With hometown girls Hilari Younger and Leslie Ezelle competing on HGTV’s Design Star All Stars, you know we had to do a weekly recap (and by we, I of course mean our lovely and talented intern Caitlin). Herewith Caitlin’s take on week one. — Joslyn
By Caitlin Giddens
Last night’s premiere of Design Star All Stars reintroduced six of the show’s most memorable contestants to compete for $25,000 and a guest appearance on HGTV. Two Dallas natives, Hilari Younger from season seven and Leslie Ezelle from season six, joined the competition. Leslie seemed concerned she wasn’t the only Dallasite, but Hilari (as always) brought a fresh perspective.
“There are enough fans to go around, and I think if you’re a fan of Leslie you can also be a fan of mine,” Hilari said. “I don’t see the competition that Leslie may think there is. We bring a totally different perspective to design.”
More than Hilari, I see Sparkle Josh as Leslie’s competition. Those two could share hair products. But Leslie does have an interesting background, including a career as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and cruise ship entertainer.
In the premiere, the six designers were tasked to create a white room that displayed their personal taste. But instead of working with unusual products, they were granted full access to Pacific Design Center. Collectively, the designers used $2 million worth of merchandise in their rooms. The finished spaces looked lush and luxurious (as they should) and displayed serious skill from the all stars.
Little drama ensured in the episode, apart from Sparkle Josh’s wallpaper mishap. He used sparkle paper instead, which the judges thought resulted in a non-cohesive space. But Sparkle Josh made it past this challenge, and into the heart of Hilari.
“Sparkle Josh is by far one of the sweetest, most genuine people I’ve ever met,” she said. “He was definitely my favorite designer. Last night, Mikel posted on Twitter that I was cheating on him with Sparkle Josh.”
Season five’s Tom Vecchione created a collected and comfortable space that the judges loved, catching the eye of guest judge Emily Proctor from CSI: Miami. The judges missed contrasting color in Tom’s neutral space, but I was dying over his bookshelves and travel theme. Leslie created a glitzy and chic space, but her homemade art disappointed the judges. Because when you have access to a designer’s dream store, there’s no room for amateur pieces.
This definitely applies to Kellie’s space, who finished with a non-functional room that wasn’t up to par with the others. Kellie’s room featured a few brilliant moments, such as the open book decor, but she was sent home. Again.
Hilari shined in this challenge because it included her favorite hobby: shopping. She featured a gorgeous green velvet sofa, which she named Antoinette, and an eye-catching coffee table.
“The judges knew it was my space, and that’s really important to me,” Hilari said. “During Design Star, I never got to show my point of view as a designer.”
The winner of this challenge, season four runner-up Dan Vickery, created a contemporary and cool space. And as Vern said, nothing in that room was good. It was all great. The bookcase overlaid with an armoire cutout was one of the most chic pieces in the entire episode. And Dan’s combination of lush wallpaper and heavier metals and accessories resulted in utter perfection.
My favorite part of Design Star All Stars is that it all seems more real, especially the talent. Each of these designers truly are all stars, and deserve a second chance. But of course, my fingers are crossed for Hilari. “I see the light at the end of the tunnel now,” Hilari said. “Danielle won my season, Britany is the online fan favorite, and I’m on All Stars. Everyone got something.”