I agree with the reviewer above me. Sarah is a bitch who has a semi-pretty face, Chris shouldn't have been eliminated.
Many people like to think that firing Paula Deen was the cause of the slight decline, but that is not the case at all. Her ratings have been going south (no pun intended) long before FN decided to give her the heave-ho. After her diabetes drama, and the n-word meltdown, it gave them the final reason to let her go. Now, the real reason of the sudden decline is simply the quality of the shows modern FN has concocted. Most of these new shows are game or competition shows. (Wait a minute, I thought food was about love, not war? Not variations of "Chopped", "Chopped Canada", "Chopped Russia", "Cupcake War", "Ice Cream War", and so forth. When people tune in to watch FN, they want to see programming about food. They don't want game shows, they don't want aggressive competitions, they don't want 'reality' shows that focuses on the daily struggles of restaurant owners. Yeah, people have enough problems of their own, already, they'd prefer not watch it unfold on a food channel of all places- ironically enough, it would make you avoid restaurants, if anything. However, there are a few (accidental) programs that incorporate food with competition: (Iron Chef, and Chopped). Although they don't teach you how to necessarily cook, you can still pick up on a few tricks, so that's something. Now with that out of the way, this my general opinion on this show.
While the concept is interesting enough, most of the contestants are unlikable, and try too hard to have a "Bright. Bold, Lively Personality" i . e Jeff, ( the latest food network star challenge winner. He is personable, and naturally goofy, but he's nearly jarring to watch, since the execs expect him to be wild and spontaneous), like Guy Fieri. You rarely see a contestant that is soft-spoken, calm, and composed. Emril is an exception to the rule. His personality is bright, and lively, not forced and script, and most importantly, HE TEACHES THE VIEWERS HOW TO ACTUALLY COOK. I remembered watching him at 11 at night and he would shout "BAM" and I would clap happily. He knows what he is doing, and he knows how to engage eager foodies to create a 5 star meal using ordinary ingredients.
Another problem witnessed in the search of a new FoodNetwork Star is sieving through all these "diverse" personalities that border on fake, forced, and obnoxious : the slutty Pinup girls, the bitchy fashionista, the sassy black chick, the boring guy who can cook like a pro, etc. I understand that they want melting pot of different personalities and people in the kitchen, but the most important factor is their ability to actually COOK, not who can stamp their names on the largest amount of cookware, or various utensils ( because buying eight hundred dollars of cookware with Rachel Ray's face stamped on the box will guarantee the buyer that they will become an Iron Chef in their homes- go figure).
And even the so-called "hosts" have transformed from humble folks into the most pretentious assholes I've seen in while.
Bobby and Alton are the Alpha and "Omega-3" of cooking. They own several restaurants, and host several shows on the Cooking Channel. They would be ideal mentors for a rising star, considering their notoriety in the food industry.
As for Giada...
Honestly, this bobble head- and her crocodile smile ( you can even see the back of her molars) is the last person anyone should be mentored by. She's arrogant, patronizing, and doesn't even act like a professional chef-jutting out her non-existent cleavage for the world to show. FN calls it "sexy", viewers call it "slutty". Sorry to break it to you Giada, or like she loves to pronounce: JA-DA. Ontop of that, she was already famous, because of her grandfather, who was a famous Film-maker, Dino De Laurentiis. Another annoying aspect of her is the fact that she insists on emphasizing Italian words obnoxiously like M-O-ZZER-RELLA and has the urge to zest a lemon on every dish, minimum one per ounce of pasta. (Her emphasis on pronouncing Italian words further perpetuated the stereotypes that being Italian means that you know the way Italian food should be prepared, because apparently, it is a born right).
It's unnerving how Alton and Bobby try their damnest to intimidate the contestants. I actually saw a preview for the next episode and Alton mentioned that "WE ARE THE TIRUMVIRATE, WE ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO GET TO DECIDE, AND THAT'S TRUTH" and no, he didn't "yell" that, but if you heard it, it was quite condescending. The statement implies that since he, JA-DA, and Flay helped build the the company, almost to the point of having a clique, and they look down on any newcomers. It doesn't matter if the person next to you forgot to cook a whole chicken, or whether or not the girl with the big red bow studded with polka-dots stuttered throughout her presentation, their words are final, and there's point in no arguing with them. ( Assuming that superiority is as equal as the ability to actually prepare food). Apparently , the premise of the competition seems that the contestants are supposed to already know how to cook like a five-star gourmet, chef, reality of is enduring whatever crap they throw at them ( which really is just marketing, and viewers picking favorites) . Ironically enough, most of the bread-winners (no pun intended) never went though a competition like this, and they have too much self-entitlement in their own personal successes to actually give a shit about improving them as an aspiring chef longing to host a show on Food Network-or rather, "A Network, and Then Some Food"