She Said: Design Star
( This review contains spoilers)
As many of you know I really enjoy reality competition shows. I have a love/hate relationship with home shows right now. I don’t like where we live at all and want to have a lovely home where I can do projects and decorate. Since I can’t really decorate and fix up this dreadful place, I sometimes I hate to see home shows because it makes me sad. But, when I can stay hopeful I really enjoy thinking about the kind of house we will be able to have someday and how I will decorate it. Design Star (airing Tuesdays at 9:00 Eastern) attempts to interest the viewer in discovering the next generation of home experts but doesn’t do a very good job at it.
The concept of the show is pretty basic. A bunch of people (most of whom are interior designers) compete in weekly challenges to win a show on HGTV. There really haven’t been any tricky or unexpected elements so far. The judges on this show are Vern Yip and Genevieve Gorder. I have loved both Vern and Genevieve for years because I used to be a huge Trading Spaces fan (anyone remember that show?) and it’s always a treat to see them on a design show.
There are quite a few contestants on the show and they are sometimes hard to keep up with or remember. Thus far here are my impressions
Bex has a great eye for making unique pieces and I love her personality. She also has great taste in vintage clothing!
Britany has a really eye-catching graphic style but I was worried that she needed a lot of counsel to bring her design together in the second episode.
Rachel is someone to watch out for because the judges love her and she has a wide variety of skills. I love the idea of a home improvement host who can paint, work with wood and draw fashion art.
Luca is conceited and not talented at all in my opinion.
Stanley is rude, too. I don’t like his attitude. He’s terrible on camera. While his white room project from the second episode was crazy and very original it’s just not anything I would care to see again.
In the first week the designers were asked decorate the house that they will be living in and sharing. At this point who did what kind of escapes my memory except for the room with the collage. Stanley and some very taste impaired designer created some game room fiasco with roller-skating rink colors and a hideous wall collage. I wasn’t surprised or sad to the see lady who designed and implemented the collage sent packing.
This week (the second week) the designers were given a challenge to turn a white room and some basic accessories into something gorgeous. Danielle did a great job making a room that was unique but frankly would make me claustrophobic. Rachel designed an awesome room full of color and texture. The judges gave her a hard time for a pair of ceramic owls she used for decoration but I thought they were cute. And she did so much great work painting that room and creating a beautiful piece of fashion artwork. Luca made a hideous room with terrible accessories. Hilari’s room was painted beautiful but all of her “bling style” details were so poorly done (and what was with that giant ceramic turtle). The gentleman who was sent home just painted some bamboo furniture and made his room look like the waiting area of a bad Asian restaurant. Boring! I was most excited about the guest judge Rob Van Winkle (Vanilla Ice) and he was actually the most interesting part of the show.
I really don’t like this show and that disappoints me. I would like to like it but I can’t. The host really gets on my nerves with his faces and inflections. I think that most of the contestants are boring and hard to keep straight in my mind. The show just isn’t able to get me to invest in it or the designers. It’s a fine show but I think I can find better uses for my time.
He Said Design Star
I love professional reality competition shows. I can’t get enough of Top Chef and the like. I really enjoy watching people ply their trade before a national audience, even if the challenges do tend to over exaggerate circumstances that exist in the real world. It’s weird then, that two episodes in, I’m still not that interested in it.
Design Star pits people of various backgrounds against each other in various design challenges, with some camera work included. The winner gets to host a show on HGTV, much like the host/mentor David Broomstead. The judging panel is only two people this season, Vern Yip and Genevieve Gorder, originally of Trading Spaces fame.
Some of the contestants taste I like, and some I strongly dislike (Stanley, who also has no camera presence can go home any time). I’m really bugged by the eliminations so far. And not annoyed like I am that Eric went home on Food Network Star. I’m truly bothered by these picks. Early losers in this kind of show are typically people that you can look at and have no business being on the show. In the first episode, Yuki didn’t like her mural in the side of the room that she got sent home for. But it was all she could get crammed into the artistic vision of her partner Stanley (I really don’t like his design). In the second challenge, Jordan got sent home for not constructing enough of what went into his room. This is something Jordan saw early, and knew would be his downfall, and tried to change, but couldn’t. I really liked him. At least knowing what you did wrong could keep you safe in the early rounds of other shows, especially when other contestants are of dubious talent and taste levels.
I’m also really not a fan of the macho posturing of Stanley and Luca. They’re both “dudes” from Pittsburgh with a background in industrial design, not that girly in home stuff. I don’t think any particular profession means you have to have any particular kind of personality (Ronnie “the gear head” is showing us that on Breaking Pointe), but I think these guys are going too over the top with their machismo to prove that they’re not girly men (much like Ronnie). I see a lot of potential here, and I am enjoying some of the designs that are coming out of this season so far. But I haven’t quite connected with it yet. I’ll keep going for a few episodes, but this one is on thin ice with me.