Food Network Star Recap: It's Voting Time!

Food-Network-Star-RecapThe penultimate episode of Food Network Star‘s ninth season was like one of those defective loaves of Italian bread you sometimes get at the supermarket: Everything looks fine when you throw it in your cart, but you get it home, slice into it, and discover there’s a giant, hollowed-out air bubble in the middle.

Likewise, the final four contestants’ pilot pitches to Food Network execs Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson — I’ve missed those two! — felt oddly rushed and insubstantial. Stacey, Russell, Damaris and (UGH) Rodney each had around 30 seconds to present their best TV show idea, but the lack of tough followup questions and genuine discussion of the various contestants’ strengths and weaknesses made it seem like Bob, Susie and our three judges (Giada, Alton and Bobby) had made up their minds before a word was spoken.

For example, I might’ve asked Rodney — who pitched a competitive series in which he’ll visit a restaurants and accept a challenge to try to outdo a signature dish by transforming it into a pie — “How are you going to handle situations in which pie-style will result in something disugusting or unappetizing? Isn’t pie-style a little limiting? What are you doing to improve your poor diction? And given your repeated failures in the kitchen, what gives you the authority to have your own Food Network Series?” Instead, we had Bob lauding the dude’s relatability and sense of fun, and Giada giggling, “I would follow him anywhere!”

I mean, so what if Stacey came off as slightly dour while pitching her idea to help everyone from home cooks to restaurant chefs update lackluster traditional recipes into something modern and magical? The fact of the matter is, she’s repeatedly proven over the last couple of months that she can outcook Rodney and Russell, while maintaining at least a baseline competency in front of the camera. Shouldn’t those skills have counted in the end? At least enough to let her be one of the three contestants to film a test pilot? Apparently not, as she was summarily dismissed midway through the hour, leaving the other three finalists to work under guest mentor Guy Fieri while shooting test pilots that will be screened by and voted on by the viewing public. (Voting is open now through Wednesday; click here to do your duty!)

To me, Damaris is the only viable option for the win. Her pilot Eat, Date, Love — in which she’ll teach bros how to win over their women through southern cooking — sounded a little convoluted on paper, but the execution was both charming (“Work it with your big man paws!” she giggled to her guest as he made sweet potato bisquets) and instructive (that pork loin looked absolutely mouth-watering). With Paula Deen in the pop-cultural penalty box, there seems to be room for a Kentucky gal whose P.O.V. runs a little more sophisticated than “smother it in butter, y’all!” And I think Darmaris could be that woman.

Russell, for his part, has managed to whip up a few decent dishes during his Food Network Star tenure, but there’s something a little off-putting about his drably titled Guilty Pleasures. For his pilot, Russell went to an L.A. farmer’s market to check out a caberbet sauvignon sorbet. But after raving about the flavor, he didn’t delve into the recipe; instead, he was like, “Can I make something in your kitchen that you can think about putting on your menu?” And don’t even get me started on that tagline — “Sometimes it’s good to be bad” — accompanied by a not-at-all-sexy smooch. (Side note: Is anyone else bothered by the fact that A. Russell’s briefcase of sins isn’t refrigerated, and therefore will cause his ice cream to melt; and B. That Russell’s sins — sugar, fat, salt, liquor, bacon, ice cream and offal — have a great deal of overlap? I mean, ice cream has sugar and fat, so how exactly is it also its own sin, not just a product of two other sins? But I digress…)

Pie Style, meanwhile, has simply got to be the kaboose in this three-horse race, right? RIGHT? Sorry for the mixed metaphor, but man, Rodney’s pilot pie looked like a dried-out crust covering a mound of hard-to-identify meat-and-cheese slop. Add to the fact that the goofy fella shouted the entire intro like he’d recorded the audio from the mosh pit of a rock concert, and I just can’t fathom Mumbly McComedyface taking home the sash and tiara.

What did you think of this week’s Food Network Star? Which pilot do you think deserves to be ordered to series? And should Stacey have been in the final three? (If so, then who should’ve been cut?) Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Noah says:

    What the? What do they see in the guys? They are AWFUL.

    • April says:

      Stacey should have won! I have already copied 2 of her recipes. I never even considered copying any of the other contestants recipes. I like Damaris too, though.

    • Mary Ann says:

      Rodney must be a relative of Giada. I can’t see any other reason for her to love him so much.

    • Rodney would be a good Host , IF , He does not need to cook ,

      Russell , I like his focus but its already done by Anthony B.

      Stacey by default gets the win for me , and that was helped with the network losing Paula Deen

    • Rick says:

      This is by far the WORST season of FNS, and I am done with this show. Actually, I’m pretty much done with the Food Network.

      • JudiMD says:

        Agree with you on both counts. Rodney screams constantly and not everything works in a pie! He’s a Guy Fierri wanna-be. Russell…sinful? Isn’t this country unhealthy and fat enough??? Damaris is okay.

        Food Network is not the show it used to be. Back in the day, I loved watching chefs/cooks stand in their kitchens cooking and teaching me recipes and tricks of the trade. Now they have turned it into one long and tiring reality show…why would I want to watch four adults run through the streets of New York, trying to find food spicy enough to burn a hole in my tongue? Ohhhhh, interesting.

