Vision Malevolent #2: The World Is a Cold Dead Place When You’re 21

More self-impressed: New York City or Gretchen Jones? What if a hawk nested in Gretchen’s girl mullet, akin to Pale Male in Central Park a decade ago? Would Gretchen  run around giving interviews about how “only on Gretchen Jones” would such a thing happen, like the countless number ofself-congratulatory Manhattan cretins did back then? In this regard, the fact that Gretchen doesn’t live in New York seems astounding…


Until you remember that she lives in Portland. Like a glove, you might say.

Hi, and welcome to Vision Malevolent, home of the Project Runway Recap that’s longer to read than the episode itself.


This weeks challenge calls for our beloved coterie of emotionally delicate designers to derive inspiration from New York City itself. So why didn’t some one make a dress that will be congested at all points of the day? Because all that comes to my mind when I think of NYC is being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic at 1 AM on Route 9A, with some dude from New Jersey cutting me off and sticking his arm out his window as he did it, like he was boxing me out for a offensive rebound or something.


This week begins with Tim Gunn, in the apres of last week’s challenge, announcing to the designers that they are meeting with Heidi immediately. A shocking development, if it wasn’t already well established  that this happens after EVERY challenge. And yet there are still awkward faces by Mondo and Mike C, which make me wonder what Tim was forced to do to elicit those necessary reaction shots.


Heidi comes out wrapped in blue cellophane and her breasts look downright disturbing. I can’t take my eyes off them; what the hell are they doing in there? It’s like some sort of farce where an outraged Parent Censorship Group burst into the studio, demanded to choose Heidi‘s wardrobe in the name of decency, and then cluelessly made a dress that draws all the attention to her tats. Then they taped them down several times to make them look even more abnormal.  It’s ridiculous.


Her breasts are Sealed, hurr hurr.


Anyway, she announces that they will be granted a relaxing night (even though it’s probably 2 AM at this point), and it turns out they are going to a posh hotel. Michael C inexplicably shows foresight and anticipates a catch in all this. One never comes. All that happens is that they are somewhat nearly lavished in a kinda  almost lush Presidential Suite. April lyrically describes the suite as “big-ass.” I shiver as I ponder how many people actually consider April “charming” instead of “stunningly inarticulate.”


Michael C notes the champagne toast and begins to wonder how he’s made it this far. Reality game shows have distorted and inverted their own clichés and hackneyed structural techniques so often that I don’t think anyone can truly say that they can anticipate a win or loss with complete certainty. But I can honestly say that, with this sequence, I felt very confident that Michael C. was getting a winner’s edit. It didn’t seem like an editing mislead. If anything, his dress was the ultimate fake-out.


Gretchen tells the other designers, “I’m so proud of us.” This drives me flipping insane. It infuriates my sensibilities. This isn’t the first time Gretchen has done this. If you recall, it took her no less than 15 minutes of brainstorming  with her team in Episode 5 to start congratulating everyone on their teamwork.


My History degree openly weeps; imagine if great minds throughout History shared this inclination. We wouldn’t be here. What if soldiers landing on the shores of Normandy stopped to compliment each other on how well they swam the last 100 meters? What if Union Men at Gettysburg , as hundreds of Rebs slammed into their line at The Angle, starting shouted about how proud they were at how they were reinforcing each other? What if our Founding Fathers, as they drafted our most sacred documents,  relentlessly slathered laudations on each other in… oh, ok. Yeah, that one. That  happened. Ok fine, sometimes history does take place on a platform. >(


But that just means that Gretchen is Colonial-level smug. That’s NOT a good place to be. Now that I think about it, there’s something strangely colonial about her designs, too. Also not a great place to settle.


Everyone goes to the roof, and in my mind I’m imaging them all hoping to get a Vietnam-esque airlift out of this show. I can just see it now: the helicopter swoops in and they all board immediately. Gretchen however, is delayed because she was enamored by how flowy everyone’s clothes became from the propeller’s wind. The helicopter starts to rise and Gretchen leaps and grabs ahold of the landing skids. Then April kicks her off with a boot square to the  face,  looks down and sneers, “Looks like that’s two win for me now.”


