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Episode Recap: The Ultimate Spotlight Challenge
Three contestants remain in the race, and they will be pulling out all the stops to be named champion of this season's Face Off. A brief video chat with their loved ones reminds them of why they're there: Rayce is working for his wife and kids, RJ's sister inspires him to seek a new life in Los Angeles, and Ian's girlfriend helps him see how far he's come in these few short weeks.
This week's challenge pushes them beyond anything they've done before. McKenzie tells them they will have four days to complete three characters from a specific genre. RJ works with the fantasy world, Rayce delves into sci-fi, and Ian explores horror. Thankfully, they don't have to do this all alone - McKenzie brings in the former contestants from this season, and they all form teams to get the work done right.
RJ stumbles in trying to decide on a concept, and it's only with Beki's stern encouragement that he's finally able to lay out a plan: A good and an evil fairy will be fighting over a faun, tightly wrapped in ribbons. But the choreographers - did we forget to mention that the makeups will be going on dancers executing a complex routine? - tell RJ the ribbons won't work because the dancers must be able to move freely. He scraps his idea and starts work on an alchemist/earth mother/phoenix dynamic, and with just six hours left, his team gets to sculpting. Rayce and Ian have an easier time conceptualizing, with both leads earning praise from their teammates.
The next day brings more hustle, and another visitor, Michael Westmore, who is full of good advice and guidance. Ian and RJ were both having a hard time directing their teams, but with a fresh day, they step into the driver's seat and hit the gas. In fact, RJ is making so much headway on his complicated concept that Jerry is compelled to step over from Rayce's team and load a heavy compliment onto RJ. Ian hits a speedbump when the hands for his Lucifer character don't turn out right, but he presses on.
When the last moment of last looks finally arrives, everyone is craving more work time, but when they see their concepts onstage, moving and dancing, they gain heart, each one realizing that they could take home the prize. The crowd, who will cast votes for their favorite look, cheers them on, and then allows the judges to take a closer look in private.
The judges love the amount of work RJ was able to get done, as well as the completeness of his look; Ian's smashed-faced demon creatures wow them; and Rayce's battle between light and dark has a character that looks like it's being split in two, which blows them away. He took a risk by using only a grayscale paint job, but it pays off when the judges feel as though they're looking at a shadow falling across all three characters - a transporting optical illusion.
It's Rayce's imagination and execution that earns him the title of champion, and everyone celebrates his win along with the tremendous journey they've all been on. Their lives will never be the same.