Yeah, I thought McEwan consistently didn't like her.
Personally, I thought Dustin had it in the bag (especially after Nicole got Andrea as her sous chef... totally room for manipulation in the selection of sous chefs). I thought his meal was more interesting, but of course if Nicole's food tasted better overall then that's all that should matter to the judges. I liked both of them, so I'm wasn't unhappy with the result - they were the strongest all season.
I think maybe it's a tactical error to try new things when you're in this sort of competition. A single misstep can result in a dish that doesn't taste as good as a dish that has been honed over years of practice. Pretty sure Dustin's XO sauce was honed after being developed in Susur's kitchen, while all of Nicole's dishes must have been in development since her formal Italian training.
Also, I crushed SO HARD on Dustin, he just seems like an adorable person. And he's always so transparent in his feelings - even his confession that losing hurt a lot was seriously endearing.