The American Chopper: Live Build-Off began last night, and thus far, in contrast to last time around, no one appears to be limping behind the competition, as far as the actual bikes are concerned. However, there is one builder who is the clear fan-favorite.
The guys at OCC were determined to do a better job this year than last, although, honestly, the contraption they built last year was pretty darn cool—it just wasn’t a motorcycle and, come on, Senior, it was a motorcycle build-off. This year, however, the OCC team not only built a motorcycle, they even went an extra step and machined the frame, rather than buying something new off-the-shelf—something we don’t often see from the OCC shop, so that was a nice turn. The final product was pretty cool, especially if you like the full-on aluminum look. Regardless, the OCC final product was about 1,000 steps up from last year’s entry—great job, guys. But, unfortunately for Senior, he doesn’t have the fan-backing to win this competition, no matter how nice his entry may be. Sorry, Senior.
Jesse James, by his own admission, kind of laid down on the job last build-off, and turned in a rather ordinary entry. There’s little doubt, really, that Jesse’s motorcycle was superior to Junior’s last season when it comes to just straight-up riding, but, it was pretty plain and common. The impressive thing about Jesse, however, is that he is able to step up to the challenge and admit that he fell down on the job last year, and really put his “skill set” to work this year on something unique. It did take him longer—i.e. he broke the rules—but, hey, it’s a TV build-off, right? It will be okay. Regardless, Jesse turned in a pretty awesome-looking entry, and, as the “outlaw bike-builder” learned last year, that is the name of the game in this competition when it comes to a bike: looks. However, when it comes to ultimately beating the competition, even looks won’t get the job done. This competition is mainly about popularity and, although Jesse was the man with the fans at one point in his career, he has lost his fan base along the way, and has just never been able to regain it. Sorry, Jesse.
Team Fast N' Loud
The Fast N’ Loud guys, Richard and Aaron, are the rookies this year, and they have led the way in pranking. Regardless of where they fall in the voting, they should get a trophy for being the winners in the prank wars. Flying the banner to advertise for help at Jesse’s garage was just priceless—a lot more creative than OCC and PJD, just setting things on fire and blowing them up. And, Junior’s retaliation video against Gas Monkey Garage, well, if "PJD Studios" is ever going to get off the ground, he’s going to have to do a lot—a LOT—better than that. But, their motorcycle entry? Well, first of all, it is beautiful; love the colors. And, the guys actually RODE their bike from Texas to Vegas, so viewers know that it is more than a piece of art—although, to be fair, Discovery Channel sent the following tweet during the first night of the Build-Off:
Update: #TeamFastNLoud's bike did not start during rehearsals today. Aaron had to roll it out on stage. Will it be ready tomorrow?
Unfortunately for the Gas Monkey Garage guys, building a rideable bike is secondary to, well, popularity. Very few people will vote in this competition based on what they believe the actual merit of a bike is, or whether or not it can be taken out on the road and ridden. In fact, most viewers probably prefer it to just be a piece of unrideable artwork, if that is what it takes to bling it out. And, who is more skilled at building unrideable, blingy artwork than Paul Jr.? Sorry, Richard and Aaron.
Fans Love Paul Jr.
Regardless of how impractical his bikes are, Junior has the voting audience locked up when it comes to popularity. Why that is remains a mystery, but it is undoubtedly true: Fans love Paul Jr. And, they will vote for him, regardless of how goofy his bike looks, or whether or not it can actually be ridden. So, this year, given the fact that he built a bike that looks pretty decent—except perhaps for the silly steering wheel “handlebars”—and that it could probably be ridden, were he not afraid of getting it dirty, it is likely that Junior has this competition locked up. Right or wrong, Junior plays to the audience; he knows what they want to hear, knows what they want to see, and he knows how to bring them over to his side. He realizes that the bike itself is not even a part of this competition. Fans will be voting for their favorite builder, not their favorite bike, and that, barring an unlikely upset, will be Paul Jr.
Fans can vote today via text for their favorite bike/builder. Voting information is available on the Discovery Channel Chopper Live website.
The winner of the Chopper Live: The Revenge competition will be revealed tonight live in Vegas. Fans can tune in beginning at 9/8c on the Discovery Channel.
Image: Discovery Channel