Project Runway Season 4: Episode 10 Preview

>> Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen . . . LLLLLLLLLLLLet's get ready to grumble!

And there has been a lot of grumbling about this week's Project Runway episode. It doesn't help that there's been a two-week long hiatus for people to get their collective danders up. It's been almost as bad as the two week wait between the last playoff games and the Super Bowl. In the seemingly interminable interim, the Project Runheads at Blogging Project Runway have been weighing in on the previews. Here's a selection of reactions, all from different viewers:

"Beyond tacky"
"Just silly"
"Jumping the shark"
"Oy vey!"
"Oh Jesus!"
"Ack! Ew!"
"Stupid and disappointing"
"An absolute stunner"
"Scraping the bottom of the barrel"
"Awful, awful, awful"
"Product placement on steroids"

What is it that has caused such consternation?

Pro wrestlers.

I wonder if America's next top designer designed these costumes?

Female pro wrestlers. No, not G.L.O.W. (That's the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, for you old skool wrasslin fans out there.) These wrestlers are the WWE Divas, a group of frighteningly buff women who act out choreographed battles as a part of the World Wrestling Entertainment slate each week.

In the WWE promo for this week's Project Runway episode (yes, Virginia, there is actually a separate WWE promo) we're told in no uncertain terms what this week's challenge will be: Each contestant is paired with a diva, and must design an outfit for that diva to wrestle in.

Designing costumes for pro wrestlers seems like a very odd choice for a competition this late in the season, as it doesn't really highlight the designers' overall aesthetic. Worse, due to scheduling questions, some trufans think this may be the last elimination challenge before the finals. If that's true, we've got a couple of issues with this. First, can we really be content with final group dictated by a costumey challenge? Second, just how many people are going to show at Bryant Park this season--five? We hate to say it, but despite the assertions of Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum that this is the "strongest group of designers yet," we can't say we think any five of these remaining designers would be the strongest final group we've ever seen. We're hard pressed to pick three.

Really. Consider who's left: Ricky, Jillian, Rami, Christian, Sweet P, and Chris. At the beginning of the season, we certainly wouldn't have bet on that final six!

And where have all the great "show us what you got" challenges gone? In Season Two, the last two challenges were the Contestant Makeover and the Evening Gown for Iman contest. Season Three ended with the Black and White Cocktail Dress challenge and the What the ELLE? challenge where they showcased their talents in the last elimination round before the finals. Can a "dress the wrestler" competition really compare to these? In what way will this demonstrate what we can expect from the designers who get to show their own lines?

If this is the penultimate challenge (meaning there is one more elimination challenge to come before Bryant Park) a challenge like this would not be completely unprecedented. In Season One, the not-very-fashion-world Postal Uniform challenge came before the final Red Carpet Gown challenge. But again, the final episode allowed the designers to put it all out there with a real fashion challenge.

But enough with the griping. At this point, we're willing to take the episode for what it is (an entertaining segment of a reality television show) and we're going to assume that there has to be at least one more elimination challenge before the finals.

Beyond the obvious challenge this week, the results in the previews are not so obvious. One notable feature of most of the previews: Sweet P is in peril. She struggles with her design, and not even Tim Gunn has answers for her, except to strip her silver ensemble of its white peacock feathers, declaring them worthy of "Eva Gabor in Green Acres." In another behind the scenes interview, P seems on the verge of tears because she is "almost out of time," but later still assures us that she will not let this challenge be the one to put her out. Unfortunately, P, sheer force of will can only take you so far.

Chris (perhaps not surprisingly) seems comfortable with the costumey aspect of this challenge, and he speculates that there are some designers who are not so happy with the challenge. We don't, however, see Christian or anyone else writhing on the floor in misery or slumped over a sewing machine in tears. In fact, Christian can be seen putting together something black and lacey and, well, "fierce," to coin an expression.

Even Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl breaks out the orange only a few times a year.

Rami and Ricky may be in trouble though. Tim worries over Rami's color choice (a kind of lipstick pink) and then later, in an admittedly chopped up runway clip, Nina outright tells someone "I hate your color." Rami's certainly over on the side she's talking to, but so is Ricky, who has chosen a sort of construction cone orange for his color. Now, I know orange. I'm from Knoxville, Tennessee, home of the Tennessee Volunteers. The Vols' colors are orange and white. Bright, day-glo, rain-poncho orange and white. If there's one thing I know, it's that nobody, and I mean nobody, looks good in orange. Ricky also looks like he's swallowed a pin cushion on the runway--the only clip we see of him there.

