Season 9 of the “Critic’s Choice Award winning Reality Competition Series” (Yay!!) Face Off started with a really difficult challenge. Meeting at the National History Museum of Los Angeles County, the new artists paired up and met the always lovely host McKenzie Westmore and resident Face Off judge, concept designer extraordinaire and my T.V. crush Neville Page to learn about their first Spotlight Challenge. Pulling from the sci-fi genre, the artists had to create an original alien animal using hand-picked items from the museum as an inspiration. They were to work in teams of two, and the catch was to use two models to create one alien creature. Neville advised them to shift their perspectives and think out of the box. He consulted with them on their designs before they headed to the lab. Once they were well underway design, the mandatory walkthrough visit from Mr. Michael Westmore was also on their schedule.
Sidney and Evan picked tourmaline. They wanted to create a 6-legged creature with a sensory appendage, using the stone mineral as a sort of parasite growing off of their alien animal. Mr. Westmore warned them about their devilish looking face and told them to go for a more asymmetrical look. Evan made the sensory appendage, or feelers, out of piping and nylons. Sidney had to make some adjustments to make the cowl fit the model, but overall, they worked well together and got the job done. The judges all liked this animal. Glenn liked the tentacle movement; Ve thought the eyes were creepy, and Neville thought the use of the tourmaline was beautiful and authentic. They were in top looks.
Omar and Kevon got a clam. They wanted to create a clam-like creature that made use of both models’ hands, one set as the shell and the other as an inner mouth. Neville told them to be careful of a 2-headed look to their animal. They fell victim to the Face Off trap: big ideas + big molds=trouble. They scrambled for time, and then divided up the work to get their makeup finished. They had to put the entire makeup on at last looks. Ve thought it looked like Sponge Bob as a clam. It was too literal of an interpretation, and Neville thought it was visually messy. Glenn thought they had lost their way with the idea of the hands operating the gags. They ended up in bottom looks.
Jordan and Ben picked Azurite and Malachite. They came up with an animal that is harvested for the mineral growing on it’s back. They were told to avoid a rock creature look. Jordan created the animal’s shape from L200, tinfoil and latex for a rocky texture. It certainly looked alien, but I hated the fabric they threw on to cover the second model. The judges thought it was unusual, and Glenn loved the detail and intelligence of the design. Ve called it a cool subterranean dinosaur, and Neville saw that they used the mineral in an organic way. Their great head sculpt and graphic paint job put them in top looks.
Nora and Scott picked a ram’s horn. Neville told them to focus the detail on the front and just paint the back instead of sculpting for their reptilian creature. Mr. Westmore also advised them to use one mold, and they used a cool palette with brown and orange accents. The paint job was nice, and I really liked their inventive alien animal. They were safe to carry on to next week.
Stevie and Libby got Native Silver. They had a hard time figuring out a concept and came up with a bug-like animal that lures and traps its prey. To make up for time, they created one mold instead of pieces, and that mold ended up with a hole in it. The girls fixed it on the final day of the challenge, and had to paint and cover the models in last looks. They were really fighting the clock on this makeup and were really freaked out because they were both not satisfied with the creature. The judges noted that the makeup got worse as they got closer, and thought it was buried in paint. The use of the models was not inventive as one model simply sat on the other’s shoulders and even though they thought it was a horrible idea, Ve liked the paint job. They were in the bottom.
Ricky and Jasmine got alligator skin. They went for an alien animal that had snare jaws. Mr. Westmore told them to get rid of any human elements. Their end result was really cool and definitely alien! I loved the colours and the inventiveness since they made good use of their models.
Jason and Brittany chose the turtle shell. They were also told to get rid of the human element, in this case the eyes, and while the sculpting and overall makeup was cool, I thought it looked like 2 animals. They were also safe. Missy and Meg got the herbivore jaw and were warned by Mr. Westmore to avoid muddiness at all costs with their brown colour scheme. Missy used a Pax wash to break up the colour, and their animal was interesting but they were not happy with it. Lucky for them they too were safe.
The winning team was Jordan and Ben. The judges loved the team work involved and Ben was the challenge winner for the head sculpt and fantastic paint job.
The bottom teams were all in for a surprise. The judges made the first Spotlight Challenge really difficult in order for the artists to experience what the show was all about and to see what the artists were capable of. This time, no one was going home!! They all got a second chance and were warned to use this opportunity to really show what they could do.
The first challenge is always a bit traumatic and a rude awakening for even the most experienced artists. This new crew all worked well with each other which is promising. It’s nice to see such an eclectic mix of artists like the seasoned Jasmine who has been an artist for 13 years, newbie Libby, Meg a self-taught artist who beat cancer, Scott who lost 100 pounds and restarted his career as an artist, and Omar who is also a seasoned artist but took time out to take care for his family. I’m really excited as always for Season 9 and I can’t wait for some really great challenges! Yay Face Off!!