Face Off: The Gauntlet – Sh*t Just Got Real (recap/review)

Face Off - Season 9

The first ever gauntlet was held on Face Off Tuesday and as the line from Bad Boys II goes, “Sh*t just got real.” As the episode started the only contestant who was not “spooked” by the news of this game changing entree was Nora.  This young makeup artist’s attitude was “bring it on” leading this viewer to give her handle of “Nora the Roara.”

There were others who were not totally “freaked out” by the challenge thrown up this week, but it was the young Hewitt woman who stepped up to this tossed spanner in the works and proved that attitude  counts as heavily as talent.

The Gauntlet was set up in three stages. Each stage was weighted heavier than the last and it was the cumulative total of each winning entry that ruled who won and who left to go home. After McKenzie Westmore announced the rules and how the challenge would be judged, Nora (in the recorded “asides” used throughout the series) promised a fight to the death and ended her statement with:

“Let’s Go. Thunderdome.”

In the first of the three challenges, the artists had to do “exposure” makeup. Quoting films like Cast Away, Alive and 127 Hours McKenzie stated that  the test was to recreate the realistic looks associated with someone being stranded in the elements.  Each contestant then chose their models. Winner of the first stage of the gauntlet was Nora; her attention to detail was head and shoulders above the competition, although Jordan Patton came close.)

The second challenge was to take already applied prosthetics and do realistic makeup for the characters that the models were meant to represent.  Kevon Ward won the second challenge with his superior paintwork. Ward was surprised and pleased at the win.

Face Off - Season 9
Kevon Ward with his third challenge entry.

At the end of stage two of The Gauntlet, Evan fell into the last place slot of number 9. He was not terribly pleased but despite being very concerned at the amount of models on hand for the last challenge, Hedges went on to win that particular round.


Face Off - Season 9
Evan Hedges with his winning combo for Challenge Three.

The last challenge dealt out  a huge dose of reality. The challenge was to create a main, or “hero” model and then do two “background” models. In the business, it is explained, most makeup artists will do a number of models and not just one main. This understandably shook all of the contestants, although Nora, once again, rose to the challenge with a can-do attitude.

While Evan won the last round, the overall winner was Nora.

Face Off - Season 9
Nora the Roara wins the first ever Gauntlet on Face Off.

The last three, on the leaderboard at the end of the challenge and the episode were Stephanie “Stevie” Calabrese and “cupcake” Meg Wilbur along with Jasmine Ringo.

Face Off - Season 9
Meg Wilbur at the bottom but not out.

Jasmine was the one to go home this week and as usual Ms. Westmore seemed saddened by the loss of another talented artist. The show this week did not feature Michael Westmore, McKenzie’s father as the format was different.

Face Off - Season 9
Stephanie “Stevie” Calabrese also close to leaving but not out.

Regardless of the “nonappearance” of the “master” Face Off held their first ever gauntlet and it was brilliant to watch. Each of the stages put different pressures on the contestants and, as usual, it was fascinating to see the thought process behind each creation.

This is the only “reality” show worth watching at the moment as it does not deal with “personalities” vying for attention through banal and non existent talents. Face Off  showcases real people with real talent, a gift for creating magic of a special sort. The series airs Tuesdays on SyFy.

Face Off - Season 9
Jasmine Ringo, out but not down.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

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