Well gang, we've reached the midpoint of the season and this much is clear: Never has the talent on this show been so clearly divided. You've got the contenders (the Brothers, Beardo and Jen) and the pretenders (everyone else).

In fact, the "fab four" look like such surefire finalists, the only mystery over the next month will be order in which the "drab five" disappear. Will Laurine's near-constant state of invisibility become permanent tonight? Will the Jersey Douche linger on like a summer's eve? I suppose we could always add interest by trying to guess the exact order of the next five eliminations … Eli-Donna-Ash-Mike-Laurine? Mike-Eli-Donna-Laurine-Ash? Did you know that there are 125 possible permutations? That's 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1—fascinating, huh?

Ok, that's not fascinating. Anyway, I think the best way make up for the lack of suspense is by entertaining one another, as we always do, with our rapier-like wit during our weekly live blogs—like the one that's about to start right here, tonight! If you're a regular, welcome back. If you you're not, why not become one? The party happens in comments section below, where we start live-blogging Top Chef at 10 pm Eastern (and perhaps Glee before then).

Last week's edition featured many great comments (click here for a sampling). Here are a few highlights from high time we had:

  • During the quickfire challenge, the slot-machine-assigned dish descriptions evoked several "rembrances of flings past." Lizawithazee, for example, recalled a "tart romantic Latin American" she knew once, while SuzyO said she'd dated an "adventurous crispy Asian." And as for the "adventurous nutty American," well … haven't we all fallen for one of those at one time or another?
  • I was creeped out by a Tabasco ad that showed just how scary your nightmares can be if you eat too much hot-sauce-coated pizza just before bedtime. Click here to see for yourself … if you dare!
  • More commenter "field reports" were filed on contestants' restaurants. Mo MoDo told us about her dinner at Brother Bryan's Maryland eatery, Volt. We also heard new reports on Eli's, Hector's and Kevin's Atlanta eateries from new commenter Jennifer000 (aka Jenner000100, Jennifer000100200, etc. … the numbers in her name kept mysteriously multiplying).
  • Ashley got the axe, and many of us will miss her. We will not miss her fake-tuxedo T-shirt, however.

I've also studied the permutations of two preview clips of tonight's episode, and suggest we watch for the following as we live blog tonight:

  • In the latest chapter of their pathetic, "needy biddy vs. nerdy bully" psychodrama, Eli will yell at Robin, "You're not my mother!" But really, she might as well be, given that he's such a son of a bitch.
  • The contestants will help guest-judge Charlie Palmer host one of his "Pigs and Pinot" events. I've never attended one of these events, but I'm sure we've all been to a few parties that match the description, huh?

Like this one, in fact (minus the pigs). So grab some pinot, and let's get pithy!

[Image via Shop Rock America]