At another time I'll be happy to ruminate on how important popularity is to the role of a Top Chef. Sure, it's important to have the support of your troops as you head into battle (or at least their respect). And I know there will be plenty of people who believe that Marcel can't be a Top Chef -- no matter how good his food is -- because of his failures on an interpersonal level. But when Elia stood up and accused Marcel of cheating -- a charge I take very seriously -- I wanted actual examples of malfeasance, or I didn't want to be bothered. Neither Elia, Ilan or Sam could come up with one. And by then I was sick to death of it all. Marcel's annoying -- I get it -- now let's get on with the food.
Ultimately, Ilan and Marcel went at tonight's challenge with the most imagination, creativity and personality. Both adroitly did the thing they do -- applying Spanish flavors and chemical wizardry -- with flair and respect for traditional Hawaiian cuisine. And on that basis, these two were chosen to go forward into the next, and final phase of the Top Chef Finale.