Expect the Unexpected — Star Commentary

by in Food Network Star, July 10, 2012

Nikki Martin

Sabotage was the name of the game this week, as the final seven Food Network Star contenders attempted to dodge unexpected hurdles during their live cooking demos. These obstacles ranged from a messed-up microphone during Yvan’s performance and a broken blender in Nikki’s presentation to a persistent audience heckler during Justin’s demo and everything in between. The idea was to play to the finalists’ weaknesses in an attempt to gauge how they instinctively react to unforeseen challenges and minor issues. “They’ve gotta roll with the punches and come out the other end,” Alton Brown explained.

Though some viewers were frustrated that the contestants were purposely messed with, others couldn’t help but laugh as they watched the finalists maneuver — some gracefully, some not so much — through their presentations. One Star fan, Holly Burtchaell @RandomCravings, Tweeted her reaction to this week’s challenge. “I hate to admit it…I love the episode when they mess with them! @FoodNetwork #Star,” she wrote, earning our Fan Post of the Week.

Join the #Star conversation on Twitter and Facebook and your comments may be featured in our weekly roundup of Fan Chatter. 

Who’s your favorite finalist still in the running? Don’t forget to cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day and tune in to this Sunday’s episode at 9pm/8c to see who from #TeamAlton#TeamBobby or #TeamGiada goes home next.

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Comments (321)

  1. mise_en_place says:

    Michele definitely had the hardest challenge and Nikki the easiest. It's a mystery why Ippy was up for elimination and not Nikki.

    Ivan did fine although that was not a hard challenge to overcome. All seasoned performers know to expect this kind of electronic glitch.

    Yes, Martie kept her cool, but did she actually teach us anything?

    On the question about kids that Justin fielded awkwardly: A better response would have been hints on how to make unfamiliar food accessible to picky eaters and how that will benefit them in the future.

    So Martita is finally gone.

    Miss Emily so much!!!

    • cjcal says:

      I'm chuckling as I type this ... I would hope that after the third time this guy rudely interrupted the presenter, someone in the audience would have "shushed" the guy. A rude guy like this would have been shushed after the second interruption in a movie theater. Do you suppose the audience had been clued in regarding the challenges?

    • cjcal says:

      Oops, I guess they were clued in about Ippy's challenge.

    • Jerilee says:

      Ippy was up for elimination because Team Giadi was programmed to have a team member leave. Ippy was better than Martita, therefore, Martita leaves. Next week, it's been announced, each team will loose a member, leaving final three; one from each team. Fair? Hardly, but that how FN wants it.

      • Alexandra says:

        I thought they were going to take out the bottom three of the fan vote....?

        • Jerilee says:

          I don't know, all I know is three are going to be eliminated. Could be...guess we have to watch Sunday to find out!!!

        • MoHub says:

          Couldn't be done. The filming predated the fan vote. No one knew when they were taping what the results of the fan vote.

      • suzanne says:

        Ippy's so good, that he's has been used twice to take out top contenders. First they used him to take out Eric Lee. Eric was so excellent, and the network obviously wanted him gone for some weird reason, we wouldn't have believed anyone else could have eliminated him . Now they've used him to take out power house Martita cause they obviously wanted her gone. Nikki may not have been able to beat her in the "pitch garden". I don't think Ippy ever was in danger of being eliminated, cause I think he's gonna be one the finalist. and that looks preordained, likewise with Martie and Nikki.

  2. JMMYTFF says:

    Hello! The deck is stacked! Am I the only one aware of this? I would love to play Bob straight up in poker, he has shown his hand from day one. The Food Network Fix is on Sunday nights... stat tuned.

    • Sky says:

      I can not say how much I agree with You!!!!!! I wrote in twice and they would not put my comments up.
      I asked (Nicely) , Pre recorded shows do not leave us much reason to vote.....I asked if Martie was a friend or someone close to the producers or anyone invested in the show....They did not put that up!!!!!!!
      Fixed!!!! Fixed!!!!!!! The Deck is Stacked Big Time!!!!!!
      Thank You for posting your thoughts!

  3. sarahlily4ever says:

    I truly can't believe that Martita is gone, yet Martie and Ippy are still in. Martie doesn't actually teach anything, and Ippy is so dull and tired.

