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Every week, Alton Brown is joining the Star Talk roster to talk about the most-recent elimination and the thoughts that went behind each difficult decision from the judges' perspective.
In the end, someone had to be eliminated first and we felt it should be Donna. She's got a lot of passion, but her presentation came across as conflicted, suggesting that she has some significant issues to work out. A Food Network Star has to be confident about who they are and where they're going to take an audience, but personally, I got the sense that Donna isn't very comfortable with where she is at this point in her culinary life. She told us that she put a lot of love into her food, but we have to take the crowd's opinion into account and they just didn't taste the love. It's a shame, too, because we all felt Donna's passion. But without focus, passion can be a loose cannon, and in Donna's case it was something of a disconnect for the audience. If she can work out her point of view she might be a contender, but only if she can put it all on a plate that works. Compared to the other finalists, she's just not there yet.
The first elimination is always so tough because we haven't really had the time to get to know everyone. But compared to the other finalists, Donna just wasn't ready. We all wish her well. She's got a lot to say — but she has to be able to communicate it clearly and put it on the plate.