        And dumping Paula Deen was the last straw for me. Goodbye Food Network!

    • Sam says:

      I am disgusted by this season. The male contestants are uninspiring and cannot seem to cook. I don’t care about Rodney or Pie Man.. Sorry food network star there are plenty of other shows to watch. You belittled your audience with crappy contestants and lackluster challenges

    • Allie says:

      I know right!!!! The guys SUCK! Rodney can’t talk, I can’t understand what the heck he’s saying….
      Russell is like an ADD adult just annoying, Demaris is pretty sweet tho, I do like her. HOPE SHE WINS!!!! And Stacy should still be there CLEARLY

    • Angela says:

      Agree – I just do not get how Rodney is even there. For long term show growth, how many junky pies can you make (most of which to this point were food flops)? And the episodes where he had the opportunity to sing – he could not even do that. When Russel showed up with a brief case, he looked under-dressed, the visuals were way off, at least the concept was bigger than a pie. And I agree, ice cream over laps. Damaris is the only one left I would even consider watching at this point. AND… they really can give her Paula’s spot – Touch of the south with out getting racism all mixed into it. Poor Stacy, to bad Pie boys fans are better at clicking buttons in Food Network polls.

  2. Lily L says:

    Michael…I heard there was a falling out with last year’s winner, Justin…the Culinary Rebel. Do you have info? He was good. And I’d rather they brought back that Vinny guy from Season 1. This year’s people…just do not have that charisma for TV. Damaris gets on my nerves but then again so did Paula Deen.

    • Amanda says:

      There wasn’t really a falling out. Something happened where Alton Brown was not going to be able to produce a series for Justin. Don’t know the details, but Justin says he will be on tv again at some point. So far, he’s only had the one hour Rebel Eats special. He has also been live tweeting some of the episodes as well as writing a blog for Food Network website about the current FNS season. He also just did Alton’s podcast. I would so much rather see his show come to fruition than any of the three contestants left this season!!

  3. Elsie says:

    Here’s my theory: The brass at Food Network decided that Damaris was their pick to win many weeks ago. Can’t blame them there. They hate that America gets to vote, so they engineered the season such that Damaris would have no real competition in the final. With Damaris up against Russell and Rodney, she’s sure to win. If she had been up against Stacey or Nikki, it would have been more up in the air–something Food Network did not want to risk. That’s really the only explanation I can come up with. Russell, at his best, is about on par with Nikki week 1, and Rodney has exactly 12 words in his vocabulary, near as I can tell. Neither of them should have made it past the second week, and now they’re in the final. It had to be one big malevolent plot. It would be kind of genius if it weren’t so unscrupulous and groan-worthy.

    • Jennifer Harnick says:

      That is a sensible theory. Nothing else makes sense.

      • dan says:

        Unfortunately, I think they LOVE the pie guy even though he can’t cook and his food looks terrible. Both Giada and Susie were loving him last night. And Susie couldn’t keep her eyes in their sockets when she was talking to Russell. Stacey didn’t stand a chance even though her concept was actually interesting (other than the fact she sold it from a sad perspective instead of being all chipper and hyper-excited about it). Both Bob and Susie seemed to like Demaris and I hope she wins, but I just can’t get over the fact that they have been pushing Rodney for weeks now even though he is difficult to understand and his food usually gets lack-luster reviews.

        • Brett says:

          Rodney’s food is awesome, go to one of his Dangerously Delicious Pies locations… He’s been on a ton of different shows, Bobby Flay’s Throwdown, Chopped, Paula Deen. He’s a pro.

          • Linda says:

            You have got to be kidding. His food looks like crap and he sounds even worse. One nice thing, if he wins I can watch something else.

          • will says:

            Being on tv a lot doesn’t equal good food. He made one good pie all season and it happened to be on a pilot for a show they are pitching so of course they are going to say it was good.

          • kimmy says:

            Rodney was eliminated in the first round on Chopped. His cooking ability leaves a lot to be desired.

    • Dyna says:

      I believe they did have their winner picked out, but I think it will be Rodney. He can’t cook ( He has cooked one good pie throughout the season – a fruit pie…WOW), can’t speak on camera (sounds like he has mouthful of sand), is difficult to look at and is annoying as hell. But he’s still there b/c they ate going to try to market him as next Guy.

      This season sucked — they need new judges too

      • MLO says:

        I don’t want a new ‘Guy’. I still like the old ‘Guy’. Just not so frikkin’ much of him. Seems every time I check out what’s on FN, it’s Triple D. Come on! Hated Damaris at first – now she’s kind of grown on me. That said, I wouldn’t watch any of their shows.

      • Norm says:

        Food Network has one Guy too many already. The “competition” has been in the bag for Pie Douche from the start. They had to get rid of Stacey because she was the clear winner and they wouldn’t be able to fix the voting. I voted 30 times for Russell, but it was a toss-up between Russell and Damaris. Food Network is going down the toilet with the new ‘reality’ crap like The Shack and 400 hours of Guy “lets touch every thing somebody is trying to cook and yell at the top of my lungs” Fieri. All of this junk and they can’t find an hour a week for Sweet Genius, which my Wife and I love.