Instead, they are greeted by Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, and there‘s a shot of Bloomberg looking unspeakable awkward. Just before Bloomy could change parties again, should-be Mayor of New York City Tim Gunn interjects.


Awkward. Painfully.


Of course, Tim wasn’t fast enough to preclude Michael C from flashing a goddamn I Love NY tattoo, which must be fresh because it is in a  smooth spot surrounded by his willowy chest hair. These tattoos are truly idiotic. It doesn’t specific New York City, just NY. So what, Michael, you love the whole goddamn state? Hudson Falls? Saratoga Springs? Only Bloomberg’s money extends that far… oh, maybe he would care, then. Ok, good job.


Bloody hell. Michael won't be getting "Dignity" tattooed on himself any time soon.


Bloomberg informs the Fragile Five that they will draw inspiration from the thing that means the most to him. You mean your WHAT?! Well, I NEVER, Mr. Bloomberg!   The three boys left are definitely interested, and Gretchen and April seem like the kind of girls that crinkle their nose at the mere mention of one.


Turns out he means NYC. The whole city is theirs, and they can use any NYC landmark to inspire their design. The banality of their choices has been thoroughly pointed out in Recap Land. Michael C made pants out of pants by going to the Statue of Liberty, but, frankly, Mondo and April’s choice of the Brooklyn Bridge is equally lame. And archaic, to boot. Who among our age group even reveres the BK Bridge anymore? They should have went to the Williamsburg Bridge. “I was inspired by the bridge that brings Michael Showalter and 95% of America’s electro indie bands to Manhattan.“


What Michael Saw...

What Michael was thinking.


Gretchen decides to aimlessly wander around the Lower East Side with a wildly expensive HP Touchsmart Notebook, thoughtfully brining a camera crew along in order to draw even more attention to herself. And oy geVALT this is such a Gretchen thing to do, totally over thinking the challenge in an attempt to be clever. The Lower East Side is not a landmark it is a goddamned neighborhood. She says she wants to make something “that’s me.” So, 12 out of 12 then, Gretchen?


Two very confused old black men. Don't worry guys, she fails to notice everything, it's not just you. Or the camera crew...


Andy’s choice of Central Park is, at least, the quaintest choice. Of course, the Mandarin Oriental is right next to Central Park, so it’s also the laziest choice. Though, the last time I was in Central Park I was certainly inspired. I sat with my girlfriend in front of one of those ponds where dudes row their girlfriends around on a boat. Everyone was having a good time. But there was also a dude in his early 50’s all by himself flying through the lake. Like, full on crew practice balderdash. I was inspired to leave New York City as fast as possible.


So yeah, the banality of the choices has been thoroughly pointed out in Recap Land, but is it the designer’s lack of imagination to blame? They had 2 hours to fight through Manhattan traffic, let the monuments speak to them like fabric, sketch, and then drive to Mood. How the hell could that be done unless they had a very specific list of places the producers would be willing to drive them? Speaking of, how did Michael get from the Mandarin Oriental to Liberty Island, sketch, and then get to Mood in two hours? I really wish someone would have been super tongue-in-cheek and chose the Parsons building. Jesus, it’s the twelfth fucking week, why not be as meta as possible at this point?


They shop at Mood, and Michael is unsure of what he will make, which struck me as more fabricated winner’s edit dramatics. When Michael tells Tim that he’s doing a take on the Statue of Liberty dress, Tim’s entire body shifts.


Tim: "Don't be literal." Michael: "I fully understand."


Tim tries to subtly hint April that the judges might be looking for something involving color, and April flashes a Cheshire grin of understanding and assures, nay, PROMISES Tim that she has something in mind. Tim has barely pivoted his foot to leave and April has returned to the black fabrics. Oy.


Oh, I get you Tim. I get you. I GET YOU, TIM! I GET...

...Is he gone?


Tim thanks Swatch and Mood as if both were equally corporeal beings. There’s a glorious picture on my of Tim playing with Swatch. Next season, when the designers are more boring, they really should fill the 90 minute slot with those two.


