Well those folks were all far better. On almost any of the other shows, I suspect 2 or 3 of the losing contestants might have gone through.
On the first show, the initial test separated the wheat from the chaff quickly. Open 3 oysters and cook an omlette. And from the outset it was obvious that Marianne (a female, food fans!) was head and shoulders above the rest. After cooking a mean paella and 2 quail dishes, she walked off in first place, though the judges kindly overlooked that two of her three of poultry dishes were undercooked. But she looked a class act.
On the second one, my interest wavered a bit due to whipping up some pretty mean food myself, but it was very close. Filleting that fish caused a few issues, but the 2 that did ok were out in front from therein. The guy who looked like an indie musician had a killer pasta but little else. It was truly between the young guy in the middle (who was a close second) and Jack_el_biscuit. Jack ended up running out the winner after managing to cook two relatively obscure classic dishes (madeline's and a posh salt cod bruschetta), some complicated kidney dishes and improving his presentation on the final round. He looks a contender too, though he'll need to prove that his obsession with complex flavours won't overpower future simpler dishes.
I'm enjoying this series. Roux is far more likeable than that previous tosser.