Wednesday, June 09, 2010

there can be only one!

Having watched the first episode of Season 6 of "The Next Food Network Star," I now offer my predictions.

The "X"es represent my predictions as to who will drop out early. The green checks indicate people who stand a chance, i.e., they're likely to last beyond the fifth episode. A more detailed look:

1. Dzintra: She established herself as a mess early on. Her eye problem-- which I don't doubt was real-- didn't help matters. In the end, her general goofiness and conceitedness will be her undoing. I can see how she might be a winning personality under very, very specific conditions, but she strikes me as too much of a drama queen to make it far.

2. Doreen: Came off confused about who she is and what she's about. I had to agree with the judges that she's lacking a culinary point of view-- a mantra I've heard over and over during Seasons 4 and 5. Her inability to finish a meal within the time constraints was also a big minus.

3. Alexis: No need to predict: he was the first person to be booted off the show. Alexis struck me as one of those people who should have realized that he wasn't cut out for this business. Back to the farm with you!

4. Brianna: I actually liked Brianna when I first saw her, but the charm began to wear off over the show's two hours. Brianna established herself as a more-than-competent chef (her chicken dish was gorgeous), but she had trouble in front of the camera, was a little too enamored of her self-admitted "split personality," and, if the previews for the second episode are to be trusted, she'll also prove to be a cutthroat bitch who doesn't apologize after tripping a fellow competitor.

5. Aria: Most likely to win, based on her performance in the first episode. She impressed the judges with her charm, her smile, and her competence at cooking. I, too, was impressed with how well she took to the camera. Right now, she's the front runner, and it doesn't hurt that she's already an experienced culinary instructor.

6. Herb: Although he's not likely to win, I kind of hope that Herb comes in second and ends up with his own show anyway, a bit like Season 4 second-placer Adam Gertler. Herb's energy is infectious, and when he doesn't have to play directly to the camera, he's amazing to watch. But Herb's problem, right now, is that he doesn't know how to talk directly to his audience. I suspect that, with a little creative visualization, Herb can overcome this problem. (I've also enjoyed the dishes he's put out.)

7. Serena: She's a cutie, and I've got a crush on her, even though she's a married cutie. What's not sexy about a woman whose first language isn't English, yet who works as a lawyer in the States? I admire her drive. At first, I was worried that Serena was going to be the prima donna of this group, but that honor went to Dzintra, whom I actively dislike.

8. Tom: Alas, Tom comes off as a friendly oaf. I couldn't help noticing that he's got a one-track mind when it comes to his starches: in one challenge, he went for gnocchi (bad choice when you've got only 45 minutes to prep a full meal); in another, he went for gnocchi's German cousin, spaetzle. I'm beginning to think that his dishes may be too much on the heavy side, making him the anti-Herb. He's also shown problems with time management and neatness in presentation. Not an auspicious beginning.

9. Aarti: She's got a lovely personality, and will go far. But she's already made some rookie mistakes (raw chicken), which will likely cost her the brass ring. I can't help rooting for her, though: she's intelligent, dignified, and cultured. Along with Aria and Herb, she's in the top three.

10. Das: I had high hopes when Das first appeared, but he has quickly proved to be a mediocre cook (compare his failed chicken roulade to what Brianna made) and a poor TV personality. I doubt he'll last long. At the same time, I think some of the judges were a bit too harsh in their critiques of him. At least two of them found Das too vain, but this wasn't my impression of him at all. I think his style is unpolished, but he never struck me as cocky. Still, the judges obviously don't like him, so I expect he'll be gone by the fifth episode.

11. Brad: Wolfgang Puck reserved his highest praise for Brad's cooking, and I suspect that Brad will go far in the contest because of his culinary skill. Eventually, though, his wooden TV persona will drag him down, unless he performs a major overhaul on pace, posture, and intonation.

12. Paul: For an improv comic, Paul struck me as a complete dud in front of the camera (who the hell says "anyhooz"?), and I can't say that his food was particularly impressive, either. Paul will be gone before Brad goes.

So I guess we'll see how the contestants actually do. Last season, I recall wishing that one contestant in particular would wash out early, but despite her unpleasant, responsibility-dodging personality, she somehow managed to hang on longer than she should have. Anything goes.



Charles said...

Previews for future episodes are never to be trusted. They are designed solely to make you watch the next episode, and apparently television producers have no problem editing scenes in such a way to completely distort the truth and make things much more exciting than they are.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been annoyed at shows that do this--looking forward to some exciting event only to find that it was all editing.

I mean, it's all editing anyway, but the previews are just over the top.

Kevin Kim said...

This is true. In fact, even within a given episode, misleading editing will be used. This happens on Food Network shows all the time: they'll show very quick clips of, say, a judge making disparaging remarks about someone's work, then intercut the judge's remarks with the face of a contestant-- but not the contestant receiving that particular critique.

John from Daejeon said...

You might want to check out Dual Survivor
on Discovery. I was quite impressed by this merging of the minds of two very different survivalists with each bringing good ideas to surviving some really rough situations. It's amazing the things you can do with a large piece of plastic sheeting and a stick to keep yourself warm and fed (green house and shovel). I never would have thought that a man walking barefoot in subfreezing temperatures would be such a fountain of useful information. He may actually be on to something about not wearing shoes being more beneficial than wearing them as our Neanderthal forefathers were able to survive and evolve without Nikes or Jimmy Choos.