The designers get to work. Amidst the frenzy, Mondo goes to take a nap. The other designers are super busy, so they just let him sleep several hours longer than Mondo intended to. Well, except for Andy who eats right next to Mondo and doesn’t do a thing. Michael C’s quiescent personality is in full display: he correctly ascertains that Mondo did not mean to fall asleep this long and wants to wake him up, but  he won’t do it unless someone tells him it’s ok, just in case Mondo did want to sleep that long. So he goes around, desperately grasping for some affirmation from the other three. It never comes; time perplexes Mondo.


Don't let my eating wake you up, Mondo. No, seriously... I mean it. Don't.


Whilst Mondo and Gretchen discuss “kookoo couture” at the same moment that they invent it, Andy teases Michael over Michael’s attempt to make a back-up dress, which is another 12-for-12 situation. Mondo then saved the crew the valuable time and effort that it would have taken to interview him about Michael’s dress by physically standing over it and shaking his head. It’s easily my favorite shot of the season.


Even by Project Runway standards this is straightforward. Thanks, Mondo.


Elsewhere, Andy fucks a load-bearing pillar and Gretchen jokes that she wants to go home. April, having not been eliminated at this point, find this hilarious. Michael C does an impression of Michael Kors with a Diane von Fürstenberg reference that is so deliciously spot-on the show could have ended right there.


Mondo likes to watch.


Gretchen tells Andy that his dress looks meretricious, which is true, but Gretchen’s far too proud of herself for doing so back at the apartment. Watching the interaction between the boys and the girls, April’s post-auffing interviews make total sense. The boys seem fraternal and natural, and Gretchen and April seem like people who are forced by production assistants to talk to one another.


Tim shows up to offer his guidance. He warns Mondo that perhaps his ambitions have exceeded him, but supports his decision to discard the yellow sequins fabric. Mike C. delivers a stridently pro-Mondo interview, clearly enamored. What I’m intrigued by is this soundbite coupled with Mondo’s lucid defense of Michael later in the episode. I contrast this with Peach’s feelings on Michael, since her post-auffing interviews were, as far as I have interpreted, the source of a lot of fandom ambivalence towards Michael. Given April’s public antipathy towards Michael, it makes me ponder how these little friend battles grow exponentially: two friends hate a dude, and in PR Land that blossoms into 2 million. One fan darling’s praise later become 1.5 million.


So Tim thinks that April’s design could translate into a costume. Oh, wait, that was Mondo. Tim tells her something about editing, but he told her that several episodes ago. Modno’s being very incisive in this episode. Tim expresses visible concern for Michael, and wonders whether his ambition is too paltry at this stage of the competition.


Winner’s edit clue #4: Michael, in interview, shrewdly realizes that he abandoned his own voice. Tim, in workroom, then voices that exact same sentiment. When a designer and Tim both come to the same conclusion… well, you know. Of course, Michael’s interview took place well after Tim’s critique. It would be hilarious if one of the editors saw how Michael’s dress is so flipping literal and just went “Fuck this, I’ll show YOU a lack of subtlety, Michael Costello! >(”


Mondo feels that Andy is playing it safe. Gretchen openly displays how emotional frail she is at this point, all but kowtowing to Tim Gunn. She’s so flustered by the end that there was no way Tim couldn’t give her a hug. I thought it was a moving little moment, apart from Gretchen noting that the brick color of her skirt is supposed to represent… brick.


Tim's "Oh, come here!" face.


The models come in and Andy’s feelings about his dress completely change after seeing it on his model, Lenka. And now I’m beginning to think that Lenka should go down as one of the most crucial and impactful people in this season. A lot of the drama this season derived from the designers disbelief over the judge’s love for Michael C. I’m starting to wonder whether Lenka played a HUGE role in that.


At this point, 11-and-a-half episodes in, we finally get a glimpse of what the REAL 90 minute format will be: an endurance test with an unsavory amount of sponsor-placement filler. Peter Butler swoops in, and I wonder whether he’s literally been waiting behind the side door of the workroom since episode 5. Like, that he instantly knew that the Team Challenge drama pushed him entirely out of that episode and he’s just been waiting for a drama-free spot to literally jump in and ruin everyone’s good time.


