This week begins with the red team returning to the apartment without Nina, and Stacey could not be happier: “This is probably the best outcome of any elimination to date. She’s gone. Like, do you know what a relief that is?” Meaning Stacey read the note I slipped her WORD FOR WORD.
The contestants meet Vern in the lobby of Trump Tower to meet Donald Trump, Jr. who is going to help judge the challenge this week. Each team has to design a model apartment in the brand new Trump property, The Trump Plaza Residences in Jersey City. Don, Jr., explains that the Trump look is consistently about luxury, but that it has to be contextual, which in this instance means it should reflect Jersey City. And since the Trumps are all about New York, each contestant must choose a New York City souvenir package and physically incorporate it into their designs. Uh, Design Star? Have you ever seen a souvenir? About as luxurious as an ingrown hair.
Casey takes the architectural package, Stacy grabs the yellow taxi bag, Alex selects the Big Apple package, Tom takes the Statue of Liberty, Emily gets the subway bag, Courtland takes the Times Square package, leaving Michael with the Broadway souvenirs. They head out to their apartments and the blue team immediately decides to apply crown molding. Emily worries it’s going to be a time suck. These designers have to realize at this point that if their gut is telling them TIME SUCK, then the reality is going to be TIME BLACK HOLE.
Over with the red team, Tom suggests painting the bathroom blue because it would match the mood of a Wall Street financier. They talk about clean-lined furniture, and Courtland suggests keeping the windows free of treatments to emphasize the view. The other two disagree, and Courtland just throws up his hands, comparing the dynamics to a democracy. I’d compare it more to Courtland, please take up for yourself a little bit more.
After shopping for accessories, Stacey pulls the plastic yellow taxi from her bag and says she wants to make a mosaic with it, and Courtland starts laughing. This is when the vibrant yellow of that bag comes back to haunt her, and she realizes she doesn’t know how to incorporate it into the room. Excuse me, comes back to bite THE TEAM. And then she starts cutting drapery from drop cloths. Remember that ingrown hair I mentioned?
The blue team is busy painting and cutting crown molding, except guess what? It’s been cut wrong AND Casey is installing them upside down. Donald Trump, Jr. isn’t going to notice that at all.
And oh no, is this really happening? Back at the red team, Tom is painting the entire bathroom blue, including the ceiling. And not just any blue. DARK blue. It looks insane, I’m sorry, just… nuts! So gloomy and small. And then wait! STOP! He’s painting the door blue, too! It looks like a giant Smurf exploded all over the walls!
Crown molding over at the blue team is proving to be the time suck Emily had predicted. In the meantime, Alex creates a pillow out of his souvenir package, and Emily is making a collage/art piece out of hers. There’s a bit of discord among the team when Michael gripes that Emily and Alex lack the ability to see the big picture, maybe because he’s been stuck with building all the furniture. And then he calls Alex’s pillow ugly. Michael, that is just below the belt! So cruel! You’re going to get hate mail from the pillows now!
More terribleness is going on over at the blue team as they set up their bed and fail to actually make it a bed. And then they’re left without any art in the room, and even though Tom said he’d get to it he’s stuck painting the door back to its original white. And then Courtland asks Stacy to kiss his coffee mug with red lipstick “to create a story line” for his souvenir. INGROWN HAIR. INGROWN HAIR.
Time for the judges’ walk through, and the blue team is up first. The place looks really elegant and soft. The judges like the crown molding (although Don, Jr. does notice that the execution is off, who told you so?!), and they love the metallics, patterns and textures. Everything is really muted, but instead of being boring, it reads very smooth.
And then the read team…queue horror film music. It’s so incredibly sparse, and Don, Jr. says that this is something he’d see in a college dorm room. The judges remark that the implementation of the souvenirs is, for lack of a better word, LAME, and then they see the bed, the sad, deflated bed. But then they walk into the blueberry bathroom and every one of them says, “I hate it.” Don, Jr. says it’d be his job to make sure no one would ever see this room.
Lemme guess which team loses.
I’m right. The red team is headed to prepare host presentations, and Alex from the blue team is the designer who impressed them the most. How’s that ugly pillow treating you now, Michael?
Stacey is a mess during the shoot, and Tom is standing behind his blue bathroom. Courtland decides to make fun of the space because he’s so angry and admits that his presentation will not save him. And then back at the judging studio, Courtland can’t keep quiet. He says Tom spent much too time on the bathroom, and when given the opportunity to explain his choices, Tom doesn’t make any sense. Vern describes it as a cave. Really? Not a disastrous cave? Because that’s where I’d go.
Courtland then tries to defend himself, saying that he couldn’t get his voice heard, when Vern says one of the truest things ever spoken: “Some of the absolute worst designs are designs by committee.” As a former web designer, I COULD NOT AGREE MORE.
Stacey takes the blame for the bed, but can’t really explain herself. These guys are as much a mess as that room! She even admits to having no creative process here at all. And then grades herself at 60 per cent. That’s when Vern steps in and says that since that wouldn’t even be a passing grade at Parson’s, it’s not a passing grade for HGTV. And she’s out of there just like that! Without even a glimpse at her presentation.
BUT GET THIS. They aren’t finished yet! Double elimination time since Don, Jr. was so appalled. Tom’s video is up first, and he’s having a hard time keeping his eyes connected to the camera. He’s also a little wordy and uncomfortable. Courtland apologizes for his video before they even see it, but it’s actually kind of funny. He doesn’t seem angry, per se. Just a little fed up. And he’s having a sense of humor about it. Although, Genevieve is not laughing.
Vern thinks Courtland seems more natural and is learning in terms of his hosting skills. Vern says that Tom needs to be more engaging and cover more real estate in the space, and then the decision is handed down: Tom. They couldn’t get past the blue bathroom. There’s a joke in that last sentence to be made, but I won’t make it. I will say, though, that this means we get to ogle Courtland for a least one more week!