It’s About to Get Pazza in Here — Justin’s Rebel Recap

by in Recap, July 21, 2013

Russell Jackson - Food Network Star Season 9Martie Duncan and I used to say, "When one door closes, it's time to get out the jackhammer."

Since her elimination from this contest, Lovely Jackson, with help from Robert Irvine, has been the architect of her own reconstruction — drilling through six other competitors to regain a cutting board in the Food Star Kitchen.

With pizza doughnuts well behind us, the gang, now including Lovely, is to make a pa-sta deesh, for Gee-ah-da and her Food Network fratelli. That's not all. After the competitors cook their dishes, they have to describe with edible eloquence the dishes of their rivals. It's about to get pazza in here.

Damaris vs. Lovely

Damaris vs. LovelyLovely missed the "Bobby's Bleep-able Buzz words" challenge and takes us down a "beautiful journey through a nice, beautiful, delicious meat sauce mouthwatering journey and wonderful pasta delicious beautiful." It's kinda hard to blame her. She's describing the anti-glam. There's not a party on that plate in the least. It's pasta with meat sauce.

I don't know what in Lovely's dish conjured Damaris' story of broken-hearted couch-crushing. Nothing makes me want to buy Buitoni pasta like a depressing breakup story. I smell a Ben and Jerry's endorsement in the works.

Rodney vs. Stacey

Stacey conjures up a great story about eating pasta with her kids at the 29 of 30 seconds mark. Rodney doesn't really nail it, either:

"Sweet, nice, brown sugar-tasting chicken saltimbocca ham, Jack we're done right ... ?"

Russell vs. Nikki

Nikki's sinless dish gives Russell a run for his descriptive money. Apparently duck fat doesn't make all worlds go round, and maybe Russell could have benefited from a shot of whiskey before his tight-lipped sell. Ever heard a kid read the ingredients on a cereal box? Bingo.

On the very far other hand, Nikki gets all touchy-vealy with Russell's dish and freestyles about brininess and textural juxtaposition like she's Veginem.

Nikki's spontaneity is rewarded with the privilege of choosing her team for the next challenge.

The Field Piece

When I was shooting Rebel Eats, I was a Brooklyn hipster deep in the Deep South. Connecting with folks, making them feel like we're all humans with the same tongues who dig the same grub and like to have good times isn't always easy. Remember Ricky, the moonshiner?

Rodney at Vito's PizzaStacey wiped her feet on the host of the doughnut joint. It was certainly inadvertently and clearly due to the extreme situation, but alas, you didn't see Nikki shoving lines down the throat of the 6-year-old customer. Damaris had it easy, just setting the scene.

Russell had the same role as Damaris, but he injected his POV into a segment about someone else's gig — the pizza guy's. This leads us to Rodney, who seemingly showed the pizza guy his secret decoder ring because neither one of them said an actual thing. Somehow they seemed to be communicating just fine. You know who tells tales full of sound and fury that signify nothing, right? Ask Shakespeare.

From here we cut to Lovely for the customer testimonial. There are no cute 6-year-olds at the pizza joint. There are doctors and dudes, and these old eggs are just too hard for Lovely to crack. If only she could have mustered the chutzpah she had when she kicked Viet and Chad out of Star Salvation. It seemed like she was a reporter reading from a teleprompter on the scene of a jackknifed pizza on the 405.

Cue the Scary Music

Food Network Star Season 9Stacey's white-knuckle grip on her performance caused her sincerity to slip through her fingers. Nikki, as usual, did just great, and Damaris was truly charismatic. Stacey's composure is crumpled at the criticism of the committee, but she and her girls are safer than meat held below 42 degrees F, so she can live to see another Sunday.

In the danger zone: Russell, Rodney and Lovely are left to proof the dough of their missteps. Russell was too self-absorbed to properly introduce his host. Rodney, while being excellent at shuckin' and jivin' like a good ol' pie throwin' jack, couldn’t piece together the story of Vito's Pizza. Lovely's robo-journalistic take on the whole scene left a whole human's worth of desire.

Alas, Lovely's edible diamonds were cut and polished to the point of resembling cubic zirconia. That's still a sharp stone — sharp enough to knock out Viet and Chad, at least.

The moral of the story: Whoever throws the party deserves the most celebration. When you want to learn something, you have to make the person who's dispensing the knowledge feel like the font of all the world's informational treasures.

The food is always less than half of the equation. I'm really bummed that I had to consult a search engine to learn the actual story of Jim Nakano, "The Donut Man." I was in tears, not just because of his tale, but because this batch of "stars" couldn't stop talking about themselves and the damned doughnuts. There. Is. So. Much. More.

Threat of the week: Robert Irvine. He groomed Lovely well enough that she crushed most of the competition and next week Robert's back to do the crushing himself.Russell and Lovely - Food Network Star Season 9

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Comments (349)

  1. girloftheworld says:

    anyone remember The Best Little Whore House In Texas? there was a song called "Dance a little side step" that the politican sang that was all gibberish ...but he "had personality" that is what Rodney has weirisome become... A giberishgimiky teddy ruxpin

  2. myra says:

    I stopped watching restaurant impossible last season. Irvine is a monumental jerk. Each show is the same, complain about the food, the cleaning, the people running it, smash something with a sledgehammer that causes more problems for the designers that have a shoestring budget to begin with. I hope the show gets cancelled soon.

  3. Rebeccaeileen says:

    I enjoyed Robert Irvine's Star Redemption; however, when Lovely came back on in this episode it really added a disjointed twist to the show. What was Robert doing, having his own off television competition? His challenges while interesting focused on Food while the Show focuses on how well the contestant can host a show and cooking is just an essential prerequisite skill. This Star Redemption Challenge did a disservice to Robert, Lovely and the show. There are other things that can entice the viewer to visit the web site, such as family interviews, contestant hometown interviews. I would like to see some of the eliminated finalists on other shows, such as Chopped.

  4. Nostradamus says:

    "A once great network lies half ruined,
    weakened by three poor seasons.
    The people weep, longing for a new hope.
    In the year 2013 and the eighth month
    Glory is increased and
    from the south comes a new Joy!"
    - Nostradamus, the 12th Scroll

  5. Patrice says:

    All the way Russell baby! Win the Revolution!

    • CarrieAnn says:

      I second that pat!
      I love Russell, s point of view . I love that he loves to celebrate indulgences in. Food that includes bacon ,sweets and salty treats.and. I can get behind the fact that he doesn't pressure you to indulge or that anyone " culinary sin " is predominately in the food .

  6. ECB Portland says:

    I saw a segment on The Talk today where Rachael Ray was a guest showing how to make interesting hot dogs. Julie Chen and Sharon Osbourne were the hosts. I know they only have a short time to present their info in these segments, but from what I observed, Rachael was all about herself and her recipes, minimally engaged her hosts and interrupted both Julie and Sharon quite a bit. I guess once you become a FN “superstar” (term used loosely), you can ignore what FN wants their stars to do in the first place…

    • Shannon says:

      Rachael has changed greatly over the years. I used to enjoy her immensely. Not so much any more. She has adopted a somewhat slick presence to me. No longer warm and natural, very phoney and contrived. I still love the older shows and will watch them in a heartbeat.

  7. HVL Michele says:

    Trying to get through to food network some way some how.....Where is Justin Warner!!!! Please return Justin to his fans who voted to have him on TV.