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- Welcome to another season of "Project Runway." We're back in New York this season, which Portland gal Janeane is "dorking out" over just a little bit. She is so overwhelmed that she begins to cry. Winning would "change my life," she says. American-trained physical therapist and Italian-trained designer Ping, meanwhile, knows how a body moves and functions. Then there's Anthony from Alabama, who explains that "It is hell being black and gay in the ghetto." He just wants to design gowns for Miss USA. Don't we all. Jay from San Fran, meanwhile, likes "dramatic" clothing and has no interest in being a millionaire. Pamela, 47, gets big hugs from the other ladies in the suite. She has her own small design business and warns that she is "type A." Jonathan from Rhode Island announces that he is on a quest to find that place "between gritty and pretty." Good luck, good sir. Jesse of Orlando, in the meantime, recently worked as Capt. Jack Sparrow at Disney World, along with teaching himself how to design. Mila has been a costume designer for TV and film for the past decade, but is "so ready to show the world what I can do." Maya, inspired by punk rock, could pass for Mila's little sister. Amy likes innovating and "being different," which is pretty much what everyone else said, too.
The entire gang then heads to the roof, where a certain model/host awaits. "Hi everybody!" Heidi squeaks. Standing next to the blonde is none other than Tim, who is quite excited about this season's batch of competitors. One champagne toast and sunrise later, the group arrives in Central Park to find fabrics draped EVERYWHERE. "We get to design our own thing that represents us," Mila says. But they only have three minutes to gather the fabric! "We were like fat people at an open buffet in Vegas," Emilio quips. But there's more! Of all the fabrics collected, each contest can only take back five to the work room. Ping struggles to unfurl her fabric, earning the not-so-clever nickname "Ping Pong" from Anthony. Then the hard work begins. "The winner of this challenge will have immunity," Tim explains before dramatically exiting. Emilio is going for "color, style and fit" in a little dress. Ping wants something that looks great on a human body, as opposed to a non-human one, we guess. Few are even halfway through their outfits when the models enter. Later in the evening, however, the looks are beginning to come together. Tim urges Christiane to finish her outfit "impeccably" and "with confidence." He then wonders if Seth's zipper-happy dress is too "cartoonish." Janeane's little black dress is made of a fabric that "shows everything," according to Tim. He urges her to be careful, which prompts Janeane to start crying -- again. Meanwhile, Ping bounces around the work area wearing her own creation. Maybe Anthony wasn't so far off, after all. Speaking of Anthony, his floral print dress isn't working for Tim. The mentor then worries that Emilio's top, though well constructed, is still unfinished. "Some of you might have to recalibrate your ambitions according to the time frame," Tim tells the group. The contestants then sew, drape, cut, etc. into the night. Before we leave the work room for the evening, Janeane cries one more time about having to start over. It's officially a trend.
The next morning, the designers are in panic mode and not just Janeane. "I have not even put my garment on my model yet," Emilio tells the camera. Yet despite all the work and worry, the contestants still find time to critique each other -- a "Project Runway" tradition as tried and true as Heidi's cache of catch phrases. To wit: Mila thinks Christiane's lack of construction skills might hurt her. "Pings outfit is very Ping," according to Jonathan. "Ping may go home." Tim sends in the model for hair and makeup. Miraculously, many of the designers are quite pleased with their creations after seeing them on the models. Even Janeane manages to find a sliver of hope.
Time for the runway show! "As you know in fashion, one day you're in, and the next day you're out," Heidi says. She then introduces the judges: Michael, Nina and TV personality Nicole Richie. Wait -- did you forget something, Heidi? Oh yes. Says the host: "One of you will be named the winner and one of you will be out." The show begins and the designers LOVE their creations! Jonathan practically runs out of adjectives to describe his "smart, unique, thoughtful" dress. Seth has no doubt that the judges will look at his zipper-crazy concoction and "totally get what I'm about." Jay feels his dress is a "signature" look. Pamela adores the blazing pink color and youthful appearance of her dress-and-top combo. Even Janeane finds her outfit to be "lovely."
Judgment time. Heidi calls out the following names: Amy, Anna, Ben, Janeane, Jay, Jesse, Jonathan, Maya, Mila and Pamela. "If I have called your name, congratulations, your scores have qualified you to move onto the next round," Heidi explains. The remaining contestants, meanwhile, have the highest and lowest scores. First up is Anthony, who describes his look as "functional, fun and feminine." "I think it looks like you glued a few different dresses together," Michael snips. Nina agrees, noting the conflicting nature of the fabric and silhouette. Seth's zipper look works for Nicole. Heidi thinks it's "fun." Michael thinks "a lot of young girls would love to own that dress." Ping explains that her draped look changes shape according to the movement of the wearer. "It's definitely something that I would wear," Nicole says. Nina, on the other hand, thinks the model looks slightly uncomfortable. Jesus is next. Michael, in his typically understated fashion, declares: "It's like a huge crocodile trunk exploded on an evening gown." Yikes. Christiane's look underwhelms all the judges, though Michael doesn't mind the draped top. Emilio's four-layer look is praised by Michael for being "deceptively simple."
One judges confab later, Heidi explains that "one of you will be named the winner and one of you will be out." Now that we all understand the rules, Heidi tells Ping that she is safe. She then declares Emilio the winner! "I think winning the first challenge throws down the gauntlet to the other designers," he tells the camera. "But I think it also puts a target on my back." Seth is safe, as is Anthony. That leaves Christiane and Jesus. After insulting both nervous contestants, Heidi sends Christiane home. "I did not think my dress was the worst outfit," the contestant says. "Being eliminated doesn't mean anything at all in terms of who I am or what I'm going to do."