HOLLYWOOD—I have always been a fan of the reality competition show “Food Network Star.” It gives the opportunity for a culinary cook, home cook or someone who just loves food, the opportunity to have a TV show. I will admit things have certainly changed since season 7. Why? I can’t recall the last time one of the winners actually had a series on the show except for Damaris Phillips and Eddie Jackson. Quite a few have won between those winners, but I have yet to see a series debut on the network starring them.

So I almost feel this is becoming similar to “American Idol,” where it’s much better to lose than to win. I’m not thrilled with the three finalists this time around. I feel like two of the finalists, Rusty and Cory, took spots that were absolutely earned by Amy and Matthew. Yes, I know plenty of you can’t stand Matthew, but the guy did a complete 360 since his debut on the Food Network some 2-3 years ago.

There is something about his energy and over the top antics that would make me want to watch his show. Why? The Food Network doesn’t have a young cook out there; someone that can appeal to those just entering the culinary world or those learning the trades of what it means to be able to cook! Without a doubt it’s an absolute missed opportunity by the network to draw in a younger audience with such a face and culinary talent rarely seen on the network in my opinion.

Without digression our 3 finalists are Rusty, Jason and Cory. I really didn’t see why the series tried to drag this finale out longer than needed. In my personal opinion, there was a clear front-runner from the start in Jason Smith, the southerner, yes; there were many of them on this season. He previously competed on the Spring Baking Championship challenge. He was a stand-out on that limited series and his abilities in the kitchen are not only catered to the sweet side, but the guy sure knows how to put together savory dishes as well. Not to mention his camera presence and you have a bonafide star people.

Then you have Rusty, who has a hearty personality and gives of a Guy Fieri type vibe, but let’s be serious: there is only one Guy Fieri. No one can match that man’s versatility on the camera and in the kitchen America. The one problem I have with Rusty is that inconsistency in the kitchen, when he’s on fire he’s on fire, but when he crashes, oh does he crash. But Rusty might be Jason’s toughest competition in my personal opinion. Than you have Cory who was eliminated, but brought back courtesy of the Star Salvation competition. It was like the guy was gone for 2 weeks; he comes back takes out Matthew and earns the chance to shoot a pilot. I thought that was unfair, if anyone deserved a second shot it was Amy people.

The biggest issue with Cory is that he comes across so bland on the TV. I mean I’ve been watching for like 10 weeks and I still don’t know a single thing about this guy. I don’t know if that is on purpose or what. Yes, he can cook in the kitchen, but my concern is will I care to WATCH what he is cooking? To be honest this finale was a waste of complete time. This isn’t like “Survivor” or those reality shows where a reunion is warranted. I mean the audience really doesn’t care about half of the contestants who have already been eliminated and playing these clips of bloopers or what is considered ‘funny’ just dragged endlessly in my opinion.

After about 45 minutes into the episode, Giada and Bobby revealed that Cory was not in the final two, it was a duel between Rusty and Jason. So this echoed what I already suspected from the start of the season: it was either Matthew or Jason who would become the next FNS. After nearly 60 minutes of dragging, the revelation came at least with the reveal that: JASON SMITH was winner of season 13.

The question now remains to what capacity Jason will air on the network? Will it be some competition type series or an actual cooking show where people learn about a variety dishes? Only time will tell, but I’ll be honest “Food Network Star” is absolutely losing its steam America!