Even people who wouldn’t be caught dead watching the Bachelor let alone the Amazing Race have a soft spot for Project Runway. Unlike most other so-called reality shows, Runway is a true talent contest.
The original was a ratings winner straight out of the box when it debuted four years ago on US cable, if only for it’s backstage nudity. The subsequent three seasons broadcast in Canada have been trimmed of most naughty bits, but they still generated some of the highest numbers for the genre.
The show that transformed popstar Seal into Heidi Klum’s husband has already been spun-off into a UK version, the first series with Elizabeth Hurley, the second with Kelly Osbourne, and has also spawned Project Runway Canada. Hosted by David Bowie’s better-half — supermodel Iman — the local franchise airs its two-hour finale Monday.
So far, it’s been a predictable parade of back-stitching and back-stabbing. Producers know that if you throw a bunch of highly emotional artistes — a few of whom might be homosexuals of the flaming stereotype — in front of a camera, the proverbial fur will fly.
The three finalists are a motley bunch. Toronto’s Lucian Matas is perhaps the most flamboyant, his often repetitive designs derivative of Galiano. The judges have regularly criticized him for this, so that guarantees him third place.
Montreal’s Marie-Genevieve Cyr is clearly the most talented of the lot. She’s already been kicked off the show for creating an outfit for opera star Measha Brueggergosman that displayed the diva’s feet, something Ms B — who famously appears onstage bare-foot — specified was verboten. Through one of those “incredible twists” that seem the staple of reality shows, Cyr was brought back, but not until after the first choice to be re-instated — the either dim-witted or prescient Michael Hatley — said thanks, but no thanks. For that reason, watch Cyr come in second.
That leaves 22 year-old Saskatoon costume designer Biddell. He’s young, he’s edgy and — to quote the judges — “he can even do menswear.” The Canadian producers obviously saw the next Jay McCarroll, the eccentric fashion idiot savant who walked away with US PR’s second title as well as walked away from its cash and promotional tie-ins. Like McCarroll, Biddell is a chubby fashion-challenged outsider. Unlike Jay, Biddell shaves patterns into his buzz-cut a la Dennis Rodman circa ‘94. And, as regular Project Runway viewers know, the worst-dressed designer always wins!
The two-hour finale of Project Runway Canada airs Monday December 17 at 9 pm, with repeats at midnight as well as Saturday December 22 at 1, 8 and 11 pm, and Sunday December 23 at 3 pm.