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The lab has been transformed into a deep, dark cave for this week’s challenge, and McKenzie appears out of the shadows looking like Death’s elegant attaché. Six taxidermied bats are arrayed beside her, and the contestants know before she says it that this will be a vampire challenge.
She welcomes them to the semi-finals, and tells them that three of them – fully half of the remaining contestants – will be going home at the end of the week. And because the competition is so close to the finish line, the game will change from one-on-one to a full-fledged melee, AKA… a “Battle Royale”.
The contestants choose their bats, but before they get started on designs, McKenzie introduces Todd Masters, creator of vampires for such hits as True Blood, Twilight, and Underworld. He’ll be teaming up with Jordan for the first part of the challenge, giving him an edge in the lab! Jordan chose the horseshoe bat, and he and Todd lean into the oversized ears and strange architecture of the nose. After a few hours, Todd leaves and Mr. Westmore arrives, suggesting Jordan make the bat ears a little less droopy – we don’t want any Dobby the House Elf doubles on the reveal stage.
Mr. Westmore’s advice for Mel is more profound: her character is elegant, almost cute, and Mr. Westmore wants her to drive towards the fright of the creature. She chose the painted bat, an animal with lovely colors and long lines. Although Mr. Westmore’s words are strong, she decides to stay true to her vision. She will make a beautiful vampire or, in her words, a “glam-pire”.
Matt is moving forward with determination and force, but while molding his back piece – a skeletal protrusion that looks almost like a scorpion’s stinger – it slips from his grip and cracks. His hands slippery with ultra-cal, he panics for a moment. Is this it for his chance at the finale? But he devises a solution with a popsicle stick and some gumption, and makes it work.
Damien feels he’s been reaching out of his comfort zone in the past few challenges, only to lose. Now, he’s sticking with his strengths. He runs his face piece twice so he can practice painting on one, and paint the other on application day to ensure the whole paint job is cohesive. Airbrush all the way for this guy.
Application day comes and – this may be a first – everyone is incredibly proud of what they’ve put on the reveal stage. The judges praise all the makeups, commending each artist’s ability, determination, and learning curve. But, this wouldn’t be a finale if everything were sunshine and unicorns: we also need thunderclouds to keep it interesting.
McKenzie tells the contestants that this week the lesson is to learn how to adapt to changing circumstances, as may happen when a screenplay suddenly switches plot points. They have one more hour in last looks, during which time they’ll have to transform their makeup to show what sun exposure would do to them.
Walter loves his makeup and is really bummed to be destroying it, but he does his best with some tissue paper and scarring material. Derek creates a look that’s both singed and bruised, an effect that only he, out of all the artists, managed to capture. All contestants rush to rework their makeups, and wait with new trepidation as the judges take a second look at their semi-final makeups.
For his overall excellence each week, the judges award Walter the first spot in the finale! His face shows his surprise, and then his joy as his name is called. Next is Matt, who grew so much since his first appearance in Season 2. Finally Jordan, who took every note the judges gave and ran with it, takes the third spot in the finale. Mel, Derek, and Damien are happy for their friends, and proud that they made it this far. The competition was intense!