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When Rhinestones Attack...

By kim_messina Fri., Sep. 21, 2012 ,5:01 am EDT

For realz, I could have used a pair of sunglasses while watching this episode. Holy blinding sparkles, Batman!

The designers' faces lit up like kids on Christmas morning the moment they saw the Radio City Rockettes take the stage. (And it's also worth noting that Heidi has one heck of a high kick!) This challenge was so freaking cool. The Rockettes are legend-wait for it-dary. (Please click here if you did not get that reference.) As a girl who grew up New Jersey and being fortunate enough to have seen the Rockettes perform more than a dozen times, I aspired to be a famous toy soldier during the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. But at 5'3" and having little to no coordination, my big Radio City dreams have been shelved. So although I may not be a designer, a little part of me lived vicariously through the remaining seven this episode.

I found the way each designer approached this challenge to be very interesting. Initially I thought Dmitry had this one in the bag because of his dance history, but then Melissa had me intrigued with her design based on the architecture of Radio City. (It really is a stunning building if you ever get a chance to go inside.) However, the second Christopher said he was going to do a costume with a bedazzled NYC skyline, I was like, "Done, done and done." And I'm pretty sure the other designers felt the same way.

I feel like this is the point in the competition where viewers really get to see a clear divide as to which designers are made for this competition and which ones don't have the stamina to make it all the way. Case in point? Elena. For nine episodes we have seen her command the workroom, barely cracking a smile. This episode? It's like she took the crazy train to gigglesville and isn't turning back! Seriously?! I've never seen anyone do a complete 180 like that. She even chose a fabric that "old Elena" wouldn't be caught dead using. I can only assume that there must have been something in the water.

Or maybe there was something in the wine the designers had at their la de da dinner? Cause I swear it was bizzaro world in the workroom! My head started to spin just thinking about the 18 pieces that Melissa had to sew together, my nose began to itch just looking at Sonjia's Purple People Eater feathers and my eyes popped out of their sockets when Ven didn't do an origami rose. Final answer: it was definitely the wine because if it wasn't, why would any designer in their right mind say no to a second trip to Mood? A SECOND TRIP TO MOOD AND MORE MONEY! Has that ever happened?! Even Christopher, who essentially won the competition when he put muslin on his form, went to Mood to buy more rhinestones.

Now on to the Gay Pride Parade ... er... I mean runway. I don't even need to get into Christopher's design. It was flawless. I can't wait to see it this Christmas season. The end. I do think that Dmitry's was a strong second place. I agree with the judges that it was a little too sexy, but it was chic, had great movement and had Christopher's costume not been so amaze, Dmitry's would have given him stiff competition. The color was great, too.

But besides Christopher and Dmitry's costumes, everything else was just a big ol pile of bedazzled fabric to me. I totally get what Melissa was trying to pull off, but she was over ambitious and knew it. I do think that had it been executed correctly (aka without the big number one), it would have brought just the right amount of edge to give the Rockettes a modern look without being too over the top. Like I said before, Sonjia's purple costume looked like an homage to the Big Bird and Abba. I didn't mind Fabio's, but as shiny as it was, it looked very matte and lackluster to me.

I was completely torn as to whether it was time for Elena or Ven to go home. I agree with Elena that her costume was marching band-chic, but I also think she understood the challenge better than Ven. It's not that his design was terrible, it was just that he didn't see the full scope of the challenge. Remember, Heidi said in the beginning that the people in the last row should see the same costume as the people in the front row.

Ven is no doubt a talented designer, but after a few tumultuous weeks, it was his time to be aufed.