Deen Family Beach Party
The finalists head to Miami for the Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival where Paula Deen (Paula’s Best Dishes) hosts a summer beach party for VIP guests. They must provide the food for the beachside occasion and in addition to creating a dish for the party, they also create a kids version to appease the youngsters in attendance. The finalists shop at Target for fun and stylish items to help bring their family beach party to life. The final eight also perform a 30-second “entertaining tip” on-camera which will be watched by the judging table, and whoever wins the challenge receives a $20,000 Target gift card.
Last week was an ugly week for the show. There have been two contestants who have been head and shoulders above the rest, Emily and Justin. After being badgered and psyched out by the judges Emily was booted after a mediocre performance. This is odd considering that Martita had an unusually bad performance. But hey, the judges have been targeting Team Alton all season eliminating people without reason and literally changing the rules to make sure they got to eliminate Alton’s crew.
Also in the cross-hairs of Bob and Susie’s mind games is Nikki from Team Bobby. Each week they ask her to do something and she responds by doing it exactly right. Susie was particularly upset that Nikki had once again overcome their obstacles. But it seemed that her latest escape actually impressed Bob and Susie.
What Bob and Susie are doing to Nikki reminds me of the hell they put Lisa Garza through in the infamous fourth season. If you remember they tried for weeks to break Lisa’s spirit and each time she responded by excelling. Ultimately they tried to kill her. That’s not hyperbole – they tied a rope around her waist, dangled her three stories above the ground and repeatedly slammed her into a glass wall. True story.
Season four remains the most obvious example of a winner being predetermined resulting in repeated manipulations of the rules in order to ensure that outcome. This season is starting to feel the same way.
To be perfectly honest, this contest is over. Justin is clearly the best contestant this year and that also reminds me of season four. Kelsey Nixon blew the doors off of everyone that season but was robbed of the win she earned. The result? She has two hit series in production and the rest of the cast are currently residing in the “where are they now” files. I wonder if this season ends with someone winning solely to cause controversy or to satisfy some demographic need leaving Justin the odd man out.
But I keep reminding myself that the judges see hours of performance and I only get to see minutes.
Eric Lee – Eliminated week 4.
Kara Sigle – Eliminated week 2.
Malcolm Mitchell – Last week he was just fine but not great. The whole “I don’t need a POV” thing is getting old. I wonder if the judges feel the same. His menu seemed perfect for Miami. He’s charming and his food was okay.
Michele Ragussis – Last week her showing was fine. This week she was a little shaky. Her tip was iffy and her menu was perhaps too adventurous. Lots of people had crab shells in their food. In fact, her dish was so inundated with crab shells it was pulled from service for safety hazards. It wasn’t her best effort. Will it cost her?
Nikki Martin – She remains the strongest member of Team Bobby and she gets stronger every week. This week she seems primed for a run. Her food looked interesting. Nikki has struggled before with kids meals but this went a little better until one of the brats asked for ranch dressing. Paula said she thought grilled food would get boring do it all the time. But butter in everything, that’s not boring?
Josh Lyons – eliminated week 3.
Linkie Marais – eliminated week 6.
Martita Jara – Last week she had one of the worst performances of this season but the judges kept her over Emily. She needs to take advantage of this opportunity to justify the judges’ decision. Her energy was okay. Her other teammates were so strong that it may have tempered how she came across.
Phillip “Ippy” Aiona – Last week his presentation was a little choppy and again they were on him for his energy again. His food was very good. This week, Ippy seems at home in Miami. His energy was outstanding. His plate was gorgeous. A great performance.
Yvan Lemoine – Last week’s presentation was very nice but Bob picked it a part. Yvan struggled with the Q&A until he started talking about his childhood; that may have been a game changer for him. I love his menu this week. Presentation was great, food was great. A home run.
Cristie Schoen – Eliminated week 1.
Emily Ellyn – – Eliminated in week 7.
Judson Allen – Eliminated in week 5.
Justin Warner – Last week his presentation soared and his food was bonkers. He killed it. His menu was brilliant but maybe a little hot. His presentation was great. By the way, Justin’s lips are natural, y’all. That seems to be the number one thing that people are asking at his site. Click the thumbnail to see the stats from his site.
Martie Duncan – Last week Martie was charming and folksy and her food was well received. Martie meets Paula – will that destroy the space/time continuum. Martie was stressed meeting her idol but Paula loved everything she did.
Episode winner: Ippy
My leader thus far: Justin.
Dark horse: Ippy and Yven.
Most unforgettable performance: Justin
Most forgettable performance: Michele
Producer’s Challenge: Malcolm and Michele.
Be sure to check out all of the Star Season 8 contestant exit interviews HERE.
The next Food Network Star will not be. . .