(Photo : Reuters)
Episode three of "Project Runway's" twelfth season began with Heidi Klum dragging the 14 drowsy designers out of their beds at 5:30 a.m. to journey to Brooklyn. For this challenge, the designers were taken to their final destination; a brisk, deserted Coney Island. The quirky episode didn't disappoint, and it is only a taste of what's in store for fans of the hit fashion reality show.
In a conspicuous display of product placement, this episode featured the designers breaking up into teams to hand out Yoplait frozen yogurt to passers-by. Once the designers got over the shock of it being a dreaded team challenge, they were broken up into pairs, as such: Alexander and Austin, Kate and Helen, Jeremy and Ken, Sandro and Sue, Dom and Alexandria and Miranda and Timothy. While some pairings, like Jeremy and Ken, were a safe bet, some others, like Miranda and Timothy, seemed doomed to fail.
The pairs proceeded to hand out frozen yogurt to Coney Island visitors and ask them what descriptive words come to mind when they ate the frozen confection. The designers then had to use the descriptors as inspiration for their designs. Some adjectives used were fluffy, luxurious and delightful.
The designers were then slapped with the second part of their challenge. Tim announced that in lieu of a trip to Mood Fabrics, the teams would be given a $100 GoBank debit card to have access to every amusement in Luna Park for 30 minutes. The prizes that the designers won from playing the carnival games served as the materials they would use to make their garments.
Kate and Helen played a fishing carnival game to get red sombreros; Sandro and Sue gathered up blue inflatable aliens; Miranda and Timothy won a stuffed unicorn, and the others stocked up on equally kitschy carnival spoils. It may seem preposterous and practically impossible to try to make a dress from a stuffed carnival prize, but "Project Runway" designers are not to be underestimated.
As per usual, designing-room drama ensued. Miranda freaked out at Timothy after a negative critique from Tim, and Sandro blatantly criticized Sue while Tim was assessing their design. Despite the drama, the teams somehow made it to runway day, where Kelly Osbourne served as the guest judge.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the teams with the highest scores were Alexandria and Dom, who created a quirky monster sweatshirt and miniskirt made out of a stuffed animal frog. Despite its costume-y and impractical aspects, the judges loved that the design embraced the fun spirit of Coney Island. The winning look came from Kate and Helen, who designed a beautifully constructed red dress out of the material from sombrero hats.
The lowest-scoring designs were from Alexander and Justin, who created an ill-fitting mermaid-like dress out of turquoise blue and green plastic, and Miranda and Timothy (unsurprisingly) who designed a blue plastic dress with an ill-matched vest that resembled a yellow "biohazard" sign, according to Nina Garcia. In the end, Timothy was the designer who Heidi told "auf wiedersehen."
This episode was just the beginning of a season that is full of surprises. A big change-up has been the addition of Tim Gunn to the judges panel. Gunn normally aids the designers behind-the-scenes, but this time around, he serves as a judge to tell the other judges-- Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Zac Posen-- the real truth about what transpired in the workroom. Gunn is also given the power this season to save a designer from elimination if he believes the designer has the talent to redeem his or herself. (Gunn has hinted in various interviews that it does happen at one point in the season.)
According to Chiff, this season also features fan interaction. Fans get the chance to vote online to bring back an eliminated contestant. Another addition to the show is the "Project Runway Superfan Contest," in which fans submit videos to win an apperance on a special makeover episode. Seven entrants will win the coveted makeovers.
Guest judges so far have been Kelly Osbourne and Kate Bosworth, and some upcoming guest judges will be "Big Bang Theory" star Kaley Cuoco and actress Sigourney Weaver.
Project Runway airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.