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. Rachel says:

    The new show should go to Justin, whose fresh perspective could give the network a kick in the pants.

    A 4-episode special should go to Michelle, because she's right - New England is severely underrepresented on FN, and frankly, so is seafood. Maybe two specials - one for the fall/winter, one for the spring/summer.

    A cookbook should go to Emily Ellyn, who might not have the polish, but definitely has the ideas. (And Alton needs to write the forward about imagined, idealized pasts in the crazy world we live in today.)

    Really, the higher ups should capitalize on the fact that they've just spent weeks with this program building fan bases for many of these folks. Why limit it to just one television program? Some of the contenders here - and their ideas - would be better tailored for specials or cookbooks or who knows what else? Regardless, there are now audiences out there for each of these folks, and that's not something to be taken lightly.

    • cjcal says:

      You are absolutely right. If not a show for each finalist, how about a series of "Star" specials that also air next summer during the next Foot Network Star competition? Wow! How cool would that be!? How simple for judge Susie's marketing department to promote!

      • Rachel says:

        I think Ippy's 'Travel to Paradise' idea would be another great special. A few hour-long episodes, a bit of travel and a lot of practical information on both how to cook traditional Hawaiian fare and how to infuse some Hawaiian flavors into the average American kitchen. Go to it, FN!

      • Food Fan says:

        Definitely Ippy for Hawaiian, and Linkie for pastry.
        2 areas still needed, and who would do it better? Go for it!

    • Elyse says:

      I couldn't agree more! And I would love to learn Hawaiian cuisine with laid-back, easygoing Ippy. If laid-back, easygoing Michelle gets four episodes -- and I truly hope she does -- than Ippy should, too.

      And Yvan - Family Style with emphasis on the style -- he gets his own show, too.

  2. charlotte says:

    I loved Alton's reaction. In fact, I came to adore him over this season. He is not only smart and wise, but he is caring and such a good mentor; and I'm impressed that his emotions ran so deep and were so genuine. I hope he is the winning producer. I also think it would be a wonderful twist of fate if he produced Justin's show. Justin is talented enough to deserve the win; but it would also be nice to think that - while he lost his dad early in life, somehow things might work out so that he would have a working (and probably personal) friendship with Alton Brown to continue to mentor him as a young adult.

    • Isba says:

      Agree completely about Alton. He has really taken the time to get to know his team and it's not about him--it's about them. He is a true mentor.

  3. Food Fan says:

    Its Good that so many viewers have written/posted their opinions. With that in mind:
    I hope that FN keeps, and refers back to, the BIG thread about Emily and Teams and Point-of-view and all the many, many loud-n-clear comments soooo many viewers have already expressed:
    1. NO More Teams! Everyone against everyone is better, like older seasons.
    2. No "rescuing" of a bad performer just cuz the rest of their team did good.
    3. No more sending a good candidate home just to keep all teams even.
    4. LOTS of people said they DONT CARE about "stories."
    5. Respect Privacy. Stop with all the tell-us-who-you-are. We can read their bio.
    6. Stop giving Cooks advice and then criticizing them for following it.
    7. Stop Confining & Restricting people to ONLY their narrow iron-clad POV. Let them show range and breadth of talent.
    8. Let people be themselves as long as not too loud/dull/hyper/weird.
    9. Dont send an otherwise great person home for just one bad night.
    10. But a maximum of 2 times in the pitch room. Keeping Nikki and Martita so long this season was just too much.
    Those are the big-ones! Cut-n-paste, print, and keep on the office desk. (grin). If these are practiced next year, things will be better for sure.

    • Jerilee says:

      I agree with your points. Mentors should be available to all contestants. No teams, no saved because you are on a team. Personal stories are just that, personal. If a contestant wants to give a story, fine, dont push it. Ina is very popular and doesn't tell her life on FN. Sandra Lee the same, what we know of them was volunteered. I personally don't care why they cook what they cook, they just cook it!!! POV is ok, but don't confine it, like you said. What other competition is based on teams?? Ah, the Olympics, yes they are teams, BUT, the people compete compete against themselves, ant the clock, fastest time wins, no mater what team (country) you're competing for. I hope FN read and learned from the multitude of comments from the viewers!! Sorry, had to leave, lost my train of thought. Post in a while.

