, is the most talented chef of the group and the highlight of her journey thus far is in the mystery box challenge set by Season 7 winner Shaun O’Neale. She’s my current frontrunner to win it all this season.

Make your predictions at Gold Derby now. Download our free and easy app for Apple/iPhone devices or Android (Google Play) to compete against legions of other fans plus our experts and editors for best prediction accuracy scores. See our latest prediction champs. Can you top our esteemed leaderboards next? Always remember to keep your predictions updated because they impact our latest racetrack odds, which terrify Hollywood chiefs and stars. Don’t miss the fun. Speak up and share your huffy opinions in our famous forums where 5,000 showbiz leaders lurk every day to track latest awards buzz. Everybody wants to know: What do you think? Who do you predict and why?

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