Ah, here we are again! It's time for another trip to the salon... the salon where you could end up looking like Wilma Flintstone or a drag queen....as if there's much of a difference. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I think I spend way too much time wondering where the producers of Shear Genius find people willing to have their hair butchered on broadcast cable TV. You'd have to pay me a lot of money. A LOT. With my luck, I'd end up in the middle of a challenge requiring the stylists to cut hair with a Flowbee and I'd go home with a mullet....not that there's anything wrong with that.
As you may remember, poor Meredith, Patron Stylist of Curly-Headed Pariahs Everywhere, was sent packing last week. With Meredith gone, Nicole says her morning are a lot different: they were roomies. The morning after Meredith’s elimination, Nicole wakes up and heads to the kitchen, where she finds a basket full of bright yellow flip flops. That probably never happened when Meredith was still there. Each pair has a number on them and Nicole takes the opportunity to choose a set ahead of everyone else. She then calls the rest of the stylists, who choose their flip flops. Everyone, of course, says they’re going to win today’s challenge.
The stylists are heading out to the beach for this week’s Short Cut Challenge. They all meet Jaclyn and this week’s guest judge / superfamous stylist (he’s styled Katie Holmes! *gasp!*) Oscar Blondi. Jaclyn congratulates Glenn for her win at the last elimination challenge: her style is now on the Allure Wall of Fame Thingie, which for today’s purposes is on a sandwich board in the sand. Woot! Jaclyn then asks Charlie how it felt to be in the bottom three. He admits it sucked, but says it was good to see how “the other half” lives. As if he was living in the house on the hill before.
This week’s Short Cut Challenge will put their cutting and styling skills to the test, warns Jaclyn, and these won’t be typical clients. The stylists will have to give their clients a style that can take them from a long day at the beach to a clean, polished style. They will be judged on their skills, creativity and their ability to perform on the beach and, oh yeah, they won’t be able to wash their client’s hair.
Out of the surf emerge the clients for the challenge: it’s a herd of surfer boys. They look like extras from Point Break and I shout out “I. am an FBI agent!” and then laugh like an idiot. Daniel sees the surfers, giggles and nearly pees his pants. Every week he explores new ways to be fangirly. The number on each pair of flip flops the stylists chose corresponds to a number on the arm of a surfer. The stylists and surfers pair up and get to work. Jaclyn cautions: the clients may be handsome, but this challenge won’t be a day at the beach. Their only tools will be shears, battery powered clippers and a spray bottle. They will have thirty minutes to complete the challenge.
Tortay Minutes Ehstart! <--- lame Oscar Blondi impression
The cutting begins and Dee immediately declares that she’s going to kick ass. Seeing as how she actually has kicked ass before, I’d say she’s allowed to be a little braggy. Nicole is working on creating a style that doesn’t require any styling. I’ve dated enough surfers in my time to know that this is a huge selling point. I once had to threaten a boyfriend with a midnight head-shaving to get him to do something with his hair instead of, well, nothing. Glenn and Dee are working on twins. Paulo styles his client’s hair and comments confidently that the sea salt is working in his favor: it gives texture. Daniel and Glenn talk some smack about Nicole: she lacks experience and they both think she’s going to struggle in this challenge. Cut to Daniel taking his client’s hair too short and Glenn trimming his client’s eyebrows. Charlie observes that if Nicole is green, then Gail is neon green. Paulo calls Gail’s cut a mullet comb over…..like that’s a bad thing.
It’s time for Oscar Blondi to give his verdicts:
Glenn: The client is in an alternative rock band and, because he looks pretty angelic, he needed a more edgy cut.
Gail: The execution was right, but there was too much comb over: she tried too hard to cover a little thinning hair.
Paulo: The model looks too much like he did before. The hair needed more texturizing. Oscar is not crazy about it.
Nekisa: She didn’t change the front as much as should have
Charlie: Oscar likes idea of greaser-ish cut, but it looks too conservative
Dee: Looking back at the first twin, Oscar comments on the differences. He likes the edge on Dee’s twin. Meanwhile, Glenn’s twin looked piiiiissed.
Nicole: Oscar likes that the cut is edgier and still has a surfer vibe.
