Thoughts going into the episode: Amy, Rory, JAG, Adrien, and Paul left. Wow. This show is going to be over soon.

I hope that Amy, Rory, JAG, and Paul stay. After that, maybe JAG and Paul could go? I don’t know. I have to say that JAG has wavered in my sights back and forth and back and forth every week, while always remaining pretty favorable. I wish he didn’t have to curse so much, but then again, that will never be put on television when it’s for real, and what do I care if he curses like a sailor in his off time? Paul, though… Rory, I didn’t like him at first. After last week, it is as though they can do no wrong. But who knows, tonight is a new night, and maybe I’ll see them do a whole lot of wrong. I hope not. I loved what I saw last week!

But Adrien, yeah. I think he should have gotten kicked a while ago – never because he was awful, or I hated him. I didn’t feel ANYTHING about him, and that’s even worse than hating him, really. I wouldn’t watch his show because he kinda reminds me of a Tyler clone, and I don’t like Tyler very much either.

The episode!

The first challenge was three randomly selected ingredients, that they then had to create into something. This resulted in Amy’s Oyster-Mushroom smothered popcorn-encrusted chicken. Paul did all right(and thank-you-very-much, Alton, I thought the clam story was TOUCHING), JAG did all right, heck even Adrien did all right (despite totally not cooking). Rory and Amy also did really well in my eyes. Where is the advertised crappiness?

RORY WHY DON”T YOU LIKE GOAT CHEESE?! even more importantly HOW DO YOU NOT LIKE BABY CORN ON THE COBS! Bok Choy? It’s like cabbage. I don’t like it, but it’s like not liking…well, like rice or something! I give you, Paul, that Lima Beans taste like awful. JAG, yes, tofu is pretty disgusting.

And here comes the crappiness! However, I wholeheartedly disagree with Alton, Bob, and Suse. The crappiness? It was totally in the judges. While I have to say, Alton does have the right to be pretty judgemental, he’s pretty amazing. But really, honestly I didn’t think that anyone did that poorly (okay, Amy blew it. Pretty hard) but they were working with ingredients they hated and they were only given 5 minutes, but they WERE given 5 minutes.

They wanted to do something with it, and on multiple occasions (JAG, Adrien, Paul – in that order) they picked something a little too complex for 5 minutes. In other cases (Amy and Rory) there was blatant camera-shy and also obviously homesick on Amy’s part. Rory was hugely over-rehearsed.

Now, watch as Amy and JAG walk up my figurative stairs. I feel that JAG would be an asset to the network for people who CAN cook and are getting sick and tired of the same 12 tips being cycled and the recipes being hugely easy. I would LOVE to see more restaurant-complexity recipes, even if it is just a 1/2 hour segment every once in a while. I feel that I could learn so much from JAG that i’m just not getting from anyone but, really, Alton. I also feel that JAG would shine most underneath the same Good Eats idea – 1/2 an hour, ONE thing and beat that thing to culinary death, so the viewer walks away feeling empowered. I also think that JAG will not shine until he does get a half-hour segment to really stretch his amazing culinary muscle. Do I think he did great this time? Well, I want to see a 1/2 hour segment where he explains the recipe he did. He should have picked something easier for the 5 minutes.

Amy, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. You’re homesick, and in real life, in real food network — she won’t get to be a stay at home mom, no, but she also won’t be isolated from her family! I’m sure her family would move to be with her, and life would be different for her. I mean, certainly other food network stars get their families. So I definitely felt that Amy deserved a stay-on-Star card for the week.

Rory also gets to walk about halfway up these stairs. I think she did….well, okay. I think that really, she blew it less than Amy did (her performance was much better) but really, she blew it more. She was over-rehearsed, and her script was poorly laid out. I think that she needed to physically run through it, to realize that she could have encrusted the goat cheese while talking about her goat farm. Cook+Talk, it’s like walking and chewing gum, and all the big dogs do it. However, her recipe looked great. I think that if she’d been less nervous (something like the Ft. Dix experience!) it would have been great. Just great. She just needed to relax! I wanted to see Rory. I think that when it comes down to, I really like her. I’m just not sure how often I’ve gotten to *see* her.

Paul did really well. I think that his story was great, and I was pretty ticked at Alton for being so ticked. Come on, Alton! Watch Giada or Paula or even yourself. Giada sits and talks for the first segment. Paula waxes eloquent on whatever she’s doing while standing there, both hands laying idle on the table. You spend the first five minutes showing amazing things like Films Noir and old sea dogs hunting for kraken. These things are not cooking! Maybe these things aren’t appropriate for a 5 minute cooking demo, but these people have been fed, constantly, that they have to do this. They have to connect with the viewer, and he was doing a darn good job. Also, I think I would eat his lima bean soup, or at least those cheese chips. Yum! I think that Paul’s performance, all other episodes and external knowledge, was the classiest.

And that leaves Adrien. Oh, Adrien. You are not forgiven for not cooking. You are not forgiven for talking, talking, talking. Why? You haven’t done anything yet. I lost it at you when you thought you did great. You didn’t do any better than Paul. You did worse. You did average and had no apologies for it.

When it came down to the final, they sent Paul up (I expected this!) and then Amy comes up to speak and says, I want to go home. Judges SPAZ. What do we do? Do you really want to go home? She misses her family, what do we do? In the end she said, no, I really do want to work for this. I want this, I just had a bad week. I really missed them this week. And then they sent her up. I was so relieved. I want so much to see the Gourmet Next Door!

Then they sent Rory up. She RUNS up the stairs. At this point I’m tearing up I’m so happy, but I’m still worried, JAG is still down there, and they’d told him that they simply did not want to work with someone like him, and they get the chance here to choose the employee. Bob reminded us here, that yes, JAG would be an EMPLOYEE of food network, and would he be that great an employee? Really? They’re kind of right. I wouldn’t want him working for me.

But they didn’t. They sent Adrien home, and I’m jumping off my chair in joy.

But now, who goes home next? I love everyone left. can there be 4 new food network shows? Please?

I am still excited for next week, though. They are going to Iron Chef it up, and guess their sous chefs? THE REMOVED STARS! They are bringing back Tom! And all the rest! I am excited, though I still feel that those people were removed for a very good reason. I am still quite excited to see Grella back.

And I think that Grella has a lesson for the remaining that Bob and Susie keep bringing up that no one really knew like Grella: Know You. Grella’s show, Grella’s thing, was a Grella-size, and he never forgot it. Grella sized taste, Grella sized portion. Amy loses the Gourmet Next Door on screen, Paul is all-over-the-place(though I love the theoretical idea of $20 entertainment!) , and Rory doesn’t bring back the Real-Food-for-Real-People enough. JAG remembers his latino fusion, but it can get lost in complexity. They need to chant these things. Every 20 minutes they should meditate on it. Or something. I think it would give them more focus and maybe take a bit of nervousness off.

Can’t wait for next week!