HGTV Next Design Star: I want my mommy!

This is my third season of watching Design Star and I have to say I am totally confused with what the judges are looking for this season. Maybe if they had a clear idea of how they are going to judge and informed us, we’d all be on the same page.

Let’s take this weeks challenge. Seven designers were each given a white room to show their design savvy. The catch, it had to have a worldly theme. Six of the designers were assigned one of the following countries: Italy, Thailand or Mexico. One designer had the option of picking any country. Sounds like a fun project, doesn’t it? Not so fast.

Since this is a show for entertainment purposes, the designers had more challenges thrown into the mix.

1. They had exactly twelve hours to design, shop and create their space from the moment they were told ‘time starts now’. No prep time to look over the space and really think about it. They had to go with the first thing that popped into their heads.

2. They were each given $500 and allowed to shop at one store. Now if it had been a pier1 store, one of my favorite stores, this would not seem like a negative. But the store they were limited to was an arts and crafts store with a limited selection of international themed items.

3. They had to use furniture provided which was very contemporary. With more time and access to things like a sewing machine these pieces could have added something to the overall theme, but that was not the case.
Featured Furniture

As you can imagine, none of the rooms had the wow factor. Most were minimalistic, playing it safe.

You can see the results here: Design Star

Here’s where the confusion starts. Do the judges want functional rooms viewers can replicate at home, rooms that will photograph well, or rooms that show amazing artistic vision? No one knows, not even the judges. I think it’s a case of, we’ll know when we see it.

Again the discussion among the judges before elimination had them referring to someone’s style as ‘grandma’ and tacky. Only one room really captured a worldly flavor and even that room was not authentic to the country intended.

The bottom three…

Michael Stribling designed a modern Spanish club theme. If you google you will find that he was right on the money with his design. However, it did not capture the Spanish culture which was the task. Michael has not had a failed space until this week.

Matt Locke designed an abstract vision of Thailand that was a high concept idea that didn’t work out. That’s the problem with the judges comment ‘Go big or go home’. Sometimes going big can be a disaster and could send you home anyway. Matt has been highly praised until this week. Many believe he is the designer to beat.

Tracee Dore designed a romantic Italian space that was heavy on the theatrical. One judge said it was very cartoonish and another said he really hated it. Tracee has been in the bottom three the last two weeks of this competition.

Sooo, who goes home. Surprise! It’s not the worst designer on the show. This week Michael’s show was cancelled.

July 1, 2008 I Written By

Who Else Wants HGTV’s Next Design Star to Be About Design and Not Drama?

I am disappointed that the producers of Next Design Star are going in the direction of so many other reality type programs. The only drama I care about is in the designs themselves, not personality clashes. If I could send a message to the participants of this show it would be: Remember that unlike most reality show participants looking for fifteen minutes of fame, you are professionals. No matter what happens on this show, you have to return to the professional world of design when it’s over. All the instigating, crying and fighting may decide winners and losers well beyond this show.

Now on to the show. Challenge two had eight designers divided up into four teams. Each team had an identical room that was quite large. Of the four rooms I found Matt and Michael’s black living room the best from a visual stand point. With more creative lighting and accessories to brighten the room it could be fabulous.

My least favorite room was Tracee and Jennifer’s eclectic room. That room was wrong on so many levels. Seriously, I think anyone watching this show could have created something more interesting than that.

About the eliminations…Right before we left the judges for a commercial break, judge Cynthia said “She has no design style as far as I am concerned”. It sounded like the others agreed. I don’t know which ‘she’ they were referring to but she’s still on the show. D. Paul was sent home which has me confused. His only mistake was underestimating the amount of time he had, which is something that can be easily fixed for future challenges. Definitely easier than developing a design style overnight! Anyone else surprised by this elimination?


June 27, 2008 I Written By