Sixteen new contestants have their mettle tested right at the start of the new season of Face Off. After being paired off their challenge is to create alien animals. The twist is that each animal will use two models. Who is king or queen of the beasts and who is roadkill? Spoilers ahead.

I wasn’t sure if Face Off could keep finding good contestants but it looks like this season has a good mix of experienced school-trained make-up artists and promising self-taught amateurs. Libby and Stevie have trouble coming up with a good concept (and that bites them hard later) but most of the teams have decent ideas. I liked the clam concept even if the judges didn’t like the result.

The winning Top Look is Ben and Jordan’s creature which looks like a hybrid dinosaur with Ben being the winner of the challenge.

The Bottom Looks are Omar and Kevon’s clam (which I liked a lot more than the judges) and the uninspired effort that Libby and Stevie made (shown above).

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Glenn surprises everyone when he announces that no one is being eliminated this week. Since the contestants were thrown right away into a difficult challenge they have a second chance to prove what they’re capable of. I see a double elimination coming soon.

It’s only the first episode so we didn’t spend a lot of time with any of the contestants but a few are standing out (which doesn’t mean they will last however). For example Missy from Palmdale* has the most distinctive appearance. She has the insecurity you expect from a 20 year old contestant but she does comfort her partner Meg (who rocks the half-shaved head look and even has a good backstory for it) so maybe she can take the heat.

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I saw some new faces among the models. Since a good model can push a design into a Top Look if they sell it well I’ll be watching to see how the new ones do.

You can see galleries of this week’s designs, the contestants’ previous work and previous seasons here.

*In some ways she’s nothing like I would expect “Missy from Palmdale” to be but in some ways she is. It’s hard to explain.