Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Chatter 55 MasterChef Biases are Painful When There's $250,000 at Stake 07/2017

MasterChef Australia had it's grand final last night. Of the original 24 contestants it came down to a battle between Diana Chan, an attractive Accountant and Ben Ugermann a personable Retail manager.
At the beginning of their last 'cook' Ben was three points behind. 
It was a fiendish task to reproduce Kirsten Tibbals a incredibly difficult dessert featuring three beautiful reproduction fruit, filled with complex ingredients and flavour, in four hours. They both struggled and had faults and failures but Ben's effort appeared to be clearly superior and the first two judges saw it that way. Ben scored three nines.
Diana scored eight from Gary Meaghan and eight from George Calombaris. She needed nine from Matt Preston to win. 
Despite her dish being clearly not not as good as Ben's, guess what - Diana scored nine and became the MasterChef winner for 2017.
Diana is a fantastic cook and taken overall is a worthy winner, but not on that night and that's not the point of this post..
The fact there is something remarkably unfair about the whole show.
Consider this.
There have been eight seasons of MasterChef.
Each season begins with 24 contestants and ends with one winner. Twenty three have been eliminated. Eight by 23 equals 184. There have been a few more eliminations because each year one eliminated contestant wins a place back in the contest.
Unbelievably, despite the extremely coarse scoring system, not once has there ever been a draw!
I can think of no other competitive situation except a beauty contest where this could happen. 
Where results are determined by as little as 1/100th of a second there are dead heats. With gross measures where there is approximately a 10% difference between a 9 and a ten, or even more between an eight and a nine this can only come about by collusion among the judges.
Ask any body with a knowledge of statistics.
I wonder if Matt Preston felt a little sick when he drew the short straw to administer the 'coup de grace'.
Pity there is so much money involved because, at the end of the day it leaves a sour taste being so obviously a rigged television cooking show.

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