    • Barbara says:

      I totally agree with Elsie’s theory. Demaris, Stacey,and Nikki should have been in the top three. Nikki had a different approach with meat on the side. I would have watched her. These finalist NOT. We try to eat healthy. Not everything in a pie or with bacon, etc. Where are the healthy eating shows? Rarely watch FN anymore anyway with all the great bloggers out there.

  4. Jennifer Harnick says:

    Honestly I didn’t like any of the pilots. Though Damaris’s sounded cute it came off flat in her pilot. I guess hers was the most tolerable of the three, but is no one else bothered by her slightly sexist stance?

    As for Rodney, I don’t know why he’s still there. His grammar makes me ill and we’ve yet to see him demonstrate that he can make good food.

    Russel was mediocre as usual.

    If Stacey had been given a pilot, I still don’t think I’d want to watch her show. She’s ingenuous.

    Overall, this season was a disappointment to me. .

    • MEL31602 says:

      I thought the same thing about Damaris’ pilot being a bit sexist. They dismissed Andres? (the guy who lost all the weight but refused to talk about it) idea about teaching men to cook healthy as sexist, so I don’t see how hers would be any different. Unless she teaches women how to please their men through food too.

      I actually liked Russell’s pilot the most, even though I’m rooting for Damaris. Russell’s does seem like it would be a bit repetitive, but the beginning and ending of Damarais’ were just awkward. Plus Russell did do a great job explaining what he was doing in the kitchen. And yes, I have no idea what the judges see in Rodney either. He was talking too fast the entire time, though at least his pie looked somewhat edible.

      Still, Russell’s and Rodney’s ideas are kind of similar to what the network already has. From what I read on Twitter. FN fans are tired of travel type shows, which alone should give Damaris the advantage. Throw in the fact that she’s been the best of the three all season and she should be a lock to take the prize. If Rodney wins i think I will give up all hope for this country haha.

      • Buddy says:

        I agree about the antiquated gender notions bandied about in Damaris’ pilot. We are past the idea that all women cook and all men cannot. We are also past the notion that all men want to woo a woman. The pilot does not even consider the existence of gay couples. Why not just make it a show about teaching people to please their mates with good Southern food, and not specify either gender?

        • Tiffany says:

          It was just a pilot. I have a feeling they’ll be updating things. They even acknowledged that with the pitches…start from somewhere and turn it into what you want it to be.

        • Kloum1952 says:

          I agree with that idea that Damaris could reach out to all people looking to learn how to cook for a loved one. That’s not too much of a stretch for the show. No big deal.

    • birda1218 says:

      I totally agree with you. Rodney’s demeanor has been as ugly as his pies and he’s a finalist?? Russell is a one trick pony and I can’t see him holding a whole show…how boring can you get. Damaris’ whole pitch is sexist to say the least and also doesn’t warrant a show at all. After watching the manipulations going on, my esteem for the judges has fallen to a new low. I love the Food Network but this particular “Star” show is absurd and I hope it reflects on their own particular network show. In any event, I’m not watching the new show no matter what.

    • Charmala says:

      I agree this season was a disappointment,I really don’t like any of the finalists (or Stacey either.. fake fake smile). I think that Bob And Susie realized that this group was full of duds and that’s why they stayed away from so many episodes. It wasn’t worth their time to even film. In most other seasons they were in the majority of the episodes at the end judging. I don’ think any of these so called chefs will make a show that even airs more than a couple of episodes. Oh how I do MISS Justin he was unique and could cook….Please bring him back.

  5. Ann says:

    When I read this recap I was astounded at the final three. I think your theory is the only one that makes sense, Elsie. Weeks ago I fully expected it to be between the three ladies, and thought Stacy had a slight edge. Food Network Star is a joke.

  6. Chablis says:

    I like Russell. HUD concept is a bit wonky but I believe they can figure it out. I tried to like Stacy but I just couldn’t warm up to her. She just seemed so fake . And I think she would have had a boring show. Rodney is just not a star. Don’t get the network love. I like Damarus. Ok with either Russell or Damarus.

  7. wanda Rollins says:

    I love the foodnetwork,my tv stay on this chanel.but for real they all were bad.hope demaris win.the other two sounds like a joke.hope next season be better.thi was the only one I did not enjoy.keep up the good work you ya.

  8. TJ says:

    Agree with all of Michael’s comments. I was beginning to think that I was the only one who doesn’t like Rodney. I am blown away by how the judges have fallen for him. How he survived a week is amazing; how he is one of the final three is disappointing. Stacey should have taken his place. Did anyone catch the fact that Russell’s final concept — visiting an establishment and trying to outdo the owner — was exactly what Stacey pitched and for which she was criticized?? Never thought I would say this a month ago, but GO Damaris!

    • Kim R says:

      “Mumbly McComedyface”….made me laugh out loud! I agree totally with the recap. What exactly did Stacey do that was so off putting that she didn’t deserve a spot in the final 3? She has been the most consistant through the entire run! I have to say…I’m rooting for Demaris. If I hear the term “pie style” one more time I’m going to scream! It is so stupid. It is NOT a style! haha I don’t really get Rodney’s concept as far as carrying a show goes. I would have watched Stacey. :)

      • Dyna says:

        As the weeks have gone by, I have disliked Rodney mor & more…..his “pie style” crap is dumb as hell. I can’t stand him or the judges at this point

  9. AntoineDoinel says:

    I wish the technology were available by which one could reach into the television and slap the face of the person on screen because I would have used it every time Rodney appeared. I am still shocked that he made it this far and find it distressing that the snippily brainy/brainily snippy Alton actually seemed to like him. Shouldn’t Alton have been on this big, inarticulate jackass like an angry drill sergeant?

