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'MasterChef: Back to Win' slammed for pushing on-screen BEEF between Shanika and Emily

'The one thing I don't like this season is how hard they're pushing this Emily/Shanika feud,' said a viewer
(L-R) Willie, Emily, and Shanika in 'MasterChef: Back to Win' (FOX)
(L-R) Willie, Emily, and Shanika in 'MasterChef: Back to Win' (FOX)

The 12th season of the FOX cooking competition, 'MasterChef: Back to Win,' began things off by putting these second-chance hopefuls to the test. The first three episodes were spent pitting the cooks against one another in a lightning round to whittle down the field to 20, however, the most recent episode's gratuitous depiction of two other contestants as rivals enraged viewers.

Two participants have stood out from the start, and it isn't completely due to their culinary abilities. Emily Hallock and Shanika Patterson not only competed in Season 9 of 'MasterChef,' but they also have a history of feuding. It was brought up during their competition to win their aprons and go to the next leg of this season. Fans are baffled as to why the network continues to single out these two ladies.


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(L-R) Willie, Emily, and Shanika in 'MasterChef: Back to Win' (FOX)

Before being ousted from MasterChef season 9, Emily had been roasting her opponents. The chef was eliminated for refusing to opt-out of a "loser-goes-home challenge" when she might have spared herself. Emily chose to compete in a Black Forest cake challenge versus Shanika. She eventually lost after her cake tipped over in a blast freezer, and she finished the season in 10th place. The series is most likely accentuating her animosity with Shanika since Emily went out of her way to eliminate the other chef from the competition. Emily now considers the decision to be a blunder.

“Last time I was here on season 9, I made a mistake that sent me home," Emily remarked in the 'MasterChef: Back to Win' premiere. "That moment is something that I do think about often. Let’s just say if, given the opportunity to save myself or try to send someone else home, I will be saving myself.” Viewers should keep in mind, though, that while the show loves to remind viewers of the chefs' past, neither lady is seeking to make it their legacy on the show. This second chance season allows them both to atone for previous faults, flaunt their improved talents, and compete for the 'MasterChef' title once again.

As both ladies make it to the top three on their first cook following the auditions, viewers believe the network is exploiting the situation by repeatedly pitting them against one another. To win this competition's first immunity pin (a concept familiar from the Australian version of the program), all 20 chefs compete by creating an upgraded version of the dish that got them eliminated in their respective season. Emily and Shanika, along with another contender, Willie, were victorious. The camera was fixated on Emily and Shanika and the words they exchanged with one another throughout the episode.

When chatting to Emily about Shanika, Gordon refers to her as the latter's "Season 9 adversary" and reminds her of how things didn't go her way when she opted to play against Shanika in an elimination round. Gordon notes that Emily still has unfinished business in the competition. Gordon then moves on to Shanika, sharing the same bench with Emily, and asks her what she would do if she won the immunity pin, to which she says, "I'm taking it," a slight jab at her fellow contestant who squandered her shot at immunity in Season 9.

Joe was all praise for Shanika's pasta dish when tasting it and remarked how far she has come from her time in the competition in the earlier season. He noted that she had to hide behind hysteria and anger at first, but she is now proving her value.

Joe's words offended viewers, who reprimanded him on Twitter for labeling Shanika as "angry." One fan wrote: "Really Joe? Labeling Shanika as "angry" the last time she was on the show? Emily was actually the snide one as I recall but I'm sure her behavior was passionate and not angry to you #MasterChef". Another fan expressed their anger saying: "Did Joe just say to Shanika “you had to control your anger and hysteria”??? Um EXCUSE ME you bald bi*ch #MasterChef".



Another upset fan tweeted: "#MasterChef So Shanika will always be thought of as the angry black woman Here we go ..." Some fans felt the judges were wrong to choose Emily over Willie or Shanika, as they tweeted: "So out of all 3 they really chose Emily??? I swear I thought it would've been Willie and maybe Shanika #MasterChef". One fan even alleged a bit of racism on the judges' part as they tweeted: "OF COURSE YALL GIVE IT TO THE WHITE GIRL. BOOOOOOOO Willie and Shanika ROBBED. #MasterChef".




It is only the first leg of the competition, but seems like fans are already tired of the rivalry the network is trying to get out of the two ladies for the screen. One fan wrote: "#MasterChef The one thing I don't like this season is how hard they're pushing this Emily/Shanika feud. It was four years ago. Emily took her shot and learned her lesson from missing. Shanika was happy for Emily winning tonight. This forced rivalry isn't what anyone wants." Another fan with similar observation wrote: "They really playing out this Shanika/Emily feud, huh? Lol #Masterchef". In the midst of it all, one hopeful fan wrote how they want to see the two ladies become friends and advance in the competition together. Their tweet read: "#MasterChef I so want Shanika and Emily to become the best of friends and kick some arse on this show!!"




'MasterChef: Back to Win' is now airing on Fox every Wednesday at 8 pm.

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