The Design Star 3 Premiere: Guts. Glory. Goofiness.

by hookedonhouses on June 9, 2008

So who was watching “Design Star” with me tonight? Can I see a show of hands?

Does anyone else think the show’s slogan should be changed from “Guts-Glory-Glam” to “Guts-Glory-Goofiness”? There wasn’t much glam on display tonight. But that’s okay. The goofiness of this show is part of its charm. It doesn’t take itself too seriously.

After the Season 3 premiere, I have questions. Lots of questions. Such as…

1. I can understand why Betty Applewhite may have decided to start a new career in interior design after getting booted off Wisteria Lane last year, but why did she bring along all those wigs to show the judges? Didn’t that just seem a little too desperate?

(UPDATE: I had one reader who thought this really was the actress who played Betty Applewhite on “Desperate Housewives.” I don’t want to start a rumor, so to be clear, this contestant was just a look-alike!)

2. How did the guy who believes that “redecorating disturbs the spirits in a house” not get cast as one of the final 9? Who wouldn’t watch a haunted decorating show? “The spirits don’t like having the sofa here…”

3. Why was this guy jumping on the couch like Tom Cruise during his audition? Did he really think this would get him onto the show? (It didn’t.)

4. Why was this guy handing everybody weird glasses to wear? And why did they go along with it?

5. Why is Dr. Phil’s wife Robin on the show and calling herself “Tricia”?

I think I’ll call her Fake Robin. They even have the same highlights. See? That’s Fake Robin above, and Real Robin McGraw (airbrushed within an inch of her life) below.

6. How can a stint on “Design Star” possibly be considered “The ultimate sacrifice,” as contestant DeWayne Paul (or D. Paul) asserted during his audition with the judges? My husband said, “I’m sure all of our service people in Iraq appreciate DeWayne’s ‘ultimate sacrifice’ in the name of decorating.” (Yes, I know D. Paul was referring to time away from his family, but it still made me laugh.)

7. Why was Cynthia Rowley wearing work-out clothes? And what was with the Princess Leia hair? And why did she keep crying? My son Jake asked, “Is she supposed to be the Paula Abdul of this show?”

So those are my top questions. What were you left scratching your head about after watching it?

(You’ll have to excuse my grainy photos. I took pictures of my television screen during the show of the scenes and contestants I wanted to talk about. I’m pleased they turned out at all!)

I love Clivey (as Lisa LaPorta calls the host, Clive Pearse), with his big, oversized, button-down shirts, and his dry Brit wit. I don’t think I’ve ever missed an episode of Designed to Sell. I got a kick out of him arriving on that little boat with a bullhorn to give the contestants their first assignment:

The decorators seemed none too excited about their first task, which was to build a house in 7 days with $100,000. You could see the terror on their faces.

The worst part: it looks like they’ll be sleeping outside on those cots until the house is finished. And it looked pretty chilly in Nashville whenever they filmed it. Brrr. Let’s face it. If you’ve chosen decorating as a career, you probably don’t spend a lot of time camping.

So those were the highlights of the Season 3 Premiere. Are you rooting for anyone yet? Here’s your guide to the 9 contestants:

D. Paul DeRouen:

He’s making “the ultimate sacrifice” to be on the show away from his family. He was DeWayne Paul, but now goes by D. Paul. I’m partial to the DeWayne, myself.

Jennifer Bertrand:

She left her British hubby back home in Kansas to run their design business without her. She wears a lot of headbands.

Jerome Scottie Miller:

I couldn’t remember his name while watching the show, so I referred to him as “Bow-Tie Guy.” He is not wearing a bow-tie in this photo, however, which is sort of confusing. Where’s the bow-tie, Man?

Matt Locke:

His presentation was amazing. He didn’t need to jump on couches or hand out silly sunglasses to get noticed because this dude has talent. He built his own house, so he’ll probably be a lot of help on the first challenge. He also had the sense to wear a knit hat to the lake. I’m predicting that he’ll make it into the Top 3.

Michael Stribling:

He thought it would be funny to introduce himself to the judges by saying, “It’s official. I’m amazing!” (It wasn’t funny. Or amazing.) He made a bad first impression on the judges, but Vern Yip saw some some kind of potential in him. So he brought Michael back in and gave him a second chance to answer the tough questions, like, “Why did you decide to go with black and white in that room?” His answer: “I just liked it!”

Mikey Verdugo:

“Police officer by day. Decorator by night.” Killer bod 24-7. (Oops. Did I write that out loud?)

