Couple of thoughts
1. For the start of the finale, the episode seemed really flat-very little emotion or excitement from anyone...even Stephanie, a very positive and humorous person, was muted. Maybe it was the infomercial for American Airlines or Peroni commercial (someone's gotta pay the bills), but it felt off.
2. Well, let's get rid of one long standing conspiracy theory-Gregory's elimination should make it clear that they actually judge on the basis of the dish they get and are not looking at the season overall/past results. And, yes, sitting on a 12+ hour flight with a bad back must have been miserable.
3. I am also part of the group that can't believe that Bryan V didn't win that challenge and not just because I am a fan. For one of the first times this season, his dish was not only technically strong (shocker), but ALSO met the challenge-he highlighted the white truffle better than anyone. It seemed that Melissa made an error with the salami, but, as always, we don't get to taste the food and the editors do get to take some (ok lots of) liberties.
4. Padma, hair pulled back, speaking Italian like a pro......mmmmmm. Is it in her contract that in each finale they need to do something to make her look delicious-wasn't it the original All Star season where she suddenly appeared in a bikini running out of the ocean onto the beach!
5. And, no Stephanie, great as you are, you are NOT as cool as Bryan Voltaggio!