    • Nice says:

      At least they are able to effectively communicate themselves to their audience, and not leave extra time at the end of their presentation. Martita, in my opinion, never got across what she was trying to say. I don't agree with the whole 'share your personal stories' mantra that Bob and Susie have been trying to shove down our throats, but I do feel that she should have at least given us some insight into the intricacies of Mexican food... as it is, there are so many Mexican food cooking shows and cookbooks out there so what makes Martita any different from them? If she is so passionate about Mexican food, why doesn't that come across in her presentations? These are some questions she never answered for as long as she was on the show, and for that reason she was nothing special, I feel. She deserved to be sent home.

    • Jenny says:

      I definitely miss Martita. I was sorry to see her go. But she is a star and I believe she will be very successful in her career as a chef.

    • Elizabeth Emery says:

      I do not know why that is hard to believe. What is so difficult for me to believe is why did she lasted as long as she did? She should have been gone a while back, instead of the Network giving more chances to screw up and sending people home who outperformed her, and offered far more originality to the fans of Food Network than she did.

  4. FNGossip says:

    In other news, Cat Cora charged with a DUI

  5. cjcal says:

    Six contestants left and only three will get promos greenlighted, eh? In the clip for Sunday, Alton is in tears, so I'm assuming Justin or Martie bite the dust. If they both get booted, they would have shown an ambulance coming to pick up Alton.

    Yvan also looks like he's struggling, but I think the producers are faking us out. He may be a finalist. Likewise, Ippy is getting a downer-of-a-pep-talk from mentor Giada. Yvan and Ippy are soooo on the bubble.

    It looks like Michele may be the one Anne Burrell refers to as "trying to sell cars." I say this because Nikki does not come across with this much passion in her pitch. Additionally, it looks like Bobby tells Nikki that she looks to the camera as if it owes her money. This is the best description I've heard regarding Nikki's stage presence. Tough call between these two. Neither one attracts a whole lot of votes.

    So, again, getting back to three greenlighted promos - this tells me there are virtually three winners. I mean, really, if the promo is greenlighted, that means the show concept will be made?

    • Juli says:

      I don't think Alton would be crying over losing Martie. so I have a feeling that it's Justin who gets the boot.

    • Mom's Apple Pie says:

      I noticed Alton Brown is in a major Niagra Falls moment too in this week's preview. I think you maybe right, either one or both his chefs were sent home. Alton did really appear to form a bond with the contestants he choose, it's understandable he'd be upset even if one left. But looks, and editing, are deceiving...he could be crying out of relief both Martie and Just are safe and both will get to make a promo. Guess we'll have to wait and find out!

      • Mom's Apple Pie says:

        Sorry, it's another humid day and I'm misspelling words, in this case, not completing them. I meant to type 'Justin'.

      • Food Fan says:

        (grin). yes. FN is notorious for their fake-outs.

    • Food Fan says:

      This preview is fascinating.
      And yes, Food Network has been Notorious for faking-us-out.
      So....when Bobby says: you're looking into the camera like it owes you money, and then they show us Nikki, that *could* be a classic fake-out right there. Then again, now that I've said that, this one may be real. But you get the idea).

      I'm really scratchin' my head and wondering just what it is, that made Alton cry. Justin going home? Martie going home? Justin AND Martie going home? And then I think: suppose it wasnt either of them going home. What else might make Alton react this way? Someone told me there is also a preview clip on TV where Alton remarks: we didnt see this coming.
      What? An elimination? or something else entirely. Leave it to Food Network to keep us guessing. (grin)

      I dont know what you mean by "on the bubble". Possibly a make-it-or-break-it moment?
      How many people are judging the 6 finalists this time? Who? Are Bob & Susie sitting out the judging this time? Going into this, do any of you reading this feel the "other" judges would favor any particular contender?

      Final Wildcard for all of us: what if your most favorite Cook AND your 2nd choice are BOTH eliminated?? What if "the Committee" or whoever all is judging, seems reeeeally out-of-touch with the views of 80% of all of us on this Blog? Hopefully not.
      Suspenseful isnt it?

      • Mom's Apple Pie says:

        Maybe Emily is coming back! That would make Alton tear up...

