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One Day You're IN and the Next Day You're IN

By LisaRaphael Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 ,4:04 pm EDT

This episode is definitely going to get the fans riled up! I can already see the comments here. I don't know if the producers planned it this way, as it's always good to have people talking (or so they say), but they certainly aren't playing it safe this season. We're down to the Top Four, and Heidi states adamantly that they still have one more Final Challenge to narrow down the designers to the Top Three, and ultimately, who will show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. This is repeated over and over again throughout the episode. But then, right at the end, it's changed to "Psych! Just Kidding! Y'all are IN!" What happened?

$900 Per Look
Let's rewind a little bit: As the episode begins, Heidi greets our Top Four and gives them $9,000 and five weeks to create a 10-look collection. That's a very short time, but honey, I've done TWENTY-plus-piece collections in the same amount of time so, no sympathy here. Also, if my calculator works correctly, this means they each get to spend $900 per look – for fabric and accessories. No money can be spent on any pattern or sewing (hired help). At $900 a look, they better be AMAZING! Finally, before saying "Until next time," Heidi adds, "Only THREE will get to go on ... to NY Fashion Week." Not "MAYBE three of you" (as she has done in the past). No, "THREE."

Here's Your MetroCard ... Now Go!
The designers go home. For New Yorkers Joshua and Viktor, this means "Congrats! Here's a one-way MetroCard! Now get to cuttin' and sewin'!" Kimberly goes to Maryland, and Anya heads to Trinidad and Tobago. Three weeks later, it's time for the "Tim Visits." Tim Gunn visits Kimberly's home Kimberly is first. She seems to have been working "like the rent is due." Her collection is based on the Urban Brooklyn (pre-gentrification) Fashion Girl. Prints, colors, a '90s "Banjee Girl" vibe, and (I'm afraid) lots of gold-and-silver hoop earrings and bracelets. Read: Glam Hoochie.

Caribbean Nothing
Next, Tim heads to Trinidad and Tobago to check in on Anya. She has NOTHING, except some fabrics and her inspiration. No actual garments, not even sketches. Seriously? What. Has. Anya. Been. Doing? Drinking rum & Coke and laying out at the beach? Tim tries to shake her out of her funk, but I'm not sure it quite worked.

Guadalajara: Bien – Queens: Not Bien
Back in New York, Tim visits Viktor and is wowed by the clothes on his rack, inspired by a trip to Guadalajara. We knew Viktor would get to work right away, so no one is surprised that he was muy bien. Next stop: brunch in Queens, New York, to visit Joshua. Here, we find out Miss Josh was good at sports. See, the gays CAN do sports … and then switch over to fashion design! In his studio, he has a sad, thrift-store-looking printed fabric which Tim hates (I do too!), as well as lots of loud, neon-y "Joshua" colors. You could just see Tim's "What the heck is that?" brow go into overdrive.

Time's Up
Five weeks are up, and they reunite at the Hudson Hotel Penthouse. After a day of rest, they head to their new workroom, where Tim then tells them their next Challenge: to present a three-look mini-collection to the judges. Tim reiterates that this will decide the THREE who will go on. Cut to Runway Day. The designers during the final eliminationHeidi, Michael and Nina are all there. No actor or celeb fashion designer "guest" judge plugging their latest projects. Yea!

The Boys
Overall, I liked Viktor's girls. His custom-made "photo" prints were fabuloso, but I thought that leather zipper "car wash" overskirt was tricky and so "Fashion School Graduation Show." I was happy to see my South American "sister" Nina also feel the same way and make him remove it. The three looks Joshua picked to show were surprisingly dark, modern, and oh-so-not-bedazzled and tacky-licious. He either listened to Tim's critique following the visit or he was very smart to not show the "Joshua McKinley" Neon Ladies to the judges ... just yet.

The Girls
Anya's three-piece collection looked as if she had made it in a 48-hour challenge, and the judges tell her so. The pieces looked sloppy, half-double-stick-taped and reminiscent of something one can find at a street bazaar in Port of Spain, Trinidad. What happened? The judges LOVED that first (printed) dress, but I wasn't a fan; the gaping armhole was worrying me. Kimberly's looks were OK – that black gown was SO Heidi, but the back booty bump skirt: No LIKEY. But at least Kimberly's was better than Anya's. Both of the girls are at the bottom. Kimberly is deemed IN … so is Anya out?

Too Much Advice?
The judges' critiques dumbfounded me this week: They were giving A LOT of helpful advice to the designers – especially Anya. As it turns out, Anya is also IN. What happened to the Top Three? Was this changed all of a sudden because the judges felt bad since she had done so well throughout the season? Or did the producers already have this "twist" in their minds from the get-go?

Consistent Inconsistency
This is what it looks like to me: Anya's was the obvious worst, but the judges didn't want Anya out. Am I on the right path or am I being a "Project Runway Conspiracy Theorist"? Many of my readers think there's quite a bit of favoritism being placed on Anya by the judges, and now I kind of have to agree. Based on these four finalists, it's not that she isn't worthy of being in the Finals and showing at NY Fashion Week. In fact I think she and Viktor are the top two designers. However, if we are just judging by the three looks they presented, Anya should have been OUT. The only thing consistent about this season is its inconsistency. It seems that the judges have decided to evaluate what they have seen over an entire season as opposed to what is presented on the runway each week. Heidi, early on, seemed to try to take a stand for her catchphrase "One day you're IN … and the next day … you're OUT." But clearly this season it should be changed to "One day you're IN … and the next day you're IN"!