      • @CJBC65 says:

        Being saved because you are on the winning team in nothing new though. They have always broken up into teams and the team that won the star challenge has always been exempt from elimination.

        • Jerilee says:

          That may be true, but that doesn't make it right! Those were star challenges. This seasons teams are different. If I'm wrong, pleased feel free to correct. I believe team star challenges are different than having the whole show based on teams is not the same. I'm open to differing opinions. Bring it on.

        • Food Fan says:

          In past seasons, it was much more where all contestants were in one big free-for-all against every other Cook. Not just the ones on yer team. That was better. There may have been 1 or 2 challenges where they had to pair-up with another person or into a team for a particular challenge, but far more of the challenges were everyone battling it out against all the other contenders and "ya just gotta be better than the next guy." That was a better way. Individual merit.

          • SneakFromWork says:

            Agree totally. I preferred the open court concept with the occasional "you're in teams" challenges much better.

            This year's "Team" format was so fake, it should have been cast in silicone.

      • KB65 says:

        Ina doesn't tell her life on FN? She cooks from her house in the hamptons and has had more than one show partially filmed at her apartment in paris. I've celebrated her anniversary and her husband's birthday on air with her at least twice. EACH. I've heard her tell stories about sending him brownies in college and watched her cook multiple roasted chickens (his favorite according to Ina) on his friday homecoming's from the city. I've virtually accompanied her to the store she used to own, the farmer's market she shops at, the bakery that makes her bread, the specialty store she frequents, the fishmonger's she prefers and feel like I personally know her florist and his partner from the numerous episodes they have been in. I have to disagree about the importance of a personable host. I do not expect glaring innovation from Ina. I actually feel like if you own 1 or 2 of her cookbooks, most of the recipes are the same. I watch Ina every week because she is an excellent cook with a love of great ingredients and she makes you feel like she would graciously invite you into her Hamptons home for a relaxing weekend brunch with a few of her other friends.

        • Jerilee says:

          It's because that is what she wants to share. FN didnt push her POV, they didn't push her to tell a story!! She told us what she wanted to. There is way more to her personal life than she tells on FN, but she chooses what to tell & not tell. Ina is a genuine person and that is why her how still aires.

        • Cowgirl says:

          Amen to that and well stated! I, too, greatly enjoy Ina.

    • steve says:

      Well said

    • Fenton Gal says:

      I totally agree with you. I don't like the team challenges at all, so perhaps the worst of the bunch gets to stay because the rest of the team did a great job. If they would have done that, Martie would not have made it as far as she had. If she gets chosen, I definitely will not watch her show. I just don't like her!

    • Guest says:

      I could not agree more, particularly with #6....
      I didn't really like Nikki, but what they did to her telling her to basically be sweet and not herself - which she listened to and did exactly what they told her - and then telling her the next week that she should be herself - was ridiculous. When she finally said screw them and did her thing she was fine, but it felt like they ditched her for showing them up.
      Susie seriously needs to be dumped as a judge. You can't be a judge if you cry at the drop of a... spoon. She's been terrible from season 1. If you want to see someone cry every week, put the eliminated person's mom on the air.
      The team idea is fine as long as the judging is free for all. Why keep lousy people around to keep teams even just because one mentor knows how to pick a team and another doesn't? Let it reflect on the mentor (maybe they'd try harder!) if their whole team (and their own screentime) could be eliminated.
      #4&5 go hand in hand. And I agree. Plus if you are going to force their life story out on NFS, what the heck are they going to talk about in their real show if they win?

