Is it episode three already? It is, and as Nina points out very wisely as the men celebrate their win, “The fall from the top is a long way down.” She was on top the first week, in the bottom two last week. Already Design Star is saying to the contestants, WE EAT EGOS LIKE YOURS FOR BREAKFAST.
Immediately the contestants walk out onto the rooftop of Trump International Hotel and Tower where a jazz band is getting down. Oh, jazz. You cute little acquired musical taste. Like hot, diluted beer on an uncovered patio in the desert. My husband loves you. I love him despite this.
Vern tells the ladies to choose one guy to join their team since the numbers are lopsided four to six (women being the first two eliminated). After a tiny bit of whispering they choose Dan, they say because of his skills and his nice energy, an infusion the women could really use. Really, it’s not because he’s so cute and has that adorable Southern accent? Those things come in handy when you’re sewing curtains.
This week’s challenge is to design a 200-square-foot outdoor terrace inspired by music, what Vern describes as one of the most difficult Design Star challenges ever. It’s an intangible inspiration, and each contestant must choose an individual instrument to influence their design. Courtland chooses the cello, Dan takes the guitar, Tom takes the sax and so on until the final contestant, Stacey, is stuck with the trumpet, which she says is perfect since they are both little and loud. Vern urges them to, “Determine how your band is going to sound in the design.” Oh dear, I sense a lot of musical metaphors in the making. If you’re taking a shot of liquor every time you hear one, you might be dead at the end.
The spaces are amazing blank canvases. The men go shopping immediately, find a gorgeous wicker daybed that they plan to use as the centerpiece of the design, and Alex thinks his work is done as it represents his instrument, congas, perfectly. Their quick start hits a huge bump when Trent picks out a Christmas tree to stick right in the middle of the space. And the bickering ensues. This tree? No tree. That tree. Big tree! For a few minutes the dialog among the men sounds like a book I read to my newborn before bed.
Dan is having a calming effect on the women as they talk and work together, and surprisingly they all agree on the furniture. He suggests that maybe he’s the missing link, and I think he may be right. Have you noticed I have yet to pick on Nina? I mean, his calming effect is working its way across the country to Utah. That’s some energy!
Flash to the men trying to load all of their furniture and materials into the elevator up to their terrace, and ohhhhh, nooooo. That beautiful daybed is going nowhere. They’d have to rent a crane to get that thing up there, and I’m guessing that’s not in the budget. Let’s hope booze is.
And then Courtland… COURTLAND! Is he really doing a faux paint finish again? An orange faux finish? NO NO NO NO NO! I’m with Michael on this one: “Nothing screams cello to me like Venetian plaster.” It’s a total disaster, I’m calling that one now. As Tom points out, he basically just took the color of the cello and fauxed it all over that wall. Yes, that is a verb.
Over on the men’s side, Trent is walking around avoiding conflict, probably because he’s tired of being nitpicked. And Tom is attempting to salvage whatever chance Alex has in this design since the original daybed couldn’t fit in the elevator. Meaning, they are designing something to represent a saxophone and a conga simultaneously. Yeah, I am so glad I’m not a contestant on this television show.
It’s a mad dash to the finish, and the judges enter the men’s space first. My first impression is that five designers all entered a space, never said a word to each other, and set up their own little installation. There is nothing cohesive about this space whatsoever. You’ve got yellow and turquoise and orange and magenta and black, and then this giant musical note made out of an extension cord on the wall. That saxophone of a daybed juxtaposed to the orange Venetian wall is a nightmare. Literally, like something you’d see in the Halloween section of a craft store.
The women’s space, despite the swirly swoops, has a totally different, more inviting vibe to it. The purple walls are so chic, so – shall I say – jazzy, and they work perfectly with the trumpet-themed wall made out of wood. The votives and low slung furniture finish off the space with a feeling of tranquility, which is what I think Dan was going for in terms of bringing the guitar into the room. The judges disagree with me, they even think the swirly swoops were a great idea, but that’s why I write the recaps, right?
And when the judgment is handed down, the women win! I totally agree with this decision, obviously, but I can’t abide the fact that Nina is chosen as the top designer. SWIRLY SWOOPS. AAAACK! I think Dan deserves a lot more credit here than the judges are giving him. He changed the dynamic and energy of the group. He even made me nice for a few paragraphs!
The men scramble to figure out what went wrong, and then at elimination we get a slew of musical metaphors: “a cacophony of different noises.” “Come together as a symphony.” “We were out of tune as a band.” Whoever is doing shots of tequila, STOP NOW.
Vern totally rips into both Tom and Courtland, even telling Courtland that his wall is pure insanity, “that a clown car exploded onto that corner of your patio.” Alex is reamed for not having any representation of a conga in the room. Trent tries to justify his part of the design, the keyboard, as the feeling of “party” in the space, and Genevieve is quick to point out that this explanation is too vague. It’s too hard to see him in the space. And after a quick discussion, Trent and Alex are announced as the bottom two as those whose voices where not seen enough in the design. I think this is valid as this room could leave everyone involved at the bottom.
Alex’s host presentation is casual, easy, albeit a bit repetitive, and he only focuses on one corner of the room. Trent’s presentation feels a bit more confident, at least initially, but then he sort of trails off and can’t find himself. Before the judges can announce who’s going home Trent interrupts Vern to say that he is just too easygoing to work with such strong personalities. And what do you know, the judges were going to say that he’d been fading too far into the background. And out he goes. Next week the men better work harder at coming together as a symphony.