So season 7 started out with a bang with host McKenzie Westmore announcing a “never been seen before, Life and Death” Season. 16 eager contestants were ushered into the Vibiana Event Space which was a Cathedral in the past where baptisms and funerals took place, illustrated by a lavish light and dark set. What better place to stage a Sudden Death Challenge! McKenzie (looking fabulous as always!) told the group that they were not actually on the show yet. This challenge would be a final audition to determine who the final 14 contestants would be, meaning 2 people would go home. They were all floored but jumped to the challenge as they scrambled to work stations representing Life and Death with boxes containing an item they had to use in the makeups. The artists had to create characters that showed their personality as an artist and the subject matter of the challenge. As they tried to overcome nerves and work with what was provided, they were stopped mid-way by McKenzie so she could introduce a second part to the challenge…and ROBERT ENGLUND, the actor behind legendary character Freddy Krueger! Everyone was floored once again as he offered them advice, and I think he made even McKenzie blush as he kissed her hand! What a charmer! They had to incorporated a new item into their makeups as many times in the industry, directors and producers will often change things at a moment’s notice as the scripts change. Mr. Englund told them to pay attention to and use their models’ features in order to create a successful makeup. He said Freddy’s claw inspired him as an actor to bring the character to life, so the props were also important.
When the 4 hours were up, Neville Page and Glenn Hetrick came out to do a preliminary judging on their looks. The standouts for me were Dina, a cake decorator who changed careers. She created a forest nymph that was really beautiful, and Cig, who has been working in the industry for several years who created a great paint job on his “life warrior”.
The next day, they reconvened on the Reveal Stage, where they were joined by Neville, Glenn and Ve Neill, who had been absent the previous day due to her work on The Hunger Games set. She would not be around too much on the show because she was to be working, so they had Lois Burwell, Oscar-winning artist for Braveheart, join the Face Off team. The final contestants would be lucky to have such incredible judges!
They were split up into 2 groups: Group 1 would be safe and Group 2 would be the best and the worst for this challenge. Group 1 consisted of Cig, Rachelle, Stella, Damien, George, Drew, Barry and Doc. The second group included Keaghlan, Scott, Sasha, Jason, Dina, Gabby, Gwen, and Vince. In the middle of their critiques, the judges decided to call out the first person to go home. It was a unanimous decision to ask Scott to leave. He had used a neck prosthetic as a face piece which went against the challenge, and the judges thought his skill set wasn’t up to par for the competition. Disappointed but not defeated, this late bloomer who started makeup classes with his son, left the show determined to continue his passion.
As the judges continued on, they chose Dina with her forest nymph, Vince who created a unique mutated zombie demon and made good use of rib bones on the face of his character, Sasha and her “Raven Maven” graveyard dweller which was a complete character even though she ignored a key prosthetic, and Keaghlan with her creative muse with had a great colour scheme as the top in Group 2. The bottom consisted of Gwen who created a death character that looked good from afar but was muddy. They felt she didn’t make bold decisions. Jason’s well creature was “buried” in makeup and had a muddy paint job, and Gabby, who admitted that her makeup was sub par, didn’t design around the piece she was given. In the end, Gabby, a self-taught makeup artist, was sent home. She too would not give up her passion and was fueled to carry on.
The remaining artists breathed a sigh of relief as the realized they were the 14 contestants for season 7 of Face Off! I am very interested to see how Vince performs. He was an Emmy award winner and worked under Mr. Westmore on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This artist took a 15 year break to raise a family, so I can’t wait to see how he does this season. Dina has also peaked my interest. Her innovative use of a piping bag to create veins for her forest nymph shows she has untapped creativity that I think will blossom as the show progresses. Cig has great painting skills, so I think he will deliver. And finally, Gwen looks like she has promise, but must build her confidence if she wants to survive on the show. This should be an exciting and more intense season as the challenges get crazier!