J. Ben Bourgeois: "Do Your Thing!"

Guest Judge J. Ben Bourgeois reveals the vital ingredient of a successful party.


I'm plugging in today - the day after the show -- because I was in Las Vegas throwing a big event. We did the launch of the new movie of Hairspray for about 3000 people. It was really fun and exciting. It's going to be a big summer movie.


For this challenge, we didn't know any of the criteria until afterwards. We arrived at the parties as just a guest and not an event professional. We didn't know what they had tried to do.

One of the tents was very clearly together and the other sort of fell apart. But with their budgets and time restraints, I understand. Plus, it was a collaborative effort and that really is difficult.

The bouncer was a good idea. Was it clever? No, not really because you see it all the time. But it was clever to include.



A tent is always a tent unless you throw a lot of money at it. We've done events at my firm where we were able to take the guests to another place. But yes, with a low budget, a tent will always be another tent.

I thought the idea to design a party around a lemon theme was very timely. This kind of "green" event is very popular right now. In theory it worked; it added color.

The flowers were bad in both tents. They tried to do too much with the flowers. Flowers are beautiful and organic and they should just let them be.

In the judges room, we asked the contestants questions and it was funny. More often than not it was about pointing fingers rather than taking credit. If anything was bad, it was someone else's fault unless it was good and then they took credit for it. But collaboration is difficult.

Yes, I agree with Margaret Russell that the designers could use therapy or a few cocktails. It's a lot easier in my own shop because I'm a dictator. My workers do what I tell them so I don't have to deal with infighting. No, I never thought about going on a design show or being in front of the camera. I'm very happy behind the scenes.

My thing about a successful party is not only to have the right ambience, food, music...but a party is nothing without the right people. You can do anything, but without the right crowd... I would say to the designers to always work with passion and always do what you're going to do. If that's your direction—like Goil and his chandeliers—don't let anyone talk you out of it.

Do your thing!

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