One-on-One with the Latest Star Finalist to Go Home

by in Interviews, June 22, 2014

One-on-One with the Latest Star Finalist to Go HomeFirst the finalists are asked to "create a social media presence" in the Mentor Challenge by Bobby, then they are met with the toughest challenge of the competition yet. The contestants arrive at YouTube Space LA this week, where they'll have to create a buzz-worthy online marketing video for popular candy. Emma, coming off a win in the Mentor Challenge, gets to pick the three teams: Team PayDay (Aryen, Christopher and Lenny), Team Reese's (Emma, Nicole and Reuben), and Team Mounds and Almond Joy (Sarah, Loreal and Chris).

If you haven't yet watched the episode, don't read any further. Star Talk is about to break down the ins and outs of the episode — and reveal who was sent home.

Aryen Moore-AlstonFrom the very start, Aryen Moore-Alston had a very interesting story to tell, but she struggled to present the judges with impressive plates. She seemed to get by week after week, but after a failed delivery of a product tagline in Episode 4, the judges sent her home.

Read Aryen's exclusive interview below to hear more from her. Learn how she felt about her elimination, and hear her true feelings about her fellow finalists.

Coming out of this challenge, after all of the mentors' remarks, did you feel comfortable in this challenge yourself?
Aryen Moore-Alston: I did. I had a great time. I got to act and that's something I love to do, so it was about releasing stress. This competition can be very stressful — it can be sleepless nights mounted on with pressure, so it was good to let it all out and I had fun doing it. I think Bobby had the ultimate say-so in my elimination because he was the only judge overseeing the Mentor Challenge, and I believe he has a camaraderie with Christopher. I believe that he respects him, he likes him — he's a chef-chef. We had a very strong team; I think either way, whoever went home, it was going to be surprising because I don't think that anybody would have seen any of it coming.

What was it like being at YouTube Space LA?
AMA: It was great. Being at YouTube Space LA was like, "Wow, this is where I follow all these people." You know, my video, the reason why I got cast was because I submitted a video via YouTube. It's amazing people are making a living doing this. YouTube is a mighty company, and it was amazing being there. And working with Shay? He knew exactly what he was doing. You could tell he does this for a living, so he brought his creativity and he brought his directing abilities into play — he made us better.

Aryen Moore-AlstonHow did you feel about Emma's decision-making process of forming the teams?
AMA: I thought she made a great decision for me, I thought she set us up for success. I didn't know it was going to be to my detriment, but I thought we were set up for success. Lenny and I are hams, and that's just what I thought. I didn't know if Christopher was going to be able to bring it, but he did, so I can't complain.

Out of the episodes you've competed in, what has been your favorite and least favorite challenge?
AMA: I would probably say the last challenge, the one I'm going out on. That was my favorite challenge. My least favorite was Cutthroat Kitchen — I don't like sabotage. I want everyone to do their best all the time, and when there are opportunities where people are forced to do something that would make them not perform at their greatest, that is devastating because we all came out here to do our best. So that would have to be my least favorite.

Is there something that you'll take away that a mentor has said to you that has really stuck with you?
AMA: Not so much the mentors to be honest, but more from my competitors. They have all taught me something. Emma has taught me to be more zen — to center myself. Sarah has taught me to fully rely on God. Lenny has taught me how to own yourself. You know, he's a cowboy. So he's owning that. Christopher has taught me confidence on a different level. Chris has taught me how to just bring the energy all the time and laugh — to be OK and laugh at yourself. Loreal has taught me how to release the inner quirkiness. Nicole has taught me how to find yourself and be OK with it.

Did you find the mentors intimidating?
AMA: None of them intimidated me. I mean, this is what they do. This is show business; this is their job. They came here to do a job — to create and help the network choose who they want on their network. So, no, they didn't intimidate me. It's like going into your first job and you meet your boss. Your boss could be intimidating if you let them, but once they set the rules and say, "Hey, this is what we do," then it's not intimidating. Alton stood out to me as being amazingly intelligent. I love that about him. It's like it exudes from him. He's an intellect and he's scholarly, and I love that he's charismatic. Out of all of them, he had the most charisma and the most-genuine smile.

