This is it everyone! Next week, the winner of Star Salvation meets the Top Six in Las Vegas. Who will it be? Will it be Chad, who has done a mighty job as The Chef From Another Season? Will it be Luca, whose early ouster because of his lack of camera skills shocked everyone? Or will it be Reuben, who was only ousted this past Sunday?
The real question for me–will the person who is sent back into the competition fare better than the one and done return of Lovely Jackson last time? Considering how much better the Salvation challenges were this season, I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer was yes. (I also would not be surprised if our mentoring team were under strict orders not to re-eliminate the returning contestant right away, because twice in two seasons would be bad optics for the web series.)
Even if we have a one and done repeat, I want to commend the producers–they really have improved this side car of a web series by leaps and bounds over last year. Geoffrey and Damaris were a smart choice to play judges. But the real upgrade was changing it up from last year’s straight food tasting challenge to mixing in all the different facets of what a Food Network Star needs. After all, this show is not a straight cooking competition. (If it was, Christopher would still be in the running.) Also, when whoever returns to the show this Sunday does show up, they won’t be at a several weeks disadvantage to the competition they’ll be facing.
Tonight we have two challenges to get us down from three contestants to one.
Continue reading Food Network Star X: Star Salvation Finale
With the holiday this week, we’re running our Star Salvation recap early. Usually I leave it until Friday so everyone has had time to catch up, but one of the perks of recapping online content–no being locked into a schedule. It’s all about when it’s convenient for you.
This past Sunday, the show eliminated Christopher, our token “high end chef.” There’s one contestant every season who has superior cooking chops to the rest of the group. It seems to go hand in hand with said chef being several thousand foot candles short of the star power needed to actually cook on TV. To be fair to Christopher, he understood this was a shortcoming from the getgo. There was no anger at getting the boot on Sunday either–past contestants in his position have gone out muttering that they were the best chef in the competition by miles, how dare they get eliminated. There’s just so much more to working in Foodertainment than cooking.
The question I have today is does Geoffrey Zarkarian know this? On the show proper, Bobby Flay is always the one left standing arguing for the best chef in the room, regardless of star power wattage. It’s Alton and Giada who bring the balance. Damaris, having won the show, knows there way more than cooking that goes into this competition. (In her season, it was Viet Pham who could cook all day long, but in front of the camera turned to wood.) But Geoffrey is new to this process, and so far, he strikes me as someone who would be about the food first.
Continue reading Food Network Star X: Star Salvation Round 5
Sunday night’s episode of Food Network Star ended with the less-than-surprising ouster of Aryen after four weeks of not producing either on the camera front or on the food front. It’s time to see if she can redeem herself.
Aryen is the typical mushy middler contestant on Food Network Star. She’s someone with an interesting background, but was unable to translate that to the camera. Her food, which may be good in other settings, also failed to come off under the pressure and time constraints of the competition. Aryen is also typical of the mushy middler in other ways, that she constantly over estimated herself. She was always convinced her dish was a winner, even as Alton hated every bite. She didn’t notice when the others considered her threat so negligible that she wasn’t given a sabotage in the Cutthroat episode. She seemed to think she was doing well on challenges, even when her only real successful moment came when Lenny fed her the answers beforehand.
Perhaps Aryen will luck out. Today’s challenge for Star Salvation, like its counterpart episode of FNS this week, does not include a lick of cooking. It’s all camera work, which we already know Chad is weak at, and Luca is still working on. But then again, on Sunday Aryen had the howlingly clueless remark that she should be able to ace a camera challenge because she once did broadcast journalism in high school. Sher then proceeded to take selfies up her nose. Seriously?
Continue reading Food Network Star X: Star Salvation Round 4
Last week on Star Salvation, we had our first episode in which no one cooked anything. With one of our previous season ringers, eliminated, this week we will have two contestants from this season cooking against Chad, from season nine.
Now, to be fair, I don’t think Luca survived last week over Martie because there was no cooking involved. I do believe Luca can cook, even if I’m not sure the network necessarily needs yet another show that tells us how easy it is to cook Italian. On the other hand, the cooking question looms large for this week’s entering contestant, Kenny. There are many things I doubt about contestants this season on FNS. I doubt Sarah’s POV premise. I doubt Aryen’s ability to produce in this high pressure environment. But Kenny is the only one whose cooking abilities I actually question. Three weeks in and I never saw him make a dish that looked remotely appetizing, plus there was that little incident where he couldn’t make a basic gravy. This is his last chance to show us he wasn’t cast as fodder from the getgo. Otherwise, Chad and Luca should beat him handily.
Continue reading Food Network Star X: Star Salvation Round 3
Last time on Star Salvation, we learned that when the first person eliminated goes up against two Top Five contestants from earlier seasons, the results are that they get creamed. Do we think the second person eliminated will have better luck?
Let’s look at the odds. This week we’ve been promised a camera challenge. Martie not only spent an entire season charming the pants off the camera, she’s shot a ten minute pilot. Her only competition going in to this is the already high expectations we have for her. Chad may claim that he was off because his camera skills were not up to par, but that is a misreading of the situation. Chad is one of those contestants who came in on the first episode and scored an 8 out of 20, while the other contestants were all in the 3-5 range. The problem was by the Top Five he was still only scoring about an 8 or 9, while his competitors had all grown and were routinely scoring 12-15. This is not a problem of camera skills. This is a problem of growth arc.
Meanwhile, our pretty package Luca had never once practiced in front of a camera before coming into the competition. Last week, he failed at a basic level skill they assumed he had that the actual test–which was to teach an audience member to make a dish–was rendered a moot point. Do we really think he has a chance here?
Continue reading Food Network Star X: Star Salvation Round 2
Has everyone caught up on Sunday’s Food Network Star premiere? Have you had time to check out Star Salvation? Well, if you haven’t, I’m here to recap it for you. If you have, join me in snarking along at Food Network’s attempt to raise their internet profile.
By the way, Food Network did actually air the first part of this web series on TV. My DVR picked it up as being a first run “Food Network Star” program, recording it on Monday morning, hours after Food Network Star premiered, at 4:53 in the morning. They only aired the first segment though. A teaser, if you will, to get you to find the rest of the series.
So how is this show managing to start the same week as the parent program, despite having eliminated only one person? Why, by bringing back “Fan Favorites” from other seasons. These are contestants who didn’t win the whole shebang and want another crack at Food Network Stardom. Aiming for a a spot on Season Ten: Martie Duncan from Season Eight and Chad Rosenthal from Season Nine.
I actually think I feel bad for Donna. She went out first. Her chances of being cut out for this are slim. Now she’s going up against Chad who made it all the way to the Top Five and has competed on Star Salvation before; and Martie Duncan, who made it all the way to the end and cut a pilot. Not to mention that any FNS fan already knows Donna’s competitors and are far more emotionally invested in them than they are in her. How can she possibly beat them?
Continue reading Food Network Star X: Star Salvation Round 1
Unlike last season, Food Network is not waiting four weeks into the season of Food Network Star to have enough eliminated contestants before making the first episode of the concurrent web-only series Star Salvation. This year, Star Salvation starts this first week, running concurrently with the TV show.
How do they have enough fodder for the mill to compete with Sunday’s eliminee? Well, you’re going to have to tune in to find out. Let’s just say, the decision to do the webisodes this way will also help against last year’s problem of all the contestants being eliminated in the exact same order they were eliminated from the regular show.
Continue reading Food Network Star X: “Star Salvation” Schedule