Face Off

This is just plain cruel! Season 7 of Syfy's makeup-competition series Face Off — ominously titled "Life and Death"— will start off with two of the aspiring artists getting the ax before the contest even begins (Tuesday at 9/8c).

"Everyone is so excited because they think they've been selected to compete, but we quickly reveal that our first episode is actually their final audition," says host McKenzie Westmore. "Oh, my God, the shocked and disappointed faces! I felt so horrible delivering the news." This wicked twist, she says, is "just the start of the mortality part of our theme. Things are so high-stakes this season that there is absolutely no room for error."

This time around, the contestants will be asked to create a new animal species, an angry, twisted tree character and a reptilian supersoldier. Westmore notes that people are coming into the game with more and more experience each cycle. Among this season's wannabes: Vince Niebla, who won an Emmy 21 years ago as part of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine makeup team, only to quit the business for family reasons. He's hoping for a comeback.

Oscar-winning makeup wiz Ve Neill (The Hunger Games) is replaced as a judge in several episodes by another Oscar winner, Lois Burwell (Braveheart). "What a judge brings to the table can really shake up the show," says Westmore.

It can also shake up your life. Famed creature designer Patrick Tatopoulos, currently working on Batman V. Superman, met Westmore when he judged Face Off. Now they're planning a wedding.

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