    And as a concept for a show, “pie style” is not particularly interesting and I imagine that most home cooks could turn most of their dishes into a pie. It’s more of a gimmick than a true culinary point of view.

    Russell? He’s why we have the word ‘meh’.

    My vote goes to Damaris, who has a fun personality and a show with a strong instructional component. Plus, her pilot featured the adorkable Josh, and I have to vote for any show that holds the promise of presenting a steady stream of cute nerdy guys.

    • Jo March says:

      Maybe the judges have seen Rodney more than we have so they like him more we do? That’s the only explanation I can see for their Rodney-Love. If I didn’t know he was saying “Pie style”, I wouldn’t be able to figure out from his pronunciation that he was saying “Pie Style”. I would never watch his show,and I love pies! I can’t stand the way he talks (slurs, actually). Russell is a total bore. Demaris will have to expand her show to include both sexes.

  10. sebaroni says:

    I could not be more confused or disappointed in Bob and Susie. What the heck is going on? How can you even think about putting a guy on the air that can’t talk? Does anyone really know what the heck Rodney is saying? I wish Giada would follow him…right out the door. I really hoped for a voice of reason to step in here. Both Rodney and Russell’s pilots were revamps of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Do they honestly need another competition show? I stand by my original conviction: Food Network no longer cares about the ability to cook. It has become MTV. I guess it’s back to PBS for serious cooking programs. Go Damaris!

    • EnnuiTherYet says:

      Do yourself a huge favor and tune in to MasterChef UK: Professionals on BBC America. They run 2 episodes per day, M-F, of old seasons. Just incredible cooking without all the foofarah.

    • They put on Big Daddy and he mumbled too and won the next food network star! You would think by his failure to have a good show they wouldn’t want Rodney

    • Jan says:

      I agree with sebaroni. And Giada was so blatantly smitten with both guys, it was creepy. Can someone give her a cheeseburger, please? She is looking anorexic. If FN wanted a new concept, Nikki’s ‘meat on the side’ was fresh and up-to-date. Do we really need more ‘sinful’ recipes, or pie anything?

  11. Marilyn Singer says:

    I like Damaris, though I’m not sure I’d actually watch her show. Can’t stand the guys–the 7 Sins is gross to me (of course, I don’t eat things with feet and I don’t drink, though I have a feeling that even if I did, I’d get sick of everything with bacon and booze pretty fast) and as for Pie Style, taking exactly the same ingredients, but shoving them into a crust week after week will get tiresome quickly.

    I’m feeling that this network is getting further and further away from cooking–that is, making food that anyone would care to eat–though I do love Sandwich King and I really liked Aarti, too. My husband is the main cook is our house and he has incorporated some of their recipes into his permanent repertoire, for which I am eternally grateful.

  12. dan says:

    Other than Demaris, the first three constestants (Stacey, Rodney and Russell) all presented ideas for almost the exact same show. How come nobody told Rodney that his idea was already done by Bobby (“Throwdown”) which apparently Rodney appeared on a few years ago (I didn’t see it, but I heard that he was on it). Russell’s concept was ridiculous: I’m gonna take a unique product and add bacon and burbon to it and it’ll be even more unique. What? And he keeps repeating his culinary sins over and over, yet always resorts to using bacon as a staple in everything he does. How boring would that be after an episode or two? At least Demaris came up with a cooking show as opposed to a travel log. I just don’t get the Network’s love for Rodney. And Susie needs to reel in her attraction to Russell. I needed a shower after Susie’s reaction to Russell’s show pitch! I was never a huge fan of Stacey, but she clearly got hosed. Her cooking was usually praised by the judges and despite the fact she came across as fake in many of her presentations, she was at least understandable.

    • Lyn says:

      I agree with you completely. I had the exact same thought when I saw Susie react to Russell when he walked out. I said something about it later to my husband and he didn’t see it so I am glad someone else noticed. Also, I thought Giada seemed hostile and dismissive to Stacey. Every time she told her she was fake I wanted to tell her to look in the mirror. Why did they have all those star challenges about being able to talk about food and describe food with a certain kind of vocabulary and then pick Rodney. So now I am left thinking — what was the point of it all.

      • Dyna says:

        I’m soooo glad you saw Giada’s reaction to Stacey as soon as she walked in the room. She put on that fake, teethy grin ( as usual), but she was almost looking her up and down —- I smell jealousy. I don’t like Giada anyway. Never have

        • Jan says:

          Yep. I never really saw a problem with Stacey not ‘connecting’. And she proved over and over she could cook. I think Rodney may have had 1 decent dish the whole season.

        • kimmy says:

          Giada never likes the female contestants. Can’t handle competition, Giada?

  13. TVMAN says:

    Food Network is setting up Damarius up for the win. I think FNS purposely got ride of Stacey/Nikki for a better chance that Damarius would win. I’m kinda disappointed with Damarius’s food show concept, I wanted so much better since she was my favorite…. Also on a side note- was anyone else grosses out when Rodney tried talking with a big chinch of food on the side of his cheek.

