The Most Intense Episode. Ever. — Star Commentary

by in Food Network Star, July 18, 2012

Well, you can’t say that Food Network doesn’t know how to shake things up, right? This year, the network is leaving the decision of this year’s winner in your hands, fans. And while the opportunity to vote for your next Star ended last night at 5pm, you can relive the emotional and surprising episode that sent four hopefuls instead of three to the finale.

In an unprecedented moment during last Sunday’s elimination, both of Team Alton’s final two contenders, Justin and Martie, were given green lights to create show pilots and advanced to the finale to compete against Team Bobby’s Michele and Team Giada’s Yvan. Understandably, tension filled the air in Miami’s outdoor pitch room, as Alton, Justin and Martie waited to find out who would be sent home. And of course, that same angst found its way into many fans’ living rooms on Sunday, as they endured a doozy of a cliffhanger.

Sunny Anderson was among those watching the drama unfold from home. Though she sat on the guest panel that judged the six contestants’ promo videos, she and the other judges didn’t see the elimination, so this week’s shocking turn of events was just as stunning to her as it was to fans. Sunny Tweeted a spot-on reaction to the commercial break before the announcement. “IF YOU JUST YELLED AT YOUR TV RT!!!! I hate a cliffhanger!!! #star,” she wrote, earning our Fan Post of the Week. Many fellow Star fans echoed her feelings.

Once Bob and Susie revealed that Team Alton wouldn’t suffer an elimination, the situation on set and at many fans’ homes quickly turned from emotionally draining to downright emotional. Just as Alton couldn’t help but tear up when he learned the good news, so too did fans, who were relieved that both finalists had survived.

Join the #Star conversation on Twitter and Facebook during Sunday night’s finale and your comments may be featured in our weekly roundup of Fan Chatter.

Be sure to tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to see who from #TeamAlton, #TeamBobby or #TeamGiada you voted to be our next Food Network Star. Hosting a Star viewing party? Check out these party-ready snack recipes that Justin, Martie, Michele and Yvan created especially for fans.

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Comments (259)

  1. Zatara says:

    Great episode, best one yet. Literally I was at the edge of my couch, to excited and anxious to even move! I'm really glad that both Marty and Justin got to move forward!

    Marty because of the way she did a complete 180 from being this rambling country girl to a person who I enjoyed watching! Wish she could have done something a little bit "culinarily" harder, but its party style!

    Justin has been one of my favorites from the very beginning. He's like Alton 2.0, and who doesn't like Alton Brown. This dude has been a front runner from the very beginning and if he doesn't win, I hope he can make it on to the cooking channel or something, because he definitely has that star potential!

    I loved Yvan these last few episodes, and bringing in his family showed that he wasn't all talk, but he really truly enjoyed his family! The only thing I had a problem with was that he used canned corn! Not a big fan, but it is family style! So good job Yvan, and he's pretty cool since he actually goes on the blogs and answers these comments!

    Michelle's dish looked amazing! Wish she had more cooking in it, instead of going to that place ( You can only get so much of triple D!) but her food looked that best of all! Liked her in her pilot, very laid back and easygoing!

    Rooting for Justin or Yvan to win! Good luck to all the contestants though!

    • KrazyKatLady says:

      I felt that Michelle's promo was too stilted. She used too many cliches and meaningless words. Yvan's promo also felt staged and stilted rather than sincere. If I hear one more host say, "I am going to take you on a journey..." I will scream. It has become so trite and overused.

  2. Food Fan says:

    Looking back on it, Giada picked people I liked: Emily, Linkie, Ippy.
    However, Alton, looks to be the best Mentor with the best advice.
    I'm glad they kept Martie. The growth has been remarkable and her last video I saw of her, shows her more relaxed, outgoing, warm, confident--like she already has a show. Nice job. I would watch her. :)

    • anon says:

      Emily was picked by Alton

      • Food Fan says:

        yer right. My mistake.
        Too bad they got rid of her. i woulda picked her over Justinn in a heartbeat. He might be a decent guy, but the dishes are just tooo far-out and not practical.
        Someone above didnt care if they watched him cleaning closets. They can do that, but then it clearly isnt about food and a cooking show foe them.

        • WillHess says:

          I knew it wasn't about being a great chef, but a personality contest, when Eric was kicked off. I don't know about everyone else, but I respect a great culinary mind more than a talking head. The balance has shifted to personality>cooking talent instead of being equal components.

    • Melissa says:

      Emily was not on Giada's team, she was on Alton's team.

