Syfy

Face Off Is Your Genie In A Bottle

Some designers have good ideas for supernatural entities. Others do not.

Foundation Challenge

The designers are presented with models who are already costumed as cool winged Valkyries. The challenge, then, is quite straightforward: do face makeup to go with what's already there. I approve of this challenge because it tests something other than sculpting and application of prosthetics. Not that I dislike those things, but it's fun when this show about special-effects makeup forces people to work with just makeup.

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Douglas Noe is the guest judge here, and his claim to Valkyrie expertise comes from having worked on Thor: The Dark World. He also worked on The Avengers, which is a bigger deal but less Norse. He recommends that the designers not get too flamboyant, which is not a suggestion I appreciate. If people are going to fail, I'd rather they err on the side of being too crazy rather than too boring.

It's worth noting that Yvonne tells us that she got Megan, because it shows that someone behind the scenes knows which models have a following. It's also worth noting that when Robert is explaining hi blood-spattered warrior, he says Wagner with a "W", rather than like "Vog-ner." What kind of German doesn't know how to pronounce "Wagner"?

The top two are Yvonne and Melissa. and Melissa takes the win.

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Melissa gets immunity. Spoiler: she'll need it.

Getting The Spotlight Challenge

The next day, the challenge is again in the lab. That isn't the most scenic option, but someone at least put some decorating effort into it. In fact, with a little less pink and a lot more pillows, I could imagine having an apartment that looks like this.

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However, there's not much to this phase. Everyone takes an oddly-shaped bottle and they have to create a genie that could have come out of it. The source material given as samples are Aladdin, Clash Of The Titans, and I Dream Of Jeannie, so you can tell how culturally sensitive this is going to be. Although I guess I'm not sure that genies are a thing with a genuine culturally appropriate version.

Sketching

When there's a separate foundation challenge, the segments get kind of rushed through. To the extent that anyone has a plan, the general idea seems to be to do makeup that mimics the bottles, because what else are they supposed to start with?

Mentor Session

Mel starts off with a plan to duplicate an antelope or gazelle from her bottle, but Michael Westmore feels that's too obscure. Instead of basing her design on a detail no one can see, he thinks she should focus on the weird pattern of the bottle. I should point out that the judges will show no interest in how well these genies tie in to the bottles. On the other hand, Mr. Westmore knows what he's talking about.

Robert is doing a very literal cat face because his bottle reminded him somehow of a cat's eye, and Mr. Westmore also recommends against that. He's very anti-animal today. Maybe if there were horns or something to make it feel supernatural.

Sculpting

Walter does things in order. Instead of working on the face and cowl together, he finishes the face and gets it molded on the first day, so he can work on the cowl later. This results in some solid molding drama when he has to rush to get the cowl open with only a couple minutes to go in the day. As usual, other people are happy to help.

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Hanging On The Patio

Once everyone's been hustled out of the lab, they spend a few minutes in the patio before they're hustled out of there. Presumably, they end up in whatever hotel the production doesn't want to show us. Not much happens, although Robert lectures everyone that they don't have to do a cowl in every single challenge. He's right, although his kitty is not the best example of taking the time to make sure everything is perfect.

Application Stage

Mel is feeling pretty good, because she has time to prepaint her work before gluing it to the model's face. However, her model is sitting right there with an unglued face, so maybe this isn't the best use of Mel's time.

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Going into the Reveal Stage, Rob is very concerned, because he didn't finish his body paint. That's a Burning Man Foul, right?

Reveal Stage

There's another guest judge! This one is Bill Corso, who's done a ton of stuff, including Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The desisgner seem convincingly excited.

Mel's look is pretty rough. The proportions seem very odd, and there are weird things around the lips and eyes.

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The cowl looks pretty cool. But to see it, you have to see the face in profile, where it looks even weirder.

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Melissa is safe. And it's a good thing for her, because the central element of her makeup is this thing that looks like a skin condition. It's kind of neat how the dots are mirrored in the contact lenses, although that seems like something you're not going to see unless you have a still image.

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Walter went all-out and came up with this neat full-body demon thing. Apparently going for extra credit, he seems to have painted his model's tongue.

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Yvonne did an elephant head. But not a particularly interesting one. The coloring is pretty bland, the tusks are mystifyingly tiny, and the trunk doesn't look alive at all.

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Rob's face is interesting. There are unusual shapes and it looks like it's made out of jade. And the body paint isn't that bad.

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Robert's kitty cat has a hilariously dumb facial expression. And the contact lenses don't really sell the cat idea. And what's with the teeth? Shouldn't a cat have fangs, rather than these human-style choppers? And the ears! We can only see one, but that's a weird place for an ear, right?
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Judging

The judges mostly say things that agree with the comments I've already made. Did I steal their observations and pass them off as my own? There's no way to know! To prove that I didn't steal everything, I will report that they describe Robert's look as "goofy," "inappropriate," and "a lion in a '20s cocktail dress." They don't think Melissa or Robert did something that looks like a genie, although there's no way to know what the judges will think of as genie-like. There was a challenge a few seasons ago where the judges complained that various looks didn't "look like trolls," and it seemed more subjective than usual. This is like that.

The top two are Rob and Walter, and Walter wins. I liked Rob's face better, but Walter did a better head-to-toe look. And Rob can't win every week. I have to pause here to praise the incredibly stagy way McKenzie asks who's going home. Her insert shots are usually done much better than this.

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The bottom two are Mel and Robert, and the loser is Robert. There was some talk of maybe saving someone, but that doesn't happen. He's out. His last words are "This last makeup is my gift to the world, and yes, you guys are so welcome."

Verdict

Both challenges are neat to look at. And if you're sick of Robert's eccentricity, you'll probably enjoy seeing him leave. So long, you Germanic weirdo.

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