We’re down to the final two, Emily and Michael, and what a ride it has been up to this point! Neither of them can believe this is real. They meet the judges in the studio where they are assigned their final challenge, which is to make a segment of their show idea, something that shows their vision, their personality as a host and their design sense in an entertaining and informative manner. And then all the other designers pile into the room. A reunion! Look there’s Tera! And Dan! And, wait a minute! What is that? I think I see a MURAL! ON A WALL!
They get to choose a team of helpers, one of whom will be their client. Emily goes first and chooses Dan. The rest of her team includes Casey, Stacey, Tom and Alex. Michael chooses Courtland first, and then he grabs Nina. WHAAAA?
“Nina makes sense demographically. She’s going to apply to the concept of my show, and yeah, I’m taking a risk. Nina is sort of that lioness who eats her cubs.” Yes, and then goes on to the dessert of the cubs in the neighboring den. Michael? WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?
The rest of his team includes Trent, Tera and Julie. He and Emily are then whisked away to a photo shoot where both of them are just amazingly adorable. This is a really fantastic final two, not to mention really good-looking. But since this isn’t a beauty pageant, I guess that doesn’t really matter. Although what I wouldn’t give to see Michael draped in a giant satin sash.
Emily chooses Dan as her client. Her show will take someone’s wardrobe and turn it into the design for their home. She tells him to go get what he’d wear on a Friday night on the Lower East side, and as she looks at his clothes she realizes that she’s choosing Dan because his style is vintage and industrial, a style probably all too similar to her own. She decides she needs to stretch herself. Instant change of plans: TOM.
Michael’s concept is to take a recent college graduate and help them establish their first home on a budget. And then he turns to Nina and tells her she’s perfect for this, and I just had this vision of Nina turning around and eating everyone in that room.
He’s choosing Nina as his client??? Has he completely lost his mind? Of course, she steps on his toes right away by telling tells him exactly what she wants, and he’s all, STOP. I’m the one in the final two. Leave the designing to me. And he says, “There was a moment when I thought, did I just shoot myself in the foot?” Maybe he should have asked himself, did I just DRIVE MY CAR OFF A CLIFF?
Emily decides to stick with charcoal grays and cooler tones to reflect Tom’s personality: he’s fancy, he’s luxury, so perfectly put together. His favorite accessories are cufflinks and watches, so she wants to bring out the sophisticated metallics in his wardrobe. She knows she has to share design information with the audience, and when the DP shows up to start filming she keeps getting tripped up on the words in her mouth. Breathe, Emily. Breathe.
Michael’s DP shows up to film him interviewing Nina, the initial scene of his show where he works out the plan. AWKWARD! He keeps repeating BIG GIRL! Big girl pink! Big girl bed! This is starting to sound like a Saturday morning cartoon. Then he adds Courtland into the show as his carpenter. He wants to play up their natural chemistry. Not so fast, Michael. Courtland is engaged, REMEMBER?
Flash to him filming an intro underneath the Williamsburg Bridge, and he is just so exhausted. He can’t imagine how he’s going to get this done. The DP has to give him a pep talk to make it through take after take, and Nina steps in to give him the energy he needs. Thank you, Nina. That was really awesome of you. I’ll forgive at least one wall mural for that.
Emily brings Tom in for the reveal, and the room is ultra-chic, a really beautiful room. Tom is totally impressed. He thinks she’s captured the perfect blend of design and style with the right dash of comfort, and that she’s got the exact DNA of the next Design Star. When Michael brings Nina in for the reveal she plays up the surprise, totally worthy considering the caliber of the room. I can’t believe they put these spaces together in such record time.
They show up to final judgment to a studio with a giant, adoring audience. The feeling of relief and anticipation is palpable. Emily admits how challenging the experience was, and Michael talks about all the hard work they had to put in. He says he’s tried to show more of himself and less of the “hosting” Michael. Then we’re treated to his segment. And you have to admit, he’s just plain adorable. It’s a great segment, full of design ideas and repurposing shots, and he has Nina work up a piece of art to put in the room. You’ll never guess what it is.
Emily says her main objective was to take the judges’ criticism, so she plans to include more design information and advice. As her segment begins, I have to smile; she’s just darling. And yes, she’s full of pertinent information, explaining why she chose textures and colors and metallics. The room turns out brilliantly. It’s going to be a tough choice between the two, a total apples and oranges situation.
The designers are asked to step out while the judges deliberate. Candice loves Emily’s carefree, freestyle approach to hosting. Vern thinks she has a really original perspective, although his concern is that they didn’t see that great design sense from the beginning. Genevieve says Michael has come so far in his hosting abilities and his imagination goes on forever. However, is he always being genuine? Vern points out that Michael has delivered amazing designs from the beginning and has continued to do so throughout the competition.
The designers are brought back in for the final decision, a life-changing moment. Both are lauded and assured they are the ones who deserve to be standing there. After much deliberation, they have reached a decision….
The next Design Star is….
Incredible! From bottom two to winner. And I happen to be thrilled with the choice. Congratulations, Emily!