17 hilarious side-by-side photos from ‘Nailed It!,’ the Netflix series about baking fails, show why people love it so much

It's hard not to love a show where everyone's an underdog.

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It’s hard not to love a show where everyone’s an underdog.
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Netflix

  • Netflix series “Nailed It!” challenges amateur bakers to create elaborate cakes, desserts, and more.
  • Unlike on other cooking and baking competitions, the contestants on “Nailed It!” often create desserts that are hilariously off the mark.
  • Take a closer look at some standout creations from the show, which returned for its third season on Friday.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Reality cooking competition shows like “Masterchef” or “The Great British Baking Show” typically feature amateurs who perform at, or even above, the level professionals do.

One series by Netflix has abandoned this formula to celebrate imperfection. “Nailed It!” challenges amateur bakers to create elaborate cakes, desserts, and more. The show gets its name from a popular meme in which people document their wildly unsuccessful attempts to follow Pinterest recipes. In each episode, the contestant who most closely replicates professional results wins $10,000.

But, unlike other shows, no one on “Nailed It!” really ever gets that close – and that’s the entire point. Instead of making it seem like anyone, the viewer included, can expect perfection at home, the show highlights just how complicated Pinterest recipes usually are. Because for most us, these baking “fails” are the best we can do, and that’s impressive enough.

Below, take a closer look at some standout creations from the show, which returned for its third season on Friday with six more bingeable episodes.


This contestant didn’t have time to cool her cakes down before glazing them.

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Elena Timman’s wedding cake (right) from season 1, episode 1.
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Netflix

But head judge Jacque Torres, a renowned pastry chef known as “Mr. Chocolate,” complimented her fondant flowers.


Things didn’t go as planned when this contestant tried to recreate a pirate-themed treat.

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Amanda Giles’ jelly-filled doughnuts (right) from season 1, episode 2.
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Netflix

The host of the show, comedian Nicole Byer, said the home baker’s pirate hats looked more like cowboy hats. But guest judge, pastry chef Zac Young, commended Giles for successfully filling the doughnuts with jelly.


This contestant created a bubbling volcano cake that successfully “erupted.”

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Megan Swanson’s volcano cake (right) from season 1, episode 4.
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Netflix

Torres said Swanson’s generous helping of buttercream frosting helped bring moisture back into her cake.


The judges congratulated this contestant for completing her cake in a short period of time.

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Dana Moon’s emoji cake (right) from season 1, episode 5.
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Netflix

“You did amazing,” guest judge Yolanda Gampp, a cake artist, told Moon. “You were a rock star. You kept going. You never gave up.”


Contestants had a hard time making these chocolate filled “hot tub” desserts.

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Danielle Ariola’s “hot tub” cake from season 1, episode 3.
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Netflix

Torres said he liked the lightness and flavor of Ariola’s cake.


This contestant made a memorable cake that seemed more out of a horror story than a fairy tale, according to the judges.

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Toni Bryant’s cake from season 1, episode 2.
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Netflix

“I don’t mean to laugh, but your princess is terrifying,” Byer confessed. “And I don’t think anybody is coming to rescue her.”


This contestant was tasked with making a dessert inspired by the golden goose from “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

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Nicole Combs’ cake pop (right) from season 2, episode 2.
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Netflix

She ended up with something that looked more like a goldfish, according to Torres. But all three judges agreed that Combs’ cake pop tasted delicious.


One holiday treat proved especially difficult to perfect.

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Joelito Nunez’s gingerbread house (right) from season 2, episode 4.
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Netflix

Byer said Nunez’s creation resembled a “bachelor pad cabana,” but Torres congratulated him for completing many of the recipe’s components.


This contestant substituted a real spatula when he ran out of time to make one out of fondant.

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Will Edwards’ barbecue grill cake from season 2, episode 3.
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Netflix

“If someone made this into a hat, I would wear it,” Byer joked after seeing this cake.


The judges applauded this contestant for getting his cake to stand upright.

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Chris Elam’s unicorn cake from season 2, episode 2.
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Netflix

To create a unicorn horn, Elam wrapped fondant around a raw carrot – inelegant, perhaps, but it did the job.


This contestant’s cake didn’t keep its shape.

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Kelley Williams Bolar’s snake cake from season 2, episode 5.
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Netflix

The judges still thought it tasted great.


This contestant didn’t have time to bake a cupcake, so he iced an apple instead.

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Cia Hang’s Marvel cupcake and cookie toppers from season 3, episode 1.
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Netflix

He also did not find time to shape or decorate his cookie toppers.


This contestant’s recreation of the statue of David came out with noodle arms.

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Toyshika Peterson’s statue of David from season 3, episode 2.
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Netflix

One judge called it “a real treat.”


One contestant wound up with a faceless caveman.

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Aaron Anderson’s caveman in season 3, episode 4.
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Netflix

The judges said his cupcake was well baked, but the buttercream was “like a brick.”


What was supposed to be a dinosaur cake looked much more like a strange frog for this contestant.

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Ismath Khan’s dinosaur cake from season 3, episode 4.
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Netflix

“He needs braces,” judge Nicole Byer said.


One contestant “Snailed It!” with this French éclair.

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Jennifer Parks’s French éclair from season 3, episode 5.
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Netflix

Some may call her creation a deconstructed snail.


This doll wound up half-naked during the final episode of season 3.

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Allison Rook’s high fashion doll cake from season 3, episode 6.
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Netflix

To see more from “Nailed It!”, watch the show’s first three seasons on Netflix.