HGTV's reality show challenge to find the next Design Star kicked off last night and is back in its third season, this time in (very rainy) Nashville, TN. The judges referred a lot to "raising the bar" but the first challenge was all about raising a house - literally....
The majority of the episode was spent introducing the 9 finalists and having fun with footage of those who didn't make the cut. Among the memorable were a handful of folks who couldn't pronounce "juxtaposition" (for future reference, its "juhk-stuh-puh-zish-uh" or just say "proximity"), a guy with a portfolio board that looked like it just went through a tornado, and, let us not forget, the guy who believes the room's soul would fight back if decorated incorrectly. What was up with him? We understand this is a tough process but if these were the top 39 designers in the nation, we'd be afraid to see the rejects.
Overall there were moments where we couldn't remember if we were watching HGTV or the auditions for American Idol. There was singing, there was dancing and, clearly, there was drama. But through it all, 9 emerged and they are one interesting bunch. In the mix are a few predictable TV-ready females (Trish, Stephanie and Tracee), some solid talent (Matt Locke with his fancy sliding panel, fold-out portfolio) and some real characters. Can we just say how much we love Jerome and his bowtie? And the hot cop/designer? That's one we haven't seen before. After the drama of Vern running down the hall after him, Michael Stribling is bound to be the season's emotional rollercoaster sweetheart.
Things really got interesting in the last 10 minutes of the show when the finalists arrived at their residence and, instead, found their first challenge: build a house from the ground up in 7 days with a budget of $100,000. Should be interesting to see what Trish can do in those heels...
Who were your favorites and what do you think they'll do with just 7 days to build a house? Too bad tiny Kim Lewis, who works for Extreme Makeover Home Edition, didn't win the viewer's vote – her entire job is building houses in 7 days.
And did anyone catch that preview where Vern Yip says he's more Mexican than one of the designs? Can't wait!
Need more reality design competition in your life? Check out Fine Living's new show From the Ground Up which comes on immediately after Design Star on Sunday nights.