So, we’re collecting our pocket change and heading to Vegas, because last night marked the third Project Runway finale in a row for which we picked the correct winner. Either we’re getting much better at this, or PR is getting way more predictable. In addition to reveling in the glory of being right, we’re pleased that neither mostly monochromatic Mila nor cranky Emilio got to take home the big prize although we could go the rest of our lives without hearing Michael Kors use the phrase “It turned me on” again. While you’re struggling to get that mental image out of your head, here’s our take on this cycle’s finale:
Jessica: What does it say about this show that I thought the most compelling moment was an ad for Deadly Honeymoon, starring Summer Glau?
Heather: I’ll say this for the Lifetime era: The commercials are way, way more entertaining.
Jessica: The finale was a bit Snoozeville. I miss the days when people were accused of cheating or had to have all their accessories thrown out.
Heather: Yes — the act-out drama of the models not showing up doesn’t work, because nobody for a minute thinks the show is going to allow a designer to wheel two looks down the runway on a mannequin. As soon as they said, “The models aren’t HERE,” I thought, “Well, either they will come, or Tim will get a replacement.”
Jessica: Exactly. I may have trumpeted the word, “BORING,” to my living room several times.
Heather: It struck me at the end, when Emilio was crying backstage after his loss, that the show needs to inject some of that tension and emotion and high stakes into the rest of the hour. I don’t even care if they openly manipulate me. The Biggest Loser might go overboard with all the montages about people’s tragedies, but dammit, I’m crying at the end anyway.
Jessica: I think it was also problematic that Faith Hill — while probably totally nice — is not a very dynamic guest judge.
Heather: And since I have zero sense of her personal style, her saying she’d wear stuff meant very little to me.
Jessica: She seemed unwilling to criticize. Which I understand, I guess, from a PR perspective. But it’s not very interesting to watch.
Heather: The whole judging felt very edited around a Seth Aaron–Emilio debate. I got the sense Heidi was pulling for Emilio.
Jessica: She did wear Emilio’s cocktail dress to an event the night before the finale: maybe that was her loving shout-out to him.
Heather: It was part of a challenge win from the show, but I agree, the timing of that must have been meant to communicate something.
Jessica: Emilio’s collection had no verve, while Seth Aaron’s had loads of it.
Heather: Emilio’s coats were very nice, it’s true, but I agree the collection was boring — and I don’t understand their fascination with his “E Sosa” print. There was one point in judging where, off camera, Kors said it was “priceless,” and they cut him off very quickly afterward, which leads me to believe he was laughing at it.
Jessica: The collection was sell-able. But your runway show ought to have a bit more pizzazz — and then you can tone it down to sell it later. Which is why I think Seth Aaron. He’s technically very skilled, but his showmanship pushed him over the edge.
Heather: Yes. I respect Emilio trying to cover a base the judges didn’t think he could handle — the commercial aspects of being a designer — but you can’t build your whole show around that or it feels too Lands’ End.
Jessica: And then there’s Mila, who I don’t think was ever really in the running.
Heather: No, she was an afterthought the whole time, which surprised me a bit. I enjoyed watching her collection more than I did Emilio’s — somehow I didn’t pay attention to the lack of color in it, because there were enough other interesting aspects. It just seemed a bit more thoughtful and expensive to me than Emilio’s did.
Jessica: She has a niche. It might not be Sexy Young Thing as much as it is Sassy Woman of a Certain Age, but I think I would have given her the silver medal over Crankypants Emilio.
Heather: I think Tim would have given her a small country if it meant Crankypants lost.
Jessica: When will people learn that being dismissive and jerky to Tim is the best way to make the entire world think you are a jackass?
Heather: You can disagree with him, or feel like the judges get you more than he does, and still lovingly clutch him to your bosom. I anticipate a juicy scoop about whatever was going on there. Fire away, Gunn!
Jessica: One of the many things I like about Tim is that he does not pull punches about people after the season, yet he always tries to do right by them when they are under his tutelage. Even if they are jerkwads.
Heather: I’d like to see the judges pick all the bogey collections they thought had the most potential, and throw together a short all-star season. Of course, they’d have to acknowledge this show existed pre-Lifetime for that to work. But if the season finale can’t give us goosebumps at this point, they need to try something fresh.
Jessica: Seriously. Dip into the vintage Lifetime well if you have to.
Heather: Tori Spelling, a poisoned lei, a jailbreak, and, like, Patrick Duffy. DO IT. And actually, they are welcome to that recipe. It might be good.
Jessica: Project Runway: Tim Gunn, May I Sew With Danger?
Heather: Say it with me: Make it work.
View the complete final collections: