The judges won't be the only ones to have a say in who wins the third season of Syfy's Face Off, which begins tonight with a super-sized 90-minute premiere. This season's viewers will decide the outcome. Beyond that, we can expect challenges so hard that even judge Ve Neill admits she couldn't survive the strenuous tasks laid out for the 12 new contestants who are hoping Face Off will help kick off their careers.
For "the first time in Face Off history, America's going to get to vote," said host McKenzie Westmore, whose father is legendary makeup artist Michael Westmore (Star Trek). "We're going to do a live show on Halloween night, and America will have a say on which contestant they feel came up with the best makeup."
"We did go bigger and broader, and we're seeing a lot more full body and all kinds of great things from our artists," said Neill. "It's pretty amazing, some of the things. The opening show is going to be absolutely spectacular. We have some of the best talent we have had on the show."
"We have a lot of cool challenges this season," said Westmore. "We start off with a bang [with] Star Wars. We have superheroes. We have dancing Chinese New Year dragons. We've teamed up with a charity, Kids Say Yes to the Arts. That was one of my personal favorites, where children, 7-year-olds, brought in sketches of monsters and teamed up with the contestants to bring their monsters to life. So there's a good array this year."
The 90-minute premiere "opens up with a great foundation challenge to showcase the contestants' talent and to show us a little bit about who they are. Sean Astin joins me as a guest judge with that one. Then we move into our big opening with Star Wars," said Westmore.
"There was a lot of really great makeups, and there was also a couple of surprises, because some of our contestants are quite young, and I was really surprised to find out that one of our young lady contestants had never even seen Star Wars," said Neill.
"We had a couple of them," added Westmore.
Also this season, we'll see challenges involving cyborgs and Pirates of the Caribbean.
"The cyborgs were very cool. That was the one where we had Gale Anne Hurd. She came in for [the] cyborgs, and that was an amazing challenge. That was really fun. They did some really interesting and different takes on cyborgs," said Neill.
"The Borg Queen is an example that I do give them in their challenge as an inspiration. So they definitely had that direction to go in, but they really went outside the box of what they would consider to be their own version of a cyborg, not necessarily the Borg Queen of Star Trek," said Westmore.
"And the Pirates one ... I know you guys loved the Pirates one. There were some fun things that happened for you guys," she said.
"Yes, that's always great to see pirate stuff. I'm a big pirate fan, obviously," said Neill, who worked on the Pirates of the Caribbean film. "The challenges are always so unique, and it's also so fun to see somebody else's take on something you've done before."
The challenges are, in fact, so hard that Neill doesn't know if she could achieve what the competitors do. "You pretty much have to know how to do it all" to compete on the show, she said. "I've always said, 'Oh, my God, if you put me on this show I'd probably flunk out the first week,' because I've never had to do every single one of those jobs. I've done them individually, but I've never done them all at once. And it's very difficult. I mean, you have to really be able to know how to roll with the punches, as it were. And you really have to know a little bit of everything now."
Those "punches" will include "an array of amazing guest judges this year" that the contestants will have to impress. "We start off with Sean Astin with the very first foundation challenge. We have other great guest judges that come in. We have Brian Grazer, we have Laila Ali, we have Kevin Smith, who I actually was tweeting back and forth with this morning regarding his appearance on the show. So there are some really fun, amazing guest judges that come in to join our already amazing panel of judges," said Westmore.
And when it comes to the judges this year, there will be a new judge, Neville Page (Prometheus, Avatar), who takes over when Patrick Tatopoulos (Underworld, Independence Day) leaves to work on a movie. He joins Neill (Pirates of the Caribbean, Edward Scissorhands) and Glenn Hetrick (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files) on the judging panel.
For one of the talented 12 contestants, they'll get an amazing prize, which includes becoming a guest lecturer at the Make Up For Ever Academy in New York and Paris, a 2012 Toyota Camry hybrid, and $100,000.
Here's a preview of Face Off:
Face Off airs on Syfy on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m.
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