Wednesday, November 06, 2013






About friggin' time. 

Last week, to much feathers, fanfare, and aplomb  (well, maybe not so much with the fanfare but there were feathers and aplomb aplenty), Tate, Laura, and Roy became the last three Face/Off Season 5 contestants. They went on to compete in the finale for a grand prize of cash, cars, make-up, and an all-you-can-eat KFC buffet. Because birds.

It was a little nail-biting toward the beginning of last week's episode, because I wasn't sure if the three people I wanted to be in the finale would get there. Things came together in the end for our intrepid make-up designers. As expected, Miranda couldn't take the pressure and didn't time manage effectively, and so she was eliminated. 

The challenge last week was to create a human/bird hybrid. 

Tate won that challenge, and Roy narrowly edged out Miranda for a spot in the finale. As you may recall, during Roy's season, he lost a spot in the finale due to Nicole, who ultimately won. I think most people could admit that Nicole has some skillz, but did she really deserve to be in that finale, and did she really deserve to win? I don't think so, and I think most fans are in agreement with me on this. 

So, onward to the finale. 

For the final challenge, THE FOWL THEME CONTINUES. There will be more feathers! I say MOAR FEATHERS, son. I say, I say. MOAR FEATHUZ. 

I was very into this finale, because not only was I pulling for Laura throughout and this was right up her alley, but I really liked the challenge itself. The finalists were tasked to create a swan and an evil sorcerer look that would be applied to ACTUAL BALLET DANCERS from the Los Angeles City Ballet. These make-ups had to stand up to a specially choreographed performance of Swan Lake

Bad things will happen to you if Laura doesn't win. Very bad, very bad things.

Onward to the challenge! 

The first day, the finalists wake up and are treated to a Skype call with their loved ones. Roy talks to his wife; Tate talks to his parents, who look like the most adorable pair of aging hippies ever; and Laura, wearing what I can only assume is a leather vest that she picked up off Tate's floor that morning (SHIPPING!!!),  talks to her mom and husband. D'awww! Seriously. That vest with the chains on it. Yeah, that way belongs to Tate.

I may need hugs.

At the workshop, Fairy Princess of DOOM McKenzie Westmore informs the neophytes of their final challenge. Then, they're allowed to pick teams comprised of the last six eliminated contestants. They are instructed to choose one vet and one newbie. Laura goes immediately for Miranda (duh). Miranda can't take the heat, but she's a damn good sculptor. Her newbie is Eddie. On Team Tate, it's Alana and Lima. On Team Roy, it's Frank and Scott.  It's kinda too bad that Laney walked out, because she does have talent and she might have made a difference in Roy or Tate's looks.

The swan and sorcerer have to take on the theme of a certain time period.  Their choices are: Industrial Revolution, The Roaring 20s, the Italian Renaissance, and the Ming Dynasty. Laura takes Renaissance, Tate takes Industrial Revolution and Roy takes Ming Dynasty. I don't know why they all avoided the Roaring 20s theme like the plague because they could totally have done an Art Deco thing, unless they were afraid the only thing they could think of for that would be a Tom Buchanan sorcerer casting a spell on a helpless Daisy swan. Or maybe they'd make an F. Scott Fitzgerald swan with the sorcerer being a giant bottle of gin. Oh, the possibilities. They are endless.

I'll buy her from you, old sport.

Roy, I felt, was the underdog in this challenge. He struggles to come up with a concept on Day 1. He comes up with a sorcerer who looks not unlike Confucius, but comes up with a mechanical/automaton swan. This is really a huge step out of Roy's comfort zone, and the two other dudebros on his team aren't much help. The clock's a-tickin' and they start sculpting, even with a kind of weak concept. Team Laura gets a head start with a solid concept by Laura. On Team Tate, the concept is still a little vague, and he has some issues with Lima and her feather effect sculpt. Papa Westmore stops by to hand out some fatherly advice, and it's onto Day 2.

