Face Off Digest: Season 9

Season 9 Premier Recap

I am a HUGE fan of Syfy’s Face Off, so I have been counting down the days until the 9th season premier. After watching the first episode, I can safely say that I am not disappointed. All of the contestants seem promising and highly skilled, so this will be an entertaining season indeed!

The first episode definitely threw some major curve balls, beginning with a full charge into the Spotlight Challenge. Normally, the contestants must complete two challenges per episode: a Foundation Challenge (which is normally a small prize-winning challenge), and the main challenge, called the Spotlight Challenge. And boy, was this Spotlight Challenge a doozy! The contestants paired up into teams to create a design that could incorporate two actors in the final look. The theme for this challenge was “Intergalactic Zoo,” so each creature had to be an alien life form inspired by a naturally occurring element found here on Earth (animal, vegetable, mineral). Though not an entirely unique challenge concept—aliens are a popular theme on Face Off—I did like how the challenge dictated an incorporation of an Earthly element. This made the creatures seem significantly organic in terms of alien life forms.

The teams had three days to work in the make-up lab before unveiling their final looks to judges Ve Neil, Glen Hetrick, and Neville Page.

And the winners are: 

Jordan & Ben!FaceOff_gallery_307SpotlightChallenge_02Their four-legged, “alien dinosaur” creature was insanely impressive, and featured amazing colors. Though the look was picked as the top look of the week, Ben was chosen as the winner for the episode—which is a promising start for the artist.

Who went home: 

NO ONE. That’s the second curve ball of the season 9 premier! None of the bottom looks contestants left, meaning that the challenges from here on out will now be insanely difficult. But there’s so many promising opportunities to come in this season of Face Off. I’M SO EXCITED!!

Episode Favorite(s): 

Aside from Ben & Jordan’s winning look, I loved Scott & Nora’s piece, which was insanely elegant, yet vicious.FaceOff_gallery_307SpotlightChallenge_04

That’s two people in one look! So cool. Great job, guys!

mckelodeon’s Predictions 

Seeing as how it’s only the first episode, I don’t have much in the way of predictions. But, I will say that Jordan and Ben seem like they will make it far as individual contestants. After taking a look at their past work on the show’s website, I can already tell that each artist brings immense skill and unique talent. Jordan, for one, has a great knack for color and sculpting elegant edges. Ben, on the other hand, is gifted with excellent anatomical rendering in his sculpts. I predict that both artists will last for many episodes to come.

Also, be on the lookout for Meg, the contestant from New Jersey. Meg made it very clear in this first episode that she’s a self-taught make-up artists—learning everything she knows from the internet—so it is extremely likely that she may become this season’s dark horse. I, for one, will keep my eyes peeled for Meg in the forthcoming episodes.


Ep. 2–Siren Song

In Episode 2, the contestants were given quite a unique challenge as they sailed on a Coast Guard ship. In teams of two, the contestants had to create a beautiful—but deadly—siren. The design inspiration for the sirens came from sea creatures that are both lovely and dangerous. Needless to say, I was quite excited for this challenge.

The teams were broken down into:

  • Jason & Evan—Peacock Mantis Shrimp
  • Kevon & Meg—Textile Cone Snail
  • Nora & Brittnay—Flabellina Nudibranch
  • Jordan & Jasmine—Yellow Boxfish
  • Ben & Ricky—Blue Seaslug
  • Omar & Sidney—Portugese Man O’War
  • Scott & Stevie—Blue Ringed Octopus
  • Libby & Missy—Surgeon Fish

While the teams brainstormed amazing ideas for their final looks, many of them had a hailstorm of issues in  their execution. When Mr. Westmore came by to give the teams advice, he completely ripped into Kevon & Meg’s design. At first, I found this rather harsh, but the team would not be deterred from creating an amazing design. Meg softened the face sculpt while Kevon changed the chest piece design.

Other teams were didn’t fare so well during their time in the lab; Brittnay & Nora’s design featured spines tips, which were lost after the face and chest sculpts were molded. They had to think on their feet last minute to fix them, and came up with a simply clever solution: use make-up sponges. Meanwhile, Evan had to completely redo his and Jason’s mold after he was forced to break the cast open on Day 2. And Libby & Missy’s head piece was plagued with air pockets, meaning that most of their head and face mold had to be scrapped. Out of all the groups, Libby & Missy faced the most challenges. If it wasn’t their head sculpt, it was the paint job, or their design execution. Their troubles ultimately landed them in the Bottom Looks, along with Omar & Sidney’s Man O’War Siren.

And the winners are: 

Kevon & Meg!

This team’s hauntingly stunning siren won the affection of the judges, proving what Tim Burton has taken 30 years to tell us through his films: creepy is cool. Even though the team started off a little rough, they pulled out a great design that stole the show.

Because there could only be one winner, the judges chose Meg. At least one of my predictions is beginning to come true! Hopefully it will last throughout her time on Face Off.

