Star Commentary: The Great Debate

by in Food Network Star, June 29, 2011

A rare smile from super-serious Justin B.

Sunday’s episode of Star was jam-packed with surprises: celebrity guest appearances from the cast of Cougar Town, Southern queen Paula Deen, Iron Chef Michael Symon and season 5 Star winner Melissa d'Arabian. But perhaps the most unexpected moment of the night came not from the kitchen or behind the camera but during elimination: Justin Balmes was sent home.    

This week’s batch of fearless commenters on Food Network’s Facebook page and our Star blog are divided in their opinions on Justin B.’s exit. At the heart of this discussion lies one simple question: What is more important — a big television personality or rock-solid cooking chops? We’ve seen from the last six seasons of Star that the winners must find the coveted sweet spot: a point at which they’re completely themselves on camera while displaying culinary credibility.    

Of Justin B.’s exit and the camera vs. food debate, viewers wrote that “he could have been great” and that they “found his food the most exciting seen on this show since Guy.” Others noted that “It's obvious that Justin B. can ‘bang some pots’ but he REALLY had no stage personality or presence at all.”

And while some of you said that “his camera presence did not show any signs of growth or improvement,” another wrote simply, “I was disappointed that Justin B. left last night … I would have liked to watch a show of his because I probably could have learned a lot.”

Hear from Justin B. himself in his Exit Interview and learn his reaction to the elimination and plans for the future. Join the conversation on Facebook and Star Talk, and let us know what you thought of his final Star performance. And be sure to tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to see who goes home next.

Who’s your favorite finalist so far? Cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day.

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Comments (82)

  1. Dawn says:

    I SOOOOOOOOOOO agree! Get RID of Penny!

  2. James E. says:

    I too disagree with letting Justin B. go, these judges are sacrificing their integrity for ratings. Justin could probably cook better than anyone on that show save for Bobby Flay. Seems like this show has turned into the Next Food Network Star meets Survivor. Ratings seem key now rather than cooking ability. So Justin does not have great camera skills...yet. I know that some people just have natural talent and personality(Orchid) and can do great in front of a camera from the get go but many people need time to grow and mature. You can't honestly tell me that Chris is a better cook than Justin. That guy is immature and scatter brained and is just being kept around like a court jester for some occasional amusement and laughs. Does Ina Garten have an amazing personality? I would venture to say that she is a bit drab and boring but is still a great cook who people rave over; not everyone has to be a Guy Fieri. In closing ask yourself this question, would you rather go to a restaurant with mediocre service but great food or a restaurant with great service but mediocre food?

  3. MercuryCyclops says:

    I know they cited lack of personality as why they dropped him, but it was why I liked him. I don't care about how your grandma use to make this when her gout was flaring up, or how you went to Dollywood and decided to make grits when you got home. Justin told it pure and simple: what's in this and why. He didn't need to be all smiles and sunshine to accomplish that. The network already has plenty of people who bore me to tears with stories while simultaneously not telling me what they're adding or how much they're adding or why they're adding it. Give me someone who tells me everything I need to know about preparing a dish without the fluff.

  4. Smileyz says:

    I don't think Justin should have left. The other Justin should have. I think the only reason that they kept Justin D. was because they want him to find his POV. But they completely forgot that Justin B. can cook. Justin D. hasn't really shown what he can cook and he hasn't shown much of his POV and personality. I wasn't rooting for either Justin to win the NFNS but Justin B. deserved to be on another week-- another week longer than Justin D

    But look on the bright side, Justin B. probably would have gone home anyway if he had done the Entertainment Challenge on the Fourth of July. So he's probably glad he was kicked off because he wouldn't have done great in that challenge unless something magical happened to his personality. But then again, he would have wanted his own TV show so now it's all over for Justin Balmes.

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