Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Solo Acts

Previously on Design Star: 11 designers. Las Vegas. Penthouse. Lisa got the boot. Kitchens. Squabbling. Crying. Neeraja and Josh got the boot (in that order, contrary to Clive's narration). Who will be next?

Morning stuff. Robb interviews that living quarters are becoming more comfortable with fewer residents, but "bathroom lines are still heinous." Can we please just boot him now and get him off my screen? Christina sits on the vanity to shave her legs. Scott's downstairs getting his latte when he spots a note. He summons the designers and reads it aloud -- they have to meet up with Clive. In the van, Adriana is hoping for an individual challenge. Christina suggests sketching nudes. Because that's what design is all about, really. The designers arrive at their destination and find individual white roomlets, and there is much rejoicing.

Clive arrives and has everyone stand behind the paint cans on the table. Yes, indeedy, it's an individual challenge. The designers open their cans to find huge wads of cash - 399 $1 bills. They'll be shopping at the not-quite-a-dollar store. They can buy two gallons of paint; otherwise, it's all about the not-quite-a-dollar stuff. Clive specifically says that the design is "all about looks, not functionality," so we don't hear more complaints about David's pet litter rug. The winner will get to assist at an InStyle photo shoot; two losers will get the boot. The editors inflict Robb on me again to repeat the whole two-people-getting-booted thing, and I can only hope all this airtime means he's one of the two.

Will warns that stuff from the not-quite-a-dollar store will look "tacky" if you pile on too much, so he's going to avoid that. Designers measure and sketch and poke around. Josh expects to find the shopping "challenging." Scott thinks he's the only designer who hasn't experienced the not-quite-a-dollar store before. Time to shop!

The designers line up at their registers with their carts and Clive starts the clock -- they have 99 minutes to shop. Josh heads to the gift wrap section for his inspiration. Christina is trying to keep everything in proportion, since the cheap stuff tends to be small. Scott is in danger of overstimulation. Adriana wants her room to look more high-end; she's pursuing a couple of ideas so she can choose the best from either. Having learned last week that the judges hate fake plants, Will is happy to find some live bamboo. Kim knows she's good at reimagining the stuff she finds in the store. Josh can't find spray paint. Robb takes all the LED lights and hides other good stuff so the others can't use them. "Gotta win, right?" he figures. Is he clear on the whole America-votes-for-the-winner thing? Or does he just think his boorishness is adorable? Scott asks for help getting some Chinese lanterns as they hit the five minute mark. Robb and Todd race their carts down the aisles, fortunately not ramming any customers. Time's up! The designers have to count out their singles at the registers. I don't think we'll be seeing this challenge again. At least not at this store.

The designers have a total of 12 hours to work, 7 hours today and 5 hours tomorrow. Scott breaks something as he unwraps. That's not-quite-a-dollar down the drain. Todd has his shirt off again. Will is still working out his details. Josh is trying to avoid "cheap and cheesy." Everybody paints. Christina is keeping it symmetrical. Scott staples handkerchiefs together and stuffs them with trash to make pillows. Christina worries that Josh is "down." He's dealing with scale issues. Adriana has a lot to do. Scott worries that he has too much stuff. Robb's tape pulls up paint, so his straight lines aren't straight and he'll have to touch them all up. Todd thinks everyone else is "playing it safe" and he's the only one innovating. Clive calls time and sends them all back to the penthouse.

Josh still has lots to do. The designers sit around, eating and talking. Todd wears a stupid furry hat, mere possession of which should be grounds for disqualification. Scott worries that he has too much stuff some more. Robb expects to be pressed for time. The spectre of not finishing is raised.

Morning. Josh is fretting about his room coming together. The designers assemble at the workspace and Clive starts the clock. Robb repeats that he has a lot of work to get done. Clive goes around to pester people.

Clive leaves them in peace to finish. Scott uses a camera to see his room as the judges will see it. Kim creates a rug effect with rice and peas. Time ticks and designers scurry. Clive calls time and the designers all "Woo!"

Back at the penthouse, the designers hang out around the pool and Will grills. "It will be sad for two more people to go home," Christina sighs wistfully. "Like, the house will have such a sense of emptiness." So, she's assuming she won't be one of the two leaving.

Studio. Purple walls. TV monitors. Judges. The criteria: creativity, resourcefulness and the final result.

The designers go to wait in the green room. Cynthia is impressed with Todd's vision. Todd is back in the green room, cheering himself on. Adriana checks on Scott, who's sure he's on the chopping block. Martha sees too much stuff, but Cynthia defends his taste. Adriana isn't too confident either. Vern doesn't think her room was bad, but everyone did well. Kim thinks every detail mattered. Martha is looking for some pattern. Josh is worried, too. Vern was hoping for a brilliant room.

The designers return. Will and Kim were impressive, so they can stay. They go back to the green room. Christina, Todd and Robb are the top three. Sigh. Todd wins for creating a "unique experience." All three go back to the green room. That leaves Josh, Scott and Adriana. Bigger sigh. Martha tells Josh that he didn't rise to expectations; Cynthia tells Adriana that she was "inventive" but lacked "cohesive vision;" Vern tells Scott that he had a terrific foundation but didn't know "when to stop." Scott gets the boot. He's "surprised" to be leaving this early. "You make one wrong decision and you're done," he analyzes. Well, about 150 wrong decisions in his case. With some editing, it would have been a really beautiful room. Adriana and Josh clasp hands. Adriana gets the boot. Josh hugs her. She's also surprised to leave so early. She's sure she disappointed people, but she still believes in herself. Josh is warned to get it back into gear and Cynthia cheers him on. The remaining designers celebrate his return.

Right winner? Sigh. It was a distinctive space, but not exactly a room. I can see why the judges would choose him, but I'd rather see a more well-rounded room on top. Robb's room was a little stark and Christina's was too symmetrical; I preferred Will's and Kim's rooms. It was a relief to see Kim do so well after being concerned about her inexperience.

Right losers? Scott's room was way too cluttered with stuff. He just lost his nerve. Perhaps he missed everything so much that he couldn't bear to cut anything, but he needed a big dose of detachment. Adriana didn't overdo her accessories as badly, but she didn't tie everything together as well as the others. I was worried for Josh, who had done so well previously. I think he was a bit out of his element and just stumbled. It was easier to pinpoint the flaws in the other two rooms; his was off a bit, but in a less obvious way. So I had guessed that he might survive. Now lets see if he can recover his stride.

Overall, the rooms this year were a big step up over last year. They all have reason to feel proud of themselves.


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