Don't even bother trying to guess who goes auf Wiedersehen! Syfy's hit makeup competition series Face Off returns for Season 6 Tuesday (9/8c) by instantly throwing the contestants off their game and into a Project Runway-type battle involving models and a fashion show. TV Guide Magazine spoke with host McKenzie Westmore about the show's most unpredictable season yet.
TV Guide Magazine: Every year you tell us this is the biggest, wildest, nuttiest season of Face Off ever.
Westmore: [Laughs] I know, but it's always true! This year we've taken it to a whole new level. We're even going to Japan. I'm totally convinced we'll be doing the show from outer space in 10 years! We're calling this the "Season of Extremes," not only because of the challenges we've come up with but because the contestants take some very bold and radical chances. One of them really goes for broke at one point and has a massive payoff that is so flippin' cool — the coolest thing that's ever happened on this show! And the fans will really be shocked by the outcome this season. The game keeps shifting in the craziest ways and some seemingly surefire finalists really fall apart. My dad [Oscar-winning makeup designer Michael Westmore], who mentors the contestants, can usually predict the winner by episode 2. Not this time. He was in a quandary right to the very end. And, trust me, it takes a lot to knock him off his feet.
TV Guide Magazine: What's the biggest mistake a contestant can make?
Westmore: Ego will seal your doom. It causes some of the most talented people to crumble. You'd be amazed at what goes on! We always say that we're not Bravo. We don't show the backstage drama but, boy, does it happen. There's a whole other show that could be aired but we don't show it because it's not necessary to what we're trying to accomplish. This show is about true artistry, and I think the audience appreciates that.
TV Guide Magazine: You guys don't just borrow from Project Runway this season, you also throw in a little Amazing Race.
Westmore: When we go to Japan, the competition theme will be anime and we involve many of the country's greatest anime artists. The contestants jump right off the plane and hit the ground running for a foundation challenge at a beautiful temple in the Japanese countryside. It's epic stuff.
TV Guide Magazine: The winner doesn't just get $100 grand and a car. This could be a ticket to the big time, right?
Westmore: So many of our contestants — not just the winners but even those who've been eliminated — have gone on to work in the Spider-Man and Hunger Games films and so many other great projects. My dad has hired several of them. Cash is great but, in this squirrelly business, nothing beats a job!
TV Guide Magazine: Though Trekkers have known your dad for ages, this show is making him a full-fledged star!
Westmore: I know! He goes out now and gets recognized all over the place. He's, like, "I'm not used to signing autographs! Maybe I should wear a blue shirt from now on. Does that color look good on me? Should I keep some 8 x 10s in the trunk of my car?" I'm, like, "Dad, they can get out their iPhones and take a photo, don't worry!" He's lived his life making the magic happen behind the scenes so this is such a foreign world to him — and he's so cute and excited about it!
TV Guide Magazine: How many show-biz generations for the Westmores now?
Westmore: My great-grandfather started in the makeup business at the beginning of the 1900s, so that makes four generations, if you count me. And now my son, Maddox, is starting to show interest. One night we were watching Face Off — it was the alien circus episode — and he was very unhappy because he thought one of the contestants had done an extremely sloppy job. He pulls his Angry Bird blanket over his head and says, "Oh, Mama, the seams, the seams! I can't look. It's so bad! I can see the edges!" The kid is seven! So one day he's either going to be a great makeup artist or a critic...or both! [Laughs] He'll be a judge on Face Off!