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Face Off: Swan Song

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Face Off Swan Song

The Face Off season finale features…Swan Lake? Well, ok. Let’s see how that works out.

Back at the house, the three remaining artists get some Skype time with their families. I always thought it was a little strange how big a deal they made about this, but Laura told me once that they really don’t get to talk to their families the whole time they’re on the show. I don’t really understand why the producers do that, but it does make it clearer why everyone gets so teary-eyed when they finally get a little video chat with mom and dad. And Laura’s Vulcan “sci-five” is the best thing ever.

The challenge is an odd one, based on the ballet Swan Lake. Was there anyone watching tonight who was like, “Swan Lake, hell yeah!” McKenzie prefaced it by observing that, “make-up effects are usually used in the movies.”

So why doesn’t Face Off have the contestants make something to be used in a freaking movie? I know logistically it would be hard to fit it into the shooting schedule of an actual movie, although that would be amazing, but you could give the artists script pages from a fake movie and shoot them on some cool back lot with good lighting. I’ve bitched about this before, but the ballet thing just seems so ridiculous. I’ll bet this whole thing happened solely because someone thought it would be cool for the season finale episode to be titled, “Swan Song.”

Or, hey, while I’m brainstorming here, how about creating some make-ups for a rock band? There are tons of horror themed rock bands that I’m sure would play a set for the finale. Make-ups for a couple band member and maybe a mascot type creature that dances around the stage? How cool would that be?

Swan Lake it is, then. Design the lead in mid swan transformation and the evil sorcerer who made her turn into a swan. This season’s other contestants show up to help, but only six of them so the teams don’t get too huge. Laney not included (she didn’t show for the finale performance either). The best part of the collaboration was Scott wearing a Roy hat during last looks.

The performance of Swan Lake was, you know, interesting. Ok look, I can’t sugarcoat this. The whole idea was terrible, and it looked like a bizarre trainwreck. It’s Swan Lake, but with three swans at the same time! And three writhing, dying sorcerers. It just made no sense.

Luckily, the designs were amazing in close-up. Everyone had the added twist of filtering their designs through a historical era. Roy took the Ming Dynasty. His sorcerer was a striking evil wizard with a Fu Manchu mustache and elaborate decorative robes (that he couldn’t wear while dancing, and none of the judges had an issue with this or even mentioned it). Was it a walking Yellow Peril cliché? Sure, but Roy nailed the trope perfectly. His swan felt very plain to me. There were some nice subtle features on the face, but overall this felt like an early season middle look.

Tate took the industrial revolution, and revised his swan into a mechanical woman with a swan cracking out of her porcelain skin. On first glance it looked a little like egg instead of porcelain, but up close the details of the brass cowl and the subcutaneous gears were amazing. One arm was the swan head and neck, which formed the shape of an actual swan alongside the asymmetrical feathers on the model’s body. Quite a neat trick.

The bleary-eyed smokestack sorcerer had a great look, but as Glen pointed out, he didn’t really exude the power of an evil wizard. More than anything else he made me think of Jethro Tull’s Aqualung. It was an amazing design, it just didn’t quite fit the client’s specifications.

Laura had the Italian Renaissance to work with, so her designs had tons of baroque details, with swirls and engravings and ornate jeweled accents. Her swan was beautiful (although, as the judges noted, more feathers on the head would have looked good). I loved the gold and pearls. But the sorcerer was the piece de resistance. It was the best design of any this week, with incredible triple horns entwined around a glowing orb and an insanely detailed face.

In the end, Laura got the victory I’d been hoping for all season. She got a Fiat and $100,000 to make up for the fact that she now has to drive a Fiat. Laura is my all-time favorite Face Off artist. All three finalists are astonishingly talented people, and it really was a close finish, as all three final designs were mind-blowing. By no means could you say that Tate or Roy didn’t deserve to win, but Laura surely did.
It’s nice to think that she’ll have the freedom now to create awesome things, and it’s nice to know that Roy and Tate won’t have any trouble finding excellent gigs after getting into the top ranks on two separate Face Off seasons.

This wasn’t my favorite season of Face Off, as you may have noticed. But Laura winning makes me forget about a lot of the negatives. Except Swan Lake.

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Posted by on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013. Filed under Dark TV, Headline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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