How would you explain what this competition is really like? What would you tell viewers?
AMA: This competition is not for the faint or the weak. It's real. Get up and go. And put your face on, no matter how tired you are, no matter how much you miss home, and I do think you can't let people see you sweat. You can't have a bad day. When we had to do the Mentor Challenge in Episode 4, I was really having a bad day. I had beat myself up and then we had to turn around and do this camera challenge, and it wasn't confidence that I was lacking. I just was tired; I felt beat up and I didn't want to do it.

Going forward in the competition, who are you rooting for?
AMA: It's anybody's game. I can't root for any one person. I don't have any favorites. I can say who I would want to tune in and watch, possibly. I could tune in to watch Loreal, Lenny and Chris. I could tune in to watch Reuben if he slowed down. I could tune in to watch Nicole or Emma, but they'd need more energy for me. And I don't know yet if I would tune in to watch Christopher. The excitement just isn't there. The passion for the food is there, but not the excitement, and I think you want to bring excitement when you're cooking. It needs to be fun — not technical, but fun.

Watch Aryen battle for a chance at redemption on Star Salvation. Click the play button on the video below to see the first part of Episode 1, then head over to Star headquarters to catch the second part.

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Comments (114)

  1. Alex says:

    Lenny's team was robbed, their video was the only one that had everyone in our living room laughing and talking about it even after the show was over. Had no trouble hearing what Aeryn said in the video at all :(

    I would like to see more cooking in future episodes seems to be lacking !

  2. JEANETTE says:

    The Payday was CLEARLY the winner!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was able to hear every word of the skit perfectly, and it was hysterical. How disappointing, what a let down. Honestly, the Food Network administrators need to evaluate the judges, because something just isn't right there.

    • Monte says:

      Aryan sounded like a cross between Marty Feldman and Gollum...

      I actually thought that the judges would think it was too "over the top".

      But honestly, NONE of those commercials would make me even think "Hey, I'd like to try that product".

    • Kimberly Rossi says:

      Food network is mad about Paula being cut and they are hacking all non-white contestants.

  3. texaspete1980 says:

    Agreed worst ever. No cooking on a cooking show competition. Thank God that Aryan is gone, she was awful.
    Quickly losing faith in this show.

    • Briscuit says:

      Being on Twitter and using InstaGram is enough to be in touch with fans. If someone has a website, even better. That's it. A Youtube video is not a requirement to be a star. Don't know if I'll stay through the end of this season. Starting to wonder if it's all rigged.

      • Monte says:

        I think it's rigged to a point. Right now the Mrs. and I are watching simply for the "train wreck" value.

  4. Maria says:

    When will we hear from Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson again?

  5. Devin says:

    What was the names of the Youtube Guest Judges/Panel? Who are those people? The guy was kinda cute. That chick sounded like she had a fake british accent. Are they going to start eliminating the people who have no personality? Heck, bring those two from Youtube and give them a show…this season blows.

    • Buffy says:

      I do not know. This program will air again Thursday and Sunday. The names may be shown in the rolling end credits.

  6. Monte says:

    Seems like FN is still all over the place as to what kind of network they are. They apparently aren't appealing to the demographic of people who actually want to watch cooking shows.

    The big problem seems to be that during the week all of the "legitimate" (and I use that term loosely, considering some of the shows) cooking shows are on during the day, when most of us are at work! The first show at 5PM is Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. And then it's SEVEN episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, with a couple of other shows thrown in between. And NONE of those are "instructional cooking" shows. SEVEN episodes of DDD. Is this show really THAT popular!? Is Guy Fieri really that popular?

    I even checked the previous weekend schedule. On Saturday, there are exactly six half-hour "instructional cooking" shows, and those are done by 10AM Central. And again, because of what some of them are, I use the term "cooking" loosely. The rest of the day is things like FNS, Rewrapped, Restaurant Impossible, etc.

