An all new season of Syfy’s Face Off starts tomorrow night! As we gear up for the new season, let’s take a look back at season eleven, which I began reviewing but never got the chance to finish talking about due to my schedule. And I refuse to just let it go because it was the All Stars season!!!!!! So, time to catch up and get excited for what’s next!
Episode 11.01 “Abstract Aliens”
Episode 11.02 “The Devil is in the Details”
Episode 11.03 “Monster High”
Episode 11.04 “Snow Queens”
Episode 11.05 “Troubling Transformations”
Episode 11.06 “Wasteland Warriors”
Episode 11.07 “Puppet Masters”
Episode 11.08 “Odd Couples”
Episode 11.09 “Frightening Families”
Episode 11.10 “Cursed Covens”
Episode 11.11 “Intergalactic Congress”
The artists met at Long Beach City Hall where the competition turned from teams to individuals, making this the first individual Spotlight Challenge of the season.
Spotlight Challenge: The artists had to create an alien delegate for their very own intergalactic congress. My kind of challenge! Each artist was assigned a political dossier for the world their alien is from, as inspiration. Cig and George were having a ball in the lab. Meanwhile, Emily had trouble with a mold in the lab and was very frustrated but things turned around by day 3. I love how Emily usually seems to hit a snag and it seems like the end of the world but then her creations come out looking like the Beyonce of every challenge.
On the Reveal Stage: I loved the color of Tyler’s creation and I liked the tone of Emily’s creation, which, of course. Logan’s was great and Cig’s creature was so captivating and intriguing. I really would have loved to have seen what Cig could have done with this creation with more time. I really loved the idea of George’s creation but as the judges mentioned, it felt too cartoonish. And finally, the vibe of Evan’s creation was fun but the execution just wasn’t quite there.
The top looks were Tyler and Emily, with Tyler winning the first individual challenge. Go, Tyler! The bottom looks were George and Evan with Evan going home which I felt pretty neutral about. He was great (obviously great enough to make it to All Stars, hello) but I’m not going to act like I didn’t have my eye on a few other artists to make it to the finals…
Episode 11.12 “Tiki Twist”
In this episode, the artists met at the lab to get their next spotlight challenge. The task? Choose a tiki statue and create the Hawaiian god or goddess that it represents. I love when the show embraces diverse cultures so this was definitely one of my favorite episodes. The models for this challenge were all trained dancers that would perform a traditional Polynesian dance on the reveal stage. So the makeup, hair, and wardrobe really had to be on point for all of the movement.
George chose the God of the Ocean, Kanaloa. Emily chose the Fire Goddess, Pele. Tyler picked the God of Earth & Stone, Kane. Logan got the God of Agriculture, Lono. Cig got the God of War, Ku. The artists seemed overwhelmed and understandably concerned about taking on Hawaiian mythology and culture which they didn’t know much about. But their spirits lifted quickly once they learned that their models would be performing. Something to look forward to and focus on even if they bombed… the silver lining. But these guys are smart, they do their research, they are respectful, and I knew that whatever they put out would be solid, especially with mentor, Michael Westmore there to steer them in the right direction if they veered off (which he did, totally shutting down whole concepts), so I wasn’t really worried, I was just as excited as I was with any other challenge.
Fun fact, George pointed out in this episode that he’s the only person left who wasn’t in the finale in their original season… so my thought process is, he could either win this whole competition or he’d be the next logical artist to be eliminated. Hmmm…. The guest judge, was none other than Lois Burwell. It hurt to watch Emily get ripped to shreds (nicely) by the judges, with her already knowing and agreeing with everything. But I love Emily as an artist on this show because she knows when she messes up, takes ownership over & truly learns from everything the judges point out, and she never gives up. Her perseverance is beyond inspiring.
I actually thought that Emily’s creation was FIERCE. Oh my God, it was FIRE. I loved it even if the judges didn’t love it. Cig’s creation was impressive. George’s creation was really great but it didn’t wow me and give me as much of the Hawaiian god vibe that I was anticipating. He held back. I noticed in this challenge, people either held back and kept it too safe or they broke through the fear and just totally went for it. Tyler’s gave me such a warm vibe which I absolutely loved but there was a lot happening up top and not much else anywhere else so it felt like a really uneven Moana. Bless his heart. Logan’s creature wasn’t his best and given his trouble with the concept in the lab, this was expected.
The top looks were Cig and George with Cig winning. Woo! The bottom looks were Emily and Logan with Logan being eliminated. Better have! No disrespect to Logan, just saying Emily did great this week so there was no reason for her to be eliminated. She’s in the semi-finals, woo! The Polynesian dance that all of the performers did in makeup was absolutely fantastic. Syfy is so good with its diverse representation and it comes from such a genuinely enthusiastic and warm place every single time that I can’t help but smile all the way through episodes like this. Thanks, Syfy, you rocked this one out!
Episode 11.13 “Gargoyle Guardians”
Semi-finals! McKenzie took the final four to a Downtown LA rooftop to tell the artists that they had to blindly choose an iconic style of architecture to create a gargoyles protector – with wings, inspired by the chosen architecture. Love this challenge right off the bat. Tyler selected Victorian, Emily chose Art Deco, Cig got Russian Renaissance, and George was puzzled with what he called his “nightmare scenario,” after getting stuck with Deconstructivism. So on one end, there’s George who is stressed and freaking out internally and on the other hand, there’s Emily who is super excited to get in the lab and start. Ah, creativity. Gotta love it.
