Project Runway 5 - Episode 5 Preview

>> Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wonder twin powers, activate! Yes, kids, it's time for our first team episode of the season. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. First, a big congratulations to Korto, who booked her first win. We liked Terri's blazer ensemble better, but we thought both "fit the brief," as they say on Project Runway Australia. (Which you should be watching on YouTube if you aren't already!) Joe's fit the bill too, but was a little too literal for our tastes. ("See? It says USA right there on the elongated skort! So you know they're American! I mean, red, white and blue could mean French, right?")


For Terri, it was her second top-three finish in a row, though she's yet to take home the gold. For Jennifer, it was Bridge on the River Dowdy, and she fell right onto the plunger with her gold and white striped skirt/junior miss sweater ensemble. Seriously, does no one watch the Olympics' opening ceremonies anymore?

And while we're at it, we have to point out that the three designers at the bottom should have had a lot more company. The challenge this week for the judges wasn't to pick a top three--Korto, Terri, and Joe got those positions by default. The real trick was trying to decide which three of the seven or eight fashion disasters walking down that runway deserved special attention. There was a lot of fugly walking down that runway last week, kids. Did the judges have their eyes closed for Stella's black "hello belly-button!" bike wreck? Or Keith's bubble skirt rehash? Or Kelli's Miss Des Moines County Fair outfit? Kenley's totally inappropriate, more-purple-than-Daniel's-dress plaid skirt? In our considered opinion, this was, collectively, the single ugliest runway show in Project Runway history. (Perhaps rivaled only by last season's menswear fiasco.)

"Why is my designer doing a different challenge than everybody else?"

But enough of the designers' shame. Let's talk about us! Last week was a bit of a milestone for us here at Gratz Industries--it was the first time this season we called both the winner and the loser correctly! Sure, we had Terri and Jerell flip-flopped, but no harm/no foul there.

For those keeping score at home, here's the Gratz Industries PR Season 5 Big Board of Shame:

Kenley: 9 points (One 1st, one 2nd, two safes)
Suede: 7 points (One 1st, three safes)
Kelli: 7 points (One 1st, three safes)
Terri: 7 points (One 2nd, one 3rd, two safes)
Korto: 5 points (One 1st, one 3rd, one 3rd worst, one safe)
Joe: 5 points (One 3rd, three safes)
Leanne: 2 points (One 2nd, one 2nd worst, two safes)
Daniel: 2 points (One 2nd, one 2nd worst, two safes)
Stella: 1 point (One 3rd, one 2nd worst, two safes)
Blayne: 1 point (One 3rd worst, three safes)
Keith: 1 point (One 3rd worst, three safes)
Jerell: 1 points (One 3rd worst, three safes)

Emily: -2 points (Two safes, one auf)
Wes: -3 points (One safe, one auf)
Jerry: -4 points (One auf)
Jennifer: -5 points (One 2nd worst, two safes, one auf)

Scoring: Win (4 pts), 2nd place (3 pts), 3rd place (2 pts), Safe (1 pt), 3rd worst (-2 pts), 2nd worst (-3 pts), Aufed (-4 pts)

Notes of interest this week:
- Daniel remains in fourth place in points, although he's much closer now to the bottom than the top.
- Terri moves up from fifth into a three-way tie for second.
- Korto makes a big jump from ninth to a tie for third. Korto is also the only person not to be safe twice. Let's give her the "Doesn't Play It Safe Award."
- Meanwhile, Joe, Blayne, Keith, and Jerell have all had three safes apiece. Let's call them "The Safety Patrol."
- Statistically, Kelli and Suede are identical contestants, as are, oddly, Leanne and Daniel. Blayne, Keith, and Jerell are also triplets.
- Stella is statistically and logically impossible to explain.

And why do we even bother giving negative points for aufings, I hear you ask? Well, every season somebody goes and we say, "No, Heidi, no! He/She was too talented to go this soon!" So this time, we thought we'd quantify that. When these designers earn Big Board of Shame points, they get to keep them. So let's say, oh, Kelli gets aufed this week. (Ooh, foreshadowing!) She's built up 7 points. Take away 4 for being aufed, and with +3 points she clearly becomes the best of the aufed designers. Yes, our system rewards those who stick around the longest, but we think tenacity is worth something. It also makes aufings like Jennifer's very telling: the frumpy frocker was already in negative territory when she was aufed, so she actually hits the list below first episode loser Jerry. Ouch.

Okay. So, drunk off our early-season success, we stumble giddily into a brave new week of predictions. SPOILER ALERT: Semi-educated guesses and publicity info to follow this picture of Jerell:

"I fear I am not long for this world."

This week's episode is called "Welcome to the Jungle," and guest stars actress and model Brooke Shields. We're assuming the title isn't a nod to rockers Guns N' Roses, but instead to Shields' latest television effort, Lipstick Jungle, a Sex and the City knock-off show based on the Candice Bushnell Sex and the City knock-off book of the same name. From something Brooke says in the preview clips, we're also guessing this is another "create a look that can go from day to night," ala the Banana Republic "Window Shopping" episode from Season Two. This episode will also be reminiscent of the many other episodes where designers are called in one by one to pitch their designs. And you know what this means...

Will these two be friends after Kenley laughs at Daniel on the runway this week? Oh, the drama!

Oh yes, our first team challenge of the season. This one feels like it's coming along at just the right time. Personally, we'd love to see two people go this episode to thin the herd, but alas, if Heidi's voice in the preview videos is to be believed, "one of you will be named the winner, and one of you...will be out." Sounds like another single elimination to us.

So here's how the teams appear to break down, with the team leaders bolded:

Terri and Suede
Kelli and Daniel
Keith and Kenley
Blayne and Leanne
Korto and Joe
Jerell and Stella (!!!)

