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First 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.
From 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.
How 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.