Face Off (TV series)
|Presented by||McKenzie Westmore|
|Judges||Ve Neill (2011-present)
Glenn Hetrick (2011-present)
Neville Page (2012-present)
Patrick Tatopoulos (2011-2012)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||69|
|Executive producer(s)||Michael Agbabian
Dwight D. Smith
|Location(s)||Los Angeles, California|
|Production company(s)||Mission Control Media|
|Original run||January 26, 2011– present|
|Face Off official site|
Face Off is an American reality television game show on the Syfy cable network in which a group of prosthetic makeup artists compete against each other to create prostheses such as those found in science fiction and horror films. Actress McKenzie Westmore, a member of the Westmore family of makeup artists, serves as the show's host, with judges being Academy Award-winning makeup artist Ve Neill (Ed Wood, Beetlejuice, Mrs. Doubtfire), and television and film makeup artist Glenn Hetrick (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Babylon 5). Creature designer and director Patrick Tatopoulos (I Am Legend, Resident Evil: Extinction, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) served as judge for the first two seasons, but he was replaced by creature designer and concept artist Neville Page (Watchmen, Cloverfield, Avatar) from Season 3. Industry figures and artists including Brian Grazer, Kevin Smith, Paul W. S. Anderson, Greg Nicotero, and Gale Anne Hurd have served as guest judges.
Each week, the artists face a "Spotlight Challenge" that tests their artistry and techniques to create a full makeup character to match a theme over the course of 3 days. The first day allows for concept design and sculpting for five hours, a second day of 10 hours for work in finishing the molding, and a final day of 4 hours in applying the makeup before a one hour "Last Looks" for touch ups. The judges then have the opportunity to look at the makeups from afar and up close, and decide a series of top and bottom looks for the week. One artist will be deemed the winner, sometimes receiving a special bonus prize such as immunity from elimination or a cash reward, and one artist will be eliminated from the running for the grand prize. Some episodes also feature a "Foundation Challenge", a smaller challenge that introduces a new technique on a smaller scale, and the winner is awarded an advantage for that week's Spotlight Challenge, ranging from immunity from elimination to receiving a first choice of theme.
The Face Off winner receives US$100,000 and a year's supply of makeup from Alcone (changed to US$25,000 of makeup in season 2), a "grand prize that will launch a career". The second season added the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid to its prize package. The Season 3 grand prize winner will receive the same US$25,000 of Alcone makeup and US$100,000 cash prize, in addition to the opportunity to become a guest lecturer at the "Make up for Ever Academy" in New York and Paris, and the Toyota Prius v. The prize package for season 4 remains the same with the exception of the 2013 Fiat 500 replacing the Prius V as the prize vehicle.
Face Off premiered January 26, 2011 on Syfy. Syfy announced March 16, 2011 that Face Off had been renewed for a second season. Casting was slated to begin later the same month. Season 2 began airing January 11, 2012. On February 7, 2012, Syfy announced that Face Off had been renewed for a third season. Season three of Face Off premiered on August 21, 2012. On October 8, 2012, Syfy announced that Face Off would return for a fourth season which premiered on January 15, 2013. In the fourth season, the show started an online show Face Off Redemption in which eliminated contestants from Season 4 would have a chance to gain a spot on the fifth season, which premiered in August 2013. The show was then renewed, again, on October 21, 2013, for its 6th season which began in January 2014 premiere.
Production and development
Syfy began the development of Face Off in March 2010 in association with production company Mission Control Media. Syfy confirmed that it had ordered the series in May, and announced the host and judges in November. Producers held open casting calls in Los Angeles and Orlando and accepted audition videos through September 15.
|Season||Premiere||Finale||Winner||Runner(s)-Up||Number of Contestants||Number of Episodes|
|1||January 26, 2011||March 16, 2011||Conor McCullagh||Gage Hubbard
|2||January 11, 2012||March 14, 2012||Rayce Bird||Ian Cromer
Robert "RJ" Haddy
|3||August 21, 2012||October 31, 2012||Nicole Chilelli||Laura Tyler
|4||January 15, 2013||March 26, 2013||Anthony Kosar||Kristian "Kris" Kobzina
|5||August 13, 2013||November 5, 2013||Laura Tyler||Tate Steinsiek
|6||January 14, 2014||15|
Season 1 (2011)
Season 2 (2012)
The second season of Face Off was won by Rayce Bird of Shelley, Idaho. Season 2 premiere episode posted the best ratings performance for any Syfy original series since November ‘09, even increasing from those ratings in subsequent episodes. The finale drew over 2.4 million viewers, and was SyFy's most watched unscripted telecast ever.
Season 3 (2012)
Syfy held open call auditions for the third season on November 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California and Orlando, Florida. Filming began during the spring of 2012 to be ready for a summer release. The third season of Face Off premiered on August 21, 2012. The selected contestants were revealed to the public on June 29, 2012. This is the first season of the show where two relatives have been selected as contestants: fraternal twin brothers Eric and Derek Garcia were among those chosen to participate. While Neill and Hetrick remain as judges, concept designer Neville Page became a replacement judge with Tatopoulos appearing in the season premiere, a subsequent episode, and the finale. The season finale was broadcast live on Halloween, October 31, 2012 and viewers voted for the winner. The third season of Face Off was won by Nicole Chilelli of Sacramento, California.
Season 4 (2013)
Syfy picked up Face Off for a fourth season on October 9, 2012 which premiered January 15, 2013. A sneak peek of the upcoming season premiered during the live season 3 finale. Season 4 was won by Anthony Kosar.
Season 5 (2013)
Syfy picked up Face Off for a fifth season. During season 4's Face-Off redemption, Eric Zapata won a place as one of the eight returning contestants who are to compete against eight new contestants. This was the second season that a contestant voluntarily left the competition, when Laney Parkhurst departed in episode 11. The season was won by Laura Tyler, who was a finalist on season 3.
Season 6 (2014)
Season 6 started January 14, 2014.
Drawing comparisons to similar fashion- and cooking-themed competition series, Wired.com reviewer Scott Thill found Face Off "more interesting than watching cooks or clothiers create cold fine dining or hot runway messes." In examining hitherto unexamined aspects of pop culture, Face Off helps a television genre Thill categorizes as nearing "creative exhaustion" stay relevant. Thill sharply criticized the series for "mining its subjects for tortured psychodrama," calling it "an uncomfortable viewing experience but also a pathetic commentary on how desensitized we are to pimping out our fellow humans for humiliation." Mike Moody of TV Squad also noted the format similarities to series like Project Runway and HGTV Design Star, dubbing it "pretty routine." He praised the series for highlighting the creative talents of its contestants and the "sharp and articulate" judges. Writing for FEARnet, Alyse Wax found host McKenzie Westmore "a little underwhelming....She comes across as a generic host: pretty girl with a nice smile, whose connection to the industry is tenuous." However, Wax was effusive in praising the contestants who "create a variety of really fascinating creatures, each with their own backstory, displaying an abundance of talent and skill among the competitors". Despite some initial stiltedness, Wax found that the series has good potential.
The Entertainment Weekly staff wrote in early February, 2013, "Project Runway meets Extreme Makeover in this freakishly entertaining reality series, which tests the monster talents of aspiring movie makeup artists. Next up, the remaining contestants get their goop on creating zombies and alien werewolves."
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