Who went home: 

Omar & Sidney.

The judges were not so thrilled with their Man O’War design, which reminded me of the Greek goddess, Athena. Omar & Sidney wanted to create a warrior-like siren, but forgot to make her exceptionally beautiful. Even though I did like the concept of their design, I had to agree with the judges: it was not entirely pretty. And I did not appreciate the fact that they were giving excuses for their design, because the judges do not care. Do you know Glen Hetrick? Bro don’t take shit. And Ve is such a sass queen. Get your excuses in order.

But it was sad to see the two go, seeing as how it’s so early in the season.

Episode favorites: 

There were oodles of fantastic looks in this episode; I had to stop myself from listing the greater majority of them. I will say, though, that my top three were:

Ben & Ricky’s Showgirl SeaslugFaceOff_gallery_902SpotlightChallenge_03

Jordan & Jasmine’s Venomous BoxfishFaceOff_gallery_902SpotlightChallenge_02

Kevon & Meg’s Textile Grecian Cone SnailFaceOff_gallery_902SpotlightChallenge_05

What a range! This was by far one of my favorite challenges in the show’s history.

mckelodeon’s Predictions: 

Based on Missy’s troubles in this episode, I’d say that she is either going to come back in the next episode swinging, or she is going to crumble and become the third person sent home. I think that the past two challenges have not suited her skills well, and she’s floundering a bit.

Also, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for Meg and Ben once again. These two have shown that their skills are seriously on point, and they will be true contenders. Kevon is also starting to grow on me a bit as well. Since next week’s episode will be Face Off’s 100th, I’m anticipating others to bring their A-game. Next week should prove to be a real doozy for the contestants!

Contestants’ Final Looks


Ep. 3–Surprise of the Century (100th Episode Edition)

Yes, you read that right; last night’s episode was the 100th episode of Face Off!

I couldn’t believe it either.

I have been watching Face Off since it first aired, which either makes me incredibly dedicated or incredibly sad. I’m going with incredibly dedicated for this one. But in all seriousness, this is a momentous occasion, indeed. To celebrate, the contestants paired up into teams of two once again to create a whimsical and macabre corpse couple a la Tim Burton. The couples would then be married on the show, with the ceremony officiated by McKenzie Westmore herself.

The teams were broken down into:

  • Jordan & Ricky
  • Ben & Jasmine
  • Scott & Stevie (again)
  • Jason & Missy
  • Meg & Nora
  • Libby & Brittnay
  • Evan & Kevon (which rhymes, and that makes me happy)

As far as the fabrication process goes, there was no drama. The teams got along great in this episode, and worked exceptionally well with one another. Ricky did get a little creative by deciding to add a beating heart into the design of the corpse groom, which turned out awesome. (Can I also just say that I thought it was absolutely perfect how the groom from the electrocuted couple was named Serge?!). But all in all, though, it was smooth sailing…

…until everyone got to the reveal stage, that is.

While the fabrication process was a fun, light-hearted look into how the contestants work together, the judging portion of the episode was an absolute bloodbath. Poor Jason & Missy–confident in their belief that they had created a great final look–were torn apart when they expressed their pride for their work. Their look was not awful by any stretch of the imagination, but the blame fell on Missy’s darkened paint job regardless. Meg & Nora were also brutalized in last night’s episode, after their concept of  a star-crossed artist and her drawing failed to paint a picture of macabre whimsy for the judges. See what I did there?

I’ll let myself out.

I genuinely felt bad for Meg & Nora, because their disappointment was so evident that hour before the reveal. Nora even expressed to the judges that there were some “short comings” with their final look. But none of those judges take pity or remorse, leading to one exceptionally painful ending.

And the winners are:

Ben & Jasmine!

Their take on a crazy cat lovers’ rendition of Beauty and the Beast was the perfect balance of whimsical and macabre, making the judges gush over their look for much of the episode. But it was Jasmine who was this week’s winner, due to her skillful painting on the bride’s face, which Ve Neil couldn’t get enough of.

Who went home: 

That’s the mystery: we don’t know yet! The episode ended with a celebration for all of the newlyweds, so we have to wait until next week to see who will be sent packing.

Episode Favorites: 

I don’t care what the judges say, I thought that Jason & Missy’s look was cute and quirky. What sold it for me was when the bride held up the groom’s head, making a vibrant kiss on his cheek visible to the audience.FaceOff_gallery_903SpotlightChallenge_01

I also enjoyed Ben & Jasmine’s cat-tastic design. Being a crazy cat lady myself, I appreciated the neurotic attention to details.FaceOff_gallery_903SpotlightChallenge_05

Finally, Scott & Stevie’s look was adorable. I loved how their look was creepy (since the couple was supposed to be dead), but sweet and romantic. It truly reminded me of Corpse Bride mixed with a little A Christmas Carol.FaceOff_gallery_903SpotlightChallenge_02

mckelodeon’s Predictions: 

Okay, I get it already, working in teams shows the judges how they play nicely with others. Now it’s the third episode, and we have no idea how the contestants stand up to an individual challenge. We don’t even know their individual talents, because each Spotlight Challenge has been centered on the work of the teams. I JUST WANT AN INDIVIDUAL CHALLENGE.

