Last night on Face Off, SyFy finally went with the most obvious challenge based on the judging panel. Ve Neill is a regular judge on the show. Two challenges have previously gone into her wheelhouse. Ve won Academy Awards for her work on Mrs. Doubtfire and Ed Wood. So, the gender swap challenge in season one and the Tim Burton challenge in season two made sense.
But why has it taken three seasons to challenge the contestants to make an original pirate for the Academy Award winning makeup artist behind many of the designs in the Pirates of the Caribbean series? It finally happened last night and Ve, once again, looked like she was having the tmie of her life. The challenge was so amazing that the show didn’t even air the Foundation Challenge. No complaint there. It allowed for an entire cutaway segment on bad pirate jokes.
The full Spotlight Challenge was probably one of the hardest in the history of the series (outside of the finale challenges). Each contestant was randomly assigned a pirate-like element–barnacles, swords, netting, etc.–that they had to incorporate into an original pirate character in three days. The winner would receive $5000, the largest challenge prize in the history of the show.
The results were overall quite impressive. The judges decided that Roy, Sarah, and Laura had the top looks for the challenge. Would you look at that? Three repeats from last week. Looks like execution as well as design are the criteria to win this year.
Roy had to create a pirate based on daggers. His design was insane (again). His pirate was a vicious woman who storess her assortment of weaponry in her body. These daggers were designed to look like an extension of her rib cage and the whole thing was brutal. The paint job was solid. I just wish he didn’t go with a gray skin tone against the bright oceanic colors.
Sarah had to find inspiration in sea urchins. She studied her subject in depth to pick up every detail she could. From the thickness of the spines to the yellow uni–the roe, Sarah did not miss an opportunity to focus her design on sea urchins. She also sculpted and molded so quickly that she was able to blow Ve away with a completely fabricated costume on the Day 2 workroom visit. The rancid yellow skin town was a perfect match for the model-operated oozing uni gag for the judges.
Laura, once again, brought flawless execution to a well planned concept. The only reason I can think for her loss here was her randomly assigned object: shells. Shells are easy. What Laura chose to do with them was extraordinary. She turned her model into a living snail obsessed with a glowing jewel at the bottom of the ocean. The movement of the fabricated plant life in the back was especially impressive.
Ultimately, Sarah won the challenge for gong that one step above everyone else. Pirates are crowd pleasers. Why wouldn’t you try to add on a surprise for the judges when they evaluate your work up close?
The bottom three contestants were Eric, C.C., and Jason. Each rankled the judges for very different reasons.
In Eric’s case, his technical execution was bad. He had to incorporate a spyglass into his design and it came out like a bad Halloween costume. The proportion was all wrong. The telescoping handle was far too long to look believable in the context of the character. With a better paint job, he might have gotten away with it; he didn’t. Even the costuming and roughed up flesh weren’t particularly well done.
C.C. struggled the entire episode. She had no idea what to do with barnacles until most of the first day was done. Though she has special effects makeup experience, her expertise is beauty makeup. She didn’t have the experience to make a cool design concept actually pop on screen–symmetry is not your friend in effects makeup and this was a mirror image down the bridge of the nose–and she even struggled with painting the piece. This does not take away from the judges telling C.C. she has chops. The sculpt, poorly designed as it was, actually looked good and her application was great. She just got caught messing up in a week where most of the field really rose above expectations.
Jason was in the bottom three for a simple reason: his jewel-themed pirate had nothing to do with jewels. Sure, he crafted a lofty backstory to justify a pirate covered by an octopus. The only reference to his actual task was a jewel in the palm. Not a good way to be remembered by the judges. You’re hired to do a specific job in the makeup industry and choosing to ignore that job for something cooler is not the way to build a reputation.
C.C. was eliminated. The judges heaped praise on her and encouraged her to pursue special effects makeup as a field. They saw tremendous potential in her–including her professional attitude and enthusiasm–and that’s a huge compliment from this panel.
Thoughts? Do you think the judges made the right choices? I would love to have seen Alana in the top 3 as her crab design was really well executed in spite of (once again) being rescued by her fellow competitors for time management issues. If she picks up the pace, she could take the title.
What do you think? Sound off below. Love to hear from you.