DesignStar Season 5 (NYC)

The new season of DesignStar began on Sunday. It’ll be in re-runs this week if you missed it.

I liked the first challenge. It really threw the designers into the fire.

My favorite designer this week was Tera.

I think Alex’s room had the most potential. Too bad he left half his design on the floor.

Julie’s design was a total wreck. I think she may have been corrupted by watching earlier shows and seen how designers like the surfer dude went all wacky on their space. First of all, although this show was a white box, the instructions were to design a bedroom around someone’s personality. Inherent in that is functionality. Surely she didn’t envision her client walking around on goose feathers. Second of all, she wasn’t talented enough to pull off that wackiness.

Emily’s design was truly boring, but she was a good show hostess. Actually I thought a lot of the designs were boring.

I’m not much into the new format of the show. They’re trying too hard to mimic “The Apprentice” and I don’t know why. Vern’s “Please leave the studio now.” isn’t natural and seems very awkward. I also don’t like how the “winners” aren’t in the studio to benefit from the judge’s criticisms of the bottom dwellers. It gives the losers that stay an edge, IMO.

I liked how they started right in and didn’t spend the first hour just showing the penthouse and BS conversations with designers.

There were only a couple of rooms that were good, a few were decent and the rest were crap. This is a mystery to me - every single show has had the “white room” challenge from day one, so why don’t they have a few preliminary sketches already prepared? I mean, if I were a contestant, I would have had 20 sketches done for a small white room and cherry picked what I liked from my several choices and been ready before the challenge started; granted, there are some “slight” variations in theme, but for the grand “wow” idea, you would be ready to go.

So far, none of the contestants stick out except the obnoxious Tom, who seems to think he is Mr. Wonderful and has an arrogant edge. My guess they will keep him around as the villain for at least the next six episodes or so. Makes for good TV to have someone to hate.

I also didn’t like that last year they didn’t allow audience call in to vote for the winner, thus we got the untalented Antonio who is better suited to designing garage storage units than anything livable.

I don’t know if anyone else is watching, but I hate, hate, hate the new format of the series. These “inspiration” challenges have turned me off. It’d be one thing to have them each come up with a design based on an inspiration piece…even something as esoteric as a piece of music. But to make it a group challenge, which only turns into a "Who’s the bigger bully?"contest is only serving to stifle the creativity, not faciliate it.

None of the designers on the show, including the judges themselves, are forced to work with other designers on their shows. They run the show and their crew does their bidding, with occasional suggestions. These “show your unique inspiration plus somehow make it cohesive side by side with the other designer’s inspiration” is overly ambitious and forced.

I liked the show much better when Clive was hosting and they were given a bucket with a stupid star on it to see who the “leader” was that week. It was charming then. Now it’s over-produced and has done little to showcase the designer’s talents. Well, other than the fact that Nina can draw squigglies on a wall and Tom likes bold lines. I’d have rather seen what Trent could have done with that Christmas tree.

What a disappointment this season has been.

I’m of two minds about the new format. I miss Clive.

However, I like the inspirations idea so far. Better than just saying “make a room pretty”. In past years, the groups worked as teams, too, so not having a pre-designated leader doesn’t worry me that much. I also like how they dismiss the losers this year, that’s actually nicer than “canceling” the shows. Making them talk in front of the camera earlier is a good idea, too.

It seems to me that Nina has been the designated villian and that the new producer has been brought in to up the dramatic quotient. To that end, it would be nice to see the judges disagree once in a while. The big problem with them, IMHO, is that they have their own shows, too. So none of them can throw cation to the wind and be a total unlikable bitch because it will affect their own ratings. Better to have judges with nothing to lose if they “keep it real.”

I hate, hate, hate how the judges whisper in front of the contestants to make the final cut. Really? You can’t think of a better way to do it than that?

Can we have an individual challenge soon? And one without something as an “inspiration”? I find it a little frustrating that these people are professional designers and most of them are using their various inspirations in an absolutely literal way. I’m not a designer and even I know the judges aren’t wanting them to use the same colors or patterns the way they have been…

My biggest complaint this year is that they seem to be short-changing any final look at the rooms/spaces! Isn’t that the point of being part of the audience - to see what they have accomplished?
We see the challenge in great depth (too much) and we see them dash through some stores to get “stuff” (how much is the budget?) and then we seem them bitch and moan and create drama (yawn) - but once finished, we get a 2 second view of the room and bam - off to the final results!
I barely get to see what they have done, unless I stop my DVR to look more closely.
They don’t need to pan over the rooms for 30 minutes, but come on - at least go slowly with the camera to actually see the completed spaces!

Many of the designers seem weak this year - and how the guys could possibly be so stupid as to buy something that doesn’t fit in the elevator?! Geez - never bought anything before? You have to think about doorways, elevators, ceiling height…that is Interior Design 101!

Plus, it seemed obvious that NONE of them have ever sat on a patio for more than five minutes in their life. Most of what they did would have been blown 30 miles away with the first puff of wind in Las Vegas, let alone gale force winds at the top floor of a penthouse balcony. While it might be a nice idea to incorporate the outdoors with the indoors - it doesn’t work well in real environments with wind and rain - not to mention where the hell is all that crap going come winter?!

Plus - as long as each is really being graded for “their space”, who cares if bimbo #4 wants to paint little kittens on the wall?! Be my guest, fool - even it if puts our group at the bottom, your crap will simply let me slide through to the next round! Paint those kittens! Hell, use day-glo paint for all I care.

Nina misspelled “Commitment” What she actually wrote on the wall was:

(that semi-colon is intentional) To me, she deserved to go home for that alone.

This show is not very good this year. I don’t think the format changes have served it well.

Yeah, I was tired of Nina’s constant bragging about her design fabulosity. All we saw, week after week, was her shopping for furniture and doing wall murals that were only tangentially related to the spaces they were designing.

The room Nina’s team designed for the fire station was hideous. Dark, depressing and dated. Apparently there are no female firefighters in NYC. Who knew? All the chest-thumping about “man caves” and manly workouts for the guys.

I did get a big kick out of Vern and Genevieve’s anger and verbal smackdown. The shocked look on that team was priceless.