Among the mutters were actress Jennifer Saunders and comedian Dom Joly, who claimed that the contestants – including presenter Gethin Jones, Olympic hockey star Sam Quek, rapper Lady Leshurr, and Kingdom Choir conductor Karen Gibson – were not recognisable enough.
Fast-forward two months, with all 20 celebs having stepped into the famous MasterChef kitchen and the line-up now whittled down to eight contestants for semi-finals, and some might want to… eat their words.
From the show’s first blind contestant Amar Latif, who has defied all odds, right down to LGBTQ activist Riyadh Khalaf, who not only bagged a spot in the semi-finals but has kept fans laughing along the way, this year’s line-up has proven that you cannot judge the cast by its cover.
Instead, you have to let the show do the talking – or in this case, the cooking.
Since the show kicked off in Week One with Shyko Amos, X Factor’s Myles Stephenson, former footballer John Barnes, Loose Women’s Judi Love and Thomas Skinner, we’ve been met with an abundance of surprises.
One of the bigger names on the line-up, many might have assumed Barnesy would have made it through to the semi-finals, but instead, Apprentice star Tom and comedian Judi managed to come out on top, with Judi’s great cooking skills and larger-than-life personality clearly shining through.
Over to Week Two, and although she didn’t manage to bag a spot in the semi-finals, newer star Baga Chipz – who rose to fame on Drag Race UK in 2019 – was a firm fan-favourite.
More MasterChef firsts came in Week Three, with the addition of presenter Amar.
The star – who set up his own company for blind, independent travellers – impressed fans and sailed through to the semi-finals alongside Gethin, while well-known presenter Jeff Brazier was the first to be sent home.
With two spots left in the semi-finals, heat four, served viewers some more curveballs, as Riyadh and Matthew Pinsent beat the likes of Pete Wicks, Crissy Rock and Judy Murray and went through.
All this shows is that Celebrity MasterChef doesn’t need its A-list names to succeed, in fact, the names really don’t matter at all.
As the results have shown, it’s not always the more “popular” or “well-known” star who manages to make it through, but more about the skill of cooking and the fun that comes along with it in the kitchen.
We’ve seen heartwarming bromances formed with Amar and Gethin, and there’s been lots of laughter throughout – from Dominic Littlewood cooking an egg timer, to Riyadh shoving a spoon in Pete Wicks‘ mouth to stop him from crying while chopping an onion.
All MasterChef really needs is a good bunch of celebrities who want to better their cooking (and possibly make friends along the way) – it’s these moments that keep viewers tuning in.
And if you ask us, the 2020 series has ticked each of these boxes – the casting team once again knocking it out of the park.
So next time, when you’re looking at a line-up you’re filled with dread, maybe just give it a little time to marinate and like MasterChef has shown, it might just prove you wrong.
The Celebrity MasterChef semi-finals is on Wednesday 29th July at 9pm, and Thursday 30th at 7.30pm. The finals is on Thursday 30th at 9pm. Find out what else to watch with our TV Guide.