Yaaay!! The wait is over! Season 5 of Face Off starts off with a masquerade ball at the Park Plaza Hotel. This is where we get our intro to the “newbies” as they entered the party one by one, stars in their eyes and hungry to compete. Adolfo, Rick, Sam, Tolin, Eddie, Laney, Scott and Lyma assembled eagerly as the lovely Mckenzie Westmore greeted them. The newbies eyes widened as they saw their competition, the “vets” from past seasons, revealing themselves among the masked guests. And then they’re off! The first Foundation Challenge happened right at the ball where the artists had to choose a guest and create an original character inspired by their costumes. This gave them a chance to show who they were as artists and their style. The guest judge was none other than Hollywood bigwig Catherine Hardwicke, director of Twilight, Red Riding Hood and Thirteen. The top looks were created by vets Roy, Tate, and Laura. I agreed with Catherine’s choices, as the newbies didn’t really do anything that stood out. The winner was Tate’s cursed princess, which won him immunity. Katherine loved the brow bone appliances and the overall powerful and creepy look. From this challenge, it is evident that the newbies have to step up their game. Regardless of whether they are competing with veterans or amongst their peers, they need to pull out their inspiration books, tear sheets, and sketch books and bring their A game.
After exploring their new digs, where the newbies must share one bedroom (a nightmare in my eyes-where’s my underground bunker!) complete with pictures of past artists’ creations and Warhol inspired prints of the judges, they headed off to the Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards. Here, they got the first Spotlight Challenge of the season: to create fantasy characters from a hyper-stylized world in the tradition of films like The Chronicles of Narnia and Pan’s Labyrinth. Better yet, it was a team challenge: Team newbies vs. Team vets. They had specific characters to create: An ogre, fawn, troll, witch, and say what now? A pixie??!!!!! Represent people, represent!! All’s I’m sayin is, they’d better get the pixie right. Yah hear me!
Anyway, the guest mentor was makeup artist Bill Corso, whose work can be seen in X-Men 3: The Last Stand, and The Amazing Spider-Man. He stressed that collaboration and cohesiveness were key in a team setting. I think this team challenge was a great way to see everyone’s personalities, both the good and bad. The newbies decided to go for a crystal chest piece to tie their characters together, and the vets went for a blind witch who sees through the other creatures.
Of course there was the usual frenzy of sculpting, molding and trouble shooting. Rick the newbie noticed a “wall of clay” as the veteran team went for broke with the sculpting, showing a touch of intimidation as he justified his team’s angle to go “beautiful”. The assumption of the vets’ talent and know-how cannot make newbie confidence waver while they share the lab. Among the problems were Adolfo’s mold cracking which meant he lost precious time with his troll, vet Eric panicking after Laura’s mold falls apart, and Scott and Sam butting heads over techniques. I loved Mr. Westmore’s astute critiques which probably saved the newbies some grief. They must know how lucky they are to have his incredible eye and knowledge in the same room!
After the scrambling during last looks, the teams showed their creations. I particularly loved Laura’s witch, Tate’s disgusting troll, and Alana and Miranda’s pixie (they did me proud!). From the team newbie, I loved Rick and Laney’s fawn. She was actually pretty. I think Laney is going to show that she has some talent in the coming episodes. Judge Glenn Hetrick loved Laura’s witch with fingers protruding from her spine. All the judges thought Alana and Miranda’s pixie sculpting was refined, and Laney and Rick’s fawn because of the clever application of hair on the face. They were not happy with Eddie and Tolin’s ogre. It was a rough sculpt and disproportionate, and Adolfo’s problem ridden troll could not hide from their scrutiny as well. Team vets suffered with their ogre made by Frank, Eric and R.J., having similar proportion issues. Ultimately, the rough sculpt along with Tolin’s inability to admit his shortcomings got him a ticket back home. The vets scored as the winning team, and the winner of the challenge was Miranda who executed a great sculpt and paint job. The newbies better remember to be a bit more humble when they know they’ve screwed up. It worked for Adolfo, and I think he can, and will, do better next time!
So glad this first episode was action-packed and I can’t wait for next week!