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April 15, 2014

'Design Star' - 'Episode One' Recap (Season Premiere)

by Mike Moody, posted Jun 14th 2010 6:20AM
design star season five hgtv
(S05E01) 'Design Star' is back with new contestants, new challenges and a more hands-on approach from its trio of shrewd and savvy judges.

Former host Clive Pearse has been edged out this season to give chief critics Vern Yip, Candice Olson and Genevieve Gorder more screen time. I'm still not completely sold on this change. I miss Pearse's breezy charm and acerbic asides, but I'm looking forward to hearing more opinion and commentary from the judges.

I'm also looking forward to seeing the contestants work in New York City, the perfect place to show off edgy, urban and upscale designs.

The judges didn't offer much insight into the design process during the premiere. The hour mostly focused on getting to know the contestants and watching them struggle to complete a 'Design Star' classic: the white room challenge. But, of course, there was a twist.

The contestants were paired off and asked to design rooms for each other (after a ten minute get-to-know-ya session) and to critique each other's designs -- a recipe for reality TV drama if there ever was one. This idea had new producer Mark Burnett's ('Survivor,' 'Shark Tank') fingerprints all over it. Surprisingly, most of the contestants acted nice and polite while critiquing each other's work; not an easy thing to do, especially when someone's idea of divine design involves sprinkling goose feathers all over the floor.

But one contestant refused to play nice, and she ended up winning the challenge. Nina Ferrer is a force to be reckoned with; that much is clear. She's confident, a little cocky and she's not afraid to play dirty. I felt sorry for Courtland Bascon, the L.A. designer that Nina "threw under the bus." He obviously hated her design, but he spared her feelings and told the judges he thought it was peachy.

Nina quickly ripped Courtland's work to shreds, saying he ignored her "Bohemian Chic" style and personality. Of course, she never mentioned her "Bohemian Chic" bent to poor old Courtland, who was later chastised by the judges for not calling Nina out on the spot. He was relegated to the "Bottom Six" along with aloof cutie Emily Henderson and Julie Khuu, the goose feather girl.

It's easy to see why Julie was the first designer to get the boot. Her "concept" didn't come through in her design at all. She wanted to create a relaxing sanctuary for slick businessman Tom Vecchione, but her room looked chaotic, immature and not at all functional. I couldn't see anyone wanting to unwind in that space.

Emily seemed a bit overwhelmed by the challenge and very underwhelmed by her own design. Her room really did look like a monk's cell, as Vern observed, or part of a strange sanitarium. She also seemed to lack passion for her work and came across as passive. But the Portland native came alive during her hosting stint. She was fun, natural and honest; miles away from Julie's nervous and mechanical presentation.

I wasn't too impressed with these white room designs. None of them had a real wow factor, and everyone seemed to be playing it safe. I hope the judges' mostly disappointed reactions inspire these folks to step up their game. The competitive drama is fun, but 'Design Star' is also about watching talented people push the limits of their creativity to design innovative and awe-inspiring spaces.

So does anyone have any early favorites, yet? I'm rooting for Alex Sanchez, the guy who forgot half of his haul at the Asian Market. Check out his awesome design portfolio. I also think Tom and Emily have a lot of potential. Maybe they'll do better next week.

(Follow @mikemoody on Twitter.)

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Anthony B

I hate the show without Clive Pearse. I watched a little of the first episode this season and it was so bad that I changed the channel before it was even half over. its just not the same without Clive

July 11 2010 at 5:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
B. Bingham

I feel that Nina should have been sent home. She is a major Bully and probably would bully her clients. She showed that she is not interested in other people's wishes on her team and I feel would push ideas on a client and not listen to a client. I love the show

June 20 2010 at 11:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to B. Bingham's comment
Frank Campos

I agree

June 21 2010 at 10:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cathyalvarez

I was not able to watch DS sunday night so I just got on now to find out what I missed. OMG I dont believe it "Clive is not on the show. He made the show you need to get him back. The judges are the judges they have to be the way they are ( a bit mean and sour) but clivey is the best. You need to add lisa laporta and bring clive back. I love this show and I know Im gonna miss him. I'll be back next week to let you know what I thought about the 2nd episode without clive. Bring him back please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

June 17 2010 at 2:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Frank Campos

The white rooms were a let down. These guys and gals need to get serious.

June 17 2010 at 11:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Frank Campos

Yes the white rooms was a let down! These guys have to get serious!

June 17 2010 at 11:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Judy Rich

I thought the show was poorly edited, wanted to see more of the rooms and the judges' thoughts about them. It left me feeling . . .just sad not inspired by their creativity.

June 15 2010 at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Julieta

Awesome review!

June 14 2010 at 11:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Leslie

Feathers!? Who could possibly think that's a good idea?

June 14 2010 at 9:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Amy Saenz

Great Review! You go Moody!

June 14 2010 at 8:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard Floyd

Thanks for catching me up! Now, I can see next week and not be out of the loop. =D

June 14 2010 at 7:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Richard Floyd's comment
Cecil Floyd

I think I need to start watching this show I need some ideas on how to decorate my house. I gotta take off that cat poster that says "Hang in There".

June 14 2010 at 9:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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