Of course the judges have more expertise and more on-site information than I do on which to base their decisions. Nonetheless, I'm still entitled to my own hare-brained opinions. Half the fun of watching these shows is to engage in delusions of grandeur about how you know more than top experts in the field, who are, as it turns out, complete morons.
With that in mind, here is my run down on how the eliminations went and where the judges went wrong.
1. Lisa -- the design was basically hers, it was not strong, she did not seem to be at the level of innovation needed to be on the show. She may not have particularly even wanted to be there all that much. But if that is the criteria then they should have gotten rid of Ryan immediately as well. Which would have been my preference.
1. Heather -- this was a very unfortunate pairing with Lisa. Heather is someone who had experience that demonstrated a lot of promise but she exited the show before anyone could see what she could do.
2. John -- he didn't finish the job so it was fair to have him be the one to go. Second to him would be Ryan because that bed was dangerous.
3. Elizabeth -- this was an utterly wrong-headed decision. Someone in the Goil/Carisa/Ryan group should have been the one to go. I would have selected Ryan.
4. Felicia -- that room was hideous, although once again Ryan's was worse in that it was dangerous. We are talking about two different versions of uninhabitable: you can always get rid of the afghan (the wallpaper would have been a little harder) but what do you do with a wall encrusted with broken glass?
5. Ryan -- Ryan should have been off long before now. Ryan should have never been on but that's another matter. Anyway, assuming Ryan's long gone, Goil should have been kicked off for getting so obsessed with that ridiculous dog bed.
6. Erik -- this was another wrong-headed decision. Either Goil or Andrea should have gone instead of Erik. The fact that you punish the one person on the team who has any understanding of and capacity for doing the project at all seems utterly backwards. I also want to note that it was such a shame that we didn't see the kind of party planning that Elizabeth and Heather would have done: the two people who have real expertise in this area.
7. Michael -- was probably the fair choice at this point. His, Goil and Carisa's rooms were all pretty bad. If Goil were still in the show by now then he would be the first to go, not just because of his track record but because his room was so impractical and even a bit hazardous. Michael had the "it's my room and I won't change" pissy attitude and Carisa had the better track record.
8. Goil -- was kept on the show far too long. I know I'm in the minority but those white rooms full of gimmicks bored me because they were predictable. At this point one wonders what kind of chef's room Erik or Felicia or Heather would have created. Or Elizabeth or even John? Which of the other designers would have responded to the "elements" hotel room challenge that so flummuxed Goil and Andrea?
9. Andrea -- had one really exquisite room but the rest of the time she was fairly underwhelming. I think she could have gone earlier. I imagine that there are other designers who would have offered a little more energy and just as much polish -- like Erik.
10. Matt and Carisa -- the fact that they are the finalists seems fair enough. (Midway through the show I predicted the finalists to be Matt and Erik so I was half right.)
Matt -- has been consistently strong from the start. He's a real pro. Almost every one of his rooms has been a contender and there is probably no one else who could have consistently produced that level of work.
Carisa -- I think that it came as a surprise to everyone that Carisa did so well. She has a colorful, energetic "pop" style that is similar to Jonathan Adler's. She's consistent without being repetitive and she is imaginative. Good for her. If she's the "wild card" then I'm fine with that.
My problem isn't with how it ended but with what we had to watch in between the beginning and the end. What if, say, they left in this order: Lisa, Ryan, John, Goil, Felicia, Elizabeth, Michael, Andrea and our final four were then (in no particular order): Heather, Carisa, Erik, and Matt. In the end, there was a lot of uninspiring work produced on that show. Top Design should try to figure out what they can do to change that. It would seem obvious that an important aspect of keeping the show interesting would be keeping the most talented designers on the show for as long as possible -- but that isn't always how they operated.