Margaret Russell

Margaret Russell talks Andrea's exit, Eddie's craziness, and light fixtures.

on Oct 22, 2008

What the heck was that horse doing in Nathan's bedroom? But I digress: Despite all appearances, I wasn't the one who made Andrea cry. I know I'm the tough judge and maybe I mentioned that she needed to get over herself, but we all hoped she wouldn't give up. She was so fabulously bold and bossy in the first episode--slave-driving Serge and Shaz--and then her confidence just went kaput. Everyone empathized that she missed her family, but being sequestered for up to six weeks was a non-negotiable part of this reality-competition deal.

In truth, it was Andrea who made most of us weepy that night, and I was disappointed to see her leave. It's challenging for everyone, contestant,s and producers and crew alike. Even the judges--inexplicably dressed for cocktails, not commentary--are always either shivering or sweating, and subjected to brutal hours; taping the elimination segments usually stretches well into the early morning. (Plus, Kelly, Jonathan, India, Todd, and I had to keep up with our regular work.) My point? Top Design is boot camp, not decorating school.

Contestants should sign on only if they are driven to succeed and truly believe they can and should win. Andrea said more than once that she was there to learn, but that was hardly what the producers were seeking. She's a skilled designer and she wouldn't have made the cut had she not presented proof of her talent and promise (honestly, do you really care that she's married to an actor?). Funny enough, she momentarily backtracked from her leave-taking once she learned she was safe this week--which must have made Ondine INSANE. We busted Andrea on her accessorizing, but were thrilled she made a cheerful foray into color and pattern. Using a glittery green Swarovski lamp, she went for a retro-Hollywood look. Her main elements celebrated the razzle-dazzle nature of the lighting, but the extra bits were a letdown.