    • Crystal says:

      they have to stop being so critical, especially Suzy & Bob. they don't understand what it's like to be up there doing the challenges they're doing, they're behind the screen, NEVER on camera except for this show. tell me a star like giada, bobby, alton, guy fieri or even Paula Deen who have ACTUALLY been through the same things as them, no more Suzy and Bob as the main judges!!!! they don't cook on TV so we don't know how they would do!

  4. Marcy says:

    The voting may be rigged, maybe not. It sure was weird they used Facebook for this. The one thing that strikes me is that we have merely hundreds (OK, maybe a thousand) people who comment on these blogs. Yet there are many MILLIONS of people who watch this show! How in the world do we know what they think? I like Justin a lot but don’t think he’s the Next Food Network Star. I do think there’s a place for him, but this isn’t it. I predict that Martie will win the NFNS. Justin will get a show with Alton on FN or be his replacement, Emily will have a show on Cooking Channel and we haven’t seen the last of Ippy to be sure. The guy is loaded with potential and will be a gold mine.

    • Food Fan says:

      I hope you're right. :)

      • Food Fan says:

        One more thing: ya know how in a Restaurant, if some people gripe to management, stop eating there, and/or make bad comments on the Food & Service comment-cards, you can BET there are many more who feel the same way. So, when you ask how do we know how all the Millions more feel who watch the show? I would say look at what people are writing here, and then magnify it to the Public, just like the comment cards in a restaurant and you'll have a very good idea.
        The HUGE amount of feedback that many, many people on "the Emily thread" with over 1030 is very useful info. Lets hope they listen. They were informed comments from people who watch.

      • Ippy Fan says:

        I hope he's right about Emily and Ippy!

    • Old-Time Cook says:

      The only place for Justin in a resturant is bussing tables!

      • Rickie says:

        Justin's food choices make many of us cringe and we surely wouldn't want to try them, aspic, fish bones-the man's lipstick and overall ghoulish looks aside, the food he does is just plain weird and will not appeal to middle America, which makes up most of the American viewers. My vote goes to Martie, then to Michele. Time will tell.

    • @CJBC65 says:

      It's not at all weird they used Facebook - it is to prevent mechanical voting cheats.

      • steve says:

        Surely they had to know that a lot of folks don't use facebook.

        • @CJBC65 says:

          However, more people use Facebook than any other social networking site. They had to chose one to assure that there would be no cheating by competitors or fans. It only makes sense that they would chose the one that is most likely used by the majority.

          • @CJBC65 says:

            Oh, I should mention that they likely only used one rather than giving the option of Facebook, Twitter, etc... to prevent people who use multiple sites from voting more than ten times a day.

      • SilverScribe says:

        [quote]It's not at all weird they used Facebook - it is to prevent mechanical voting cheats.[/quote]

        Yeah, like cheating would be a huge concern for a program that is rigged tighter than the Golden Gate Bridge? I call Bull Puckies.

        Try again Food Network. We are not all of us fools.

    • Fenton Gal says:

      I agree with you. I would have loved to see an Emily or Ippy show. I think they both had something that was more family friendly. I was in Hawaii and the food was wonderful, so I would have loved to see Ippy recreate some of that.

    • UjustLostAstar says:

      I hope you're right about Ippy. I will be sad if I don't get to see him on a show. :(

  5. heatherv says:

    Voting closed way too early anyone else TIVO? I wanted to vote for Justin. I wish he would have made a better dish for the pilot. He always keeps me interested in what he is doing.

  6. marcia says:

    Please give Justin a show!!! He is the most talented and entertaining chef to debut on FN in a long time. Cant wait to see his new show!(

    • Lois says:

      Talented and entertaining? No - someone like Guy Fieri is talented and entertaining. Justin is pompous and conceited because he has Alton Brown smiling, beaming and falling all over him. Of course he's going to win - that seems to have been determined from day one. I wouldn't watch him because something about a guy wearing lipstick and blush turns me off. Hope Yvan wins but he won't - Justin will - you'll see.