        • Food Fan says:

          Could it be?
          COULD IT?!? ("All of the massive, heart-felt fan-support has not been in vain"). Could it be??
          That would be enough to make Alton, and lots of people, cry--with Happiness!
          (Hmm. It would also "fit" with Alton's comment, on TV,--we never saw this coming).
          But if Emily were somehow "restored" to a contender again on Alton's team, then what might become of Justin? (shrug). or maybe it something else altogether. But what?
          There is a petition on Emily's behalf (not started by me, either, although I happily signed it, too) at: http://www.emilyellyn.com
          Back to Alton crying...is it sad tears, or happy tears? Can you tell?

          • Guest says:

            Emily's gone! She totally sucked on camera and she is not coming back! Get over it you bunch of crybabies!

          • Food Fan says:

            She'll get a show. If not here, then somewhere else, and then Food Network will wish they woulda kept kept her. I bet they feel that way already. The masive fan support of all these people writing in on her behalf screams loud and clear that she has connected beautifully with many!
            And now that I've said that.....Guest, who would you like to see win?
            (Somehow, I'm not really expecting an answer)...

      • DisappointedWithFN says:

        Alton's crying because Justin passes out on stage and falls into a deep fryer

    • Rollo Tomasi says:

      All the contestants and mentors are shown in some form of disappointment. Alton may be crying because of a contestants heartfelt story. I have a feeling one person from each team will move on. I bet it comes down to Justin, Ippy and Michelle.

      • cjcal says:

        You guys have opened my eyes to so many possibilities! I can imagine Emily returning - and her return would fit with Alton's comment about not seeing "this coming." Either that or he loses Justin AND Martie. (This would make me cry.)

        Yvan and Ippy "on the bubble": I'm thinking they are in a delicate position since it seems there can be only one finalist from each team. I like them BOTH fellows. If Bobby loses Michele AND Nikki (which I think is a possibility but may go against the rules), then Ippy AND Yvan can be finalists.

        • Food Fan says:

          About "the Bubble" and Yvan and Ippy......unless---IF Alton were to somehow lose Justin AND Martie, then perhaps Yvan and Ippy would both stay....? Ahh, the suspense...

    • Jeremy says:

      Uh, Martie or Justin HAS to bite the dust, one from each team does. Bob Tuschman does sometimes say how many weeks are left, and I'm pretty sure after this next episode is the finale. And in the preview I think Alton says to all the finalists "half of you are going home this week." So yeah, one person from each team will be sent packing, so that there is one finalist from each team in the finale.
      I think the final people will be Justin on team Alton, Ippy on team Giada, and Michelle on team Bobby.

      • Guest says:

        I don't think anywhere they have firmly said one from each team will stay.

        • None of your beeswax says:

          No, I found out. Each team will have one from each to represent! So either Martie or Justin goes.... i hope ts martie. LOve u Justin!

        • guest says:

          You are right. Bob Says "half of you will be going home" and I think this is where Alton talks about not seeing this coming.

      • cjcal says:

        This seems to make sense ONLY because FN would seem to be dissing one its iconic stars (Bobby, Giada, or Alton) by having an uneven outcome for the finale.

        I have to laugh because it seems like some of FNS's "process of elimination" has not been thought out. Either the producers thought we would not notice the pattern that emerged, or the producers had to quickly make up things as the show went along.

        I would be curious to know if Aarti has any insight into this.

    • logic says:

      No, I think it means that the judges will eliminate 3/6 and let the 3 make their respective "promo" pilot. Then supposedly the winner will be decided the following week based on who wins the fan vote.

      • cjcal says:

        Eeek, I get sooo thrown for a loop. It's the promos and the producers (and my math - lol!)

        On Sunday, our intrepid six contestants do a challenge and make promo clips? And they are judged by Jeff Mauro, Anne Burrell, etc. So, six promos at that point, and they are whittled down to three contestants (based in part on feedback from Mauro, Burrell, et. al.).

        So, then it is these three contestants are the ones whose promos we vote on? And who knows if we get back to square one that each contestant represents Team Alton, Team Bobby, or Team Giada. Hmmm. I'm beginning to not like the team thing.

        Thank you for your patience!

      • SilverScribe says:

        A fan vote that closes before the final show airs in Canada.