    • sbc says:

      Agreed. However, I think it’s good that Damaris is the only one who has a different concept from the other two. Plus, you can only go so far with pie. Personally I’d rather have her win.

  14. reen says:

    I don’t like any of the final three, most especially the guys. It is hard to watch a great show whittle down to these choices. Demaris will fill a need on the network, so her timing is great…. but, again, not a show that I would DVR. Sad.

  15. Reckoning says:

    I say everyone vote for Rodney to send home a point not send a mumble mouth to the finals. Finals should have been Damarius, Nikki and Stacy with NIkki the winner.

  16. chris says:

    Having had pie from one his shops Dangerously Delicious Pies several times, I can assure you Rodney can cook.

    • Jo March says:

      Does he only do sweet pies? Maybe because he had to cook “real” food as opposed to desserts he failed?

      • chris says:

        His pie menu is about 50/50 savoy and sweet and he does quiche as well

        • will says:

          None of the stuff he tried to invent on the show has been rated well so what talent does he have? who’s to even say he created the original recipe and didn’t just take them from others? He’s got a horrible personality for TV. Who cares if in person he’s nice, I don’t see him in person, I’m being asked to watch him on TV.

    • Barbara says:

      Thank you for a positive Rodney post, I voted for him to win….I love his personality, his goofiness and who gives a flying fig whether they can relate to “pie style”. Does anyone really watch these shows to emulate the cooking shown on them? I feel they’re meant to inspire and entertain and Rodney is simply showing people that you can have fun with food period. I loved it when he finished making the grilled-cheese pie and said “I need a drink”. Do we ever see Guy Ferri cook on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives?? They’re being hired to be personalities and Rodney’s is irresistible!!

      • Umm, absolutely people watch these shows for cooking inspiration and instruction. At least they used to, until shows like Chopped and Throwdown started choking out Good Eats, Ina Garten, and (sniffle, RIP) Mario Batali. I started watching Food Network eight years ago in my first apartment, and it was where I learned how to make pesto, sauce a stir fry, and yes, boil noodles, to name just a few lessons. Like every other fusion of entertainment and education (Discovery Channel, History Channel, TLC), Food Network is circling the drain by putting the easiest sell above the food. NFNS’s refusal to let someone who cannot speak about food and has a miniscule range of talent race to the front of the pack is disappointing but predictable given their programming preferences of the past few years.

        By the way, I would have loved to have heard Rodney answer “What is a rice pilaf?”

        • Jan says:

          LOL! And I’d take Ina Garten’s recipes over almost anyone else’s on FN. Time to turn the channel to Shark Week.

  17. Smithy says:

    Another lackluster season of this show. By now, I’m usually pulling for someone to win, but this year it’s-eh. I’m really happy to see all the anti-Rodney comments here. Watching the show, I have the feeling that I’m the only one who thinks his presentation is obnoxious and his food looks like slop. I only eat pie at Thanksgiving, why would I want to watch a show where everything becomes pie? As one commenter, AntoineDoinel, put it so well, that’s a gimmick, not a culinary point of view. Russell has those cute, puppy-dog eyes that I find attractive, but other than his manner, his POV and food are meh. His “sins” have been done before. I’ve yet to see him create something unique and exciting. Shouldn’t sin be exciting? So that leaves Damaris, who makes me smile, despite myself. I agree that if she gets a pilot, it should be less sexist and oriented to both sexes cooking to woo his/her honey. She could be good and there’s nothing like her pilot on FN or the Cooking Channel. But I’m afraid I may have wasted more hours of my life watching someone like the Sandwich King or Amy who likes France win.

  18. robo says:

    Having watched all the episodes, I was liking Rodney the least. But after seeing the pilots, I guess I, and all other women, will have no use to watch Damaris’ show, since she is aiming hers toward how men can “trap” a woman through knowing how to cook. Is she going to drink and get tipsy on every episode too? Rodney is nice to look at, but is he going to carry that briefcase of sins everywhere. What about us at home who don’t have his briefcase of sin? I dunno about him. Watching Rodney’s pilot, and I think he was placing last in the public’s eye, actually was the most personable, kept eye contact with the camera, and I actually liked his pilot. I didn’t think I would want a show about making anything and everything into a pie. It reminded me too much of that sandwich guy, who I don’t think deserved to win. I was rooting for Susie instead of the sandwich guy, whatever his name was. But I think Rodney is actually likeable and interesting, and not at all like the sandwich guy. I’m actually surprised that I am now thinking Rodney should win. And as for Stacey, she just didn’t seem like she had what was needed to go on, whether that be charm, personality, or whatever.

  19. Gigi says:

    If Rodney gets it, I will no longer watch Food Network. His mouth and appearance is disgusting. He is so annoying I would him off. His so called pie’s are not anything I would make. No Mom has time to make pie dough for a meal. We want the Rachael Ray and 30 minutes or less meals. The pickings this year were awful. Stacey was by far the best and they dumped her. Of these three, I hope Damaris gets it but I have a feeling that Rodney will and I hope they regret that decision.