Tricia Beaudet:

Also known as Fake Robin. She has her own design business and seems to know what she’s doing. Could be a real contender here.

Tracee Dore:

She’s from Louisville, Kentucky, and runs both a general contracting business and a design firm. The judges kept talking about how “confident” she was. They had never seen anyone so confident before.


She’s an O.C. girl who was the viewers’ choice. She told us that she is “very, very, very competitive.” She wore flip-flops to the lake on that cold, gray day. I bet she regretted it.

So. What did you think of Season 3 so far? Did you have any questions about it that I forgot to ask? Any other goofiness I neglected to address? I’ll keep recapping the episodes if you guys keep watching and want to talk about them. If not, I’ll just make my husband discuss them with me. It’s your call.

P.S. Did anyone watch the much-hyped “Property Virgins” show that aired directly after the “Design Star” premiere? I did. The first-time home buyers on that episode were looking at houses in Maineville, Ohio, which is a suburb not too far from mine. I thought they always filmed that show in Canada, so I was surprised to learn that they had been right up the road from here!

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Bonnie June 9, 2008 at 8:18 am

Hey, Julia! I’m right there with you on HGTV. Unfortunately, the last several minutes of the show got locally blacked out by ANOTHER tornado warning, so I didn’t get to see Clive announce the challenge, though it was pretty apparent what it was going to be. Also, I didn’t see the teams get picked.
Property Virgins: it’s a Canadian show, but they film it in different cities from time to time. I’ve seen it set in Texas once. Last night’s show was run of the mill — those virgins weren’t bad. Some shows, the virgins are so whiny and unrealistic and just plain WEIRD that you wonder how the real estate person can stand her job.

Marie June 9, 2008 at 8:53 am

Oh my gosh, Julia…you are too funny today! I TOTALLY watched the show last night. So far I’m NOT rooting for Tracee or Michael. (Or D. Paul…lmao) But I reallllllllly like Matt. Dh and I were both WOWED with his presentation. That was awesome!

Property Virgins started a few months ago- back around when we bought our house. I remember thinking “it’s a SIGN!” ha ha Anyhooo… a few months ago she was also in Texas for a few shows. I liked that I could relate to the houses in Texas (and the prices) much more than the ones in Canada. I don’t like how the host always tries to talk these virgins into spending the maximum they are borrowing from the bank. Umm…not everyone wants to be house poor, lady. Last night she didn’t do that- for once. I like how the host says “house” too… Hoose. So Canadian.

Anyway. :o)

Jrizzo June 9, 2008 at 8:57 am

I watched most of it… why are they freaking out.? Pa Ingalls built houses in a week by HIMSELF and he had a cut down the wood. with $100,000 don’t you think they’d hire constuction workers and then be thrifty with decorating as we know can all be done? That’s the design star show I want to see. All thrift stores, nothing else. There’s a real challenge!
Oh, I saw the ad for P.V. Hate the name. When did HGTV beccome the real estate channel? ;) Jen R

Donna June 9, 2008 at 8:58 am

We had severe thunder & lightning last night here in northern NJ, of course it began at 8:58, just minutes before Design Star. I can’t believe I missed the first show! I have looked on the web to see if they were re-airing it but haven’t found a thing. Do you know if I can catch this episode prior to next Sunday’s episode 2? Thanx!

P.S. I did manage to see Property Virgins! Fun website!

Amy June 9, 2008 at 10:47 am

After proclaiming my love for the show I totally forgot about it and decided to mow the lawn- gasp! I remembered when there were 7 minutes left but have opted to not watch it since I can catch it on demand. I hope that I love it as much as I did the last two years. I really wish I’d known they were in Nashville…

JLB June 9, 2008 at 11:09 am

Hi Julia,
That cop/decorator is my favorite because he seems to possess the most incredible body err….i mean body of experience with all the home renovations he has done. I cannot believe the “I’m amazing” guy got on. He is not amazing he is on drugs or something. So far I am rooting for the guy who built his own house and the cop.The girls allseem the same to me except for the one who is married to the brit.
I loved when two of the contestants nailed the boards to the table..too funny.
I think they are going to have a lot of challenges witht the first assignement. Too many chiefs and no enough indians. How are you supposed to get 9 decorators to work together?
Crazy concept!!!!!

JLB June 9, 2008 at 11:11 am

ok so there are at least 50 typos in my comments…sorry.

p.s. I never knew decorators had to make the ultimate sacrifice…..who knew

Diana June 9, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Thanks for the reminder – I’ll have to watch! I was a top design fan, so maybe I can get into this one too.