      • Food fan says:

        My apologies. That was an honest mistake.
        I knew that, too. or I did. Sorry. More coffee for me.
        Wish she woulda still been in the running. She was creative in a way I would still eat.

        • WillHess says:

          I liked Emily too, but she never really got better in front of the camera. Some people are just natural tv personalities, she was not AND she never proved that she could take instruction and run with it.

    • steve says:

      true but did you notice that in her pilot, she was so involved in telling us about her getting picked up by a shrimper that she didn't say much about the food or how she prepared it? Seems to be what FN wants nowadays.

      • Food Fan says:

        Yes. That could have been better. Perhaps it was a time constraint, but you're right. Always better when they explain.
        We are in a strange position this year. The people I *really* wanted to vote for (Ippy, Linkie, or Emily) are gone. And Now I'm left voting/rooting for the-best-of-who's-left. For me, I'd pick either Martie or Yvan.
        Martie has come a llooonnng way from when she started. Alton's mentoring has paid off. She took the criticism very well (remember shut-up-and-Cook! ?), and learned from it and has gotten better. Her latest video, while not flawless, is remarkably more relaxed and confident and like she is on the air and doing her own show. She would only get better still, if she wins.
        Yvan has also come long way and has worked on how he connects and souds, especially since the challenge where his microphone went out. I would not have done the Mac n Cheese dish, as it seems "too ordinary", but I am sure he is capable of much, much more and could show us things about South American cooking we dont already know.
        Michelle: I LIKE Seafood and we could even use a seafood show. I'm just thinkig Michelle is probably not to teach it to us, though.
        Justin: Not my favorite. He is creative, but when creative is something I'll never use, its like watching someone do a few magic tricks. Cool, for the 1st few times, just to see it, but then it gets boring. Some might call it entertainment, but for me--I'm just not interested in being entertained by food I'll never eat, use or do. Thats not a slam on Justin. I would feel the same way whoever it was.
        So out of the 4 left, I'm hoping for Yvan or Martie.

        • cherrycooks says:

          One-word summaries of how the mentors chose their teams:

          Alton = Brains. Bobby = Cooks. Giada = Looks.

        • WillHess says:

          I liked Linkie a lot too, but effective communication was too big of a hurdle for her to overcome.

          Martie bores me. Great pov, but I completely tune out when shes talking. I don't want a friend blabbing to me through the tv, I want an interesting, inspirational teacher.

          Yvon's pilot was the best. Great personality, but I doubt his culinary expertise and how high his ceiling/potential is.

    • UjustLostAstar says:

      I liked Linkie and Ippy too and would have been so interested in their shows. Ippy was my fav though.

  3. Connie Long says:

    I too loved this years show. I voted for Justin because except for Alton there is no one like him on the network. Are you sure he's not Alton"s son! LOL Anyway, if he doesn't win, how cool would it be for a show where Alton and him are together but Justin taking the ordinary and turning it into ,well, weird, but good: all the while with snappy repartee between the two of them (like sarcastic but respectful humor). Incidently I have never commented on any show before

    • Lois says:

      LOL - from the preferential treatment he has received from Alton I would be totally surprised to hear that he is not related. If not his son he must be related in another way. I find them both to be conceited, egotistical and rude. Yes - they would make a good team for Food Network........................however I would not watch their show.

      • Melissa says:

        I doubt they are related. Just because someone has a similar personality to another does not mean they are related.

      • Bobbrowntown says:

        I would watch that show, I love to learn about cooking from Alton. I am a food nerd. I want to know all that science about protein breakdown and carb chains and whatever else he teaches me. it makes more sense to me.

  4. Lois says:

    Are you kidding me? I like Martie's personality but it was supposed to be "one" finalist for each team. Justin, I know is the shoe in to win because he is an Alton "mini me" Alton has always favored Justin & Martie (how do you think she went from the bottom up to #2 right after Martita was eliminated & stayed there to the end) and I wasn't surprised that Alton ended up with two finalists for the pilots. To be fair all six finalist's should have been allowed to do the pilots. I voted for Yvan because, to me, he is the most genuine and personable in the bunch remaining. Ippy was my favorite and I would have loved to see him as the next food network star but obviously Alton & the two judges have already hand picked Justin from Day One. It wouldn't surprise me at all if TWO winners emerge as the new Food Network Stars. Justin & Martie. After all, they re the favorites and have been from day one. I'm furious with myself for wasting my time watching this every week when we all know what the outcome is going to be. This is so rigged it isn't funny. Shame on you Food Network.,

    • Chris says:

      Careful, the black helicopters are coming for you!

