Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

Reality show update: Rusty Hamlin in final 3 on 'Food Network Star,' Final Draft cut from 'AGT'

This was posted on Wednesday, August 2, 2017 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Two out of three Atlantans are through to the final 36 on "America's Got Talent." We have adorable 9 year old Angelica Hale of Johns Creek and Atlanta's coolest clown act Puddles Pity Party already in.

But Atlanta R&B group Final Draft didn't make the cut last night in part three of the second round. The quartet's cover of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" didn't receive great feedback from the judges after a strong initial audition earlier this summer. Simon Cowell looked confused at one point. In fact, we only heard a cut-down version of it.

Howie Mandel said it wasn't as good as the first time. Simon said the same thing, feeling it was "too high pitched," concluding "I didn't think that was a good audition."

Ultimately, they opted for a subtle pop song and that failed to resonate.

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A week earlier, Puddles Pity Party did well and made it into the next round despite the fact Heidi Klum didn't feel all that excited about it. Guest judge DJ Khaled said he was "confused." "You have a beautiful voice," he told Puddles. "Cheer up!" Simon said he normally can't bear clowns but he can connect with Puddles' "tragedy thing... I want him to stay miserable."

So far this season, "America's Got Talent' is pulling in great overnight numbers and this past Tuesday hit a season high in viewers with 13.3 million.


Rusty Hamlin, just before he was saved, in episode 9 of "Food Network Star."

After a strong start on "Food Network Star," Atkins Park restaurateur and Zac Brown Band chef Rusty Hamlin has not been able to find his on-air bearings. His food hasn't always been spot on and his video efforts don't always stick the landing.

In fact, he struggled quite a bit this past Sunday.

During a mentor challenge, he was supposed to spend two minutes with a food truck owner highlighting a dish. Worried that the man was too long-winded, Rusty over-compensated by talking over the poor owner and almost barking at him.

Later, during the main challenge, Rusty was supposed to demonstrate the merger of two pre-game dishes into one: a loaded potato and a hot dog. He managed to turn it into a decent corn dog after burning some of his hot dogs.

Unfortunately, during the live show before the judges, he started his presentation by saying, "I got stuck with potatoes and hot dogs." Going negative on a food show is never good. He also said the word "cloche" wrong, pronouncing it "cloak." (It's that bell-shaped cover over food.) And he struggled to come up with a decent anecdote on the fly about his worst football food fail. It was a bit of a mess.

Yet, he did manage to make it into the final three when home cook Amy Pottinger was eliminated. Her performance was also shaky.

Unfortunately for Rusty at this late stage, his two rivals have been doing far better to date. His chances of winning is less than great.

With three contestants and two episodes to go, it seems like drawlin' Kentucky cook Jason Smith is in the best position to win thanks to his winning personality and consistent cooking. He has never been on the bottom after nine challenges. But Matthew Grunwald, a young eager beaver, has improved greatly from his 11th season run and even from earlier this season. Given his youth and social media savvy, Matthew could provide the judges a fresh face for the network.

"Food Network Star," 9 p.m. Sundays, Food Network


About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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