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. Mary says:

    I have to say that I do not like this new format. They have been eliminated contestants based on teams. As a result, good contestants like Keith and Emily were cut earlier than they should have been while other contestants stayed on past their time. Additionally, I used to be a fan of Giada's; however, she is not coming across very likable in this setting. I really hope they go back to the old format next season.

    • SneakFromWork says:

      I actually don't mind the new format, except that too much about it is so fake. If they fix the obvious flaws, it has potential . . .

      I like the mentors angle, but they really need to get rid of Giada. They also need to stop insulting our intelligence and eliminate contestants based on lesser ability or failure to perform, and not because someone has to "take it for the team" because it has the highest numbers still standing.

      And that Pitch Room? Ghastly. However, it would be redeemable if the panel included a guest judge or two - preferrably a bona-fide chef. Bob and Suzie were hard enough to take on a panel last year, but just the two of them? Not fun and surprisingly, not very credible, either.

      A new, fresh format is nice to see. Unfortunately, the network types need to stop bending and mutiliating it into such an obnoxious phony-fest.

    • Susan says:

      I'm with you. The old format was not contrived--it's clear that the objective is to have one person from each team, regardless of who is the best. I liked Martita better than Ippy, but I am happy that I won't have to hear Giada say "MarTEEETAAAH" anymore.

  2. Marie Oliveira says:

    First so glad Martita is gone. Second, the contestants were challenged to see how they could handle the unexpected...Giada is moving her arms and hands coaching them to keep going. Ippy even thanked her for that after the fact. Giada is becoming annoying.

  3. Food Fan says:

    Earlier, when Emily was sent home, I had commented that it was bad to send an otherwise good person home for one poor night. Many agreed.
    And that makes me realize something else:

    In the upcoming judging, where 3 people get eliminated, it looks like Anne Burrel, Jeff Mauro, and some "Panel" is there. Do all these people judge? Because if its up to them instead of Bob & Susie, then I ask: isn't it bad that this panel (like with Emily) will send people home based on their seeing "one night" or one presentation. Wouldnt it be much better for the judges to take into consideration all the candidates performance and consistency over time? It appears that wont happen and thats kinda sad. We didnt like it when it happened to Emily. Any thoughts?

    • Damita Danyelle says:

      I agree - I do not think it's fair to judge, (especially when the outcome could mean actually going home) for one night's performance. But I must say that what it seems the judges are looking for outside of performance and consistency is - growth.

      Remember - a contestant comes to the show already knowing how to cook but what most of them don't know is how to perform in front of a camera. That's why they are judged on timing and their camera appeal.

      • Food Fan says:

        I agree that growth is good.
        But what concerns me is: what if the person who has grown still hasnt caught-up to the excellent level of 1 or 2 other contenders?
        Bobby Flay has said: If you can COOK, I can teach you on-camera. But has it really become: if you can be fairly-good on camera, we can teach you to cook better? I hope not.

    • Cowgirl says:

      Good point, Food Fan. However, I think the panel will give input to Susie and Bob, as other past shows have done so. It would be terrible if the panel had the responsibility of making the decision, without knowing all the ins and outs of each contestant. I trust Anne's judgment, and Jeff certainly remembers what it was like last year.

    • reba says:

      Food Fan, you are always spot on. I felt that way back when the magazine/show people were there with their input after one demo.

  4. Damita Danyelle says:

    Alton seems to prepare his team well before challenges. Bobby (shockingly) seems to hold back with expert advice we all know he has and is it just me or is GIADA truly just plain irritating at times?

    • Foopd Fan says:

      Yes. Alton has grown on me with his mentoring style. t first I thought he was to harsh, but he gets-right-to-it, provides useful & helpful info (Martie has grown!) and as you say: Prepares his team well before challenges.