Day 2 starts bright and early, and Roy decides to change his concept.because he feels like his mechanical swan is too much like Tate's steam punk swan. Tate's changed his concept a little bit and sets aside Lima's work from the day before. Laura and Miranda, meanwhile, are booking right along with her sculpts, and Laura sends Eddie to the mold room to start casting. Things go wrong for Roy on the swan's cowl. He sent Scott to mold it, and Roy can't get it out of the mold. So, Scott will have to remold and recast the cowl on Day 3. 

On Day 3, Laura molds her cowls, and Roy starts fabricating.his armor. His armor is really cool, but there's really no way a dancer can move in that. On Team Tate, Alana is trying to open the mold for the cowl, and she finds that the mold didn't turn out. The inside of the mold is full of holes, and he's worried about the overall look of the swan.  It turns out in the end that he didn't need to worry about his swan, because his swan was awesome. But, it cost him time to work on the sorcerer, and his sorcerer didn't turn out as well as it could have. Laura had issues with the edges on her cowl, so she and Miranda spent some extra time cleaning the edges, and Laura decided to hide some of the edges with a pearl necklace she found. 

We're just going to add a little bling to this evil spell you're under, m'kay?

Everything more or less comes together in last looks, although Tate is still upset that he didn't have more time to finish his piece for the sorcerer. McKenzie Westmore (in a solid silver mini-dress), Glenn, Ve,  and Neville are waiting at the auditorium for the performance and final critiques. 

And now we dance!

It's not a question of where he grips it. It's a simple matter of weight ratios. A five-ounce bird could not hold a one pound coconut.

The specially choreographed Swan Lake performance is basically Tchaikovsky Cliff Notes. It's not really Swan Lake if you have three different swans, but they have a corps de ballet, and each coupling has a chance to do a featured pas de deux and that is where we can see the make-ups in action. The ones that are the most effective in the performance, and the ones which hold together the best, are Laura's. Roy's fabricated sorcerer cage is cool and all, but he had to have known the guy couldn't dance in that. 

I love how during the Face/Off finale, they have an audience there for like fifteen minutes, and then during the judging portion, they kick them out. I hope those folks are being paid to sit there and didn't buy tickets or anything. At least they gave up on that letting 'Muricka vote idea. 

If these images aren't large enough for you to see in detail, you can check out all of the finale looks here

Here are the swans:




Here are the sorcerers:




Overall, I think Laura had the most cohesive look. Her make-ups fulfilled the task, and neither of them had to be altered so that the dancers could, you know, dance. Tate's swan, as you can see, is FREAKING GORGEOUS, and if the outcome were just based on that look alone, he would have been the winner. I know Roy had issues, but his swan is generic and conventional. I wish he'd done more with the gold paint on the swan's chest and neck. As it stands, it looks like something that was in the wardrobe trailer on the set of Black Swan. Just not terribly innovative, especially when compared to Tate's swan. I really loved the breastplate and the overall aesthetic of Laura's swan. Neville wanted more feathers on the head because I guess he's into that sort of thing. 

I'm serving up Natalie Portman tarring and feathering the populace realness.

As far as the sorcerers are concerned, I felt that Laura had the strongest sorcerer. Hers fit into the same world as her swan, and nothing needed to be removed from her make-up that would have been in the dancer's way, at least not as far as I saw. Tate's sorcerer wasn't doing it for me at all. I realize he had issues with the cowl, but the way his mouth was stuck open like that kind of made him look more like a bum you'd run into in Central Park who was wearing a Windsor Castle-shaped hat than a sorcerer per se. Roy's sorcerer is stunning, but the dancer had to remove that entire fabricated piece from the front so he could dance, and what was left kind of just looked like Yul Brynner. 

After kicking out the audience and some deliberation by the judges, and some some guy-liner-filled intense stares from Glenn, Laura is declared the winner!! Hurray!!!


New season of Face/Off starts in January, with all new contestants and some WILD AND CRAZY LOCATIONS BECAUSE IT'S REALITY TEEVEE, PEOPLE. 

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