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For the last two weeks, Star Talk has introduced you to Star-a-Day in preparation for Sunday's brand-new Food Network Star, Season 9 premiere at 9pm/8c. Starting this weekend, these hopefuls will begin an 11-week journey for the chance to earn their own show on Food Network, but with returning judge-mentors Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis at the helm, you can be sure that their journey to stardom won't be an easy one. You've met each of the contestants, watched their casting videos and now have a taste for their culinary viewpoints in the kitchen. Judging by just what you've seen and know about them so far, who do you think will be able to achieve that coveted combination of top-notch kitchen know-how, on-camera charm and relatability to the home cook?
Before you tune in on Sunday night, Star Talk is challenging you, Star fans, to make your pre-premiere predictions for who will be one of the front-running finalists this season. Do you think Daniela's international point of view will make her relatable to a larger audience, or will Danushka's no-nonsense attitude make her especially effective? Has Nikki's camera experience given her what she needs to succeed? As a group, do Stacey, Viet, Russell, Rodney, Chad and Chris have an advantage as restaurant owners? Are you inspired by Andres' story of weight loss? Do you have a gut instinct that Lovely's performance will be too lovely to resist, or are you simply drawn to Damaris' Southern charisma?
Cast your vote for your favorite finalist below, and tell us who you think will be among the contestants to watch this season. Need help remembering each competitor's story? Browse photos, watch their casting videos and read more about them.
Tune in to the Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c.