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The Contestant Ink Master Fans Think Should Have Won Season 1

Ink Master followed in the footsteps of great competitive reality shows of the past. In this instance, instead of judging people's skills with singing or dancing, the goal is to find the best tattoo artists in the country by having them engage in a variety of different styles and colors to see who truly knows their way around a needle. Even if you aren't all tatted up yourself, the show still featured incredible artwork with a memorable assortment of guest judges to hold your interest. It was also entertaining to watch the human canvass volunteers try to justify why their subpar tattoos weren't as bad as everyone knew they were. 

Ink Master may have been canceled, but that isn't going to stop fans from re-watching their favorite seasons. With re-watches, of course, come perspective — and an ensuing debate. In fact, it appears as though plenty of Ink Master fans are turning to Reddit to voice their dissatisfaction at some of the winners over the years. Naturally, all art is subjective, so it can be difficult to ascertain a definitive "best tattooist." However, one name continually comes up when fans talk about who was robbed of the grand prize. 

Many fans think runner-up Tommy Helm from Ink Master season 1 should have won

Everyone has their favorites on any reality show, whether they just like a contestant's personality, or genuinely think they're the most talented of the bunch. However, it seems like all these years later, people are still sore that Tommy Helm from season 1 didn't take home the grand prize. He didn't end up doing too bad for himself in the long run, earning enough popularity to be part of the cast of Tattoo Nightmares for all three of its seasons. Depending on who you ask, though, he should've gotten so much more. 

Redditor lbunny7 started the aforementioned thread by asking others who they think should've won. They got things started by writing, "I, without a doubt, believe Tommy should have won the season. His final master tattoos were far superior than [Shane O'Neill's]. Yet Shane was the front runner and favorite all season long." The idea that the outcome of these reality shows is preordained would certainly do away with the "reality" aspect of the series, and this wouldn't be the first time accusations of Ink Master not being fully truthful came to light. 

In the same conversation, some Reddit users came with receipts, like AufDerGalerie, who brought up exactly what the judges mentioned in the finale when the two tattoo artists were neck and neck: "They came off as wowed by Tommy's tattoos and meh on Shane's [...] Chris Núñez said Tommy did his favorite tattoo of the show, he thought it seemed like Shane was on autopilot, and he would have liked there to have been more line work in the filigree around Shane's skull." 

Now, Shane was clearly a talented artist, as well — and an argument easily could've been made for either one of them earning first place. That kind of drama is exactly what makes shows like Ink Master so compelling, though: No matter who wins, people are going to be talking about it for years to come.