Live Blogging Top Chef: The Season FinaleS

Legend tells us that live-blogging on a Leap Day brings four years of good luck. And the fact that I just made that up doesn't make it any less possibly true. So join us as we live-blog tonight's Top Chef season finale, and you might just get lucky every day until 2016!

Yes, February 29 is not just an uncommon day; it's also an uncommonly good one for a fun-filled session of TV-watching-and-commenting craziness. If you haven't joined us before, we do our live-blogging together down in the comments section under this post, once the show starts at 10 pm Eastern (on Bravo). Try it! You'll be up and running in no time.

And speaking of running: What a marathon of a season this one has been! It was almost four months ago—November 2—that we live-blogged the premiere episode and started coining our first chef nicknames, such as "Black Santa." (Remember Black Santa? How I still miss him!) And since then, we've laughed, cried, drank, made up silly nicknames, adjusted to confusing geographical hops across Texas and Canada, and ridiculed a series of increasingly silly challenges. And through it all, you've all had plenty to say—much of it negative, thereby preventing the uncontrolled spread of arugula. Because, as Tom Colicchio informs us, arugula is what happens when you have nothing negative to say—and who am I to argue with the Zen-like Twitter wisdom of the Great Colicchio?

The folks who live-blog here had plenty to say last week—and hence, avoided the slow creep of arugula-like bitterness into their lives for one night, at least. As usual, I've collected a few of my favorite comments from our last live blog in this separate "highlights" post, so be sure to check that out when you get a chance.

As for tonight, we'll get to wrap up the season by watching one of our favorite chefs square off against one or our least favorites, in what will likely be the most lopsidedly-rooted finale ever. Everyone, it seems, is Team Paul. In fact, if Sarah pulls off an upset win tonight, TV retailers may need to brace for a rush of business tomorrow due to all the broken TVs resulting from angry Top Chef fans throwing things at their screens. Beyond the potential for flying objects and damage to appliances, a few other things to watch for tonight include the following:

  • In the final challenge, Paul and Sarah will each take over a restaurant in Vancouver and design a four-course meal served to the judges—as well as to "friends and family" they won't be told are coming. (Get ready for teary moments.)
  • Remember I mentioned Black Santa? Well guess what—he'll be back tonight! Keith Rhodes (his real name) is one of nine ex-contestants from this season who'll compete for a chance to serve as sous-chefs in the final challenge. The others include Nyesha, Heather, Grayson, Ty-Lör and "Malibu Chris" Crary.
  • Remember Tyler Stone, that guy Tom Colicchio kicked out of the kitchen on the first episode—before he even got a chance to cook anything—because he'd hacked up a piece of meat so badly? I think I spotted him in the preview clip, so it looks like he'll be back too. Wouldn't it great if Tom immediately threw him out of the kitchen again tonight, just for the hell of it? "Go on, get out of here. You suck." A moment like that could redeem this whole, sorry season for me.

OK, gang, it's nearly 10 pm—time to get this Leap Day party hopping. Normally, since it's the season finale, I'd take a moment here to say how much I love you guys in a "goodbye till next season"-type message—but Bravo's gonna air one of those Top Chef "reunion specials" next Wednesday and we usually live-blog those too, so I'll save my goodbyes for that one next week. In the meantime—I'll see you down in the comments!