Once in the lab, George relaxed as he began to warm up to his theme. It was really exciting to see him start getting excited, finally, and the walls coming down letting the creativity flow. Meanwhile, series mentor, Michael Westmore came in and this is where Emily started to panic after receiving his advice. At the end of day one, Emily didn’t even have a face or cowl finished. But teamwork, teamwork, teamwork! At the beginning of day two, all of the artists came over to Emily to give her advice on her piece. Oh my goodness, this is what I LOVE about this show. This is a competition but these guys are lifting each other up constantly. Constantly. They really are a creative family and I love it. Love. It. gosh, I love it so much. Come time for the paint job, Cig’s creation was looking super colorful and fun. Some might say misleading for the typical protector vibe. But just wait until you see it, my oh my. I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of that gargoyle. Anyway, George was back to being a nervous wreck, understandably so.
On the reveal stage, Tyler’s overall look was definitely what I was expecting for this kind of challenge but up close, it needed more Victorian elements and details which the judges pointed out. Cig’s creation was so on brand for Cig and was absolutely stellar. Emily’s was stunning, one of my favorite creations from her this season. Absolutely phenomenal. And George’s really was great considering his bananas theme. Like judge, Neil said, “I hate it and I love it.” He also said the wings were painful to look at (they were) but he was pleased to see how George pulled off the theme (indeed). Couldn’t have said it better myself if I tried. Glenn said that George rose to the occasion and uh, yeah! That’s an understatement ha ha. Ve said he did a fantastic job. Yessir. Darn right, he did a fantastic job. Talk about a challenge.
Now this elimination was tough because they were all great. And honestly, my least favorite was George’s creation but that has nothing to do with George and everything to do with the theme and the fact that the artists have so little time to come up with a concept and create something. Grrr. George’s theme needed more time. So that leaves Tyler who didn’t quite make the mark, according to the judges. And yes, Tyler was indeed eliminated.
Emily won the challenge (yay!) and she was followed by Cig and George into the finale. George stepping up to the plate with that theme alone was worth him getting a spot in the finale. Well deserved. Yeah, George was the only person left who wasn’t in the finale in their original season but now he’s in the All Stars finale so boo yah!
Episode 11.14 “Battle of the Beasts”
Finale time!!!! All Stars went all out for this finale, kicking it up several notches by taking it quite literally up in the air. The artists met McKenzie on the studio lot and was greeted by actor, stunt man (and President of the Stuntman’s Association), and director, Jeff Wolfe, (The Avengers, Drive, Pirates of the Caribbean) or as George called him, “The Stunt Obama” ha ha ha. Wolfe was on board to choreograph kung-fu fight scenes that the artists’ creations would be filming for the finale. This meant that in addition to the typical speaking roles for the finale shoots, their creations would be jumping, kicking, and flying through the air. Pretty darn cool. Cig even said this was his dream challenge. I would find it odd if this wasn’t a dream challenge for any of the artists, this is quite something.
So what was the challenge, exactly? They each had to create two animalistic kung-fu masters who would be battling it out. Emily, Cig, George were able to choose three of the season’s past contestants for assistance. Emily chose Tyler, Adam, and Gage. Cig chose Logan, Evan, and Melissa. George chose Ben, Rachael, and Keaghlan. Was anybody else slightly surprised by who everyone chose? Anyway, the performers were already paired up as Tiger & Dragon, Crane & Mantis, and Eagle & Snake, so the final three got to choose which pair they wanted. Cig chose Tiger & Dragon. Emily picked Crane & Mantis. George got Eagle & Snake. I love how George is usually last in these things and gets the slim pickings but always rises to the occasion.
The three days in the lab were a rush of excitement leading up to the film shoot and finale set. The short film included all six makeups and was one cohesive short film rather then three short individual short films, so that was pretty cool. Time for the shoot, Emily was on point and her professionalism was A++++ and I really hope that the right people see it and hire her. Cig’s villain on camera was scary in the best way. I loved both of Cig’s creations whereas for Emily and George, I did have a favorite of their two creations. George was a little rattled about his makeup not holding up on his creations while filming but all went well. And with that, the judges crowned Cig as the winner of Face Off: All Stars and I couldn’t be happier. I had been rooting for Emily all season long but Cig was number two. No one can deny the brilliance in his originality and it shined through all season long without wavering. I am super ecstatic over Cig’s win! What a season! What a great ALL STARS season. They really delivered on that, so this All Stars season was definitely worth the wait.
Next season’s theme is “Divide & Conquer.” The all-new artists are divided into two separate makeup FX shops. These shops will compete head-to-head each week, providing a unique season-long arc unlike anything seen on the show before.
I’m excited about the new format for the upcoming season but I’m also thinking, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Note though, I’m saying that not even keeping up with what the ratings are for the show. So, if the show needs to shake it up for ratings, I’m all for trying something new. But if it’s fine as is and this upcoming season doesn’t quite work, I am not at all opposed to going back to how things were. Only time will tell. Stay tuned for season 12 this week!
Season 12 of Face Off begins tomorrow night at 9/8c on Syfy.