Melanie June 9, 2008 at 12:47 pm

OK, I DVR’d it last night, and just watched it so I could comment with the best of Y’all. I am all about that cop..(if my husband thought i was ooogling the firemen who came to change our smoke detector batteries, he ain’t seen nothing yet!) I also like the guy with the slide board (Matt). I also noticed that HGTV will be airing this episode daily this week, so if you missed it you can watch again. I went ahead and set the DVR for the series. I hate the name of the PV show, so I refuse to watch it, although I might have watched it if I knew it was in Ohio. I know that HGTV shot some Curb Appeal shows here last summer, because one of the homeowners works with my husband

Melinda June 9, 2008 at 1:58 pm

OK did you see Vern “Yip” when the cop pulled out the handcuffs! Sorry, I just had to make the pun! I’m rooting for him & the guy who built his own house. The fake Robin seems to know what she’s doing.

What a shame to tout Cincinnati for “Property Virgins ” and then show the North Burbs (yawn).

Liz June 9, 2008 at 4:37 pm

You mean you can get firemen to change your smoke detector batteries? How do you arrange for this to happen? Do you just dial 911, because I think I’d like to have this service.

I’m at my boyfriend’s Seattle apartment that is decorated with African batik, wood carvings, and a wall clock shaped like Zimbabwe. In this decorator’s wasteland, there iis no cable, so I did not get to see this ep and after reading your synopsis and the comments, I’m making a vow NOT to watch this show (maybe I’ll cave for the finale) and instead read the synopsis and banter here. My theory is I’ll get all the joy with none of the annoying HGTV repetition of what JUST happened and what is GOING TO happen, which generally meanas whatever show I’m watching has only about 15 minutes of substance. I love my HGTV, but they do waste the time.

And now, back to my own little corner of Pacific Northwestern Zimbabwe.

courtney @ nesting instincts June 9, 2008 at 5:39 pm

I love your synopsis, Julia, and I totally agree with all of it. The guy who called himself officially amazing was officially a disaster, poor guy. He must have great talent for the judges to choose him, because even after his second interview with them I never felt he was able to articulate good answers to the questions. I was definitely left with lots of questions and wanting MORE since we haven’t seen them actually design anything yet. Baby steps to Sunday, baby steps to Sunday….

Tori June 9, 2008 at 6:30 pm

I love this post, you dumped an extra cup or two of
personality in it. I must say that I didn’t watch design
star, but right now I feel like I did. It looks like some of
the contestants gave out the, I am acting like an idiot
and I am going to make you feel embarrassed for me
feeling. Yuck! I hope people don’t ever feel that way
about me. lol.

Pat June 9, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Hi Julia
Yes, we watched the show. I had a HUH? moment when D said he was making the ultimate sacrifice. I like Matt Locke, because I believe he has talent and I like his name…being the Andy Griffith fan, I am. I can’t resist those reruns!

Next episode is just before the new Rate My Space show. We’re watching out of curisosity, because we were contacted about doing an episode as inspiration for a makeover. For various reasons, we declined, but want to see what the show is all about.

I can’t wait to see the house the guys construct. This will definitely be fun.

Dan June 9, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Just responding to the PS: “The first-time home buyers on that episode were looking at houses in Maineville, Ohio, which is a suburb not too far from mine.” Guess what….my house was on the show! It’s on Woolstone Court. HGTV came out last summer 2007 to do some filming in the neighborhood. The crew was out in front of our home. We thought maybe it was for “Curb Appeal”. Pretty cool!

Mamacita June 9, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Man, I missed it! But boy, Fake Robin sure does look like real Robin! By the way, I heart “Designed to Sell”, too.

Ann June 10, 2008 at 12:18 pm

I love HGTV and of course watched the show. I am surprised there were few finalists than last season, but I am definitely pulling for Jennifer from Kansas. I don’t know her, but I am also from Olathe,Kansas, gotta cheer on the home team. I also like Matt and the cop. Please let Michael “I’m amazing” be the first to get his show cancelled!

kathy June 15, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Does anyone know the episode name to property virgins that was filmed in maineville ohio. my house was also on that show and I would love to see it.

Rachel August 2, 2008 at 2:08 am


Just to warn people who may have missed the last few episodes.

You were totally on the money about Mike! I didn’t know Stephanie was a viewers choice person! That’s interesting. I actually didn’t watch the first episode of Design Star. It was kind of boring, but not when you wrote about it! You’re quite funny. :D

Rachel August 4, 2008 at 10:01 pm

Actually, that was much of a spoiler. XD

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