        I realize that "Food Network" *implies* the US only (as opposed to "Food Network Canada"), but if they're going to air the shows up here and allow us to vote during the competition, why not hold the final vote open until after Thursday when it airs in Canada.


    • MoHub says:

      Of course, Justin or Martie will bite the dust. It's pretty much preordained that one member from each team will go. In fact, the only elimination I have any uncertainty about is Ippy versus Yvan.

      As for Anne's reference to "selling cars": Iits better with Nikki than Michele, as Nikki has a certain air of artificiality about her. However, I'm thinking Michele will go rather than Nikki.

  6. Mom's Apple Pie says:

    Cooking in front of a live audience appears to be like stand up comendy. Self confidence, engaging humor, and respect for the audience, even if they leave, will pull you through. If you don't respect the people who have come to watch your show or you personally let them 'get to you', you've given them a reason to leave. In any public speaking situation it's confidence in yourself, respect for others...and you'll do fine.

    • guest 7 says:

      Mom, he's your apple pie all the way--YVAN, camera ready, genuine, playful, gentle of humor and wit, and add to the mix his versatile and passionate cooking chops, and you have a POV that's hard to resist as the network's next STAR! Oh, yes, once you shine the light on him, his illuminated self is most memorable.

      • Mom's Apple Pie says:

        Wow, you have my vote--and Yvan's!

        • guest 7 says:

          Thanks Mom's Apple Pie for your supportive note. My reason for posting so many blogs about Yvan's talents was to give the fans a bit of Yvan exposure and make his name more memorable, which they were experiencing in many of the first episodes. He had few pictures, littlle rerun victory coverage, few recap mentions, and few fan votes. But I did take note that he had the distinguished role of being the commentator in every episode. So he was recognized by the network, but not by the fans, who made comments such as "he is not memorable," has no cooking chops, should be eliminated early on, etc. Now all is good, as he has had the chance to show his star quality, and, I have done my job , so for the rest of the star episodes, I can now sit back and enjoy the show! Hope you do as well.

  7. Mom's Apple Pie says:

    Sorry, 'stand up comedy'.

  8. Truth says:

    I don't buy it that Martita forgot to mention a personal story aaagain. Especially as many times as she was told about it. Emily being sent home too early...Martita making that kind of mistake; (though she wasn't my pick) Yvan in the background so much. Then we have the glaring elimination process...sigh.

    • BMB says:

      You are totally right about Yvan being in the background, so many compliments about his food, his presentations, the speaking person of the show, and then no publicity about him. I am totally shock about this. Especially when, even though all of the contestants have the good and the bad, Yvan has never been in the pitch room, he has never been rude to the audience, no mess-up with the food, no problems handling challenges, he has the best camera skills, and as a chef has a lot to offer beside delicious dishes, elegant presentations, and more. FN people wake up... give Yvan some merits, also

      • Food Fan says:

        Yvan had a VERY good night last time. He really impressed the judges. I was also glad to see his mannerisms and how he sounded when he spoke. The way he appeared and sounded this most recent time was very good!
        He just hadnt stuck in my memory before, but he is finding himself and doing much better--and becoming more memorable in a good way! Upbeat without being too much. This last challenge is the model he should follow. Keep repeating like that. But its pretty-late in the game. Can he keep it going to the end? He, too, could show us that there is more below the USA border than Mexico (and yes, I do also like mexican food). he hasnt been rude to the audience and hasnt been to the pitch room. He deserves credit. But others are already ahead. Yvan is a contender, but he will need to stay smokin' hot right to the end. The pressure is really on--for everyone.

      • Luna says:

        Wow, thanks for pointing that out. I didn't realize that Yvan was never in the pitch room (probably because I missed a few episodes). No offense though, I prefer Ippy over Yvan but I like them both. If they could both make it to the finals, awesome!

    • Guest2012 says:

      Martita deserved to go home for that reason. She couldn't take advice after being told many times. However, truth be told, I don't care about a personal story, I care about the food. Otherwise, why would I be watching the FOOD Network?

    • Magge says:

      Could it be rigged? Martita's too good to forget. She's fantastic! Beautiful, smart, and great recipes! Maybe there's someting else inn store for her. I hope so.

