Nathan wins Top Design 2, which is now Bravo’s second-best reality competition

Top Design 2 concluded Wednesday with Nathan Williams winning the $100,000 prize, defeating Preston Lee and Ondine Karady. The judges said they appreciated Nathan’s growth during the competition and were “always dying to see what [Nathan would] come up with next.” They didn’t specify a runner-up.

Now that its second season is complete, it’s quite obvious that Top Design is the new Top Chef, which is the new Project Runway. In other words, Top Design 2 claimed the second-best Bravo reality show title after a makeover that followed a dreadful first season.

It was helped by some extraordinary casting which can be summed up in one word: Wisit! There was also that insufferably bitchy Eddie Ross, who works for Martha Stewart Living and was a perfectly detestable villain. And even Andrea Schroder, who could have come across like stunt casting (her husband, as we were reminded about 72 million times, is Rick Shroeder), was actually a strong core

Having been demoted to mere judge, Jonathan Adler was a lot more tolerable, even when he said crazy shit, and his stupid send-off line wasn’t missed. Margaret Russell grew into one of the best Bravo judges, particularly when she challenged other judges, while Kelly Weastler was more coherent while entertaining us with her “fuck it” wardrobe.

There were still some tonal problems; specifically, the elimination segments, from the set to the oddly creepy music, seemed too cold and unforgiving, even for eliminations. But overall, it’s a remarkable and surprising recovery.