Live Blogging Top Chef All-Stars, The Season Premiere

December is here, and it's time to celebrate the season! No, not that season—the new season of Top Chef. The hotly-anticipated all-star edition starts tonight, and we're live-blogging it in the comments. Join us!

If you haven't participated in one of our live blogs before, it's easy: Just turn on your TV, watch the show (which starts at 10 Eastern on Bravo) and post witty observations about it in the comments section below this post. The rest of us will be doing the same. This cyber-festivity is nondenominational: The only spirits we care about here are the bottled variety, and our only deity is Erica, Goddess of the Glad Family of Products.

Because this is an all-star season, we'll get to welcome back some of our favorite chefs from seasons past, such as Carla "Hootie Hoo" Hall (probably the most well-liked chef ever to compete on this show) and Fabio Viviani (who says funny, Italian-accented things like "bunky bed," "monkey ass," "boolshit" and "top poossy"). In fact, having looked over the list of all 18 returning chefs, I think they've done a pretty good job of assembling an entertaining and mostly memorable group. I say "mostly" because I can't remember who the hell Antonia Lofaso is—can you? Apparently, she made it all the way to the final-four round in Season 4 without making any lasting impression on my memory.

Speaking of impressions, here's an interesting one that that struck me about this group of returning chefs: There are no season winners among them. This leads me to suspect that Bravo has all seven season champs in cold storage somewhere, and plans to serve them up in some kind of Top Chef Tournament of Champions season that lurks in the future.

As we all get ready live-blog before the show starts, I suggest we tackle the typical fun stuff we normally do at the start of a new season, such as:

  • Coining nicknames: Although we already nicknamed many of these chefs during our live blogs of Seasons 5 through 7, we now have a chance to coin monikers for the chefs from "pre-live-blog" seasons. To get the ball rolling, I suggest that we refer to Spike, the hat-wearing guy, as "Ass-hat."
  • Predicting winners: My pick to win it all is Richard Blais, who has the strongest track record according to a quick assessment I did of the entire group's past performance—an analysis that included total elimination-challenge and quickfire victories, as well as top-3 finishes.
  • Predicting losers: My past-performance analysis also suggests that the worst chefs in this group are Mike "Jersey Douche" Isabella and Spike the Ass-hat—which makes me happy, because I hate them both and now have reason to hope they will be eliminated early.
  • Inventing drinking-game rules: For example, we could drink every time they show a prior-season flashback clip, or Anthony Bourdain makes a sarcastic comment.

Hey, did I mention that Bourdain will a permanent judge this season? That's something to look forward to! And here are a few other things to look forward to this season, based on a couple of preview clips I watched:

  • Some woman with a southern accent will say, "I could whip your cute little ass!" Who is she? Whose ass is she talking about? I don't know.
  • Fabio will say, "I just wanna choke the guy." What guy? Why? I don't know that either.
  • Stephen Asprinio will say, "The first time around, I made some fatal mistakes." So I guess Stephen killed someone? I didn't see most of Season 1, so I must have missed that episode.
  • There will be muppets, including (spoiler alert!) Cookie Monster and (spoiler alert!) Elmo.
  • An ambulance will show up to take someone to the hospital. Who? Why? Did they get choked by Fabio? Or whipped by the southern lady? Once again, I don't know—we'll all just have to watch and see.

OK, it's nearly live-blogging time, so I'm heading down to the comments. As Carla Hall would say, "Hootie-hoo!"