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Last week on Shear Genius we said goodbye to Paulo, the weepy human troll doll, who gave his last troll-icious haircut to Charlie’s poor sister. She probably had to shave her head and start over. Now we’re down to the final four: Dee, Charlie, Daniel and Nicole. We rejoin our stylists as they enter the Shear Genius Salon to meet Jaclyn Smith and find out about this week’s Short Cut Challenge. Jaclyn greets everyone and then directs everyone’s attention to Charlie’s work from the last Elimination Challenge, which is now featured on the Allure Wall O’Hair. Daniel’s happy about it too since the model is his mother.

This week’s guest judge for the Short Cut Challenge is someone Jaclyn knows very well: he’s her personal stylist. Out comes Jose (pronounced Joe-zay, doncha know) Eber, who I thought was dead. Good Lord. He looks like he stepped off a platform at Madame Tussaud’s. He’s obviously overdosed in the brow waxing and you could bounce a quarter off his face. He is, of course, still wearing the same cowboy hat, which probably hides the fact that his ears now meet on the top of his head.

It will be important in this challenge for the stylists to become familiar with their clients. They will consult with their client and then create a dynamic and compelling style that captures the client’s personality. They will be judged on how well the style reflects the individuality of the client. The stylists choose scissor boxes to determine the order in which they will pick their clients. Dee picks a young Latina girl who Dan thinks looks like every other client Dee chooses: he thinks she’s in a rut. Nicole chooses last and her client, alarmingly, has dark roots, bleached hair and orange highlights, Yikes.

The stylists get to know their client’s personality, so they can give them the right style. Nicole’s client is a singer who seems to favor all of the vapid blondes in the tabloids right now. Great. Just dunk her head in bleach and be done with it.

All of a sudden, Jaclyn arrives with a little announcement. There’s a problem: all of the stylists have been double-booked today and their next clients are waiting in the back room. The stylists all stop what they’re doing to meet their second clients. Surprise! Their clients will be twins. Now they will have to make sure each twin has her own distinct look that reflects their individual personality. Just to make this a little more interesting, the winner will earn a place in the final three. Daniel immediately pees his pants.

Now begins the process of getting to know how the twins are different. Nicole runs into problems when it becomes clear that her clients are pretty similar in personality and interests. Nicole worries about pulling a Meredith: this is when a stylist tries to take blonde to a different color and having it come out all wrong. I’m sure Meredith is happy to be associated with that little mishap. The other stylists observe Daniel talking like crazy with his clients. Unfortunately, he’s just talking about himself and Nicole wonders if Daniel got to know his clients or vice versa.

Double Trouble
Time’s up quickly and Jose surveys the damage. Charlie’s twins are up first. He gave one twin an angular cut with heavy bangs and a light blonde color, while the other twin has a slightly darker blonde color, with a wavier ‘do. Dee’s twins are both involved with motorcycles. She gave one girl an 80’s rocker look with purple streaks underneath. The other twin got fewer layers and more obvious red highlights. Both girls claims they’re satisfied.

Nicole is the only stylist who really gave her clients very different hair colors: one stayed blonde, while the other is now chocolate brown. Nicole explains that they’re both singers and needed to look different from one another. Daniel gave his clients styles that he might think are different, but to me look about the same. One twin has lighter blonde hair than the other, who still has blonde hair.

Jose is ready to make his decision. He claims to have been impressed by all of the stylists and says it was a close call. The winner – and first member of the final three – is Nicole. Jose says she did very well because her clients have two totally different looks that let their individuality and personality shine through.

Everyone heads back to the house, where they bitch about how Nicole doesn’t have enough experience to be in the final three. Daniel claims to be okay with Nicole’s win because she’s still the weakest one left. Well, since she’s safe, I’d say you have reason to be worried, sweetie. Daniel, Dee and Charlie are all really competitive, says Nicole. She thinks the next challenge will be a beauty blood bath.

Setting Hair for Jesus
For this week’s elimination challenge, the stylists meet Rene Fris on the set of a fashion shoot. Their challenge will be to create an avant garde style that reflects one of the four seasons. The stylists will be judged on technical skills, creativity and how well they work with their photographer to attain his vision. The photographer will be celebrity and fashion photographer Michael Grecco. Charlie is stoked: this challenge is right up his alley. Each stylist chooses a scissor box that determines which season they will be depicting and which model they’ll be working with.

