Rachael Ray Show, Rachael Ray

I was having dinner with Gretchen last night when I freaked out and screamed, “I have to get back to my room to watch The Next Food Network Star!!” Gretchen just stared at me, shrugged her shoulders, and was like “Ok… freak.”

I got in just in time, booted up the laptop, and watched in awe as some of the so-called stars imploded in front of Rachael Ray. Granted, I’d probably have spent my four minutes poking Rachael’s arm while asking her, “Are you real?” I understand there’d be some nerves, but if these folks want to be stars, they must learn to be in control.

Before I get into how the contestants did this week, am I the only one that freaked out upon seeing Cory Kahaney in the first episode? I mean, really, a cast-off from the first season of Last Comic Standing on this show?! You’d think a comic who had already been on national television wouldn’t have bombed so badly in front of a camera. It made me wonder if Food Network really had that many good contestants to choose from this time.

Bah! Let’s see how our potential stars did.

The challenge, besides cooking live on the Rachael Ray Show, was to create a delicious, nutritious meal for their girl scout cooking buddies. Sounds like fun to me, especially when one of the girls said she wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and extra chocolate on the side. I’d totally want to be her cooking partner.

Aaron, our illustrious executive hospital chef, rocked out a broccoli and burger pizza. It was the first time he really connected with the camera and let his personality shine. And what do you know, his girl scout buddy walked off set with the whole pizza! Kelsey tried to show her food knowledge by having Rachael cook the eggs and her assistant make the side dish. She also referred to Rachael as “Rach,” and that made all the judges wince. At least her breakfast sandwich and banana boat yogurt “thing” looked good. Shane pretty much floundered with his chicken cordon bleu, not even using his girl scout. Lisa freaked out making a steak with horseradish sauce and couscous, and let Rachael take over the demonstration. And Adam finally showed both his personality and cooking chops with his BBQ chicken packed pita. Rachael even said “oogie googie” during his segment, so he must have been doing something right.

It was obvious from the challenge that Shane and Kelsey would be in the bottom two; Kelsey for her lack of experience and Shane for his, uh, lack of experience. At least Kelsey shows passion for cooking, while Shane thinks reading aboutFrancemeans he knows what it’s like to live there. So off Shane went, with no regrets. That, my friends, is the way to be eliminated from a reality show.

What did you think about this week’s episode? Should someone else have gone home? Will Lisa ever stop crying?