Pre-Premiere Predictions: Vote for Your Early Favorites

by in Food Network Star, May 31, 2013

Food Network Star Season 9For 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?

Food Network Star Season 9

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.

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Comments (122)

  1. Marc says:

    I feel like the best thing to do at this point is just stop the next few episodes and check back in once Food Network is done exploiting Danushka for "Reality Show Villain" purposes. Not that I feel sorry for her, lest anyone mistake the intent of my wording, but because she's a cold, talentless, cranky person that completely sucks what fun there is right out of the episode. She's obviously not going to win, but Lord knows the ratings monkeys in charge of the show are going to (or, technically, already have done) their best to keep her from being sent home as long as they can reasonably influence each week's final decision. They've already accomplished one goal by getting her on the show in the first place; I'd bet $10,000 that after her appearance on Chopped they were only thinking furiously about how to get her back on TV again.

    So, fair play to Food Network for doing what any network would do, by exploiting a known negative individual to incite publicity and reactions.

    Thanks in advance, Internet, for allowing me and others to not watch the actual show by informing us when that terrible woman is finally sent home.

  2. Marc says:

    Oh, also, way to go, Food Network, by following up the "which of the bottom three will be eliminated, stay tuned to find out" act of the episode immediately with a promo for the next episode, which clearly showed Russell still competing. While I think most if not all viewers figured it would be either Danushka (sadly no) or Daniela, if you're going to bother with forced suspense during a commercial break then someone should also be paying attention to network advertising so that it does not blatantly undermine that forced suspense.

  3. Brie says:

    I like Viet! He seems very calm and gentle, undertones of Ippy from last season. I hope Bob and Susie don't beat that out of him, I find him very pleasant to listen to. And if he can compete with Bobby Flay we know he's got talent. I know it's early, but thus far he seems to be my favorite!

    • Shannon says:

      Good point Brie. I was not sure about him before last nights episode. Oh, I knew he could cook, probably better than most people on the FN. But I was not sure his personality could engage me. It can, in a very laid back friendly sort of way. Bob and Susie let him evolve! Don't try to change him. Leave him to find his own voice and POV, don't try to assign him one.

    • MoHub says:

      Unfortunately, we all know what happened to Ippy. I'd have faithfully watched a program with him at the helm, but he was too laid back for Suzy and the Tusch. Can you imagine if Ina Garten had competed on this show? Talk about laid back and calm!

    • Crouton40 says:

      Viet has ability!
      Seems like "a pleasant soul". That's a compliment.
      I don't enjoy fast-talking over-the-top loud types. But people can be too calm, too. And he needs to (as Emeril would have said) kick-it-up-a-notch and just be more informal and enthusiastic. But it has to come from himself. I agree. Bob and Susie shouldn't force him. Better to coax him toward what we like and hope he does it on his own. But there is only so much time...for everyone.
      Crouton40---creator of

  4. Eggpants says:

    calling it now... food network is going to pimp out Nikki to high hell. her POV is interesting, but FN is going to beat my interest in her out of me from overly focusing on her. like giada did to martita last year. calling it now.

  5. Tucker says:

    Interestingly enough, if you'll notice on each contestant's "Star-a-day" feature, people can submit comments and thoughts on that person but the blog administrator has disabled the comments on Danushka's feature. Most likely because prior to disabling comments, every single one was a negative comment.

  6. Crouton40 says:

    As Another Exciting Adventure begins"...
    SEASON 9. Episode 1.
    Long Post. (But hopefully informative)

    Enjoyed the format/idea of tonights show. I liked having everyone make a dish and quick "Commercial" about themselves. It gave us both: Food, and On-Camera right off the bat. Nice idea. It was relevant, and realistic.

    I agreed with judges on the "Bottom 3 contenders". Same ones I would have picked.
    Russel--because, well, he was just too "out there" with his descriptions and words like: revolution, dissident chef, etc. What does this even mean?
    Danushka--for a very poor dish -and- presentation.
    Danielle--for freezing-up with her words and really seeming quite nervous.
    Normally, i would have thought that anyone doing badly with both food and presentation would be the one to go. That woulda been Danushka. It's a no-brainer. So why wasn't it her? I'm thinking it was because of how much--Danielle was nervous. That's the only way I can make sense of it.

    Who did good? For tonight, in no particular order: Nikki, Chad, Damaris, Viet & Stacy. Why and how? I thought they were ones who did well on BOTH Camera & Food. At least compared to the others.

    Nikki--Outgoing and comfortable on camera. Perhaps a teeny bit too wound up. Might tone her down just a tad, but doing well early on.
    Chad--Good presentation. Audience liked him. Seemed like he talked a bit fast. But a good guy.
    Damaris--Her food looked especially good, seeing it. Seems to have a fun sense of humor and made the audience laugh. I hope she doesn't get carried away with it but some fun playfulness is good. I would also lose the hands-on-hips gesture or stance. But she makes me wanna find out more.
    Viet--Makes good food. Calm. But a bit too calm. If he smiles and becomes more outgoing on camera, he could go far.
    Stacy--started off a bit nervous on camera, but got more relaxed and did better.
    Rodney--liked him better than I expected. I'm Rodney. I'm the Pie Man. And that's what it's all about. (grin) He believes in himself. Need to see more of his food, though.
    Chris--sorry, but too much of a pep-talk or car salesman feel to him. At least tonight. A bit too much "fluff." But--he may learn from and it. Lets see what else he makes.
    Lovely--Good smile. Outgoing. And then she uses words like Bling, etc and I instantly think: But what exactly IS that?? But its early. She may learn from that advice and show us good things later.
    Danushka--doesn't sound happy at all. Too snobbish. get it together. Fast!
    Russel--Cooking in the Twilight Zone. What is this vague journey he wants to take us on? Dissident chef, revolution, etc are confusing words. He had too much of serious look to him on TV. Who knows? He may stop that and improve right away, but that's how it came across for now.
    Andre--sorry. Somehow, this guy just didn't hold my attention. It's like I hafta almost force myself to keep listening.
    Danielle--I would have liked to learn more about her foods. Many people find it hard to be on camera or in front of an audience.

    So that's how things look to me. For now. If I like someone, it doesn't mean they can do no wrong. And if I don't like someone, it doesn't mean they wont ever get credit for the good that they do, either. It can all change. Each challenge is a whole new ballgame!

  7. Annamarie Dodge says:

    i totally disagreed with who went home...danushka should have gone home...not all that bad to look at...she should stick to modeling...she has no talent on screen, god knows, listening to her is like daggers in my ears/nails across the chalkboard...i mean i watch bitchen kichen for the edgy action...watching danushka is just like being forced to watch the kgb do a cooking show OR ELSE...they should have dropped her like a hot potato...or like that hot potato flop that she tried to cook last night..what a disaster and yet they got rid of the peruvian pretty who at least had some kind of warmth and charm even tho she was a disaster onscreen...give her a break, everyone has the jitters at first

  8. Valerie says:

    Danushka needs to go. She is not a likable tv personality

  9. steve says:

    I don't understand why they talk about a" journey", its more like an episode or a life experience, isn't it? the one's who refer to it as a "journey" obviously need a reality check. there really are more words to describe events than the ones ignorant celebrities use....

  10. Jacky says:

    I agree with everyone about Danushka! I disliked her when I saw her on chopped and her horrible personality was confirmed for me when I saw the first episode of Food Network Star. I believe it was a horrible mistake or some sort of a gimmick that allowed her to pass to week two on the show. If she goes through again, I will have to believe it is some sort of publicity stunt and I will be very disappointed!