06th Apr2021

‘Nailed It: Season 5’ Review

by Rhys Payne

Nailed It has created its own niche in the television market, so much so that I can’t imagine the show coming to an end any time soon! There are so many tweaks and alterations season by season (like, for example, pairing the contestants up – which they did for this specific season), to make the show different enough to keep it exciting but still in the same realm as the other seasons.

For those who are not familiar with the series, Nailed It is a show which invites completely novice bakers on to attempt the most complex bakes you have ever seen; which leads to some very disastrous and hilarious results. The point of the show is that the cakes are bad but they are looking for the best of the worst bakers! The show USUALLY has three contestants who compete against each other to win $10,000 and the Nailed It trophy (which is also broken which is a very clever piece of marketing) but now they have three pairs of bakers on the show. This was because they believed that due to the current global situation these ‘bakers’ were cooking at home with family members/friends etc., so they should also be invited to compete as well!

Nailed It is hosted by Nicole Buyer, who brings a constant air of energy and over-the-topness, which makes the show so much easier to watch. In the previous season, I commented how there was visible energy cut off by Nicole especially and the show had listened as this was no longer an issue. The show follows a similar structure in each episode. Firstly Nicole does an entertaining themed introduction to the episodes, then there is the chefs choice and then a big baking challenge. Usually, the chefs choice is a small baked good (e.g. cookies, cupcakes) and the chefs race against each other to choose which design they want to do. However, due to the global situation, the teams were simply asked which they would like which avoids the mad dash. I understand why this was done but it did remove some sense of excitement to each episode. The winners of the chefs choice challenge get a prize (usually a baking gift set) and a sparkly chefs hat; while the losers get a help/distraction button that they can use in the next challenge. The pairs then compete in a bigger baking challenge – usually a ridiculous, over-the-top cake!

As the show has moved from solo to paired bakers there was a much bigger focus on the personalities and connection between the pairs this season. The couple Phil and Kenzie were the classic lovers in the ‘honeymoon’ stage which was quite annoying after a while. We also saw the drag sister pairing of Laguna Blue and Selma Nella (imagine going on a baking show being named after a type of food poisoning!) who are also close friends with Ru Paul’s Drag Race contestant from season 12, Jan, and current season’s Rosè. Laguna and Selma did the whole show in complete drag, including some fabulous baking inspired outfits and wonderful hair (they did not have heels on but I completely understand why). These couples added another layer of the show and allowed the bakers to showcase their personalities, which they have not truly been able to in previous seasons. In the future, the show could even have themed episodes where they are paired with people relating to the challenge (e.g. family members, childhood, friendship etc.) which would continue the Nailed It legacy even more! During the baking challenges Nicole, Jacque Torres and the mystery guests would perform little sketches that I personally really enjoyed. We had attempts at freestyle raps, French lessons and Jacque having his hair dyed which were very entertaining and if on the show, I believe would make you feel more comfortable and relaxed. These challenges were very funny and may remove the anxiety around producing a disastrous cake (as they all do) and make for a much more fun environment to be a part of. I do think, however, that some of the sketches were way too short for the audience to fully get into, which did make the structure feel somewhat fragmented.

Overall, this is yet another season of Nailed It that does not seem forced or overly structured, which makes for a much easier viewing experience. The team have discovered a way to continue to make more episodes without the show seeming repetitive and the inclusion of pairs adds that layer of added personality. I thought this season was fantastic and improved on the issues highlighted in previosu episodes!

****½ 4.5/5

Nailed It: Season 5 is available on Netflix now.

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