Two of these pairings don't appear during the post-runway show grilling: Korto and Joe, and Terri and Suede. We're counting all four as safe this week--and Korto, remember, has immunity. If you're playing Fafarazzi and are looking for a safe pick or two, one of these four should suffice. And it sounds like Korto and Joe don't get along so well. At one point, Korto says, "I'm going to turn him in, and it's going to get ugly." Is she talking about Joe, or someone else? There's no real evidence it turns into a point-worthy argument, but interesting nonetheless.

So how do the other eight shake out? For this, we're going on the positioning of the teams on the runway and the direction of the judges' looks when delivering their mashed up commentary. Not an easy task, but that never stopped us before!

"Leopard print says 'klassy.'"

Kelli, it appears, takes the "Lipstick Jungle" thing very literally and pitches a black and leopard-print dress--not unlike what she's wearing as she sews the thing. We're matching that dress up with Michael Kors' dreaded, "Slutty, slutty, slutty!" comment. Not a good thing for team Kelli and Daniel. Daniel is also seen, in two separate clips, getting defensive about his personal taste. No doubt he's trying to distance himself from the slutty, slutty, slutty leopard-print dress he's standing next to.

The other team that seems to be taking it on the chin is the pairing of Jerell and Stella. Yes, raise your hand if that comes as a surprise to you. This should be the absolute palm-to-forehead team-up of the night. Jerell, with his totally left-field designs, matched up with Stella and her "leatha" aesthetic. This is one of those pairings where you almost wish they just trained the camera on them for the entire show so you could sit and eat popcorn and watch the train wreck of a dress that emerges. Between the two of them, we're expecting some seriously messed-up ugly. Brooke says, "there's a lot going on." Yeah, we're pretty sure that's a Jerell original she's talking about...

Which leaves...gasp and clutch the pearls...Blayne and Leanne as one of the top two teams. Truly, this is the end of the world-licious. While we see Blayne as one of the weakest designers left, his Bermuda short ensemble (wtf!?) seems to strike a chord with Brooke, who says it has a "mixture in texture perfect for day into night." Hmm. Perhaps Leanne has some kind of mitigating influence on the young provocateur? One shudders to think.

Meanwhile, another unlikely pairing, Keith and Kenley, are, by default, among the top two. We hear almost nothing said to them on the runway (at least nothing we can be sure is being said to them) but we do see some of their struggles with fabric at Mood and in the workroom. At Mood, Tim encourages Kenley to keep looking for different fabric, and in the workroom he comes to the rescue again, vetoing some conflicting prints Kenley's been pushing for. Are Keith and Kenley the darkhorse designers here, the ones who will finally come between Brooke Shields and her Calvins?

Nah, we're just building the tension. We've got Blayne for the win. Since we see Keith as the leader of his team, that means he'll most likely get second place this week. It's unclear whether we'll know who gets third place for sure, but we figure Leanne has the inside track for being on the winning team.

And just as the team leaders are the ones always in line for the win, team leaders are also the ones always in line for the auf. That means Kelli and Jerell are in jeopardy this week, and will be standing on the runway together at the end. We have a sneaking suspicion that Kelli and Daniel turn in a hot slutty mess that trumps Jerell and Stella's biker-chic hodge-podge, so we're picking Kelli for the auf. It'll be the earliest exit for a week one winner yet, but this is, after all, Bizarro season.

If 3rd worst points are awarded, they will probably go to Daniel, for being a part of the monstrosity he and Kelli create. If that's true, Daniel is officially on notice: adapt your "impeccable taste" better to the challenges, or enjoy your impeccable taste at home with Wes while three other designers present their collections at Bryant Park. Ditto for Jerell and Stella, although we see far less hope with either of them...

Team Gratz is second place overall over at Fafarazzi this season. Unbelievable! This week we think we'll go with both of the potential winners--Blayne and Keith--while picking a safe third. We always recommend Suede: he always gets a ton of face time, and he'll occasionally drop an f-bomb that earns you a point. Korto is the other failsafe play, especially as she has immunity--and there may be an argument in there with another designer, which is good points. Stella, while always good for a few +1 bleeps, is a permanently high-risk/high-reward play...

Good luck to designers and fans alike. We'll see you on the runway!


Chris August 13, 2008 at 10:14 AM  

you will never defeat me at fafarazzi!

Laura K August 13, 2008 at 1:20 PM  

Ooooh... the gauntlet has been thrown...

David Dust August 13, 2008 at 2:22 PM  

Absolutely fascinating analysis.

I specialize in writing snarky recaps AFTER the show airs - what you do is so much more difficult...

I'll be watching to see how you do!



Anonymous,  August 13, 2008 at 4:24 PM  

Des Moines, Iowa is in Polk County and we do not have a county fair since we host the State Fair.

And we certainly do not dress to attend in anything like what Kelli's design was. Please try to think a little bit more about how you word things instead of trying so hard to be funny. Just because we are from the Midwest doesn't mean we are dowdy hillbillies.

Alan August 13, 2008 at 4:56 PM  

@ anonymous:

Okay, okay. Settle down. You're talking to someone who grew up in East Tennessee and now lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina. If there's anyone who's "hillbilly," it's me and my neighbors. And I didn't say that's what EVERYBODY wore to the fair--just a fictional "Miss Des Moines," because it seemed county-fair-beauty-pageant tacky and I wanted it to sound more clever than "county-fair tacky." I could just as easily have said the Tennessee Valley Fair. It wasn't meant as a comment on the good, fashionable people of Des Moines, or Iowa, or the midwest, for that matter.

chef_the_city August 14, 2008 at 1:00 PM  

50/50... good call, tho! and even tho i was rooting for you to be right, i was SOOO GLAD that hot, tanny mess did not win... yech!

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