  20. Pat says:

    Rodney is fun. Too bad he can’t cook. He doesn’t make the pies in his shops does he?Russell gives me the creeps but has an interesting POV. I just made a chocolate, burbon, peanut butter, bacon pie for my teenaged grandchildren for a special treat and they loved it. I enjoy Demaris and have been a fan of hers since the beginning. She has knowledge and cooks very well. The theme of the pilot leaves me cold though. A natural to replace Paul Deen in the southern kitchen.

  21. robo says:

    btw, I find giada to be soooooo annoying. I just wanted to say that somewhere on the net. And I can’t stand how guy tastes food, been dying to say that too.

    Also I think Damaris’ pilot tried too hard to be “steamy” and just comes off as yuck.

    • Megyn says:

      Giada has such a negative demeanor. Did you watch her at the Daytime Emmys during those couch interviews? She was horrible.

      • robo says:

        LOL, no. I’m glad I missed it.

        If the sandwich guy can turn any meal into a sandwich, why can’t Rodney turn any meal into a pie? I’m still not into the concept of Russell’s briefcase of sins. And I still think Damaris’ whole flirty, flirty, pour me yet another drink style doesn’t work. If she could act more normal, maybe she’d be worth watching.

        I do think they should have kept Nikki. She was good.

        I’m glad Dunushka is gone!

        If I could vote for a new batch of contestants, i would pick that choice.

      • Barbara says:

        I agree, she is very “ice queen” and seemingly just not nice. I don’t believe she’s capable of original thought either, she seems to always make her decisions after taking in everyone else’s.

      • John says:

        You mean my wife and I are not the only ones who dislike bobble head (Giada) and her fake smile?

  22. chris says:

    Trust me you haven’t lived until your had a slice of Rodney’s Hot Rod Potato pie. Imagine the best au gratin potatoes in a pie crust.

    • MLO says:

      No thanks. And I think that ‘s the problem with his concept. I want au gratin potatoes – but not in a crust. I want Pad Thai – but not in a crust. That pie he made in his pilot looked revolting. Very good point Michael about Susie and Bob not asking the hard questions – to your example – what if they challenge will result in something disugusting or unappetizing? Although they will probably skew the show to ONLY feature challenges where the dish could be conceived as somewhat appetizing.

  23. Tot says:

    the show is scripted and fixed like all reality show . create more drama for ratings

    • Reckoning says:

      but if its “left to america” to choose then america should flood the voting for Rodney pick the least deserving to send the message home that you screwed up and trying to steer it to who you want won’t work. But does it really matter? In the end they can just say Damarius barely won.

  24. jpp says:

    skip the whole season. there was nothing remotely interesting about the food or contestants.

  25. BethT says:

    As one of the few true Staci fans I was sorry she was the one to go – I really liked her show concept.
    Nothing really different to say about the guys. I am baffled how the judges (and Guy, too) are so enamored of Rodney. Whether or not he can actually cook, his food does not look appetizing, and I found him just as unintelligible in his pilot as every other time I’ve heard him speak. I have zero interest in turning all sorts of otherwise perfectly good food into something between crusts. I’m also missing the appeal – and apparent attractiveness? – of Russell. I actually don’t like looking at him much. Maybe it’s that godawful haircut? His face looks almost cartoonish to me. eh. And again – zero interest in working a whole show around unhealthy food choices. Finally, as other have mentioned, both their premises are just Throwdown revisited.
    Like Michael, I was worried about Demaris’ concept when she pitched it, but I thought the actual pilot looked good, and I think she is a lot of fun on camera. She may have pitched her show in terms of teaching a man to cook his way into a woman’s heart, but there is nothing in the title or set-up that precludes her teaching a woman who may not be a particularly good cook or precludes dealing with a same-sex situation. The key just seems to be working with someone who wants to impress a loved one with a good meal as the set-up for introducing a southern food dish. Demaris got my votes!

  26. Judy Holeman says:

    I was really disappointed with this year’s show. I agree that the three finalists should be Damaras, Nikki and Stacy. I liked Russell, but I wouldn’t watch his show because of health issues. And Rodney is a joke. I expected him to be off every week, but he kept staying on. Why?????

  27. Ava says:

    Rodney was terrible on Chopped and equally as awful on FNS. He wants to be Guy but pales in comparison and his ego is way too big! I can’t believe he is in the finals. Go Damarius!

  28. Loni says:

    Still so baffled as to why they gave Nikki and Stacey the boot. Both of them were so much better on camera than either of the guys. Super lame.

    • Jo March says:

      I miss Nikki but Stacy was so “bug” eyed half the time, I was afraid her eyeballs would pop out of her head into her food. And that phoney smile, yuk!

      • robo says:

        I agree. They kept telling ehr she seemed guarded. It’s true.

        Did anyone notice in the last episode Russell was still saying, as he did in all the other episodes, that he was just beginning to peak. LOL, the last episode and he’s still just beginning to peak.

      • Susan Ryman says:

        I hated Stacy’s over the top joker smile. I would have to close my eyes. TOO much phoniness and that would never fly as an ongoing show to watch. This years Star has been so disappointing. Sandwich King was the beginning of the shows downfall

  29. Saabgirlatx says:

    Kind of agree with Elsie on this. However, from a pure entertainment perspective, Rodney’s pilot was funny, fast moving and I really did want to see how he made that complicated grilled cheese into a pie. I think for Stacey there are enough shows with that mom pov. If she just recreated classic dishes that would be a show to watch. I’m still team Demaris even though I didn’t care for her concept. Having a guy in from time to time would work, but I’d keep her pov as showing modern southern cooking.

