Alton Brown gives Emily Ellyn some last-minute tips. (Food Network )
Dear Emily: You are probably feeling pretty blue this morning, having just watched yourself eliminated from “Food Network Star.”
Moreover, you deserved it. Everyone was told up front: Bring a story, or prepare to go home. And you failed to do so. But -- and it’s a big but -- Alton Brown still managed to yank out the winning essence of who you are.
Run with it, baby! We all need a dose of the vintage '50s in our lives. Figure out a way to make it work. Come up with your own YouTube channel. The audience (and maybe even Food Network) will find you.
And so Emily Ellyn becomes the latest “Food Network Star” hopeful with a unique and winning POV to fall flat on her face because she refused to open up to the camera.
She just could not get out of her own head. A.B. practically had to beat it out of her why she’s so into '50s style. Sigh. What a missed opportunity -- for the audience.
If she’d been a little bit better, it might have been Martita Jara going home this week after she fell in the bottom three along with Emily and Nikki Martin.
Martita’s time seems up. True, she has the potential to appeal to an underserved demographic, but she doesn’t seem to have grown much at all through the process. She simply cannot think on the fly. That 30 seconds of dead air time was unacceptable. ("A bomb," as Susie Fogelson put it.)
And then all that yammering about her kid sister and making a burger for her … boring. (Martita really didn’t seem to say much beyond “I have sisters. And I make this burger for one of them.”)
Nikki, meanwhile, delivered. She was treated too harshly (IMHO) for the scallops debacle, but perhaps that’s only because The Network understands what she is capable of.
Finally, in the pitch room challenge, she took her notes to heart and scaled back the aggressiveness and still served up great food and charm. She is back in the game.
We’re in for a few weeks of thinning the herd. Picks for the next three to exit? Martita, Malcolm Mitchell and Ippy Aiona. They just don’t seem to be willing or able to hear what the mentors are trying to tell them. Yes, Malcolm, you do need a POV. And Ippy, no one is asking you to change who you are -- they are only asking you to pretend to be enjoying yourself when the red light is on.
It can seem sometimes like The Network harps too much on "personal stories," and urging the contestants to reveal a bit of themselves. Until someone actually does -- and then the "why" of it all becomes crystal clear.
Yvan Lemoine and Martie Duncan created magic when they shared a little piece of themselves and their lives. Both of their stories were painful childhood memories -- Yvan sifting through the garbage for food, and Martie being pranked by mean girls -- but they allowed us to see them in a new, refreshing way. “I've never felt so naked in my life,” Yvan said. Turns out, viewers like seeing their prospective Food Network hosts "naked."
Justin Warner did the same, revealing a “joy and sweetness,” as he talked about his dad and how he got to that crazy stuffed date dish. Yum times two!
My obsession with his lips continues. (Was it me, or did it seem like there was a Kabuki-lipped thing going on this week?) He claims he’s only wearing Chapstick. Is it possible, since he is such a dude, that he’s confusing Chapstick for … Revlon?
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