Daniel: (wow, the ears on that client whoo boy!) The problem here is the texture of the guy’s hair: it’s coarse and will only grow straight out as it gets longer. The client now looks like Mouth from One Tree Hill. I like Mouth as much the next person who, er, happens to catch a few minutes of One Tree Hill while channel surfing, but a stylin' surfer dude, he is not.
The bottom two are Daniel and Glenn, but Glenn is the most sucky. Dee and Nicole are the top two. Dee emphasized her client’s bone structure and kept the messiness in the hair. Nicole’s clean look also emphasized her client’s bone structure. Nicole wins the challenge and does a cartwheel to celebrate her win and the fact that Daniel and Glenn – the two who talked smack about her during the challenge – were the bottom two. I’d say that’s almost instant karma.
A Challenge I Can’t Be Snarky About
Everyone is back at the salon the next morning to meet Rene Fris and find out about their next challenge. This week, they will have to create new looks for clients who really need their help. They will cut, color and create a style that fits their client’s face, suits their lifestyle and lifts their spirits as well. They will be judged on how well they transform their client’s look. The clients enter the salon and then remove their wigs:they're all completely bald. Every one of these women suffers from a condition called Alopecia. Rene Fris asks one of the women to explain Alopecia. Basically, it’s an autoimmune disorder that stops the hair from growing. There’s no known cause and there’s no known cure.
Because she won this week’s Short Cut Challenge, Nicole gets first choice of client and chooses the order in which the other stylists choose their clients. Paulo immediately starts bawling. That one is definitely a weeper. The order Nicole decides on is:
Each stylist will have to cut and style the perfect wig for their client. Charlie decides that Nicole will definitely be in the bottom three because she has never cut a wig before. Nicole’s client admits she usually just goes without a wig, but really loves Nicole’s short style and would love the same. Paulo = still crying. Gail admits she’s cut a few wigs…the kind that come with Halloween costumes. I’m sure this little bit of information has bathed Gail’s client in relief, especially if she has dreams of looking like cave woman with a bone in her hair. Daniel is feeling pretty secure: he has lots of experience cutting wigs. They’re probably his own. I sense a little dragalicious vibe with that one.
Nekisa and her client have a bit of a debate between a red wig and a more subdued brown. The red is too much for the client and Nekisa says they can change the color. Meanwhile, Nicole really wants to get this right for her client. Around the salon, all of the client’s tell stories about their lives and how losing their hair has affected them. Nicole begins blowing her client, Leilani’s new hair dry and Leilani starts to cry: it’s been 12 years since she’s had anyone blow dry her hair. Nicole starts crying too. I sniffle a little too. Hey, I'm not made of stone here.
As Rene Fris surveys the work of the various stylists, he notes that Nekisa didn’t do much to change the wig. He then observes that Glenn is lucky she has immunity. Ouch. Nicole is struggling with the wig. There is just so much hair and the cut is starting to look choppy. Both Nicole and her client cry and Nicole tells her (and Rene, who is looking on) that there are more important things than a challenge. This is all about what Leilani wants and Nicole wants to make her happy. Rene hugs Nicole and tells her that a bit of product might help the style.
Gettin’ Wiggy With It
The judges for this week’s hair show are Kim Vo, Kelly Atterton and Oscar Blondi, who, by the way is not blonde. Even though most of the stylists are feeling pretty self-satisfied about their work, most of the clients still look like they’re wearing big, ole wigs. Nothing wrong with that, although this is probably not the goal in this challenge.
Glenn, Dee and Daniel are all safe this week, so they leave to sit in the fake salon break room. Now the judges can dissect the various wigs and make catty comments. Nekisa is up first. Kim Vo takes a closer look and declares the style a little too retro. The client admits that she doesn’t love the cut (which means she haaaaates it), but reasons that she might just need a little time to get used to it. Kelly Atterton thinks the cut doesn’t show enough of the client’s face. Oscar Blondi states the obvious and says that the trick with cutting wigs is that you only get once chance to cut them. Paulo explains that his client wanted a wig to wear when she goes out, so he made it sexy and swing-y. The judges ask a few questions of the client and it’s clear she loves it. She and Paulo gush about each other and hug. I’m sure he cried some more. He’s like a giant, crying troll doll. With piercings.