It doesn’t matter, anyway, we get an extended Garnier commercial, replete with Butler going ridiculously out of his way to hold the product up to camera. Amazingly, the designers not only are bereft of any grievances, they adore the results.


What's up, motherFUCKERS?! Bet you never expected to see my impeccably groomed beard again!


Side note: April goes high ponytail, for a subtle 12-for-12.


More model fitting hoopla, which is uneventful until Michael C. gives us a far-too-detailed description of his fantasy of taking his model Cassie out in his dress. Michael’s sexuality, way more than the praise for his designs, is the most perplexing thing to me about him this season. I know he has a boyfriend, and obviously he is very gay. But he has a son, and that kid is definitely biological. I was willing to chalk that up to youthful confusion, but now he’s envision fucking a model in his own dress. Now, you could easily interpret that as Michael’s desire to fuck the dress itself, but I’m not  convinced.


Everyone is nervous the next morning in the apartments. April once again mentions that she is 21, instead of slapping that goddamn lipstick out of Gretchen’s hands and shoving her head into a tub of scalding hot water like she should have done. Seriously, even if you do despise the chick, you’ve got to understand that she need a wake up call.


Models are back and everyone is nervously gregarious. Michael wisely discards the woven shrug he made, and when you think about it self-editing has been a subtle theme of this season. Those that do tend to perform extremely well. Which is self-evident, of course, but they certainly are presenting self-editing as causation this year.


Just like Swatch, handlebar mustache make-up dude guy is going back into storage and it’s disarmingly sad. Andy and Gretchen continue to gossip about Michael, but at least they are genial to him. It’s funny though, because the last few episodes have shown that Michael has a pretty commendable sense of humor about himself, so they could have joked with him about his dress being Lady Liberty’s in black to his face and he would have gone along with it.


We’re then treated to a montage of the designers explaining to us how much they’ve grown and how desperate they are to make it to Fashion Week. Michael C. doesn’t come off well to me, because have you SEEN his Closet Tour on my He lives in  a huge house with ENORMOUS closets and a breathtaking pool. It’s hard for me to feel like he truly needs this compared to Gretchen and Mondo’s very real financial issues.


Christian Siriano joins the usual circle of junkies. So here come the dresses (thanks to Blogging Project Runway for providing the pics):


Hey look, fabric walking on it own. Hey wait, there's a model tucked inside that fabric!


– Michael’s dress astounded me. This is so simple. The back is kinda sexy, but I ranked this 5th and was certain that winner edit became loser edit.


The way she poses like she's tough represents her being tough.


-Gretchen’s skirt is kinda cute, but I adore that color so I’m completely prejudiced. The shirt looks like one of those half-shirts dude wear to beachside gyms. Gretchen says that it’s not runway, but meant to look like a girl walking down the street in the Lower East Side. The EXACT sentiment you want to capture with a spot in Fashion Week on the line.


Making a reservation for the nearest tea shop...


-Andy’s dress was my favorite. I thought it was a stunning little black dress, with a provocative back. He has another glove though, and it’s starting to feel like his styling is repetitive.


Sleepwalking through this, and still could have won the challenge.


-Mondo’s dress is a pleasant Mondo-type dress of heterogeneous patterns, but I look at this dress and see a self-parody by Mondo. I think he went through the motions this week.


Bubble bubble, toil and trouble. A yard of black fabric, no, make that a double.


-April goes all fucking Hocus Pocus. That collar is all Hollow’s Eve and the wispy bottom is yet ANOTHER 12-for-12 by April. And look at those boots! Did she have a synapse when she chose those? They only accentuate the costume feel of the ensemble. And she’s a haughty princess about her dress too. It’s not just a good dress, it’s better than some of the others. Oy gevalt.


Time for the judges to exhale, come down from the high, and kill dreams:


-Kors is beyond impressed by Mondo, and he should be, and Nina adores the dress. Heidi, in a shocking display of keenness, points out that Mondo’s tricks are becoming predictable. Siriano likes it, unaware that Mondo’s already stolen his thunder, and hilariously judges the dress based on the challenge at hand (LOL!)


-This is funny because Kors just blatantly overlooks the challenge to praise Andy’s dress, and the girls (including Christian) are allured by the construction.