The stylists will have 3 hours to complete the challenge. Before they begin, each stylist will meet with Michael Grecco to discuss his vision. Daniel, who is given Summer, will have to do something that takes the scene with a bike and flowers and makes it interesting. They will probably mist the model, cautions Grecco, so Daniel will need to create a style that will hold up. Nicole is given Winter. Her model will be laying down on a set covered with fake snow with her head angled toward the camera. Dee will have Fall. The model will be on a trampoline, wearing clothes that flow, so the hair should do the same. Charlie has Spring and, because the set has a swing upon which the model will sit, Charlie will have to create a style that flows. Charlie takes one look at the set and tells us there’s nothing avant garde about it.

The stylists begin to work and Nicole takes a look at the wardrobe. She tells us she want the hair to be simple and soft and not too crazy. What about “avant garde” did she not get? Dee says she wants the style to be original and edgy. She won’t be putting the hair up because that’s what everyone else is doing: she wants to show a strong, trendy, funky haircut. Charlie is trying to create a hedge shape with his style. His problem is that the model has very thin hair. He’s going to be using a curling iron, rag curlers and a flat iron in an attempt to get eh hair to do what he needs it to do.

Meanwhile, Daniel is adding extensions and braiding sections of the hair. It’s already looking really alarming. It seems Daniel is confused by Michael Grecco’s instructions: how can something be both edgy and beautiful? It’s a mystery. Nicole is working on finger waving the front of the model’s hair. Rene asks if Nicole is playing it safe because she’s safe from elimination and she denies it. Rene looks at Charlie’s work and asks if it might be too frizzy. Charlie says a bit of frizz is edgy. Who knew? Dee starts adding extensions into the hair to give the style some fullness.

Rene Fris points out the curls in Charlie’s style, which are already coming out. Charlie explains that he wanted the style to look avant garde and “afro-y.” Rene comments that Dee looks nervous. She admits the extension pieces she’s clipped into the hair are slipping because the model’s hair is so fine. Rene is concerned that Dee’s style won’t be avant garde enough. Daniel is nervous about the time constraints and the fact that he can’t talk to Michael Grecco to see if he’s on the right track with the style. Daniel looks over at Dee’s work and notes that it’s the same style Dee’s done before. Charlie surveys Daniel’s work and says that, while Daniel does big hair, it isn’t avant garde.

Rene Fris has one more surprise: all judges will be present at the photo shoot, including Linda Wells, editor-in-chief of Allure.

The Four Seasons of Frizz
The shoot begins and Nicole is up first with Winter. Nicole takes a look at the set and realizes she might have misunderstood Michael Grecco. The model lays down and her hair is immediately tangled up and covered with fake snow. Now she has to get all the fake snow out and re-style the hair. Nicole sets to work styling the hair all the while being barked at by Michale Grecco: he keeps pointing out areas he thinks look flyaway-ish and dry and Nicole frantically tries to get the hair in place. Jaclyn looks on and comments that there really isn’t any definite style and it’s not edgy enough. Nicole is sure the shoot is a disaster.

Dee, with Autumn, is up next and Michael immediately comments that the hair looks frizzy at the crown of the model’s head. Throughout the shoot, the model has to jump up and down on a small trampoline. Michael comments that the hair is only moving up and down and not back from the model’s face. He tells Dee that, when she placed the yellow streaks in the model’s hair, she may have placed them too far back.

Michael Grecco takes one look at Charlie’s Spring work and says it’s a little too romantic and period. He asks Charlie to pull some of the hair out of the up ‘do and, when Charlie does so, Michael complains about the style looking too frizzy. Charlie seems annoyed, but takes in his stride. By the end, Michael seems happy-ish.

Daniel is last with Summer and Michael Grecco immediately points out that all the detail in Daniel’s work is in the back and the model is being shot from the front. Grecco also comments that there isn’t anything avant garde about Daniel’s work. The red braid Daniel added into the hair is annoying the photographer, who asks Daniel to remove it. He also asks Daniel to remove the purple flowers in the hair and then directs him to take down some of the hair. As if this isn’t enough, Daniel then has to watch the model being hosed down like she’s on fire. This is the heaviest “mist” I’ve ever seen.