  9. Jewels says:

    At this point there could be an argument made for any of the remaining players to go to the finale with the exception of Nikki.

    There could be no possible explanation for her to make it through and it would be a huge slap to the viewers if she were to be there. She has messed up so many times on things that sent much better people home before her. It is not her year.

    Not much more to be said for this last show. Now to wait until Sunday and see who got it right and who went home.


    • Food Fan says:

      Next year, they need to *not* have Teams.

      • Bro says:

        They also need to get rid of Giada as a mentor! Bobby and Alton can stay, but Giada? NO THANKS!

        • Jewels says:

          I wish I could hit the thumbs up button about a thousand times on this!!

          I haven't been posting that long on these blogs, but have been saying that Giada needs to go home entirely. Don't care for the phony accent on her shows, which are dull and move too slow and I am done with her....until....

          There she was last night in a hair color commercial!!! *whimpers* I can't escape her!!

      • SneakFromWork says:

        After seeing the way this year's "Team" idea has been (mis)handled, I have to agree. The whole elimination process this year is as fixed and fake as Giada herself . . . definitely a format with promise that was bent and spindled into supreme fakery so badly that we would all have to be eighteen bricks short of a 20-load not to see it.

        That Food Network wanted to bring a fresh format to this seasonal offering is commendable.

        That they would insult our collective intelligence with such an obvious load o' phoniness is however, nothing short of criminal.

        Keep the team format? Sure. Change the elimination process so contestants go home based solely on their lack of cooking ability, credibility, performance chops and not on whose team needs to lose someone to balance the numbers? Definitely. And if "honest" eliminations mean that one mentor loses all his/her team members by week Four? Then so be it. At least it would tread closer to actual reality.

        • Jewels says:

          Couldn't have said it better myself.

          Trying to keep the teams equal with sending people home is what throws it all up for question as to the reliability of judging. Why not just say "it is team fillintheblank's turn to send someone home" and have just them compete to stay on the team.

          This way makes the judging moot. What is the purpose of people like Nikki competing when she isn't going to be sent home as she rightly should have already gone.

        • MoHub says:

          It would be interesting if the teams got shuffled as happens onWorst Cooks. Might have been interesting to, say, have Bobby steal Ippy from Giada or kick Malcolm over to Alton.

  10. markohio says:

    While I enjoyed the presentations with the 'built-in" problems, I felt some of the contestants had bigger hurdles to overcome than others did. Ippy, I felt, had the hardest problem (or problems), as not only did he have an audience talking through his presentation, but he also had some leave during his presentations. I am not sure if the contestants were sequestered prior to performing (I hope they were); if so, it would have been more fair for similar problems to occur with more than one contestant. Nikki's blender fiasco was certainly an easier thing than what Ippy faced, and yet Nikki was spared, probably because Giada's team had the most people on it, so it became Ippy and Martita. I think Nikki should have been one of the two bottom finalists at the end.

    I am glad Ippy was allowed to stay, while Martita was shown the door. However, I do not like the fact that there appears to be a little rigging when it comes to removal of contestants. It appears that the biggest priority is keeping the teams at equal strengths more than keeping the best contestants around the longest. Emily, Linkie, and Eric were possibly three casualties who might have been shown the door sooner using this year's methods.

    • Mom's Apple Pie says:

      I love Martita's heritage, but could feel Ippy embraces his a little more. Agree, Emily, Linkie, and Eric are very good--hope all three are resurrected somehow.

      • Luna says:

        Those are 4 of the eliminated finalists that I think went too early. In their place, probably Nikki, Martie, and Yvan plus maybe Michele even though she's one of my picks for the finale (one from each team, cuz that's probably how it will end). Martita was my favorite, and now I'm voting for Ippy.

    • My thoughts says:

      The "built-in" problems have been going on for several seasons...and Alton talked to his bunch ahead. I'm sure the other mentors did likewise. However, the problems were more challenging this season. Anyway, wouldn't the contestants have an inkling that they will face this type of testing like previous contestants (per say?) It wouldn't take a genius to figure it out- especially after being warned a little it was coming. I'm sure it would be hard even knowing but I don't believe it was a surprise to anyone. Yes, some things are wonky as you say and down-right unbelieveable.