If Ricky is in trouble, he'll have one of the classic "overconfident cut" quotes of any season: "Everyone is freaking out. You know, I could give them tips about what they should do, but why should I?" Tough talk there, Rickster. Better walk the walk with that one.

Jillian and Chris are fairly anonymous in the runway clips, except that Chris wears his usual "judging grimace." I suspect that Jillian is the recipient of the "I like it as a bathing suit" comment Nina gives, based on Jillian's position on the runway, and I feel confident that Chris is getting the "for you I'm guessing this wasn't too much of a stretch," comment from Kors, given Chris's place on the runway and his costuming background. Kors could also mean that comment for Ricky, who has a lingerie background, but I don't think he's looking in the right direction for the Mad Hatter.

Meanwhile, Christian appears to be the recipient of a "job well done" from Heidi. Kors makes an enigmatic comment about not getting enough "Americana" out of someone's outfit (Rami's?) and Sweet P is scolded for not going for the drama.

So where do we stand? This is a tough one. I'm going to put Jillian, Christian, and Chris in the top group, and Rami, Ricky, and Sweet P in the bottom group. While there isn't a clear favorite from the clips, I think it will come down to Christian versus Chris for the win, and I'm predicting Chris's costume experience and his easy-going sense of fun mean his first (and long-overdue) victory.

As for the bottom three, I'm guessing Ricky and Rami are having color choice issues, and that all three are under fire for their designs. Sweet P is certainly getting a loser's edit in the clips, but is this a red herring? All we know for sure is that her outfit is blah. But is Ricky's or Rami's downright bad? Whew. My heart tells me one thing (Ricky's gone), my head another (Sweet P's gone), and last week I swore I'd go with my head from now on. So this week, without further evidence to the contrary, I predict that Sweet P will be aufed. I'll be sorry to see her go, and I have no idea how the rest of the season will shake out (will we really see Ricky at Bryant Park!?) but I have to call this one like I see it.

For those of you playing Fantasy Runway, this week's question is, "Who was a contestant on both Season One and Season Two?" The answer: Daniel Franco, who left too soon in Season One, and was serenaded by Santino after he left in Season Two.

Daniel Franco, where have you gone?


vozbelle,  February 6, 2008 at 8:51 AM  

TVGuide shows there is an episode next week...could be like they have done before where no one gets eliminated.
The Art of Fashion - Project Runway
The last challenge before Fashion Week competition centers on the outfitters' own artistic expression. Following the elimination, the final designer’s journey home to work on their signature line

Alan February 6, 2008 at 9:42 AM  

Aha! Excellent detective work. I knew there had to be another elimination episode before the finals! Thanks for that.

Anonymous,  February 6, 2008 at 2:26 PM  

Alan, there could be TWO decoy shows on Friday. Three "actual" finalists and two decoys.

suzq,  February 6, 2008 at 2:36 PM  

Heidi was on the Today Show this morning and said that the final is being shot this Friday, but won't air until March.


Oh, got to include the group gripe episode. And maybe Bravo will do to PR what they did to the Housewives of OC and bring all the seasons back for a chat. That could take all night...

And come on, didn't Sweet P's bio include that she founded a girls' biker club? With all those tattoos, couldn't she relate to the wrestling aesthetic? What? Tough girlz are somehow beneath her now? Is she planning to use the prize money to laser off her tats?

Jyesika February 7, 2008 at 9:42 AM  

Well, I voted with you, but am not at all upset that Ricky was out instead of Sweet P! Thanks again for all the research!

Alan February 7, 2008 at 9:50 AM  


Sorry to have led you astray on the aufing, but like you I'm happier that it was Ricky than Sweet P. After so many predictions of Ricky's demise, the one time I didn't prophesy his departure he's gone. Ah well. I do have to say, I was impressed at the way he handed his departure. After many episodes of tearing up over the slightest things, he handed his aufing with grace and aplomb. My respect for Ricky rose the longer he was with us.

And then there were five. Will Sweet P get the boot next week, or will it be a more shocking aufing?

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