  30. Emma says:

    If Stacey was such an ‘expert’ on re-vitalizing other people’s dead recipes then why did she need Robert Irvine to come in and fix her (actually her father’s) failing restaurant? Besides, FN already has a grinning from ear-to-ear show (Pioneer Women) that’s almost impossible to watch. Russel is a bore and both he and marble-mouth, Rat-pack (“cats”, you have got to be kidding) Rodney are too narrow-focused to sustain a show. They made a big mistake eliminating Nikki who was genuine, pleasant to watch and a good cook. She was also one of the very few in the lineup who had not been on another show before.

  31. ccmk says:

    I think of the three pilots Demaris’s was the most watchable, people also have to remember each pilot will evolve as the person get’s more comfortable with the camera and what they are doing. Rodney’s “pie style” and Russell’s “Sins” are too limiting. Demaris at last can go down many avenues, she is not cornered into one style.

    I would have liked to seen Nicki instead of one of the guys, but can’t say the same about Staci there was that something you just can’t put your finger on you just know it’s there.

  32. Jono says:

    I do not think any of the three will ever make it on the air. What are the choices? Turning a sandwich into a pie, making bacon bourbon ice cream or assembling a pork sandwich for a love struck nerdsgirlfriend? I’d rather watch the corn grow. Cooking is becoming less and less of FN content. Most of the cooking shows are reruns. Any new show is on in the early AM, usually Saturday. Top Chef at least has competent chefs. These three are as weak as you can get. The whole competition was a total failure.

  33. Kent Ramsay says:

    I am in general agreement that Stacey got axed for some “higher purpose”. Having watched both FNS and her Restaurant Impossible show, she knows what she’d doing.

    While I don’t care for the TV Rodney and am middle of the rode about TV Russell, I’m inclined to think they have been set up to lose to Damaris. While some will just say “It’s just business”, I think this is grossly unfair to the guys and even to Damaris. Through no fault of her own, she’ll probably win with a stacked deck she didn’t even stack.

    Bob and Susie know what they’re doing. It stopped being a competition last year when the public was allowed to vote. As Agent Kay said in “Men in Black”, “Person’s are smart, people are stupid”. Too many people will vote based on cute, pretty, handsome, etc. Not with some substantial reason.

  34. Amy says:

    Through the whole season, Damaris is the only one that I think has cooked consistently. Her food looks so good, that pork loin and remember when she made the peach jam with a spicy twist? She really doesn’t need the gimmick, I’d watch her show to learn some of those amazing dishes!While Rodney did better than I anticipated, I still wouldn’t cook all that pie. And Russell’s show is unrealistic. I don’t have liquid nitrogen.

    • robo says:

      LOL, that was my thought too about the liquid nitrogen.

      I admit, Damaris’ food does look good.

      I think they end up acting the way they do because the judges coach them throughout the whole thing telling them how to improve, and all they end up doing is making them worse, and unrealistic. They end up as mini-giadas – ugh!, mini-guys, mini-bobbys. They should just let them be themselves, smile, look at the camera, but mostly cook something that the viewer would be interested in.

    • robo says:

      LOL, that was my thought too about the liquid nitrogen. My pantry is fresh out!

      I admit, Damaris’ food does look good.

      I think they end up acting the way they do because the judges coach them throughout the whole thing telling them how to improve, and all they end up doing is making them worse, and unrealistic. They end up as mini-giadas – ugh!, mini-guys, mini-bobbys. They should just let them be themselves, smile, look at the camera, but mostly cook something that the viewer would be interested in.

    • Jersey Jack says:

      Liquid nitrogen – poured from a ewer into a mixer with a spinning paddle, with no eye protection or gloves. One splash and instant blindness. Way to teach others how to cook!

      If OSHA saw the show, they’d have to cut that part out.

    • Jono says:

      Why not just go to your neighbor and ask to borrow a cup of liquid nitrogen? You can pay them back next week when the Flammable gasses truck comes around next week.

  35. Maria Forman says:

    I agree about Stacey fake fake smile, she was a phoney, I am glad shes gone, this season was a big disappointment, I rather see any one of the three finalist , other then a phoney Stacey.Maria

    • John says:

      REALLY, if you want to talk about a phony smile how about bobble head, oops I mean Giada, now that’s a real phony smile. PLEASE get rid of Giada she plays favorites and could it be that the only reason she is on the Food Network is her last name? I think Stacey’s smile was warm and genuine. And at least she can cook which is a lot more than the two left over guys. Those two knuckle heads should have been cut a long time ago and they should have kept Stacy and Nikki.

  36. franj says:

    Biggest lopsided victory ever! Prediction demeris 94% Russell 5.5% and mush mouth 0.5%.
    When all 5 said demeris as a show the fix was in.

