The Most Unforgettable Moments of Food Network Star, Season 9

Browse photos of the most memorable moments from 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: Nathaniel Chadwick/Creel Films ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

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

Photo By: Sarah Shreves/Creel Films ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

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

©Â 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

True Character, Revealed

It didn't take long for fans to discern an unapologetically brash attitude in Danushka, who would ultimately become one of Season 9's most contentious competitors. During her premiere pitch tape, she said, "I'm Danushka, and I want to be Food Network Star or something like that," with a blank expression.

Meet Damaris

On the first day of filming, Bobby asked Damaris to get to know her better. Her reply? "Well, I like to do karaoke. I'm really good at swing dancing. Hell, I can do any kind of dancing." This little bit of information was all it took for Bobby to deem Damaris "wacky" in Episode 1.

Slip of the Knife

In the finalists' first-ever cooking challenge, Nikki let anxiety get the best of her, cutting herself not once, but twice. "What the hell is going on over there?" Viet wondered later. "Think someone needs to calm down a little bit?" Nikki asked of herself. "Maybe."

New Technology

Season 9 saw the first-ever Dial of Doom, a focus group-controlled device that fans used to rate rivals' performances. If audience members thought highly of a hopeful's presentation, they'd turn the dial one way, but if they weren't impressed, they'd use the dial to reflect that. Ultimately, the mentors used feedback from the dials to influence evaluation.

The Infamous Shimmy

A few shoulder shakes and talk of "sizzle" is all it took for Damaris to turn her Burger Bash presentation into a self-described demonstration in "awkward sexy."

From Flop to Top

Given his bottom-three finish in the premiere, Russell shocked mentors and fans alike in Episode 2 when he delivered not only the judges' favorite burger, but also a presentation that crowned him that week's winner. The pattern of high and low performances would come to define his Star journey, as he often finished either among the most disappointing hopefuls or at the very top of the group.

Don't Forget the "L"

Chad was assigned salsify as an ingredient over which he had to prove his expertness, but when he continuously mispronounced it as "sasify," Chris just couldn't help but chuckle at his rival's mistake. "I love the fact that Chad was mispronouncing 'salsify,'" he joked. "The whole challenge is to make sure that people think you're an authority on an ingredient."

Not Impressed

While Chopped is revered as a high-stress situation that can crumble even the most talented of chefs, Danushka found it to be a drag. "I was just frying that up out of boredom," she told the Selection Committee of her hot dog.

Stunned Reaction

Guest judge Alex Guarnaschelli, a long-standing judge on Chopped, was so shocked by Danushka's claim of "boredom," that she simply wasn't sure how to react. "I don't know what to say about that," she said. "Frankly, I need a minute."

Sexy Script

Team Romance's Viet, Damaris and Chad left the mentors speechless with a risqué movie trailer in Episode 4 that brought to life a culinarily focused version of The Dating Game.

Chance at Salvation

The end of Episode 4 revealed a groundbreaking twist in the competition: For the first time in Star history, one previously eliminated finalist would be allowed to re-enter the competition, but not before surviving Robert Irvine's Star Salvation, a four-part Web series. Daniela, Andres, Danushka and Lovely battled in Round 1, but only Danushka and Lovely advanced. Watch Star Salvation online.

Inside Voices

Fans found it hard not to laugh during week 5's Mentor Challenge when Chris shouted in Terrence's ears. "My being loud is me being passionate." Later, Chris impersonated himself in jest, screaming, "Put the corn in the bowl!"

Waiting for a Response

It's no secret that Viet struggled with on-camera presentation this season, but perhaps no challenge was more difficult for him than 4th of July Live, when a call-in viewer asked him for suggestions on making appetizers. Instead of rattling off a few ideas, he stood silent, seemingly confused.

Tables Turned

Bobby surprised the finalists in Episode 7 by donning his chef's coat and taking his place at the stove in the Food Star Kitchen. The only mentor to cook this season, he prepared a salmon dish that the rivals had to describe using what Bobby called "culinary vocabulary."

Outer Space Spoof

"My presentation today is going to be like nobody's presentation that anybody's ever seen before. It's going to be frickin' nuts," Rodney promised. And he indeed delivered. Not one for predictable performances, Rodney began his auction pitch to a group of Gastronauts with a joke about astronauts, telling the group, "I always wanted to be an astronaut since I was a little kid."

Back for More

After besting six rivals on Star Salvation, Lovely shocked the remaining on-air competitors when she walked through the doors of the Food Star Kitchen in Episode 8, ready for a second chance at stardom. "I went home a little too soon," Lovely explained. "But I came to win."

Stacey vs. The Donut Man

It was Stacey's job to interview Jim, the owner of The Donut Man, for her team's field piece, but she inadvertently dominated the conversation. Alton told her: "You clearly were not listening to [Jim]. You were thinking about what you were going to say next, and we could see it."

From Four to Three

Perhaps the most unforgettable moment of the competition came in the second-to-last episode, when it was revealed which of the final four contestants would go on to film pilots. Stacey ultimately learned that, after 10 weeks of competition, her Star journey had ended; Damaris, Rodney and Russell would have the chance to become the next Food Network Star.

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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