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The current season of MasterChef Junior is its best yet. The judges are great with children, the kids are adorable and appear to be having fun at all times. Unlike MasterChef, you don’t root against competitors, you root for all of the kids to be able to shove Gordon Ramsey into a bowl of seven-layer dip. Spoiler: all of the kids gets to shove all of the judges in bowls of seven-layer dip. And douse them with marshmallows.

Fan favorite (according to no research because I do not want to read any dedicated blog to a show featuring children) Nate captured America’s heart. The Philadelphia boy looks like The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn. He has hand motions like The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn. Most importantly, he stayed positive like The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn

Some of the kids appeared rehearsed. Nate did not. Nate was real from dish one, awkwardly emoting excitement, fear and joy. Nate lived each moment to the fullest. When he failed, he learned. When he succeeded, he celebrated. His team lost when he was a team captain. He took it in stride. The opposing team and the judges ran into a bounce house. Nate and his fellow losers were forced to clean their work stations and their competitors. Oh well.

Following the announcement that the Blue Team narrowly beat the Red Team, Craig gave an unprompted motivational speech. “You did great today. You all made me proud. You made your families proud. You made Gordon, Christina and Graham proud. It was beautiful. Way to go guys.” That’s the voice of leadership and love.

But not all was great. Nate put on a brave face for his team. We got a better glimpse into his psyche during a talking head scene. “Even though we lost, we had a great time. I think today was my fault. I could have done better as a captain. [Begins to choke up]. I’m just really happy for the Blue Team.” That’s the voice of leadership, love and disappointment.

Because Craig’s Red Team lost, they were forced to make croquembouche in the dreaded pressure test. Once Nate found out he had to try to make the pastry ball tree, he shined with the most beautiful quote uttered in both MasterChef and MasterChef Junior. “Croquembouche, I have never tasted it before. I have never heard of it before. I’ve never even heard of it before. Back in Philly we’re all cheesesteaks and pleasure.”

Sadly, croquembouche is not made from cheesesteaks and pleasure. Nate tried his best, he really did, but the world is cruel and cold so Nate had to go home. The last line we heard from Nate was not much different than the first. “There’s nothing better I can ask for. Sure, I didn’t get the MasterChef trophy, but I get to see my brother and sister, [Begins to choke up] it’s just awesome.”

Nate has been eliminated from season 4 of MasterChef Junior. Let us all learn from Mini Craig Finn. Stay positive, Nate. We’ll try to do the same.

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