Food Network Star, Season 9: Top Moments of Episode 2

Get an inside look at the finalists' challenges and relive the most-memorable moments from the second episode of Food Network Star, Season 9.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Burger Bash Takes California

After arriving at Culver City to find an array of ground meats, plus various cheeses, buns and condiments, the contestants aren't surprised when the mentors reveal this week's challenge to be burger-themed. They'll have one hour to prepare a signature burger, which they must demo in front of a 100-person audience. Browse these photos to see top moments, then read an interview with the fallen finalist at the end.

Tasting Tokens

Not only will guests be outfitted with dials to record their approval and disapproval of each contestant, but they'll also have one token they can award to a single finalist — the finalist with the burger they most want to taste. "Which burger they decide to drop their token on depends on how you reel them in," Alton tells the hopefuls of the attendees.

Positives and Negatives

For Lovely, the issue isn't convincing guests to try her burger, as her presentation is engaging enough that 14 people grant her tokens; it's her execution at the grill that's most troublesome. Bobby finds her dish to be "a one-note burger," tasting exclusively of blue cheese. "You went from the highest ratings in the focus group to the bottom, because they didn't like the burger," Alton tells her.

Deliciously Sinful

It doesn't take much to attract the audience to Russell's station. He entices 15 people to taste his bacon-bourbon burger by "barking 'bacon'" for all to hear and telling the crowd of how his dish features five of his "culinary sins," such as "salt, fat, sugar, bacon and, best of all, liquor."

"Awkwardly Sexy"

Bobby warned Damaris last week to stay away from attempts to "seduce" the camera, yet on stage this week, she ends up shaking her shoulders during an uncomfortable moment of her presentation. "When I get nervous, I default to being awkwardly sexy sometimes," she explains. The showing doesn't go over well with the crowd, which Alton believes is "laughing at her."

Identity Crisis

Andres' discussion of men being the "king in the castle" once they learn to cook receives low marks from the focus group, but after switching talk to his experience with weight loss, the audience reviews him more favorably. "Is he going to be the guy teaching other guys to cook, or is he going to deal with this weight-loss story?" Alton wonders.

One to Watch?

"If the Betty Burger rocks, we're going to have a real front-runner here, I think," Alton says after watching Stacey's knockout demonstration. Those high expectations are ultimately dampened, however, when the Selection Committee finds her bite to be far less spicy than promised.

Master of Ground Meat

When Viet battled Bobby in Iron Chef America — and won — the Secret Ingredient was ground meat, a detail he doesn't hesitate to share with the audience. The crowd awards him nine tokens in total, and the mentors are pleased with the combination of tastes in his banh mi-inspired offering.

Tough Sell

Given her veggie-focused point of view, Nikki knows this meaty challenge will be difficult for her. During her presentation, she fails to convince the audience of how exciting a vegetable-based burger can be by using phrases like "kind-of-burger patty" and "the usual" to describe it. She totals just six tokens, and the mentors aren't impressed with her dish's lack of taste and its odd texture.

Effortless Charm

"He could be making cardboard, and everyone would be like, 'Cardboard with barbecue sauce? Ooh,'" Damaris jokes about Chad, her smooth-talking competitor. He wins over guests and the mentors alike with a focused presentation, earning 14 tokens for his fried tomato-topped "barbecue burger."

Ever a Salesman

"Just sell them the burger the way you would sell them food in any of your establishments," Alton advises Chris before he takes the stage. Sure enough, Chris works the audience on stage and later mans the crowd by offering samples and chatting with guests. He ultimately garners 13 tokens, but Alton warns him later that going forward, he needs to market himself as the product for sale.

Personality in Question

Before she presents, Danushka hopes, “This burger is going to show that I can make really good food and get my personality across.” Ultimately, however, her performance falls flat, and she alienates the audience, according to Bobby. He and the Selection Committee appreciate her traditional approach to the burger, but he adds that she isn't a success with the focus group. "When you make jokes about how thin you are, they're not getting it."

Lesson Learned

Rodney's learned the hard way that even though he has a well-developed culinary point of view, he may need to stray from it to accommodate the challenge. His pie-inspired burger leaves much to be desired, and Bobby tells him during evaluation, "You have this thing about being the Pie Man; it doesn't mean you have to make a pie every time you're asked to cook something."

From Flop to Top

Last week Russell faced potential elimination by scoring among the bottom-three contestants, but this week he's one of the top contenders, earning 15 tokens from the fans and a dish that Alton deems "the best burger of the day."

Tough to Hear

Unable to hold back tears during evaluation, Damaris struggles to control herself as Bobby details her missteps this week. Although he, Alton and Giada are pleased with the pimento cheese atop her burger, he deems her "shoulder shaking" to be "off-putting." Afterward, she explains, "It's embarrassing, and I feel like I'm just such a disappointment."

Burger Blues

Danushka, Andres and Nikki are the lowest performers of the week, struggling to fuse their personalities, culinary points of view and cooking chops into one pleasing performance. "Last week I was on cloud nine," Nikki says, looking back on her stellar showing during the premiere. "And then when that's kind of taken away from you, it's like this harsh dose of reality."

Andres' Exit

Andres is ultimately sent home, as he's unable to strike a chord with the audience, although Giada tells him, "You have a wonderful message, and I think if you go out there, you can really change a lot of people's lives." Looking to the future, Andres says, "I know that I can triumph over adversity because I've done it before ... I'm just going to become better." Read Andres' exclusive exit interview to hear more from him.

Go Behind the Scenes

Browse exclusive snapshots of the finalists and judge-mentors on set, plus get insider trivia about the show from Food Network's culinary team.

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