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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.
Moving into the second episode, Bobby, Giada and I decided to switch the emphasis to communication and teaching skills. For the Mentor Challenge, I revisited a scenario I used to select my team for Season 8 in which the finalists had to walk me through the preparation of a couple of dishes. You'd be surprised how tough it is to get a dish on a plate when all you can use is words. That said, most of the finalists managed to get through it, but when faced with the Star Challenge, three finalists quickly sank to the bottom of the pack.
Either Kenny or Chris could have gone down, but during evaluation they both owned up to their issues, and we felt that they had the self-awareness to improve. Luca, however, had a really difficult time connecting with the camera and, frankly, his dish was underwhelming. This was especially disappointing because during the first episode, Luca radiated charm and seemed to pack some significant Italian culinary know-how. I don't know if Luca's issues stem from the fact that English is a second language for him or if he simply can't look down the lens and deliver, but it was clear to me that it was time for him to exit the competition.