      • Lois says:

        Why? Because I speak the truth? Can you honestly tell me you have watched all episodes and don't see any favoritism here? Justin will win on Sunday. All odds are in his favor.

        • Melissa says:

          No, if he wins it will be because people have been voting for him and putting him at the top for a while, now.

    • Rollo Tomasi says:

      I have to agree with Melissa. I doubt this is rigged. They may have edited the show to favor a certain person, but the voting isn't rigged. Who knows what ended up on the editing room floor. All the contestants seem likable on camera, but the rudeness could be on the floor.

    • Pat says:

      "shoe in?"

    • Crystal says:

      we totally agree with you...Shame on you Food Network. like you said, it was ONE per team and Martie was clearly the favorite from the beginning, it seems like Suzy was in love with her. We easily think Nikki or Ippy could have had a shot at making a great pilot, and they should have let us vote from the beginning who was eliminated every week because after all, it's US who will be watching the show, not Suzy and Bob !!!!!

  5. Scott says:

    This year's show has been great. I have agreed with almost every cut along the way...although I am surprised that mar tie made it this far! She is a "hoot", but I do not see her as a Network Star. Yvan came a long way, but I think his story would grow tiresome. Justin, on the other hand has incredible cooking talent and does a nice job of creating a "wow" factor in his dishes. He stepped up to every challenge and I think he will be a star on the Food Network!! I would definitely watch his show!!!

    My only criticism - like some others - is that they seemed to make a point of having somebody from each team in the finals. I believe they should have had the "best" in the finals...regardless of which team they are on.

  6. Erin says:

    I have to say I am disappointed in this season. I don't think Emily should have been cut that early and I think Ippy should have had a pilot. I think the reason he didn't is because his show would have been expensive to produce, being in Hawaii. Additionally, while I loved the new setup of the show, with the producers coaching the finalists and not judging them (good call FN) I don't think that there should HAVE to be a finalist from each team. It should have been about the best finalist, not about the producers.

    • Crazy Chef says:

      Absolutely!!! That was SO wrong picking a finalist from each team rather than the best contestants! The show would be produced where the F.N. wanted it, not where Ippy lived. He wouldn't have had a problem with that. He would have racked up alot of frequent flyer miles! He should have had a pilot as he was better than most of the four they picked. WHAT'S WITH THIS PICKING TWO FROM ONE TEAM??? Gee, surprise, surprise, the F.N. changed the rules! I've lost all respect for them and the network. I doubt we'll be watching anywhere near as much as we used to. This show isn't worth my time anymore!

  7. Uneasy says:

    Based off of the fans votes going into last weeks episode, Justin should have this in the bag. If Michelle or Yvan end up winning I am calling shenanigans on the “fan vote”. I don’t understand why it changed from being able to vote 10 times per day and then in order to cast a vote you had to have a FB account or call in (probably for a fee) to vote. In my opinion there shouldn’t be any requirements in order to cast a vote like having a FB account. I am not going to re-activate my account just to I can vote and I feel that Food Network alienated me and others by doing so. Something inside tells me that all the votes that were cast up until last weeks episode didn’t count.

    • Rollo Tomasi says:

      I think those votes were just a poll to see fan favorites. They have one every season.

    • 808 Ippy Fan says:

      All the fan votes leading up to the pilots episode did NOT count, and they did not influence the judging up till then because the shows were all taped ahead of time before the series started airing. That's why despite the fan votes, Nikki stayed on, Emily (and Martita) were eliminated, and Ippy didn't get a chance to make a pilot. The producers had no idea how the viewers felt when the competition was going on, and it's obvious they were just trying to balance the teams and possibly promote the contestants they wanted to get to the finals.

      I think the online fan vote and blogs each week were just a way of getting viewers to be more engaged and for the Network to see how things were going. They might have also influenced the editing of the episodes, but there's nothing they could do about the results each week. It's so weird that they suddently added the FB requirement for the REAL voting, which will certainly skew the final results since the younger fans would be more likely to have and use their FB accounts, and the younger ones probably voted for Justin (who has been at the top of the fan vote) or Yvan (who has consistently been near the bottom of the popular fan vote all season). Even the phone voting is more familiar to those who are patient and know the tricks of voting for the other competition shows like American Idol.

      The last show this Sunday will be "live" with all the contestants there for the final announcement -- no surprise who the winner will be. I wonder what they're going to do for the whole hour -- flashbacks and interviews? I just wish there were more actual cooking in this competition like the other shows like Top Chef or Master Chef. I know FN Star is about producing a TV series, but the overall programming on FN (and other networks) has moved toward restaurants and entertainment rather than education about cuisine and cooking. (Of course, I know why - $$) I keep hearing about the Cooking Channel, but we don't get that where I live.

