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. Phoenix_Q says:

    Justin B seems very talented and smart, but as soon as the camera went on, his charm just left him. I was sorry to see him go, but he never, ever smiled once on camera. The reason we watch shows is probably more for the personality than for the actual cooking tips.

    Which leads us to Penny.

    As most others have said, I'd claw out my eyes than watch any show she was on. There is no amount of PR they could do to make me think she's a decent person. I don't care if Angels ate her food and loved it, I never would watch her. She's like the Mean Girls in high school.

  2. Keith says:

    If Whitney gets booted I wil not continue to watch this show!

  3. bookie poo says:

    Contestants are just not interesting this year. I am pulling for Vic. No clue if he can cook but the only one I would watch. Whitney and Orchid are just more of the same. Personality is just lacking from all of them. They are either boring or annoying, just not star TV material. Vic is the only one who acts excited to see what the judges think. It is suppose to be a competitive cooking show not a soap opera. I laugh every time I watch Penny, I keep waiting for them to announce that she was just a plant for ratings. I mean seriously who would watch her show. Penny screams at everyone and then turns and smiles, it is really creepy. What would they call her show "pissed off Penny's home cooking". HA

  4. sandy says:

    The whole point of Penny even being around for ratings is disturbing. I have avoided watching the last few weeks because she is still on! i have seen Jill and Vic and I like them. Also, I think whoever the comedian is, I think Jeff.

  5. ChristopherH says:

    Justin B gone.... what the heck? i actually liked his awkward personality, because at least it was real. Reserved Personality > Fake smiles any day. I thought it was hilarious how he'd make fun of himself after he underperformed. "wow.. FAIL. "Besides, isnt it the Food Network? Its supposed to be about the food. He was the best cook there!! Whatever, now im going for Vic. woo! I sayyyy,
    1. Jeff
    2. Vic
    3. Jyll

    How do you think its gonna play out?

  6. Tori says:

    If I really wanted to watch drama (which I don't) I would watch my niece live her drama life. I just don't like drama whatsoever. When I watch this show and see Penny the first thing I notice is how annoying she is and also how much drama she's bring to this show. The show should be based on finding the next food network star and not how can we make the show have drama. To me, its really not a competion because we are all focusing on how much we don't like Penny. Should we be paying attention to how well they can cook? I agree with the comments on how no one will watch a Penny show. I wouldn't watch her either. In fact, I mute her when she comes on with that annoying personallity. Orchid all the way!

  7. Lisa says:

    Sorry to see Justin B go. It was the perfect time to get rid of Penny with burned Mac and Cheese of all things but I am sure they will keep her around for a while for the drama she creates. I just want to fast forward through every scene with her in it.

  8. Robin says:

    Really looking forward to the episode that gets rid of Penny. Love watching the competition and challenges of the show, but we really don't need the nasty attitudes. It's not why I tune in. How about sharing MaryBeth's Meatloaf recipe? I was hoping to try it!

    • AZ fan says:

      If you google Mary Beth's name, you can find her website. She's posted it there. I've already prepared my shopping list to try it myself! :)

  9. tigerlady says:

    I think penny is horrible to everybody on food network star she needs to quit her I'm better than everybody attude if she wins I will never watch her show or network star again.

  10. suzanna says:

    I'm really loving watching this competition and I just finished watching this weeks episode. I agreed with the top 3. I have to say this, however and I really don't like being negative. But it is such a huge disservice to the contestants and to the viewers to allow Penny to stay. She is the most unlikable person they've ever had on the show. As a matter of fact (and from my limited knowledge of her on a personal level) she is one of the most unlikable people...period. She's condescending, catty, disagreeable and rude. And what's infuriating is that when she's called out on it, she's unapologetic and justifies her behavior by saying she's simply being competitive and that the show is, after all, a competition. So while I'm sure her cooking skills will keep her on the show a little bit longer, I have to hope that the judges do the right thing and cut her loose. She's a blemish on the entire show, IMO.