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This week's Foundation Challenge has a special twist: Instead of the remaining contestants competing against one another, all eliminated contestants compete with each other for a chance to get back in the game.
Returning from Romania to judge this challenge is Patrick Tatopoulos, and everyone is thrilled to see him. He and McKenzie deliver the details of the challenge - each artist will create a makeup inspired by the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos. Patrick's top two picks are Nicole, who designed a colorful and sophisticated paint job, and Eric, who added dimension to his makeup by using layered jewels, but it is Nicole's incorporation of the traditional "sugar skull" look with her own personal design that wins the day, and her joy at being back in the running is explosive.
The next day, McKenzie tells the contestants that they'll be creating their Spotlight Challenge around the design of some very special clients. The twist? These clients are children, members of an L.A.-based arts organization called City Hearts, who have each drawn a picture of a monster. The contestants must transform the vision of their clients into a full makeup.
Roy's client feels strongly that his three-eyed monster should blink, so Roy devotes a lot of time making that feature work, but struggles through to the very end. Rod feels that he has to be true to the client's vision by making a large head, but when Neville stops by and councils him to alter the features from his usual round-nosed realism, discouragement hits hard. He wants to be true to the nine-year-old's vision, and also wants to stay competitive in this race.
Nicole also questions some of her design choices, as she is one of few artists who created a scary, rather than cartoonish, monster, but she decides to stick with the spirit of the piece, rather that the literal transposition. On elimination day, she - along with Sarah and her red-velvet-with-icing monster - is safe.
In the bottom are Rod, whose face sculpt, though technically excellent, was a mimicry of past weeks' work, and Alana, whose paint job worked against her sculpt and was reminiscent of much of her other paint jobs. The judges were highly divided on Roy's work, with Ve loving the colors and overall impact and Glenn hating both, and Derek's piece which, though an excellent concept, had a flat paint job and poorly fabricated costume and wings, though they finally decide to place Roy in the top and Derek in the bottom. They all thought Laura did a great job of staying true to the childlike aspect of the design while breaking out of her own creative comfort zone, so she is this week's winner. She's been on top without winning so many times that when they announce her name, it takes a few seconds for her to realize it's true! She's doubly happy to win since it means a donation will be made in her name to City Hearts.
Ultimately, Rod's inability to challenge himself eliminates him, but he is joyous and grateful at having such a great experience, and with loving words from Ve to send him on his way, he packs up his kit and heads home.