Amusing aliens abduct Face Off artists


It’s the semi-finals and five artists remain heading into the twelfth season finale of Face Off. This week’s challenge focused on amusing aliens, nothing dramatic or frightening, with designs based on actual NASA recordings of sounds from space. Not an easy task with sounds that are pretty nondescript, although it gave the artists a lot of freedom to go in any direction they wanted … as long as they had a logical story to go with the sound and their design.

There really wasn’t much drama in the workroom this week with only KC having a minor issue opening her mold. But it didn’t crack so everyone focused on their work and produced some fairly solid designs. The question, in a few cases, was did the design fit the challenge, and was it good enough to move on to the finale? Let’s take a quick look at how each artist fared.


Faina had the toughest time with her concept, trying to make her alien actually look friendly. She wasn’t happy with her original sculpt and after Michael Westmore’s critique and a good night’s sleep, she finally settled on a look for the face that she was happy with. Her concept was a sort of friendly traveling salesman. The cowl had a good form to it and was painted well, but then she added some odd plates to the side of the head which guest judge Rick Baker didn’t like at all. But the judges did feel it was more successful up close. But was it good enough to take her into the finale?


KC went all out with her alien, sculpting a full face and cowl that extended down the neck of the model and included a full body paint job. And then she painted it a vibrant teal color with splashes of red highlights. She ran into problems with the neck piece and had to keep adding bits and pieces to fill things in resulting in Ve Neill saying the whole thing was just too busy. Glenn Hetrick thought the face looked like a space turkey causing Baker to respond, “What’s wrong with a space turkey?” But was the design an overall turkey for KC?


Kierstin came up with a fascinating design for her alien that featured no real eyes but instead six small holes which were meant to be the eyes. There was also a nicely sculpted cowl that featured a boney ridge across the top and down the back (thanks to the suggestion of Mr. Westmore) that really impressed the judges, particularly because of the outstanding paint job. Neville Page said this was what they had been looking for from Kierstin all season, and everyone agreed that the paint job was stellar. But, did it fit the challenge? Was this alien actually “amusing”?


Nelson went in a completely different direction from everyone else, totally embracing the amusing qualities specified in the challenge guidelines. Nelson’s space tourist alien had large reptilian eyes, several nasal openings and a huge, goofy grin. And the model could actually work his mouth to great effect. While the judges enjoyed the concept, they weren’t too happy with the monochromatic paint job. I’m not sure what they were seeing because the green alien was highlighted with blue stenciling and light and dark areas around the ridges and wrinkles in the face. So the design fulfilled the challenge best of all the artists, but would a paint job send Nelson packing?


Andrew, of course, hit another one out of the park even with some cowl issues. His space sounds of tapping gave him the idea to make his alien an intergalactic rock drummer with alien dreadlocks. During the sculpting phase, Mr. Westmore advised Andrew to do away with the top lip which made the alien look too human. He did and the judges loved it. Where Andrew had a probem was with the weight of the cowl which caused a bit of a wrinkel at the top of the scalp but he managed to make it work and look natural. The judges also appreciated his minute details like the tiny nostrils. Overall, this design was another winner for Andrew … but was it enough to take him to the finale?

Of course it was! Yes, Andrew unsurprisingly is one of the three artists heading into the finale but he did not win this challenge. The judges’ final decision this week is really puzzling based on what comments they made about the various designs. It seems more that perhaps they based their final decisions on the artists full season of work rather than on just this one challenge because the winners and losers really didn’t make sense.


Of the two eliminated artists, Faina was understandable because they really didn’t like the overall look of her alien. But Nelson? Nelson’s alien was the definition of amusing and the paint job wasn’t as bad as they made it out to be. But Nelson has been all over the map this season so perhaps they didn’t feel that he’d be a good candidate for the finale. Whatever the reason, it was puzzling considering who the other two finalists are.


KC also made it to the finale even though the reaction to her alien were mostly negative. I don’t really consider the look amusing and the neck area was a complete mess. And her paint job, in my opinion, was more monochromatic than Nelson’s. But KC has been strong throughout the season, and perhaps her clever way of attaching horns to the demon makeups earlier in the season still resonated with the judges. Again, it was puzzling without any context, going by what they had said about this particular piece of work. No offense to KC, but Nelson really should have advanced based solely on this challenge.


The winner of the challenge was actually Kierstin! Yes, her design was terrific and her paint job was stunning but … her alien was anything but amusing. It was definitely camera ready and could have been used on any serious science fiction TV show or movie, but it was hardly amusing. In fact, without any kind of big, goofy eyes, it looked rather severe, not something you’d want to come across in a dark alley. Even Rick Baker questioned if it fit the challenge but they still gave her the win, possibly because they were just bowled over by the work this week.

So we now have our final three: Kierstin, Andrew and KC. With eliminated artists back to lend a hand and a two-part finale on the horizon, who will take home the crown this season?

What did you think this week’s episode? Did the judges pick the right final three? Who should win? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!


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  1. KC has been amazing all season with 0 bottom looks and mostly top looks and two wins… This space turkey was a safe and got her through. Every artist struggles and every artist has a safe now and then. Can’t wait to see her in the finales

    • I really didn’t like the space turkey, but I still think they should have kept Nelson over Kierstin based on this challenge. If they were going by the season’s work (like KC’s ingenuity with the horns), they should have said something because they’ve eliminated others in the past for having good work that didn’t meet the requirements. This week they said it didn’t and then said “we don’t care!” That sends a bad message. But in the end, it’s Andrew’s game to lose at this point.