  37. Tony says:

    Rodney Henry is hilarious and entertaining. The guys got star power, and they judges see that. I met him a couple years ago and what you’ve seen on TV is what you get. He is a character and that’s what people love. Are you really that naive to think stars like Rachel Ray and Guy are food authorities? Have you been to some of the places the Guy recommends? They are people with big personalities, that make great entertainment. If you want to learn from an expert chef then go to cooking school. I also agree with others that Stacy seemed fake and cheesy. Russell is weird and Dumaris is corny, no thanks. Go Rodney!

    • Barbara says:

      FINALLY! Another Rodney fan! I posted a reply to another comment that these stars are being evaluated more for their ability to be a “personality” rather than for their cooking prowess or whether or not their pilot is going to be a ratings smash. I love Rodney’s personality, he seems to be having a blast wherever he is and whatever he’s doing. And it seems genuine. MORE RODNEY!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!!!

    • John says:

      So you want a show put on by marble mouth who thinks he’s another Guy? His show wouldn’t last very long, I mean making a pie week after week after week after week after week see what I mean, yawn really boring. And don’t get me started on Mr. sinful Russel what a dork, just another Sandwich King only with a briefcase. Can’t Food Network come up with a new show worth watching?

  38. Babybop says:

    First of all, Michael, I’m in love with you for calling Rodney “Mumbly McComedyFace”.

    Second of all, if Demaris doesn’t win this, I’ve given up hope for Food Network.

  39. cj bacci says:

    If I hear “pie style” again, I’m going to hurl.

  40. Susy says:

    I have become more and more bored as the season has gone on. Now with Stacey gone I won’t even bother to watch the finale. Waiting to see her win was the only reason I hung in as long as I did. I feel like she was completely thrown under the bus. Plus her show was the only one that had any interest to me. I’m already frustrated by the lack of healthy food on the FN ( as in DDD, Eat St, Man vs Food…)

  41. gins says:

    I like Rodney, a lot. I think people will watch his show solely to see how he can turn a wide variety of dishes into pies. I don’t see why everyone on this thread is so stuck on whether or not they can cook the food. It’s interesting, and entertainment. There’s no way to know if Stacey was as fake as she came off, but the air of ingenuousness was enough for me to tune out. Russell’s show was a bit lack luster for me, but I could see him doing well with a niche restaurant. and ehh…Damaris’ concept was a little too dated for me, and it shuts out the lgbt audience..Idk I liked this season and I like the final three (though I wouldn’t have minded swapping Nikki and Russell) but I’d have to go with Rodney!

  42. Mike Barer says:

    Rodney like a bad impression of Guy. Pie Style sounded like Postile.
    I like Demaris. She came in as a lagger and has ratcheted up her games. I don’t know what to make of Russell and what happened to his revolution?

  43. Mark says:

    Instead of calling this show “Food Network Star,” why not rename it “Personality With Marginal Cooking Skills We Picked Out Months Ago.” I mean, Rodney? Really? Russell and his brief case fool of potions? Was I the only person who noticed that only Damaris actually cooked something you could or would want to cook at home? Oh wait, let me get my vat of liquid nitrogen and some bacon goo and whip up some bacon bourbon ice cream. They already have one guy who makes everything into a sandwich, now we need a guy who wraps a pie crust around everything? What next, The Smoothy Lady? Watch while I throw everything into a blender and press Frappe! Stay tuned for Soup Dude! Watch him put your favorite recipe into a pot and boil it before he hits it with his immersion blender! The Pasta Twins take your favorite recipe and serve it over a bowl of pasta! Enough of the one trick ponies. Find someone who can cook while explaining it to the audience. Is that so hard?

  44. Almost says:

    And I have lots of time to braise ribs, mix and roll out a crust to make a pie that looked much less tasty than the relatively easy to put together sandwich. You’d still have to cook the ribs, but the sandwich looked less mushy than the pie.

  45. Chris says:

    With everyone complainng about how uninteligible Rodney sounds, it…surprises…me that…no one has men…tioned Russel….the human elipsis’ …random….bloody….pauses….whenever he…speaks.

    I wonder if they are counting on people hate watching the Pie Hole?

    • Jono says:

      OK, I will mention Russell. All he does is mumble and stumble. The only difference from Rodney is that he mumbles and stumbles in a quieter way, They are both awful.

  46. Jacqueline Horta says:

    I have seen all past seasons and this one was the worst. The chefs were not the best. My favorite was Stacy. She has been the most knowledgable of all of them. I believe the network has something in mind. Out of the 3 I pick Damaris, which was my other favorite, the other two are respective like other shows. how many things can you do with a pie and why do you put bacon on everything. I personally don’t like bacon and america is not into pies since it is not healthy at all. Very disappointed they pick those two guys over Stacy or even Nikki.

  47. sarah says:

    Damaris, Nikki and Stacy were the best ones…..once they decided they wanted damaris, they got rid of Nikki in a hurry even though Russell and Rodney had been in the bottom numerous times. I liked stacy, but she was a little uneven while Damaris just kept improving week after week.

  48. totati says:

    i did not vote – apparently today 8/7 at 8 pm is too late here in California and i hope Damaris wins – the other two are just some vulgar individuals that do not bring any style to this show.

  49. Michael says:

    Damaris is fun, entertaining, and is such a sweetie. Her personality is unique and would be a valuable asset to food network. Go Damaris!

  50. Tot says:

    Again the show is fixed . Once Giada single out an individual that person is doom to go soon .