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Hell's Kitchen vs. Top Chef: The Showdown Begins

After all the planning, the excitement, the sheer giddiness and obsessive reporting we've done on the premiere of Top Chef last night, we almost forgot to watch. Chalk it up to the flu. Anyway, we finally tuned in and were extremely impressed with this year's cheftestants, and we're not the only ones. Early reports are in: This will be the best season yet. If the first episode truly set the tone for the rest of the season, expect real chefs with real talent, cooking extremely palatable food, even under extreme pressure (those quick fires would leave us in seizures). Some people expect less non-cooking drama, but come on, this is TV: with really good chefs comes really big egos, which will undoubtedly lead to a few authentic, not staged, screaming matches. Can't wait.

Our boy CJ held his own, melding into the middle of the pack---wasn't the top, wasn't the bottom, but safely in the middle. This leads us to believe he'll be around at least for a few more weeks. When CJ told us yesterday that there were 13 talented chefs (only two really didn't belong), he meant it; it's going to be fun to see who falls as the worst of the best. Oh, and New York can have their Top Chef day, and claim to be the most obsessed with the show, but this year's NYC chefs are so obnoxiously New York, we're kind of looking forward to their fall. And it's obvious Hung, exec sous at Guy Savoy in Vegas, was hired to be the ultimate villain (he's supposedly friends with last year's runner-up/most hated, Marcel). But it fits him, and turns out, the guy can cook.

Compared to Hell's Kitchen, which aired its second episode this week, TC3 is chic, polished, and edgy, with a culinary dream team, both the judges and the contestants. The other is raucous, rude, lots of screaming, less about food, but so completely entertaining, you hate to love it. On HK, we expect to see a short-order cook from Waffle House (and adore her); that shit just won't fly on TC3. There's something about this year's contestants on TC that make us wish next Wednesday is tomorrow. CJ played it safe, Bonnie walked around in her panties. The TC website has some fun outtakes, blogs, etc., more so than HK's website. So this week's scorecard: Top Chef: 1, Hell's Kitchen: 0.
· Top Chef 3 Premieres Tonight: Watch for LA's Chris Jacobson [~ELA~]
· Hell's Kitchen Week 2: Bonnie Plays the Girl Card, Red Herrings Galore [~ELA~]
· Hell's Kitchen 3 Premieres Tonight: LA's Bonnie Muirhead Takes on Ramsay [~ELA~]
· Top Chef Season 3 [~ELA~]