  5. Anastasia says:

    I enjoyed the challenge this week, good twist to mess with them like that during their presentations. I thought, like alot of others, that Nikki was awful. She was handed the easiest hurdle to overcome and it completely threw her off, yet she stayed? Don't get me wrong, I didn't care alot of Martita either, but Nikki clearly was the worst of all them in this episode. Here nor there, the producers have set the teams the way they want them going in to the next elimination - 2 contestants from each of the 3 teams remain. Come the next elimination, one from each team will go, it's pretty obivous that's what they've been leading to this whole time. Looking forward to see who the final three are, my prediction: Justin, Yvan and Michelle are the final 3. Spoiler could be Martie over Justin from team Alton, for some reason they really like her - but we don't need a Paula wanna be so that could be the deciding factor that gives Justin the edge.

  6. Luna says:

    No offense to Ivan but how did he outlast Martita? I like Ivan, he's someone I could hang out with but as a teacher? Not so much. I miss Martita because I could've learned from her since she's warm and inviting. I'm not into a tough love teacher since they can kinda get on my nerves sometimes but I know that their intentions are good. Still, I'd rather hear the "motherly" sweet person than the "hey let's do this now" person that's having their own fun and doesn't realize that most of us don't do that in the kitchen. I missed the episode so I didn't see how Martita messed up (I know Ippy reacted badly cuz of the commercial). Now that my rant is over, my point is, I didn't want Martita to go, at least not yet. I hate the elimination order too, cuz it makes the show not real.

    • BMB says:

      If there is anyway you can ask students, from elementary to high school, from private to public school, they will give to you their approval for Yvan's teaching skills, as he has voluntarily attended in Queens, NY, for the past two years, to teach them how to eat healthy, and how to prepare food from scratch. Besides, Yvan has given some workshop in the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, and have done many demonstration during his career. Search for him in youtube or google. You will be amazed about his job, his kindness, politeness, and skills...

  7. dave says:

    it was pretty obvious prior to sunday's show that someone in guida's team would be going home. based on the network's comments, ippy (too laid back) and martita (what sets her apart from others) would be the probable candidates. the editors didn't hide the fact that as guida gives hand signals and lip-reading cues to yvan and ippy, thus allowing martita's screw ups to sink to the bottom. the producer's challenge is a joke. it doesn't matter who performs well on this as the decision is already made. michelle didn't follow the challenge when she made a drink that already existed. ippy didn't even talk about oranges.

  8. Sarcastic says:

    Wow. Congrats Bob & Susie on getting kiddos to watch the show because they have crushes on the older guy who dresses like them. I guess that means they'll be committed to watching a show on a weekend at the butt crack of dawn.... I have a teenager. They aren't really that reliable, fyi.

    I don't care who wins anymore. Whatever.

  9. Guest says:

    Final three: Martie, Yvan, and Nikki.

    • Canuck says:

      Nikki? Anyone remember that show from the 80s where the little girl was a robot? That's her all grown up.

    • SilverScribe says:

      Are you meaning the same "1% fan vote" Nikki?

      If so, Food Network Star will lose what few shreds of credibility it's barely hanging onto.

  10. Sara says:

    I have to say this show DISAPPOINTS!!!!!
    Missing ingredients? Come on. On a TAPED show. Ridiculous!
    Time cues that are wrong? Stupid.
    Alton is s jerk! Be nice or is that too hard for you?
    Giada do you not remember how nervous your first season was?
    This is just not the food network I like.
    Former fan

    • wifey231 says:

      While I support what the network is trying to accomplish with the "expect the unexpected" concept, I do think the network is putting far too much emphasis on trying to get these contestants to divulge intimate details about their lives. I think they are over-estimating the viewers' interest in seeing these people behind the scenes. For some of their stars (like Paula Deen), talking about her life is just who they are. Paula is a Southern Belle thru and thru. It's in her pores. She's a proud southerner and a proud Mama. She hustled her way to the top. It's who she is without being forced. For other people, like Bobby Flay, I don't know jack about his personal life (except that he's married), and that's good enough for me. Truthfully, I started disliking Rachel Ray the more she talks about her cheating husband. I don't want to hear her gush about a man who did the things he did to her. I don't want to see them on "romantic" vacations. The network doesn't always get it right. They should focus on the food, and the rest will come naturally.