‘Face Off’ 1.05 Recap: Cross Dresser Face-Off

SyFy Channel brings us a new reality show this season called Face Off. It’s a contest for special effects makeup artists. I’ve been secretly watching this season as the contestants make aliens, villians, and various creatures. It’s time to admit that I’m officially hooked. In last week’s episode titled ‘Switched and Hitched’, contestants competed to transform couples for their wedding days – creating looks where the man woman swapped gender roles.

Eight contestants are left. They represent the various artistic types you’d expect – lots of tattoos, piercings, and over-attention to self grooming and styling. Each show begins with a “Foundation Challenge” where contestants compete in a fundamental skill of special-effects makeup. The winner of this challenge then gains an advantage for the “Spotlight Challenge,” the big challenge where the loser will be voted off the show.

The judging is by a panel of special-effects gurus: Glenn Hetrick, Ve Neill, and Patrick Tatopoulos. They also call in various guest judges. Overall, the judging has been on the mark. Glenn offers accurately cutting remarks, Ve and Patrick deliver honest feedback.

The Foundation Challenge this episode was the hand-laying of facial hair on models dressed in various period costumes. The guest judge was Hollywood makeup artist Steve LaPorte. Here’s the rundown on the results of this challenge:

  • Sam had a cowboy model. She made a crappy handlebar mustache and just phoned it in.
  • Tom had an Amish model. He made an excellent realistic beard. Steve LaPorte was impressed.
  • Megan had a pirate and tried to go Jack Sparrow, but failed. Hair came out in Steve LaPorte’s hand as he touched it.
  • Conor had a rock & roll model. He made a goatee much like his own. It was pretty good.
  • Jo had a Renaissance model and went for the period, but it was poorly executed and fake looking.
  • Anthony had a Rastafarian model. I thought he did a great, realistic job, but Steve did not agree.
  • Gage had a biker and did a poor, lumpy job.
  • Tate had a futuristic model ala ‘Star Trek’. He sculpted a nice goatee and eyebrows and won the competition, thus giving him first pick of models for the next round.

On to the Spotlight Challenge. Contestants met a number of real-life couples and had to work in pairs to create wedding looks where the man became the bride and the woman became the groom.

Because Tate won the earlier challenge, he and partner Anthony picked models first. They decided to go with a Vegas wedding theme, complete with Elvis impersonator and pregnant bride. It was a great concept and was executed well. I thought they should have won.

Sam and Gage decided to go with old age makeup for their couple. It was an excellent idea but had some serious execution problems.

Megan and Conor didn’t really go with a theme, and I found the end looks to be boring. However, the judges disagreed and awarded Megan the win for her “beauty” makeup on the man. I thought the makeup looked awful, and was totally not impressed.

Jo and Tom went with a ’70s theme. It was bad. Really bad. The groom ended up looking like Rumpelstiltskin and the bride was ghastly. In the end Jo, went home.

The drama of the season is the relationship brewing between Megan and Conor. The concensus is that Megan has no talent and is riding Conor’s coattails. Jo had been the most vocally irritated by Megan, and caused a ruckus at the judging session that was probably her final undoing.

I have been delighted by some of the work of the artists, have learned from the judges’ comments, and love the creativity of the challenges. It’s definitely worth a watch. Especially next week when they take on zombies. Check it out Wednesdays at 10pm Eastern on SyFy Channel.


  1. Evan W

    I’m so excited to find out that someone else is “secretly” watching this show. My girlfriend and I randomly discovered it during its first episode and have watched ever since.

    • Junie Ray

      Well, I guess it’s not a secret anymore! I’m not sure if they’ll be able to stretch this more than a season or two, but it’ll be fun while it lasts.

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