'Food Network Star' recap: Even Homer Simpson would know better

"Food Network Star" judges had that one served up on a plate. Seriously, Lovely? Making doughnuts out of pre-made pizza dough? So many things are wrong with that, starting with...

Pizza dough is for, you know, pizzas. Which means doughnuts made out of said dough are going to be chewy and dough-y -- not light and airy like a doughnut should be. Secondly: Pre-made?!?!? What exactly did Lovely do for an hour's cooking time if she was just using pre-made dough?

Even Homer Simpson would know better than that. And you'd think Lovely's teammates, Chris and the Pie Man, would know that. Do you think they looked the other way, knowing that if they fell below she'd be called to answer for such a mistake?

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Lovely's inedible doughnuts were served up as part of a clever challenge: The competitors were preparing food for moviegoers at an upscale theater where food is delivered to your seat. The nine finalists were divided into teams -- Western, Musical and Romance -- and had to make a trailer to go along with the menu.

Team Western nailed it, thanks to Nikki's chili and Stacey's brilliant S'mores-meets-popcorn dessert. (Russell was a bit of a weak link with his bison spaghetti. Get it? Spaghetti western?)

It came down to Lovely, the Pie Man and Viet. The judging panel wasn't going to send the Pie Man home this week. At least not yet. (He seems to be skating on a thin crust, though, and isn't exactly wowing the judges with his food.)

And so the last two standing were Lovely and Viet, who also produced a lackluster dessert for the crowd of moviegoers.

Basically, he whipped up berries with, um, whipped cream. How inventive! The berries were supposed to be spiked with a little rum, but the judges barely detected any flavor to them.

At least Viet didn't use whipped cream from a can, or whatever the equivalent would be to pre-made pizza dough. 

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I personally like that Viet is not all razzamatazz-y. But he has to bring a little personality to the table, or he is going home next week. Just not enough growth, as Alton Brown noted. He just keeps fading into the woodwork, even though he has such promise.

Stop thinking about Iron Chef, chef! You don't need to be anyone else except yourself.

Lovely's flub made it an easy call for the judges, especially after the Flay Man had to make like a pit bull just to try and tear off a bite of it. Her cooking just hasn't wowed the judges. As the Flay Man likes to say: They can teach you how to be a star, but they cannot teach you how to cook. 

A few thoughts on the other competitors:

--I would like to know more about Damaris. As in, what makes her think she's a sex kitten? And why didn't Team Romance play up the romance, instead of joshing with a two-guys-bedding-one-girl theme that had A.B. sinking in his seat to cover his face. He called it "50 Shades of Hot Sauce." How about, "50 Shades of No Thank You, I Don't Want to See That."

--I know Stacey has cooking chops. I want to like her. But she keeps doing this bug-eyed, gummy smile thing that is making me cringe. I wish she'd use one of those "dials of doom" and just dial it back a little bit. I'd buy a cookbook from her, I want all her recipes, but I'm not sure I could watch her show.

--I'm growing bored of Russell. His seven deadly sins premise seems kinda promising. On paper. But has he delivered on any of it? Even a little bit? Other than trying to put bacon in everything?

And, oh, oh, oh! What do you think about the salvation twist? Who do you think will cook his or her way back into the competition? It would be a juicier twist if any of those folks eliminated so far had a real chance of winning. I'd like to see Mountain Man get another shot. But only if he gets rid of that beard first.  

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