Last night was the first half of the "Top Chef" finale. Last night was when jerky boys Brian and Dale were supposed to go home. Last night, particularly, we planned to celebrate the departure of Dale, the LOLmegagay, from our lives forever with a bottle of Chandon. But Bravo once again jiggled the rules of the competition, so only one contestant was going home. Why, why can't they respect the stern rule of reality show law?

So the exiled chef was Brian Malarky, the ADD koosh ball of a chef. He's soft and harmless and kind of retarded. Good riddance. But really, Dale won? Le Bernardin's Eric Ripert picked Dale as the winner? Over technical perfection or Texan heart, he picked Dale, whose plate admittedly looked like a carnival? Also, that he slept with cowboys is A) probably not true and B) too much to know. That he was dumped right before the show, however, is completely believable.

We were so upset by the wan depravity of it all that it was not until this morning that we realized: Dale might really win. Last week, we thought maybe he was a genius. So sad! Now we must admit that yes, Dale, though every fibre of our body rebels against it, is a genius. Or maybe he just has Asperger's.

Not that we're abandoning Hung, whose tale of immigrant woe brought us close to tears. Nor are we hanging Casey out to dry. Her decision not to use her own personal stash of spices (as a result of her victory in the quickfire challenge) was ballsy and laudable. But if M. Ripert says Dale's elk is perfect, it is perfect. Dale might actually have game. (GET IT? ELK? GAME???)

I was shocked and saddened to see that 69% of the audience polled wanted to see Hung go home. Sure, he's pompous and arrogant and selfish. But why are those behaviors, lauded in other competitive arenas, so spat upon in "Top Chef"—which is, at the end of the day, no less brutal a test of man-on-man action than any a boxing match or island-stranding?

Dale's continued presence on the T.V. has also made us rethink our question to you last week of who will be victorious. So once again, vote for your choice. Not if they deserve to win, mind you—but if you think they'll win.

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