HGTV Design Star 2010 (Season5)

3 judges.

12 finalists.

Designers, architects and other creative types all equipped with raw talent, razzle, dazzle and oh yeah, sharp claws.

What is it? Well, it’s HGTV’s Design Star.

It’s back, three weeks in and the controversy is already brewing. Along with the chaos, are familiar faces; Vern Yip and Genevieve Gorder (judges we love to disagree with), alongside Candice Olson (the judge we love to love).

To get you up to speed; the season premiered with lots of big personalities.

Week #1 the White Box Challenge the first test, asked contestants to create a bedroom that reflected their colleague’s (assigned at challenge) personality. The contestants shopped at an Asian market and then worked feverishly to decorate their space. In the end, Julie  (right) & Emily(left) were in the bottom two.

I think it’s clear from the photographs, one room is significantly more developed than the other. However, to help the judges decide who should go home, a taped host presentation of the room was shown. Both ladies were visibly nervous, but one gave it her all, and explained her concept and design process, the other contestant offered up lots of “ummms, and ahhhhs.” In the end, the judges made their first critical mistake and sent Julie packing.

Week #2 Fashion Forward is when the ladies began to bare their claws. The contestants, now divided into two groups, men vs women, were asked to draw inspiration from fashion. Each contestant selected an outfit, and then as a team they had to unify individual inspirations to create a cohesive living space. Working in a group can definitely be a challenge, but when working with a diverse bunch of know-it-alls and clueless people, it can be an even greater challenge.

The men worked well as a team and in the end produced a great looking apartment (pictured below), with some unique details. Without explanation, it was easy to see most of the interpretations and deconstruction of the garment translated into interior space. Overall, the space they created impressed the judges.

The women on the other hand, fought, screamed and in the end produced a mediocre, at best space. Nina -the artist, that never let’s us forget, painted a whimsical pattern on a wall. It was too much, and frankly quite distracting in the living area. Otherwise, the living room seemed fine.  As for the bedroom, ugh! how uninspiring.

Tera, the clueless contestant that was eliminated, went home because she didn’t seem to grasp the concept of interpretation. She fixated on the color palette of the outfit she selected and literally, threw those colors into the room. I won’t waste any more time on Tera, she had no hope.

Week #3 Harmonious Design brings us to last night. Each contestant had to select a musical instrument that would serve as the inspiration for a rooftop deck, a rare luxury in NYC. Sounds easy enough right, except that they were still working on teams, men vs women. So each individual inspiration had to jive with the others on the team.

This week, the womens team was allowed to select a contestant from the mens team to balance things out. They selected Dan. It proved to be a wise decision, as not only did they bicker less, but the women & Dan won the challenge. Their space was calming and neutral and overall quite nice. The staggered fence with the foliage was very attractive. Although Nina’s hand painted white lines subtracted from the modernist aesthetic of the wood, but hey, she’s an artist, remember?! Sarcasm aside, Nina got special mention as the judges favorite. So I guess, the Brooklyn Bully (as she’s been dubbed by critics) prevailed.

The mens space was okay, but not as cohesive as their apartment was last week. Tom is beginning to stand out a leader on the team, along with Alex who stands out for constantly reminding us that he’s very, very green. I wish he could hear me yelling at him through the T.V. to stand up for his decisions and  in the words of Tim Gunn, “make it work,” do whatever is necessary to sell it to the judges.

Last night, I was convinced Alex would go home. He and Trent were in the bottom two. However, before the judges could hand out the elimination, Trent asked to speak. He explained the team dynamic and the dog eat dog mentality of the contestants, and how he just couldn’t handle it. Lucky for him, the judges sensed he couldn’t take the heat, and they sent him home.

Three weeks in and you would expect there to be a front runner, but this season seems to be a flop.  Unfortunately for the one contestant who stands out, this isn’t the apprentice, bullying is not what HGTV nation wants to watch on a weekend. This crew need to step up their game and give us something worth watching. Something we will want to watch even after the claws and competition are over.

*All images courtesy of HGTV

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  1. Maria

    Wow! A Nina fan…lol. She’s playing a character for tv. I really liked the last season of Design Star, the one where Antonio won. That group seemed more talented and genuine. This season it looks like they went to an acting school for the cast. It’s all a disaster. If I had to choose one person to watch on their own show though, I would choose Tom. He’s handsome and seems like he knows what he’s doing. Even if he grunts a lot…ha!

  2. Bob Zurunkle

    I have been a Vern fan until now. His hateful, rehearsed tone and complete overbearing voice (Speak up, ladies! You all are pros!) is making the show really unpleasant. So far, nothing good to see at all. Loved this show last year even with the ending…don’t enjoy it, the format, the challenges. Not really interested in watching this year.

  3. Alex if you are listening, never put yourself down ever. I was so disappointed when Michael turned his back on you! Michael cut Alex down to save his own face. I did not appreciate him saying that he did not trust Alex. He trusted Alex when he got the nail stuck in his darn finger. Whatever, I do not understand how the judging takes place. I have not seen any scoring taking place and I feel that this season is unfair. It would have been better if the judges perhaps would allowed each designer to been trained by some of their stars. I would like to see a new panel of judges for next design star. It seens to be a little harsh and cold.

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