That being said, I have no clue who will be sent home. I was taken aback when the judges announced the bottom looks, so now it’s a free for all at this point. At this point, it seems as though Missy might be going home after all. This is the second week that she has fallen to the bottom looks spot, and she was warned in last week’s episode that her painting style was too dark. Watch out, Missy!

However, this is the second time that Ben’s team has won, so to me that signals a contender. I’ll be keeping my eye out for Ben in the next few episodes. For now, though, I will be waiting in sheer agony for next week’s episode, as per usual.

Final Looks

Ep. 4–Frightful Fiction


Right off the bat, we lost another contestant, which was the elimination that carried over from last week. When it was all said and done, Missy went home due to her muddy paint job. I hate to say it, but I saw this elimination coming. She was in the bottom looks the week before (in Episode 2), and she just could not recover. It’s sad, because I really wanted to see what she could do on her own, but hopefully she will blossom in her career. So,  not the most fortuitous start to an episode, but I guess it had to be done.

The moment was quickly juxtaposed with the announcement of this week’s challenge, and it made me all goose-pimply. The contestants were required to create looks that incorporates classic literature and horror. Needless to say, I geeked out a bit.

But, that wasn’t the only excitement: there was no Foundation or Spotlight Challenge. Instead, there was a Focus Challenge. Similar to the Spotlight Challenge, the Focus Challenge was created to force the artists to concentrate on one area of the design, which was the face. Cool, right? There’s a catch, though; the artists would have two days instead of three days to create their final looks. What.

The literary themes were broken down into these seven stories:

The Legend of King Arthur and his Undead Knights (Kevon, Ben)

The Scarlett Letter: Puritan Poltergeist (Jason, Meg)

The Exorcism of Monte Cristo (Ricky, Libby)

Sherlock Holmes: Bloodsucker (Jasmine, Evan)

Don Quixote: Monster of La Mancha (Scott, Stevie–AGAIN, but individually)

Great Expectations of a Serial Killer (Brittnay)

Gulliver’s Travels in the Underworld (Nora, Jordan)

Each artist was confident in their ability to knock the challenge out of the park, that is, until Mr. Westmore made his rounds. After Mr. Westmore made his rounds, Brittnay discovered that she may have been over her head with creating an old age and burn sculpt. Needless to say, she freaked out. Jason also had quite a bit of self doubt with his sculpt, and had to step away from the workbench. Scott, however, made a good impression on Mr. Westmore with his Don Quixote/Frankenstein hybrid. Not bad his first individual challenge. 

Once the contestants made their way to the reveal stage, there was one more surprise. On top of a new challenge, LOIS BURWELL RETURNED!! Not gonna lie, I love Lois. She’s like a Grey Goose Martini: always a classic that’s perfectly dry (as far as her tone and humor go). I was thrilled with her return, and I hope she’ll be back on next week’s episode.

I noticed how there were so many contestants who floundered with this challenge, which I think primarily had to do with the fact that everyone got a day’s worth of work taken away for their very first individual challenge. It’s comparable to chopping off a person’s leg and then asking them to run a marathon. Yes, the Focus Challenge does test the abilities of the artists, but it also hinders them. They’ve been competing in team challenges for three consecutive episodes; now, at a point in the competition where they can finally stand on their own two feet, they’ve been hindered. Brilliant planning there.

But, to say that this is the reason why so many of the final looks didn’t turn out well would be an excuse. I hate to say it, but there were some bad final looks in this week’s episode. There were solid concepts at the root of the bottom designs, but the execution lacked the skill necessary to progress.

And the Winner Is:

-Scott! Finally able to show what he can truly do, Scott earned his first win on face Off

Who Went Home: 

-Brittnay. Poor Brittnay, she bit off more than she could chew. I was sad to see Brittnay go; I thought she seemed very nice and sweet, and had the potential to offer unique talent.

Episode Favorites:

Ricky’s demonic Count of Monte Cristo evoked such wrath and modeled exquisite style. Seriously, whoever did the costume for this look knew what was up. Kudos to them. I also enjoyed Ben’s King Arthur look, which reminded me of a White Walker. Both contestants were safe this week.

mckelodeon’s Predictions:

This is the second week that Jason has been in the bottom looks, so he’d better watch himself. I like Jason. He has a great personality, and he favorited a couple of my tweets, so he’s a sweetheart in my book. I just hope he nails next week’s challenge so he can stay around longer.

And hopefully next week’s challenge will be a Spotlight Challenge, because I want to see full-blown looks produced by each artist. I NEED IT.

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