-Gretchen probably knows the hammer is coming on her after two straight positive judgements, but does an admirable job of explaining her work. Like it or not, she’s probably the most eloquent and verbally deft designers we’ve seen. But Kors word trounces all other, and he basically obliterates her with one sentence: “I’m so confused.” Kors and Nina point out that she’s lost her way, and Gretchen responds that the challenges are constricting. Heidi continues a remarkable string of cogency by pointing out the freedom this challenge offered. Siriano is sympathetic with his critique.


He's so confused.


I’d like to just stop right there and point out how confused I was by the judging. The Usual Three and Siriano seemed totally incongruous. Siriano appeared to be judging with a collection in mind, because he wondered several times how the works in front of him would fit into a collective vision. The rest were focused on only the designs on the runway. However, once the private conference began, all four began discussing future collections, albeit inconsistently.


This is why the final challenge is always so frustrating: they are way too oblique. Is the purpose to win a final challenge and move on, or a final attempt to win the judges over and prove that you belong in Fashion Week. Instead of choosing one, there was a vexing interplay between the two, and the result was disillusionment and a very agitated fandom.


Speaking of:


– Tim’s premonition of the judge’s exasperation come true. Michael Kors is fed up, and this beings the slaughter. Kors is secreting bile, and April instantly understands that she is in serious trouble. Kors points out that April has made this garment numerous times and that there is never any joy in her work. How anyone can dispute this is astounding to me, but a startling proportion of the fandom has done just that. Bollocks.


Heidi wonders why she didn’t try to use some color, and Heidi is actually quite affable about it, but April can see her spot at Fashion Week dissipating right in front of her and simply doesn’t have the strength to fight the tears. Nina, tactful as ever, interprets this as the perfect time to tell April that she doesn’t have any range and blew the biggest opportunity of her life.


-Michael Kors delivers one of the most hilariously intense lines in PR history when he concludes that Michael C got his showstopper.


Pause for effect. Seriously, THIS is Michael Kors' "You gonna get praised" face...


The laughs don’t stop, as Michael asks Michael what kind of fabric he used, and Michael has no clue. Kors is bemused, as is Siriano. As this farce progresses, they cut to a shot of April and George Brett charging home plate in the Pine Tar game looked less pissed off than she does right there.



She DID, however, go home and get drunker than Billy Martin.


I really like Michael. I think he’s sincere and funny when he wants to be. He;’s just  physically unable to deal with people disliking him. But I like him… and yet, even I am confounded by the laudation he received for this dress. It so far exceeded the facts as they were presented that I was literally stunned whilst watching. The only way that this dress could have worked, to the degree that the judges thought it did, was if he purposefully made it to be that straightforward, like an ironic take on the challenges. That would have been hysterical.


But he didn’t; he was sincere, and thus it’s kind of tragic.


Now it’s time for manufactured drama, as the designers have to choose two designers they feel should join them at Fashion Week. Mike C choose Andy and Mondo. Gretchen choose Mondo and frets for a bit before choosing April over Andy. Her reason is April’s youth, which begs the question: did everyone forget that Andy is 23? TWENTY-THREE. A mere two years older than April. This is fabricated age discrepancy of a Anne Bancroft-Dustin Hoffmann level.


Anyway, Andy gracefully notes that he’s taken risks, then chooses Mondo and ponders over whether to choose Gretchen or April and chooses April. I wonder what it will take for Mike C. to understand that Andy’s kinda ambivalent towards him.


Mondo nobly defends Michael Costello, who is shocked and then overjoyed at being mentioned. Again people, all Michael wants is to be liked. Once people reacted so negatively to him at first, he turtled. Mondo was secure enough to give Michael a second chance. I very sincerely hope that whatever pilot they are working on right now is worthwhile and gets picked up. I doubt it either one will happen, but still, good for them.


While he explains the context of it all, Kors has this ludicrously stoic face and it’s killing me over here. Gretchen looks supremely worried and saddened that no one will choose her, and Mondo chooses April. I seriously don’t get it. It must be me, because I’m the only one baffled.


April choose Mondo and Gretchen, without hesitation. The designers are completely deflated in the back, and Mondo remains the most sagacious, emotionally pointing out that being asked to choose two people is basically stomping on the dreams of the two left unchosen.


