Top Design: The Weekly Dish

I'm super happy that Becky from Hatch has decided to come back to decor8 for a little once-a-week guest blogging to cover Bravo's Top Design for us. She'll be posting here weekly the day after the show, so please visit decor8 to catch her dish and to chime in with your own opinions. I would have authored this column myself, but Top Design does not air here in Germany and besides... Becky did such a great job last season blogging HGTV's Design Star that I figured it would be an honor to have her back to talk about Top Design. Take it away, Becky!

The new and improved Top Design started last night with new host India Hicks. I've been a huge fan of Todd Oldham's since "Todd Time" on MTV's Cindy Crawford-hosted House of Style, but I think it was wise to place him in more of a studio critic role for this show's purposes. Wow, I would love to have had him as my design prof!

So, the show has been retooled. Personally, I LOVED it. It was a half a million times better than last season, and at least a million times better than Design Star. The backgrounds of most of the contestants was very impressive (Sex and the City set decorator? Martha Stewart Living editor = dream jobs!). The challenge was creative - I adored that they were designing for the judges and that they had to junk shop - my favorite kind of shopping! What was funny was realizing that books by all four judges are four of my favorite, most inspiring design tomes - I glean design inspiration from all four of them all of the time! It must be hard to design for someone whose style you admire - how do you find a balance between emulating and showcasing your own style?

So let's dish. Who were your favorite contestants, and whom do you like the least? Personally, I love Kerry just because he's from Georgia and his nickname is Big Daddy. Kyra Sedgewick needs to study his accent closely for The Closer - she really misses the mark (THAIHNK YEEEEWWW!!!) and his is a perfectly pleasing Georgia accent. I am interested in Wizit's fashion background. I love to study the relationship between fashion design and interior design. Jennifer's architecture background intrigues me; it means she should have a very good understanding of spatial relationships, construction and lighting. OK, and if you are about my age (36), you dreamed of living in a Silver Spoons mansion with a mini-train going through it, and that's all I could think about when I heard one of the contestants is married to Ricky Rick Schroeder.

As for my least favorites, it's kind of too early to tell. I liked Shazia's personality a lot but thought she was weak. I also did not see Natalie contributing much, and her Pop Design concept was so yearbook staff.

Speaking of which, what did you think of the "Pop Design" concept? I really liked it. One of my complaints with these shows is that when they work in groups, individuals are not able to show off their own talents. This concept takes care of that problem.

Did you get the impression that the contestants knew much about the judges' styles? I was thinking things like "India Hicks - HELLO, do a fabulous tablescape! Think of the book Island Style! DUH!!!" I didn't get the feeling anyone knew anything about her!

Will you be tuning in to the rest of the season? In the upcoming scenes, I spotted three of my favorite personalities of all time - Simon Doonan, Jeff Lewis, and Santino - whoo-hoo, I CANNOT WAIT!

OK, enough from me! If you watched last season, did you find this season improved? Who do you have your eye on as the winner? Which contestant do you think may get cut next? Which design was your favorite, and which one do you think was a bust?

I can't wait to dish with you all! SPOILER ALERT: We'll be talking about the results in the comments section!