Food Network Star, Season 9: Top Moments of Episode 5

Get an inside look at the finalists' challenges and relive the most memorable moments from the fifth episode of Food Network Star, Season 9.
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Photo By: Nathaniel Chadwick/Creel Films ©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: Nathaniel Chadwick/Creel Films ©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: Nathaniel Chadwick/Creel Films ©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: 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: 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: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Anything Can Happen

In this week's Mentor Challenge, the finalists will experience the unpredictability of live television in three-minute cooking segments alongside Terrence Jenkins, the co-anchor of E! News. What they don't know, however, is that they'll be faced with "curve balls," or unexpected obstacles that test their adaptability.

Inside Voices

Chris is subjected to a spilled ingredient during his demo, and while he's able to recover from the incident smoothly, his presentation suffers on account of his self-described "over-the-top, loud energy" that results in him practically screaming in Terrence's ear. "Me being loud is me being passionate," Chris notes.

The Waiting Game

After Terrence walks off set with an incessant cough, Chad waits until the anchor comes back instead of continuing with his presentation. "I should let this guy work his cough out, and we should start over," Chad explains. His plan backfires, however, when Terrance returns with just seconds left to cook, and Chad ultimately fails to finish demonstrating the dish.

Admitting Defeat

"It was like a total fail," Nikki admits of her showing in the challenge. When a fire alarm sounds and the lights go out, she stands and waits nonchalantly instead of cooking in tandem with the distractions. "I far from nailed this one."

Spooky Fall

"The poltergeist remark was adorable. You did good," Giada tells Damaris of her ability to recover after several cake stands suddenly fall from the shelf. "I did so much better than I expected," Damaris says.

Advantage: Rodney

Rodney delivers a performance that Giada deems "awesome," and he ultimately earns an advantage — his second — in the Star Challenge. He will decide which dishes he and his competitors will prepare during 4th of July Live, a live call-in show.

On the Spot

After just 15 minutes of preparation time, the live show is under way, and Alton visits each contestant's station to feed them off-the-cuff questions. Although Russell hopes "to keep the audience intrigued" in his explanation of his potato salad, Giada says "he needs more excitement," something he manages to deliver in a last-minute throw to a commercial.

Dip, Reinvented

"I would never play that safe route and just make some chunky guacamole," Viet explains of his plans for his chips-and-dip plate. He speaks of his smoked crab dip but struggles in answering a viewer's question over the phone. "I'm trying to think quickly and give them an answer, but, once again, a little bit of the nerves kick in and I kind of panic." Bob Tuschman notes, "I wish Viet was bringing more excitement, energy, joy."

A Natural

Although she's initially hesitant to work the butcher's stand, Stacey rises to the challenge and is soon "excited" at the prospect of a live performance. When the camera turns to her, she is "flawless," according to Giada. "She also highlighted her guests while staying a star herself," Bob adds of Stacey's on-camera relationship with butchers Lindy and Grundy.

Pie Man Makes Meringue

After gifting himself the dessert course, Rodney decides to make a meringue-topped pot de creme instead of a pie, simply because of the time constraint. Although the dish is undercooked, Giada says it's "creative," but for Rodney, the greater struggle is his speech, as he drops the word "sucker" twice in a matter of seconds.

Meat in the Center

In a strategic move, Rodney assigns Nikki the challenge of making fried chicken, something this meat-on-the-side cook has never made. Despite her inexperience, she delivers juicy chicken that Bob deems "super crunchy." He struggles, however, to see past Nikki's "cutesiness that comes across as almost childish, girlishness."

Hit and a Miss

"Chris actually seems to be getting a little more comfortable in his performance," Bobby remarks of Chris' showing on camera, in which he effortlessly explains his plans for coleslaw. Despite his newfound star power, Chris delivers a dish that Alton wishes had "more flavor."

Remember the Guest

Like Stacey, Chad is cooking alongside a guest, Farmer Lee Jones, but when it's their turn on camera, Chad keeps the spotlight on himself instead of engaging with Lee. "Keep in mind: A guy like Farmer Lee is a lot more famous than you are," Alton reminds him. Despite his on-camera hiccup, Chad proves he is indeed "the barbecue guy" with barbecued vegetable sandwiches that impress the judges.

Old Habits

"I feel like she's trying to seduce Alton rather than the viewer," Bob notes of Damaris, who once again shimmied in front of the camera. She's been assigned the cocktail offering, and while she delivers a Philadelphia Fish House cocktail that simply "works," according to Giada, the Selection Committee wishes she had taken the challenge more seriously.

Rising to the Top

"I want to go to her 4th of July," Alton remarks after tasting Stacey's platter of grilled meats and sauces. Despite overcooked pork, Stacey's named the most successful finalist of the challenge, but Bob warns her of her performance. "What you did was pretty close to perfect, and there's the rub, because, unfortunately, perfection can get boring very quickly," he says.

Reason to Hope

Although the Selection Committee isn't wowed by Russell's potato salad, he’s allowed to continue because of the strength he's demonstrated. "Russell, it was your throw to that commercial that showed us the person you can be," Alton tells him.

A Favorite Falls

"You've got charm to spare," Alton tells Viet. "Yet every time the camera turns on, you glue up and the sweat starts." In the end, Viet is asked to leave, but he's confident in the future. "I battled my nerves. My nerves won, but you know what? You don't get to become better if you don't fail," he reflects.

Road to Salvation

Like previously eliminated contestants, Viet is allowed an opportunity for redemption on Star Salvation, a four-part Web series hosted by Robert Irvine. Watch Episode 2 to see how he fares.

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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