Kelly Atterton questions the amount of heaviness in the wig for Charlie’s client. Oscar Blondi agrees: it looks like a helmet. Gail explains that she wanted a warm tone to flatter her client’s complexion. Kelly says Gail is almost there with her styling, but her lack of confidence is showing. Oscar Blondi asks the model to step forward and then tells Gail that the cut is very bulky and it makes the client look older. As soon as the cameras were off, you just know that woman took the wig off and burned it.
Nicole admits she’s never cut a wig, but really didn’t want to fail her client, Leilani. The other stylists snicker as Nicole talks about how seriously she took this challenge and how she didn’t want to fail Leilani. I want to smack them all. Kim Vo asks Leilani to step forward. He asks Nicole if she was afraid to cut the wig that short and if she thinks this might lose her the competition. Nicole says that, if Leilani loves the wig, she’s okay if the cut causes her to lose the competition: this is bigger than the competition.
The stylists are excused so the judges can deliberate. Kim doesn’t think Nekisa’s style did the client justice. Jaclyn, ever Miss Positive, says the bangs added to the shape of the face, but Oscar Blondi says the style needed more movement. Jaclyn praises Paulo’s style: not only did it NOT look like a wig, the client loved it. The judges agree: the cut was modern and sexy, although maybe a little too pink. Oscar Blondi says it’s not easy to cut a long wig and Paulo framed the client’s face just right.
Kim Vo thinks that, once again, Charlie is playing it safe. Kelly Atterton agrees: the cut wasn’t young or modern. Oscar Blondi gives the ultimate insult: it looked “wiggy.” Gail’s cut doesn’t go over well with any of the judges. Kim Vo thinks the color is too light and Oscar Blondi thinks the cut is too boxy. Nicole’s cut, on the other hand, was gutsy, says Oscar. Kim Vo thinks the back was a bit choppy and Kelly Atterton agrees: if the pieces clump together on a short wig, you can see the netting underneath. In spite of any shortcomings (ha!), it was obvious the client loved it.
Dodging Another Bullet
The stylists return to learn their fates. Jaclyn calls Nicole and Paulo forward and then congratulates them: they’re this week’s top two stylists. Both of them, unsurprisingly, cry. Paulo transformed his client’s look. The wig had movement, a natural style and was the perfect cut for the client’s bone structure. Nicole took a risk and it paid off. Her cut was fun and sassy and expressed the client’s personality. Paulo wins this week, but the bad news is that he won’t be receiving immunity. Because the competition is getting tougher, challenge winners won’t be receiving immunity from here on out. Basically, Paulo just gets a picture on that Allure Wall 'O Hair. Whoop-dee-do.
This week’s bottom three are Gail, Nekisa and Charlie. With Nekisa’s style, the judges wanted to see more of the client’s face. The bangs were too heavy and the look was too daring for the client. Still, she’s safe this week. Charlie played it safe again and it was obvious the client was wearing a wig. Plus, Charlie’s cut made the client look older. Charlie admits that, although he was pretty happy about the cut while the client was in his chair, he’s a lot less happy with it now that he’s seen it walk down a runway. Gail’s still might have been a big improvement for the client, but the style was still no good. Oooo, burn on the client. How bad was her other wig? Gail’s work was bulky and it aged the client. Charlie breathes a sigh of relief when Gail gets the boot.
Jaclyn asks Gail if she has anything to say before she leaves. Gail thanks the other stylists and the judges, saying it’s been an honor and a dream come true. Jaclyn praises Gail: she should be proud of herself for having made it this far in the competition. Everyone applauds Gail as she leaves….or because she leaves instead of them.
Jaclyn cautions the remaining stylists that they will need to push themselves a lot harder if they expect to stay in the competition. She doesn’t stare pointedly and say “Charlie," but it’s implied. Back at the loft, Gail packs her things and vows to take both the advice she received and the criticism and build on all of it. She says she’s full of joy….and tears.
Next Week:: The feathered hair flies when Kate Jackson makes an appearance in honor of a Charlie’s Angels challenge. Plus, Nekisa and Charlie throw down. Again.