Face off

OK, who knew soap vet McKenzie Westmore (Passions) was the daughter of Star Trek's pioneering makeup effects guru Michael Westmore? Gold star to you! And gold star to SyFy for snagging such an appropriate host for this reality competition set in the world of out-of-this-world makeup!

Last night, the impossibly attractive Westmore worked her angles and put 12 makeup artists to work as she kicked off this sort of RuPaul's Drag Race for the Comic-Con crowd. Fun, cheesy and fascinating, the competition was more notable not for the much-tattooed contestants (yet) but for the mad skills they demonstrated during the opener. After a quickie challenge to festoon cater-waiters at their meet-and-greet gathering, the quirky dozen were then tasked with designing head-to-toe human-animal hybrid looks for their models. Like the "making-of" extras on a sci-fi flick's DVD, it was wild to see the details, decisions and dedication required to pull off their intricate ideas, as well as the inventiveness on tap among the artists.

As with all reality shows like this, some of the end results were Avatar-quality, while others were absolute messes. And thanks to a panel of judges who know what's up — including Oscar-winning artist Ve Neill (Mrs. Doubtfire, Ed Wood) — we got insightful comments on why one thing worked and another worried them, allowing even the least clued-in viewer to see what the industry looks for in a successful creature creation. And honestly, that portion of our program wasn't just informative, it may also be your secret weapon next Halloween when ya'll want to one-up that dude who always shows up at the party in some killer costume.

So did you check out Face Off?

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