  7. Diane says:

    Yvan or Justin, Yvan or Justin, Yvan or Justin.....Hmmmm (My kids and I are SO into this show!!), love them both. I'd tune in more often to Justin, however. He so neat to watch. He may not have the typical meal demonstrated but Food Network is all about typical. We need something to keep us on the edge of our seat :)! Go Justin!!

  8. eddie1261 says:

    Honestly, I wouldn't watch a show with any of these 4. I can't stand to look at Michelle with that ugly nose ring, awful hairdo and hideous tattoos. And I haven't even mentioned that awful screeching voice. Marti comes off as a stupid southern hillbilly. Yvan just needs to be smacked and forced to change to decaf. Justin is the most interesting of them all because his food shows some innovation and creativity, but guys who wear lipstick never interested me.

    I hoped Martita would win. She wasn't very good on camera and her food lacked any kind of flair, but at least I'd watch her show because she was so gorgeous. I am a very good cook now, and I will never use any of these over the top recipies anyway, so I may as well like who is hosting the show.

    Whoever wins, they will be around one season and canceled. There are no stars there.

    • Pat says:

      My God, what an idiot review that is.

      "I hoped Martita would win. She wasn't very good on camera and her food lacked any kind of flair, but at least I'd watch her show because she was so gorgeous."

      Hey, read it again.

  9. Hope says:

    I just want to agree with so many before me. I really like Justin, but I live in the sticks where we won't be able to get half the ingredients for his recipes. This is the reason there are several chefs I don't watch on FN. I feel like Martie is a Paula Deen wannabe, and one Paula is enough for any network. Yvan is doing what so many others do, like Melissa D'Aribian. Michelle has a different point of view, but her pilot seemed exactly like Jeff's (the Sandwich King) with going to a restaurant then cooking. I have been so mad along the way with this season because I have felt that the whole set-up has been completely unfair. I couldn't agree more with all the comments about people's personal lives. If I wanted personal stories about people, I'd watch Oprah. I want to learn how to be a better cook for my family, not listen to a therapy session. I also agree with the whole team situation. There were several times the worst cook didn't go home because his team won a challenge. It seems to me like FN is trying to copy Master Chef. I'm thinking in the future, I'm going to stick with Master Chef or Top Chef because at least those shows are about the cooking.

    • Jerilee says:

      Any of the ingredients can be ordered on line. I, too, was of the same opinion. The Internet has opened a world of stuff to buy. I am 58 years old and still don't embrace all this new technology, but my daughter does!!! If I need or want something she can find it, at a reasonable price, on the net in the blink of an eye. Please don't let lack of ingredients locally be a crimp in your creativity. I am learning the net is my friend, let it be yours. Just get the kid next door to help you, and go for the creative side of you.

    • Food Fan says:

      Ingredients? Hope is here.
      Found these:
      and also....
      This one lists several places. Scroll down when page comes up. Have fun. :)

  10. @CJBC65 says:

    As many problems as I have had with this season I have one major compliment for it. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that the in house drama was kept out of it! We very rarely (if ever?!?!?!) actually saw them during their off time when last year a good ten minutes of show time was devoted to the in house cat fights and bickering! I am sure there must have been personality issues and disagreements, but they kept them off the show this year. So, so happy about that! So while a lot of the changes from this year need to be reevaluated, this is one that they got dead on!

    • Food Fan says:

      I agree. That is something I'm glad for.

    • Guest says:

      Great point, CJBC. Totally agree!

    • Guest says:

      I agree 100%. I am so grateful this season lacked the drama of earlier seasons. I wouldn't have spent another summer's Sunday nights waiting for the EVIL ONE to be eliminated.

    • cjcal says:

      I agree. The last thing I want to watch is Big Brother Food Network Star Survivor!

    • jayceedavis says:

      *thumbs up* from me as well. There should be no drama like Penny brought on this sort of show.

    • Ippy Fan says:

      I've seen some of their Face Book pics with each other, and it seems like a lot of them ended up being good friends. So something very good came out of this whole team thing - comradery.