      Oh well, I guess the FN Star producers will have a lot of work to do on revamping the show for next year. I think they tried to do too much, taking bits and pieces from other popular shows and mixing it with their own, but they couldn't clearly define or let the audience know about the rules throughout the show, and then they ended up changing them drastically at the end. Hope they listen to all the complaints and concerns of the viewers.

      • cjcal says:

        Astute analysis! I think you've hit the FN nail on the head. By the way, was Julia Child's original program in primetime, or am I just too old to remember correctly? lol.

      • Mona says:

        I personally think the voting is rigged and we really have nothing to do with who wins or doesn't win, it's just a way to make the viewers feel like they are involved in the process.

    • Crazy Chef says:

      I just went though getting rid of my FB account! I'm not going to re-open it to vote! Why make it such a pain to vote. Maybe because they knew who they wanted and were not going to be stuck with "OUR" voting!

  8. Melissa says:

    I have been a fan of Alton Brown since his first episode of Good Eats back in 1999. Justin is very much like Alton, and I think his unique ideas and fun attitude about food will inspire a whole new generation to become chefs, or at the very least, great home cooks. Even though he seems a little cocky at first, he genuinely cares about the success of others as evidenced by the fact that he frequently helped out his teammates on more than one occasion. FN does not need another family style type of show - there are already so many now that I rarely watch anymore. I think having a "mini me" Alton Brown with fresh ideas will breathe some life back into FN.

  9. True Confessions says:

    I don't agree with sending Ippy home in favor of Yvan. Yvan is a typical "type" for the food network. What America really craves in this day and age is to come home after a long day at work with hyperactive judgmental supervisors and relax on the couch with a relaxed cool Hawaiian and go on vacation for a half an hour. "On the Island with Ippy" could have been a great show. He really didn't get much of a chance to just be himself which doesn't need as much "tweaking" as they pushed him to do.
    Yvan won their attention because of his confession of hard times. People love an "American Dream-Rags to Riches" story. But I find it a bore because most people stay in rags and struggle while watching other people brag about their success. Then they give credit to God as though he cares more about them than the rest of those who have eaten from the garbage in their lifetime. Which includes me and my family, among many others! In other words what I need is a vacation and a mellow mentor. As long as we are all sharing our 10c opinions.

  10. Rose says:

    My husband and I could not believe what did and did not happen when Michelle KNOWINGLY served up a dish with shells in it !! Shouldn't she have been disqualified on the spot for being willing to risk the lives of the people who would eat her food in order to win a competition? The quests were told not to eat her food because of the danger of the shells right? So how is it she has gone on to be a finalist? If she had any integrity, she would have declared to the judges that the food was too dangerous to eat ! We would have been very impressed by such honesty! Instead we were left feeling angry and confused by what did and did not happen ... neither Michelle nor the Food Network nor the judges showed any integrity !!!

    • Crazy Chef says:

      I guess you have'nt eaten in New England before. That is quite common and expected with alot of shellfish dishes.

      • steve says:

        Evidently, there are a lot of bad chefs in New england so thanks for the warning.... isn't very hard to get the shells out of crab.

        • Rickie says:

          No if you actually have TIME to remove all the shells-this was a competition and she had to make lots of food-so give her a break y'all! Many folks don't get all the shells out-it was not an issue of integrity but speed and time management perhaps. Michele is a terrific cook! Someone on the blog (they said they just got fired from the Food Network-their blog post is above) just announced that Michele in fact won the show for this competition. Sunday will reveal all.

          • Peter Nguyen says:

            Look at it this way, her whole show is based on New England where i have lived most of my life and i gotta say if she is really any good she'd be able to deshell and fillet any type of sea food fast and efficiently because that's how we roll out here.

            it's funny people say well she is the only one that has to deal with shells but that's something she SHOULD be used to doing in a manner that shouldn't consume to much time but no any time she deals with clams or anything that can't just be cooked she whines.

        • WillHess says:

          Then she should have been smart enough not to take on such a risky endevour.

      • Jerilee says:

        Common to have shells in your dish??? I don't think so!!

    • WillHess says:

      I think your comment went a little too far, but I agree she should have been sent home weeks ago. Do they really need three chefs that look alike (Guy, Anne, Michelle)? I already call Anne Guy Girl, have no idea what I'd call Michelle (besides extremely lucky, if she wins).