By Margaret Lyons
February 26, 2009 at 05:10 AM EST

From the moment Carla started talking about her spirit animal, I knew I’d be rooting for her. Sort of. Not to win, really, because Stefan is pretty clearly a better chef, but to be on the show for as long as possible, which is exactly what has happened. Thanks, Bravo overlords! But you totally owe me one for cutting Fabio instead of Hosea, which is what should have happened because Fabio is about a billion times more interesting and entertaining than Hosea, and also, methinks, a better chef. Yes, tonight’s Top Chef finale pits Carla, who cooks with love, against Stefan, who cooks with arrogance, and Hosea, who cooks with being boring.

One of the things I love about Top Chef is that its best episodes are never the finales. Sure, the Tiffani/Harold face-off was okay, but does that really compare to “I’m not your bitch, bitch”? It does not. I could not generate an iota of rooting enthusiasm for either Marcel or Ilan in season 2, but I have watched and rewatched the episode where the cheftestants threaten to shave Marcel’s head. Hung was such a lock for season 3 that the finale seemed like an afterthought, and last season, rooting against Stephanie felt unsportsmanlike. I like Top Chef — a ton — but I enjoy the journey a lot more than the destination. (Unlike, say, American Idol, where the finale is as big a deal to me as, oh, the birth of a child. In my family.)

So who are you rooting for, PopWatchers? Whose cuisine reigns supreme (wrong show, right idea), and who should pack up their knives forever? And after you post your comments, please look out for our Top Chef TV Watch later tonight, as well as an interview with the winner tomorrow.

addCredit(“Virginia Sherwood/Bravo”)