Thank God for double eliminations! In one fell swoop we are finally rid of Terri and her tired tacky flares, and catchphrase-spewing, neon-loving troll doll Blayne. (Just a thought: Could Blayne's love of neon stem from his love of tanning? Maybe all that time in the tanning beds has burnt out several of his rods and cones, leaving him only capable of seeing color in its brightest, most garish form?) As a whole, this episode felt like a long overdue weeding of a particularly overgrown, shabby garden. The one-two-three punch of "You're going to be judged on your garments tonight," followed by "And two of you are going to be eliminated," and then, "Oh, also there's no more immunity," was like a weed-whacker wielded by reason, mercilessly cutting the competition down.
Really, this show should do double eliminations more often–especially with the line-up of disappointing designers Project Runway enlisted this season. When Suede is still Sueding through Suedetown in episode ten, and contestants with wildly inconsistent taste levels like Kenley, Jerell, and Joe are rounding out the top six, something has gone wrong.
Still, it was Jerell who (without any real explanation) came out on top this week, although looking at the detail put into his avant garde archer's outfit, it's easy to see why. Since most of the judging took place at the makeshift Past Project Runway Lives Pavillon within the planetarium, intricate details like putting 6 different trims and 5 different fabrics into a jacket (or whatever) could be appreciated up close. Also, Jerell's outfit fit the zodiac aspect of the challenge without taking it too literally. His model really did look like a kind of ethereal archeress, which is a valid interpretation of Sagitarius.
The other top designs (no Bravo reference intended) were bigger and showier and probably had more runway appeal. Joe's fiery cascading inflated ruffles gown definitely suited a fire sign like Aries, but though it was well done, it wasn't particularly forward-thinking. Korto's cool blue waterfall of a dress evoked Aquarius, but it wasn't very well put together when she went to the planetarium for judging. Leanne's excellent black exoskeleton was pure Scorpio, although the red dress underneath it might have been a little too safe to be called "avant garde."
But the gulf between the top designers and the bottom designers was very, very wide–owing at least in part to the fact that none of the losing designers seemed to have any idea what "avant garde" means. Judging by Suede's blue satin pantsuit, Suede thinks "avant garde" means making an I Dream Of Jeannie costume but in blue and with a superfluous charmuse train. Terri's interpretation of Leo indicated that she thinks "avant garde" means adding a corset and a giant fur collar or poofy red collar to an otherwise unremarkable beige glitter gown. Then there's Blayne, who thinks that moving forward, people will be strapping deflated balloons to one half of their bodies with leather belts while wearing flesh-colored body suits. But if "avant garde" meant "hilariously ugly" or "cirque du soliel costume as made by an arts and crafts class at a summer camp for kids with ADHD" then he would have been the obvious winner instead of the obvious loser.
Lastly, there was Kenley, who apparently stuffed the puffy sleeves of her hideous Disney villain costume with insolence, whines, and arrogance–all of which she has more than enough to spare. At the Past PR Lives Pavillion and on the runway, Kenley learned (or would have learned if the voices in her head hadn't been whining loudly on repeat, "You're great! Your designs are great! Anyone who disagrees with you is nonsense.") that there are some things you can't talk over or cover in defensiveness. Like ugly. You can't talk your way out of ugly. And taking clashing fabrics, making them into poofs, and then covering the bottom with hospital green tulle and the top with cheap-looking leather, is nothing but ugly. Lucky for her, there were two designers who managed to out-ugly her monstrosity, so she lives to whine, and defensively neckroll another day.
--Seeing Kenley on the runway this week behaving like an insolent child, it became very clear how she permanently aquired that grating whine to her voice: she started whining when she was a kid and literally never stopped.
--Also, as far as defenses go, for a designer to say, "I don't look at collections," is unbelievably ineffective. That's like a novelist saying, "I don't read books." You either come off as a liar, a complete ignoramus, or both.
--Also also, if Kenley hasn't seen a Dolce & Gabanna collection ever or a Viktor & Rolf collection ever, has she seen the wicked stepmother in Cinderella? Or maybe (as Tim suggested) The Wizard Of Oz?
--Wesley deserves a medal for not telling Kenley that her design sucked. She probably would have been too delusional to hear him even if he tried.
--Non-Kenley-related observation: it's good to see Jay again. And he's still not homeless!
--Steeeeelllaaaa! Watch (Reinstated): Tim all but said it as he was trying to get her out of the workroom and to the planetarium.
--Keith is pretty annoying, but his falling asleep right before the runway show and having to be woken up by Tim was pretty fantastic.