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Ep.12: Mayor Bloomberg Sets the Designers a New York Challenge

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Welcome to week twelve of Project Runway, the episode where we'll finally learn who will compete at Fashion Week. Or will we...? Heidi sends the designers off for a relaxing break in the luxurious Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The contestants expect a twist, and we immediately think "Those curtains would make a fine cape." Alas, there is no twist. Sometimes a break is just a break. The next morning, the designers meet Tim Gunn. Joining him is New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The Mayor, who seemingly has nothing better to do during this time of financial strife than make appearances on reality shows, tells the designers to choose a New York landmark to use as the inspiration for their final runway design. We wish one of them had said, "Mayor, I choose the Garment District. Perhaps you can show a little more support for its survival?"

The designers visit their chosen landmarks. Michael C picks The Statue of Liberty, and starts imagining a draped dress. We cross our fingers it won't be green. Mondo and April both choose The Brooklyn Bridge, causing The George Washington Bridge to get a complex. Andy heads for Central Park, waxing poetic about Frederick Law Olmstead's organic pathways, while planning a garment that is anti-nature. Gretchen initially impresses us when she chooses the Lower East Side. We assume she wants to play off its history as the home to many generations of immigrants, or perhaps the area's now hip designation. Nope, Gretchen picks it because she likes the buildings' bricks. Which look like every other neighborhoods' bricks.

This week, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia are joined by guest judge, Christian Siriano, Project Runway's most successful winner. Christian is opinionated and doesn't think twice about expressing views that counter those of his fellow judges. This includes snarking about Mondo, another petite and creative wunderkind, whom we suspect Christian is a bit threatened by.

At the runway, Heidi warns the five designers that at least one of them will be sent home and not get to show at Fashion Week. We find this, and all the tears it causes, to be completely ridiculous, since this is the second season in a row where the top ten designers all ended up showing collections or decoy collections in The Tents. So not making it to Fashion Week, doesn't actually mean "Not making it to Fashion Week."

After the judges see the designs, Heidi informs them that there will be four people who get to make collections and one who will be sent home. Our top designer is Michael C, with his draped black dress, with its high cut slit and low cut back. Of course, Heidi says she'd wear it. Mondo also moves on, thanks to his latest print-fest, which for once, is just black and white, due to the editing of some troublesome yellow sequins. Andy will also go forward, thanks to his well-fitted dominatrix dress. This leaves Gretchen and April vying for the final slot. The exhausted Gretchen creates unattractive separates and whines to the judges how sick she is of the competitions. Whereas April, despite warnings from Tim Gunn to "change it up," makes another diaphanous black witch's gown, this one for a pregnant witch. Heidi bids "auf Wiedersehen" to April, who ironically, later really does end up stepping out of the box with her edgy Fashion Week decoy collection. The four remaining designers are told that only three of them will compete at Fashion Week and that their final collections will be used to determine who that will be. So we still don't know who's competing...

And our As Tears Go By count is another sob-a-palooza, as we are faced with twelve crying jags. A long one from Michael C, two from Mondo, three from Gretchen, and six from April, including one which must have been filmed after she was booted, where she tries to hide the fact that she is crying. Added to our previous total, this makes sixty two crying jags for the season.

And now for this week's Top Ten Moments of Project Runway Greatness...

10). Gretchen says, "I think I did Andy a disservice and a nice service as well, telling him that his dress looks like a Madam." She then goes off to inform all the children of the world that there is no Santa Clause.

9). Michael Kors tells Mondo, "You proved that color is not your crutch." True, patterns are.

8). Mayor Bloomberg channels Tim Gunn and tells the designers, "Make it work." Last time we saw someone so ill suited to a task was when George W attempted to read a short story to a classroom of children. And we know how that turned out...

7). Mood's dog Swatch wears a little black Ninja warrior outfit. It's very Andy-esque.

6). Mondo fears that Andy might be playing it "too safe," and be "slapped on the wrists for it." If so, his dominatrix dress should come in handy.

5). Gretchen says "I think it's really cool that Mayor Bloomberg is the ambassador for this challenge." We had no idea Project Runway was a nation state that had its own embassies.

4). After being forced to tell the judges which other two designers he thought should compete at Fashion Week, Mondo cries, "I don't want to play God." Shockingly, Gretchen doesn't interject, "I do!"

3). Heidi says April's designs have "Run the gamut" and then adds that they all look the same.

2). Gretchen sobs to Tim, "It's been an honor to get to know you," and then tells the camera, "I really have grown to love Tim in a way I wasn't expecting." Oh Gretchen, stop making us like you.

1). Gretchen says, "That's the thing with Mike C, he's either an idiot savant or just an idiot. You never know 'til you see the runway." Phew. Thanks Gretchen. We dislike you again.

· Project Runway Ep. 11: Temper Tantrums and Activewear Made from Chiffon [Racked]
· Watching It Unfold Alongside Mondo, His Friends and Family [Racked]
· Project Runway Ep 10: “I’ve held onto this for such a long time, I thought that maybe I can help somebody else in this situation.” [Racked]