Season 15 Premieres September 15 at 9/8c

Mila Hermanovski's Blog

Prom Duckie

By laurareineke 03/08/2013 04:25AM GMT

It's the unconventional challenge! Wait, didn't we already have one? OK, it's a sponsored product placement challenge! The designers are introduced to Fred the duck as their hint. All I could think of was Aflac (now thatʼs some good advertising and marketing). No, it's DUCK Tape. At one point, someone decided it would be clever to brand duct tape as Duck Tape, just to confuse the masses. What did you do with duct tape in college? In art school in the late '80s we'd patch our combat boots or even our vintage men's wing-tip shoes (worn with cut-offs or a babydoll dress and black ripped tights) in the old-school silver variety. My boyfriend's niece made him a duct tape wallet and messenger bag. Throughout the years, duct tape has been used in very fun and innovative ways.

For this challenge, the designers have a myriad of newfangled, novelty colored and printed DUCK tapes to choose from to create a prom dress as a team, in ONE day (not the 24-hour kind of day, but more the 8-hour variety). That afternoon, they will be judged by high school students first, before the regular judging panel; the student vote supposedly accounts for 20% of the final scores.

The producers are ready to shake things up a bit, so the teams are shuffled by drawing names and those who are called are able to select a partner. It's about time! Stanley is over Richard, so he chooses "someone who can teach him something," the younger Layana, whom I actually thought was about 22 but in fact is 28 and acts like 19. While I don't know that Layana is going to teach him anything, Stanley could not have made a better move than dumping Richard. Kate picks Tu, so she can have the upper hand. Michelle chooses Amanda, and they become BFFs. A rejected Richard goes with Daniel, and that only leaves Samantha with Patricia. Samantha is "buggin'" over this, but I can tell she is trying really hard not to dis Patricia in her interviews, but rather emphasize that the two of them have such different points of view. At least she's trying to be diplomatic!

Layana, honey, Richard isn't jealous of you. He's just got a bruised ego. So he takes all the gold tape so no one else can use it. Bitter and spiteful, or just competitive? Either way, it was kind of an asshole move. And speaking of tape choices, Michelle and Amanda are each gravitating towards different printed tapes, both of which would be pretty yucko for a prom dress: Camouflage and tie-dye. Thank goodness they agree to disagree and work it out to come up with a new idea, to make their own giant houndstooth print (infinitely better). I found myself wondering: Do they plant those ugly prints, just to see if the designers will go for them? Probably just the sponsor wanting all their product out there...but still, it made me think. Patricia and Samantha seem to be working together rather sheepishly. Seems there is some tension and both ladies are aware of it. Samantha makes TWO bodices since they can't seem to merge their designs. Certainly there could be a more efficient way of using her time/working, but then again, if she has time to make two bodices, go girl! I recall when I was paired with Jay ("by chance") in a team challenge and it was so awkward. It sucks when there is tension and whether or not you are able to rise above it, it's still there, and you find yourself envious of those who are working synergistically.

Lone Wolf and Amanda are an example of a team that had that synergy. They were having a grand old time together and that energy helped produce a WOW moment of a design. The dress was unique, bold, fun and cool. Most high school girls want something fun for the prom. This dress is definitely for a certain girl. Not everyone could pull it off, but it was fab. I love that they created their own pattern, well engineered by Michelle. I could have done without the side cutouts, but other than that it was a great shape. And Michelle has a coup at last!

Layana and Stanley receive high scores. Stanley is on a roll. He is pretty much guaranteed a place in the finals at this point, methinks. It's always good to get some wins under your belt early in the competition because it makes the judges notice you, and if you do slip up, they are less likely to give you the axe. The dress these two produced a super cute, well constructed design. It appeals to that "Glee" girl: Youthful, flirty, fun. While I like the touch of pink, I did think the bow was a bit much. Perhaps it could have been scaled down a bit. The crinoline was marvelous. Nice job!

Moustache and Richard, low scorers, produced a mess of a dress which was '80s in a bad way. Funny enough it truly reminded me of a dress I wore to a prom back then. The underlying silhouette of the dress was the most simple cut (the princess foundation), yet was not fitting well. The sweetheart bodice and the ruffles, all in gold, made it look cheap and dated. And all that faux-lattice on the sides simply got lost. But thank god they didn't touch that leopard print tape that was on their table! Guess that move of hoarding all the gold tape didnʼt work out so well for you, did it Richard?

Kate and Tu also flopped. While the dress at least fit well and was well-constructed, the color was dull and drab and too mature for a high school girl. I don't necessarily agree with Nina that all girls want short dresses. I think Kate is right that most girls seldom (if ever) have an opportunity to wear long gowns, so some of them want to use the prom as an opportunity to do it to the nines. That said, the dress is not the most forward. I was an editor at Your Prom magazine once and the dresses I saw and that we featured really ran the gamut. And in a "shocking elimination," BOTH Kate and Tu get the axe! Personally I think it would have been more interesting and appropriate if Tu and Richard had been eliminated. The two low scoring designs each had issues, and at least this gown fit well.

Samantha and Patricia ended up with the most popular dress by the students! After all that tension they cranked out a really fun design. I have to admit when I first saw it developing I feared it would look like a Hanukkah dress because of the colors! But it was a cool, futuristic, unique design. Is it the most suitable for the prom? Probably not. But kudos to them for creating something outside the box and creative!