    Sunday isn't much better. Sunday is a similar schedule, except those "instructional cooking" shows wrap up by 1PM Central.

    FN is turning into the "let's show people cooking without actually showing people how to cook" channel, with some "reality" television thrown in.

    • Crouton40 says:

      We could definitely use more instructional shows in the evening! Alton used to be on around 10pm w/Good Eats, so this idea can work and has been done. Never mind that Dinner is already over. If folks can watch DDD, they can watch and learn a new recipe.

      Here's an idea: You mention SEVEN shows of DDD. Suppose instead we cut it down to 2. That leaves room for 5 other shows. Suppose that for those other 5 that Food Network showed us:
      1. Bobby's Brunch (evening re-run)
      2. Ina Garten
      3. Southern-At-Heart
      4. Big Daddy's House
      5. an evening showing of Kelsey's Essentials...or...this season's winner.
      How much more would we learn and how much more variety would we get? And Guy is still on the air, twice. Everybody wins!

      • DDS says:

        I completely agree. I am actually that one viewer in the nation that doesn't even care for DDD. I much prefer shows like Barefoot Contessa where I can learn and even incorporate many things into my own entertaining. I'm sure Guy is a great person but somehow the FN must believe that is ALL we want to see.
        Very disappointing.

        • Monte says:

          Well, you're not the only one who doesn't care for DDD. ;-)

          The Mrs. and I don't really care for it, either. My wife thinks that Guy Fieri gives off a "douche-bro" vibe.

          I don't entertain often (well, ever, really), but I do like to cook good food. One can't learn to cook good food watching Guy Fieri shove food in his pie hole.

        • Louise says:

          All I get from the Contessa is that it's good to be rich.

    • milkbanks says:

      I offense to Guy but I get hungry watching his show then my kids are crying an I sill don't have clue what i'm going o make for dinner... worse to make a decent sear on meat or to ensure meat cooked all the way without being dry, I have tried poor meat thermometers that did not work. Sorry I love food but don know how to properly cook. Sorry for spelling but I'm typing on a surface and my Hobby is trying to wisk me off to of the bedroom

  7. PSC312 says:

    I have never taken the time to post on a discussion, but I had to create a profile just so I could join in to express my COMPLETE DISGUST!! at this episode. Everything you all have posted is true. The episode was the worst - and to send someone home without cooking is unheard of. The hosts tried to explain the thought behind the challenge, but it did not fly at all. If I were Aryen, I would be majorly pissed at being sent home - especially after she did a pretty good job with that character. I think NOONE should have been sent home, but I have to say that though Chris can obviously cook, I am not seeing his ever developing the personality to be a true FN Star. At least Aryen had that personality. And I am with everyone who thinks Alton is becoming more and more unlikeable.

    • milkbanks says:

      I wasn't disgusted with this episode. I found it very entertaining but I do think they did not give the contestants enough time to process he hear of what the challenge w's about. My hubbie and I think the only reason they picked te payday group in bottom there was because they already knew they wanted to eliminate Aryan or the white guy who can coke from new orleans

  8. PSC312 says:

    I just saw that the latest Star Salvation challenge is just an interview challenge. Poor Aryen, she faced elimination on two NON-COOKING challenges. Just watch the episode to see if she survived.

    I think the network is forgetting the focus. Yes, we want to see personality when we watch our cooking shows, and communication skills are important. HOWEVER, I watch cooking shows to see cooking. I can watch "The View" or something else to see a bunch of people talking. And I never watch those shows.

  9. Bud says:

    In the above pic, Chris reminds me of actor Robert Conrad in the old 60's TV show The Wild, Wild West.

  10. Kathy Nichols says:

    I wasn't sure what the Youtube version had to do with cooking either!! Not sure why they didn't have to cook something using the candy bars! I want to watch new and exciting cooking techniques and I used to love this show. Not sure I will be tuning in anymore for more of this crazy stuff!! Not even a fan of cutthroat kitchen and I can see Alton being the mastermind behind that weird show!! I really like Alton but, some of these challenges and just ridiculous!!