Back to the people sitting next to the runway that don’t give a fuck about dreams, and nothing really different is said, but they are clearly now evaluating things more expansively. It’s no longer about this specific challenge, which is fine, except that even now they still start gong back and forth. They discuss the dress, and then the totality of the designer’s offering this season, and back again. What’s the criteria? Do you all realize that the most salient Nina and Kors have looked tonight was Mike C’s impression of them? That Heidi outshined them as well? What IS this season?


So they deliberate:


-Kors points out that Mondo responds to pressure, and Nina admires his use of patterns and his technical skills. Christian Siriano doesn’t like Mondo, and is literally incapable of expressing why, so he mimes something incomprehensible and prays that Kors understands because if Kors understands he’ll jump in before anyone else has a chance to talk. That doesn’t happen. In fact, he looks like he’s about to shoot beams of spray tan through him.


-Andy’s technical skills are praised, but Kors is visibly, and, of course, vocally concernedabout the Warrior woman motif. Heidi astutely questions whether Andy played it safe in this challenge. Exceedingly not astute was her note that the judges tend to fawn over black dresses. So… why excoriate April then? Now you’re just blatantly flaunting the subjectivity of this all, when criticism is supposed to feign objective truth. Thanks for ruining it for the rest of us, you goddamn idiots.


-Everyone loves Michael’s dress, though Christian was perplexed by Michael’s inability to name his fabric. Kors speaks at a pace that totally gives away that he’s just making it up as he goes along to defend Michael.If Casanova did it, Kors would jump on the runway and disembowel him.


And what a happy coincidence with your hand, right Michael?


-Kors is completely bored with April, and that that point her casket has been lowered into the ground, waiting for her to jump in. But he hates this specific dress, no matter.  Christian wonders what customer she would have, and Nina correctly points out that April has taken zero chances this season. Christian evaluates her in terms of a collection, so everyone immediately moves on to Gretchen.


-There is unanimous agreement that Gretchen is strung out and creatively bankrupt at this point. Christian and Michael give some bitchy back-and-forth deriding her location choice, but Kors properly argues that Gretchen is a very intelligent girl who understands that nature of fashion. Christian once again ponders about a collection, so Nina instantly changes the subject back to Gretchen’s psyche. Thanks for coming, CS!


They’re brought back out. Michael Costello is the first to be given the thumbs up, and everyone congratulates him but April, who is physically repulsed by Michael’s touch. Andy had a beaming smile that simply could not have been faked, and I just give up. Andy, only you and God know how you feel about Michael Costello. Michael goes back to the waiting area and wallows in his own emotions. I’m surprised he didn’t just start addressing the camera directly.


Mondo is next, and him and Michael share a hilariously extended hug. The denouement of said hug is Michael talking to Mondo in that sob-speak that creeped the hell out of his in the HP Challenge episode. Does anyone else always forget that Michael is the younger one? By FIVE YEARS, no less.




The rest: Andy is in and the boys celebrate. Michael gives Andy a big bear hug and spins twice. It’s kinda adorable. Andy correctly notes that he hasn’t done Warrior Woman for like, 3 challenges. Oh well, Kors remembered to bring his memory today, Sorry, dude.


Heidi digs deeply into April and then completely eviscerates Gretchen. The later in the season, the harder it is to watch these. The eliminations are bad enough, but Heidi’s austere, penetrating criticisms that precede them are brutal. Nonetheless, Gretchen, depite designing a shirt only Yo-Landi Visser would wear, survives. April is out, off to give bitter interviews and brand “21” on her lower torso. Then she’ll be 21 forever!


Now I have to note the hug Michael C shared with Gretchen. Earlier I noted the one with Tim, where Gretchen practically Tran morphed into a lonely puppy as she waited for Tim to embrace her. This one is just weird. For two people who spent 12 full episodes of slamming each other’s designs in what can truly be compared to a sibling rivalry, this hug was sooooo long. Michael starts to rub her back, and Gretchen is simply latched onto Michael. I’m convinced we saw, at best 1/3rd of this hug. At BEST.


