Reminiscent of when they did "trash polka" a few seasons back. Sure, to some the style is probably attractive, but it's just way too niche to be executed and judged fairly on such short notice. The show hides behind "an Ink Master should be able to handle any style". I agree with that for well-established styles: Japanese, traditional, black and grey, cartoon, etc. But something like cross-stitching is a bit too out of left field for me. It's the type of challenge that would be great for a flash challenge (remember when this show actually did tattoos for flash challenges instead of random art mediums?).
Do yourself a favor and watch seasons 3-5 if you can find them. Despite their flaws, those are the prime seasons in my opinion. Fewer cliche setups and twists, less scripted drama, and way more tattoo time (as mentioned, the show used to do more tattoo flash challenges). Also, seasons 3 and 4 feature artists who are, in my opinion, the two best champions in the show.
There have been a lot of great female competitors. But in such a male-dominated field they are simply outnumbered. The best women are just as good as the best men, there are just more men in the talent pool.
Anyone catch when the men were discussing the strategy of taking out the middle of the women's team? Someone said something to the effect of "no point going after the top competitors because they'll do a good job anyways" and when they said "top competitors" the camera flashed over to Laura Marie. Foreshadowing?