"Yeah, We Don’t Like Any of You”
This week’s judges are Kim Vo, Linda Wells and Grumpy Michael Grecco.

Daniel explains that he planned a kind of pompadour shape that would hold up when wet. Linda Wells compliments him: it was pretty, but the “action” was in the back and the photo was taken from the front. Daniel admits it was bad placement on his part, but tries to accentuate the positive: at least part of the ‘do could be taken down easily. Michael Grecco says he was definitely not happy about the red braid and Kim Vo agrees: he doesn’t like contradictory textures in hair. Daniel explains that he used the braid because he thought it would hold up in water. Michael admits he did like what happened in the end and Jaclyn compliments Daniel for holding his own in the situation. the braid

Dee was thinking about fall in New York City when she designed her hairstyle. Kim Vo comments that this looks like the same style she’s been doing all season. Linda Wells says it’s a beautiful daytime haircut, but when the model jumped, it didn’t look good. Jaclyn doesn’t think the hair moved as well as it could have and Michael says the cut just wasn’t right for the shoot.

Nicole imagined the hair flowing back in waves and curls on the “snow,” with the red extension pieces matching the dress. Michael Grecco thinks platinum extensions might have worked better. Again, Nicole denies playing it safe. Linda Wells says fake snow is tough to wortk with and compliments Nicole on her hard work and her cooperativeness.

Charlie thought the set was very soft, so he wanted to create angles in the hair. Michael admits that, when he saw the style, he thought Charlie hadn’t listened to him. Kim Vo comments that, when Michael asked him to change the style a bit, he went a bit too far too quickly. Michael says they got to a good place by the end of the shoot.

Michael Grecco says Daniel freaked out over Michael’s reaction to the style. Jaclyn thinks the water threw Daniel off and Linda Wells thinks Daniel was intimidated by the situation. Michael says the sheer volume of product Daniel used in the hair made it difficult for Daniel to make changes during the shoot.

Jaclyn thinks Dee cut the model’s bangs too severely and Kim Vo says Dee keeps giving them the same haircut over and over again. This style definitely wasn’t avant garde. Michael Grecco says Dee was a little more comfortable than the others and she did listen to him. Linda Wells points out that this isn’t a personality contest.

Jaclyn says Nicole’s concept was beautiful. Kim Vo thinks Nicole’s inexperience really showed here and Michael criticizes Nicole’s work. Linda Wells thinks that, because Nicole was safe from elimination, she shouldn’t have played it so safe in this challenge.

Michael doesn’t think Charlie’s style was what the shoot needed, but Linda Wells thinks it was beautiful. Michael says the set was too pretty: the hair should have been a counterpoint to that. Jaclyn points out that Charlie was able to make changes and move the hair. Michael agrees: Charlie was definitely willing to change the style and work with him.

The Finale Cut
The stylists return to the judging room to hear the verdict. Since Nicole is safe, it’s really just down to Charlie, Dee and Daniel. Jaclyn asks all three to step forward and compliments them on the amazing styles they’ve created: they’ve all worked very hard to get to this point. The winner this week is Charlie. He created an avant garde style that allowed him to work with the photographer and help him capture his vision. Plus, he used the flowers well. Both Dee and Daniel look like they just swallowed a bug.

The shape of Daniel’s style didn’t work for the camera and it definitely wasn’t avant garde and he used too much product. Plus, that red braid was hideous and it didn’t work with the color palette of the shoot. Dee’s cut wasn’t right for the shoot and it lacked style and originality. It was also missing that avant garde edge.

Since you just know they’re setting up a Dee vs. Charlie finale, Daniel is sent packing. Daniel says he’s thrilled to have gotten this far and is ready to get back to Dallas: the hair just isn’t big enough in California. Daniel hugs everyone goodbye and goes off to pack up his things. As he packs, Daniel admits he was way off on the whole avant garde thing. He’s ready to go back to Dallas and do beautiful hair. For him, the glass is always half full and, this time, it’s the most half full glass ever.

Back at the salon, Jaclyn wipes a tear away over Daniel’s departure and then congratulates the final 3 on getting this far. The only thing left is to see who will rise up and show the judges something that is truly shear genius.

Next week: It’s the end of the road and someone who probably isn’t Nicole (or, let’s face it, Dee) will win $100,000.