Four weeks in and the Face Off makeup artists finally get to show what they can do in an individual challenge. And the pressure is really on for this one because it’s not a Spotlight Challenge, but a Focus Challenge meaning the judges are going to be scoring based solely on the facial makeups. Edges have to be smooth and blended. Paint has to have depth. And to make it even more challenging, the character makeups required this week had to look realistic, acting as a disguise for an agent trying to blend in with his or her surroundings, to become basically invisible.
The question is: are the designers up to the challenge of working alone, and on something so complicated as their first individual challenge? They all seemed ready to go and once their models … or “agents” were selected for them, they got to work on sketching. Most of them decided that gender and race changes would completely disguise their agents, and a convincing paint job would be necessary to convey those changes. Creating or removing cheekbones, teeth and realistic neck appliances would also convincingly sell a character.
By the way, did I mention they had ONE DAY to pull this off? I’m sure these guys could handle some kind of fantasy makeup in a day, but doing a convincing human character in a day when most of them have never attempted such a thing is sheer insanity. Unfortunately, the pressure showed in the final presentations.
During the sculpting phase and Michael Westmore’s critique, he really didn’t have too much to say except to point out that the jawline of Walter’s character looked a little too cartoonish, and Njoroge needed to pay close attention to the eyes of his Asian character. It was all so fast and furious that there wasn’t a lot of time for critiques. Of all the makeups being created, Robert seemed to be taking a big risk by going minimal with just nose and chin prosthetics, some teeth and facial hair to turn his female model into a male.
The application and painting phase really put the pressure on the artists who had to create authentic skin tones, and many of them went way beyond what they were comfortable with. Kaleb wanted to make his character an eastern Indian but his chocolate brown paint job was not working. Katie was just trying to do a Caucasian paint job and all she could manage was orange and shiny.
At the reveal stage, the artists had to impress not only the regular judges — Glenn Hetrick, Ve Neill and Neville Page, but guest judge Gale Anne Hurd, producer of The Walking Dead, who knows a thing or two about makeup. After seeing the struggles of the artists with their makeups, this looked like it was going to be one of those weeks where the judges would just send everyone home and start over.
But the show must go on. The artists who were safe this week were Anna, Walter, Yvonne, Johnny, and Mel. Most of them should have ran off stage before the judges changed their minds.
Rob got high scores for his average joe character who he imagined would be wandering a camp site. Neville gave the highest praise when saying nothing about the character interested or appealed to him, and that was the point of the challenge. Ve also liked his bald cap appliance and the receding hairline with nary an edge in sight. To me, the character looked like Chris Elliot a bit. The only thing that bothered me were the white eyebrows.
After a few weeks of looking like he would be the next one to go home, Robert pulled off a makeup that also made the top looks and gave the judges confidence in his work. Going simple with the nose, chin and facial hair to transform his female model into a male impressed the judges. They all felt that for this challenge, simple was the better way to go than to create a full facial appliance, which in most cases looked like mask. The only off-putting thing about the makeup was the “Billy Bob Novelty Teeth.” The judges did say, though, that he had the best laid facial hair of any makeup this week, and that the makeup was actually better without the glasses.
In an unusual circumstance, Melissa had both a top and bottom look with her makeup, which was supposed to be an agent disguised as the head of the agency. The judges loved her work from the eyes down, but Melissa thought that by raising the eyebrows she could change the shape of the face. She did, but not in a good way. I didn’t think the makeup was that great from the eyes down, making her character look like a burn victim. But the white, raccoon eyes and raised eyebrows were just too much.
In the bottom, Katie’s plastic, orange man did not have any fans. Ve assumed Katie was trying to make her workman have a sheen of sweat but that was not her intention (although she didn’t deny it). Ve said it looked like the man had never been inside. Neville thought the hair was a bit too big, but Glenn disagreed saying, “I’m sitting right here.” Yes, Glenn has some crazy hair, but even his wasn’t that big that day.
Njoroge also found himself in the bottom with his Asian character and he was totally taken by surprise because he was super-confident he had a winning look. And that alarmed the judges. Not only did the character not really look Asian, but the little mustache and soul patch looked like he had cut the bristles off of his paint brush and glued them on his model’s face. It’s one thing to be confident in your work, but it’s another to be completely delusional.
Also facing elimination this week was Kaleb for his Indian woman who looked like she had just been dipped in chocolate. It was borderline racially offensive. Not only was the paint job horrific, but the edges around the mouth were terrible. But at least Kaleb knew that he did a really, really bad job this week.
After speaking with the artists, the judges got down to their deliberations. Interestingly, host McKenzie Westmore didn’t ask the usual “let’s talk about the top and bottom looks this week” question. I wasn’t even sure there was going to be a winner this week. McKenzie also reminded the judges they still had a “save” to use. HA! Like any of the bottom looks this week were deserving of that.
In the end, Rob won for his perfectly nondescript camper, and Njoroge was sent packing for not having the ability to step back and see that his work was just not up to snuff.
Next week, Lance Henricksen helps introduce a challenge involving aliens. And they must be slimy! Sounds like everyone will have a much more fun week than they did with this one!
Did the right person go home this week? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!