A new season of The Great British Bake Off is quickly approaching, premiering in the U.K. on September 13 and rolling out Stateside a few days later, September 16, on Netflix, which still insists on calling it The Great British Baking Show. All new bakers with all new levels of overwhelming creativity, flavor profiles, and, most of all, tweeness will be arriving in the tent to inspire both the intended delight and unintended anger that comes with any new season of Bake Off.
But with the show now on season 13, it’s hard not to notice some trends and form expectations accordingly. There will be heartwarming friendships, a few contestants will explode in popularity, and many viewers will have to deal with a slight horniness toward one or more contestants (which contestant will vary depending on the viewer — hey, Tamal). With that in mind, Vulture has decided to make some predictions about the upcoming season, based on the cast photo, above, and the bios released by Tudum.
Starting on the far right, we have Kevin. Kevin is by far the most blandly dressed baker on display today, but I wouldn’t count him out. He is from Lanarkshire, which is in Scotland, and we’ll get to the other very Scottish elephant in the room later, but we know Kevin will have at least one friend there. Based on this photo, I worry that Kevin will not have the panache necessary to make it to the end, but I don’t think he’ll perform poorly enough to be an early out. Middle of the pack, basically, because of the jeans.
Standing next to Kevin is the beautiful Maxy. Her cast bio tells us that she was born in Sweden and has two daughters, both things that bode well for her in this competition in terms of interesting flavor profiles and time-management skills, respectively. She also has a master’s degree in architecture, meaning she has the brain for all the technical thingies. TBH Maxy seems like a threat. Penciling her in as a finalist.
Next to Maxy is Dawn, and she seems fun. Her outfit is made up of wide-leg pants and a bright pink sweater, and that comfy ensemble means she is Bake Off tent-ready. In terms of her baking, she loves to make illusion cakes (“The more impossible sounding, the better,” says her cast bio). She will also have the advantage of Prue admiring her glasses, which is likely a help. One has to assume that her combination of a “steady hand” and Prue adjacency means she’ll make the top half.
Straddling the green chair is Janusz, and it is hard not to be wildly biased toward Janusz. “Janusz grew up in Poland and moved to the U.K. 10 years ago. He is now living on the southeast coast with his boyfriend, Simon, and their sausage dog, Nigel,” reads Janusz’s bio. “Apart from baking, Janusz’s passions include internet culture, watching drag (he even bought his boyfriend a statue of RuPaul), and collecting movie props.” I don’t want to predict how Janusz will do (I cannot be unbiased; I love him), but I will predict that if Paul Hollywood makes Janusz cry, I will fly to England and poke out those blue eyes myself.
Meet Rebs! Rebs is a North Irish woman who is by far the trendiest dressed in the cast. She is also straddling that blue chair with a confidence that says, “I know why I’m here, and I’m glad you’re taking a picture of me,” an emotion that many of these bakers cannot seem to muster (Kevin, sorry). Her confidence bodes well, but the fact that she’s recently “started to play around with” Turkish flavors as a nod to her Turkish boyfriend makes me pause. Some of her competitors grew up with their flavors! We hope she sticks to the flavors she’s used to.
And now, the most Scottish of the Scots, James is sitting next to Rebs and wearing a kilt. James also has Timberlands on, plus a shirt that clashes with his kilt pattern and a calf tattoo. While his nuclear-science background would usually bode well on Bake Off, I can’t shake the feeling he’ll be “too edgy” for Paul and Prue. Seems like an early out after taking some “too big” swings.
Heyyyyy, Sandro. How are you? Love your face, Sandro, I mean shirt. The man standing behind James is Sandro, and Sandro is the eye candy of the season. His contestant bio reveals he is a nanny who loves to box, do ballet, and break-dance. He also runs “virtual baking classes for children with autism.” Sigh. No way of knowing how Sandro will do in the competition, but we do know that there will be a lot of tweets about Sandro coming from a very intense portion of Twitter asking him to do unspeakable things. Hope he’s ready!
Will is the arm-crosser next to Sandro. Will seems like a nice guy to have around, right? Arms crossed, leaning to the side, Will’s just there to have a good time. Unfortunately, Will’s casualness appears a bit too casual. It’s easy to imagine him saying, “Even though my run was short, it was one of the best experiences of my life.” The audience will tear up, but Will seems like an unlikely winner (based on one pose).
Next to Will is Abdul, and Abdul seems in it for the long haul. Though the cast photo only shows his head, his smile is an absolute ray of sunshine. Plus, his bio tells us that he’s an electronics engineer who “applies his precision thinking to the chemistry of creating bakes.” That sounds like a giant boon in technical challenges and a pretty good strategy elsewhere. Abdul is an early winner pick.
Then there’s Carole, who is standing next to Abdul and also stands out in the crowd. Most notable, of course, is Carole’s purple hair, which is great. Also notable? The fact that Carole has a local radio segment about gardening called “Compost Carole.” Amazing! Still, her zaniness may prove to be a hindrance more than a benefit on this show where “using YouTube to teach herself the finer techniques of decoration” is not a brag but a liability. If we had to guess a first out, Compost Carole would be it.
To Carole’s right is Maisam, the token young person of the competition. Though she’s just 18, Maisam has a great, original flavor profile based on her Mediterranean roots. “She loves the tang of olives, the sweetness of dates, and the nuttiness of sesame seeds,” according to her cast bio. Those flavors sound like they might be a welcome difference from other bakers’ typical barrage of fruits and chocolate. Maisam could be a late-stage contender.
Last but not least is Syabira. Though there is more than a touch of utter terror in Syabira’s eyes, her Malaysian-favorite flavors sound interesting. “She is all for giving Malaysian flavor twists to British classics,” according to her cast bio. Bake Off is often a bit staid in its appreciation for the classic British version of its treats, but if she can find the balance between the two, Syabira and her cute headband should not be counted out.