Well, Michael had already made it clear he wanted some hetero action...


April is consoled, Tim gives a pep talk, and the preview for next week’s episode includes a devastatingly funny montage of Tim’s criticisms. And the velvet bag makes a reappearance that would make any pro wrestling villain envious.


Ok, show over, so let’s examine the big questions of this episode: was it fair, and was it proper? AJ tweeted that what happened to April was unfair. There are two parts to this: was it unfair to criticize her crippling blackness, and was it fair to eliminate her for it over Gretchen?


First of it, saying that it was unfair is balderdash. It’s ridiculous. This was a LONG time in the making, and the only malfeasance on the part of the judges was that they allowed her to continue this charade. It’s not technically the judge’s job to prod the designers; they only judge what is in front of them. And the designer’s interpretation of their approval or disapproval should merely be a consequential concern for them. It happens as a consequence of their decisions, but not a factor in those decisions.


The truth is that April was so MOR these last few weeks, she just scored slightly higher than the rest of the pack. Conversely, Michael was consistently on the bottom near the end, but still praised. He was only in danger that one time. Of course, the burden is not on April to read the judge’s minds,  but self-awareness is a crucial part of the PR game. The burden was on her to ascertain that she needed to show more range. Gretchen incorrectly came to this conclusion, and it almost got her auffed. It goes both way. However, it was that spirit of taking that chance that probably kept her in. I mean, Tim all but reunited the Smiths to record “April, Black Might Betray You This Time, I Really Feel So, Dear” and she still didn’t get it. So it is unfortunate, but still fair.


Did she deserve to be eliminated? Well, in full disclosure I find April to be a charmless, dreadfully boring, inarticulate potty-mouth with a Charlie Brown head. Honestly, she pulls her hair back and the hairline goes past the tops of her ears. It’s insane, especially since she was so pretty when she let it down that one time. But anyway, I think her designs are motif-specfic excellent. The motif is so easily played out, though.


April does make an excellent point about Gretchen. Gretchen basically quit on the runway, but the judge’s wouldn’t let her. In that regard, of course April deserves to go over her. But Gretchen also outperformed April by a wide margin. Discounting the team challenge, Gretchen’s only appearance in the bottom two was this very episode. She did falter near the end, but those two early wins don’t vanish, and she’s been in the top several times since then, albeit inexplicably. April’s been mainly in the middle, and her recent run of top 3’s all came with reservations by the judges. And seriously, her one win was one of the most heinously egregious judging errors of the season. Andy’s resort wear look was easily one of the 5 best looks of the season. April’s winning look wasn’t even resort wear, it was goddamn lingerie.


So, did April deserve to go over Gretchen? Probably, but it’s not unjustified that she didn’t. The sheer outrage in some Recap Land neighborhoods baffles me. I do not understand the fascination with April.


As for Michael, obviously a lot of people are indignant about his inclusion in the Final Four, and to be honest, I’m not sure he’s a collection designer. Michael is a couturier, quite simply. Before Project Runway, he plugged away in LA and made a dress for Mya that was well received at the Grammy’s this year, and also made a dress for Toni Braxton (hope the check cleared, bro!). This is where he fits in: a singular vision without having to involve a narrative.


So April clearly fit’s the mold of Fashion Week better than Michael… but Michael deserved the chance, regardless. He performed exceedingly well this season, and outperformed April in the final challenge. That’s crucial, because most likely these two were the ones on the chopping block going into the challenge. Whomever performed better was going to be the fourth.


But that brings the question of predestination into this, and therefore April and TLO’s argument about ratings and reality television. Essentially, that Michael and Gretchen are there because it tells the better story and it better for ratings. Well, bollocks. This is easily the most flaccid and pitiful argument you could possibly make regarding a reality show, equaled only by “they edited me that way because they needed a villain/victim/etc.” This doesn’t work at all with Michael, because all four judges clearly adored his dress, and that was enough to push him above the bubble.


With Gretchen, I think she simply showed them more. She showed as much of a point of view as Gretchen did. Of course, it’s not really a POV when the view is what you want to see when you look in the mirror, but still…


And so: There’s a case to be made for April, but it’s pretty much balderdash. I’m J. Michael.


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