TV Recap: Shear Genius – The Final Cut
Time for the final “shear”-down! Twelve contestants have been whittled down to the top three: Charlie from Denver, Dee from Miami Beach, and Nicole from NYC. Charlie’s been beaten in previous challenges by both Dee and Nicole but has the upper-hand of winning more cumulative challenges throughout the season, including the final elimination before the finale. So who will win an apprenticeship with Nexxus, an opportunity to style hair for an Allure photo shoot, and the $100,000 grand prize? Wish I could do hair…
All three stylists receive the chance to sit one-on-one with Allure editor-in-chief Linda Wells to review their portfolios and get advice before embarking on the challenge:
Nicole’s Strength: precision cut; loves the bob
Nicole’s Weakness: styling hair (Shouldn’t we be beyond that point?)
Linda’s Advice: look at magazines and try to mimic hairstyles; learn to work with extensions
Charlie’s Strength: polished, high-fashion hair
Charlie’s Weakness: ego (surprise, surprise)
Linda’s Advice: “Don’t expect to be the grand diva of every shoot;” learn to step back, suck it up, and take direction
Dee’s Strength: Cut and color
Dee’s Weakness: Updos
Linda’s Advice: Be careful of overdoing signature look (long pieces in front, short in back)
In the elimination challenge, Through the Years, the stylists must tell the story of a woman at different stages in her life: at 18, 30, 45, and 60 years old. They each select a scissor box containing a lock of hair. Charlie receives blonde, Dee gets a tuft of red hair, and Nicole selects brunette. They have overnight to draw inspiration from their chosen hair color and craft their storylines. The following day they return to the studio to meet their models and get to work. They have only three hours to cut and color four women of different ages. Three hours?! Well, for $100K, y’all better juggle burning tennis balls while wearing stilettos, hopping on one foot, and whistling “The Theme from Shaft” – Go shake it!
Storyline: This natural redhead has a passion for music. At the age of 18, she moves to NYC to pursue her dream. She gets her big break at 30 when she makes her first album. By the time she’s 45, she’s a successful producer who’s gone through two divorces and has raised three children. As a sassy 60 year old, she hates to be called “grandma,” so all her grandkids call her “Mama Red.”
Dee meets some resistance from two of her clients who shudder at the thought of cutting their hair. Are you serious? How are you gonna participate as a model in a hairstyling competition and not want to cut your hair? What kind of foolishness is that? Scissors are in the title of the show! Dee manages to convince them to give her a couple of inches before moving on to another crisis: her 60 year old model’s roots. Should she color them? Does she have time? She opts to hide them with the style…until Rene Fris sows his usual seeds of confusion. She almost immediately changes her mind and frantically rushes to fix the root problem.
For the first time all season, Dee shows great range and styling variety. Two of her models sport straight styles, while the remaining two have curly, natural texture. And none of them wear Dee’s signature look! Good! Kim Vo likes the nuances of color in the highlights and lowlights, and Linda Wells is particularly impressed with the 18 year-old model’s edgy cut.
My favorite style: the 45 year old wears a long, blunt cut with strong bangs
My favorite overall look: the 60 year old ends up with a curly, funky ‘do that suits her bright face perfectly; love the large hoop earrings and pants suit – makes her look fresh and young
Least favorite: the 30 year old has a slightly asymmetrical, long layered look; while not the best of the bunch, it still looks great
Storyline: The blonde is a child star who at the age 18 is dying to prove herself as a serious actress. She wins her first Oscar at 30 and appears in a Hitchcockian suspense when she’s 45. At 60, she makes the career transition to director. Watch out, Eastwood!
Charlie’s keyword is “chic,” so he envisions iconic, past era-based style. He focuses his efforts on clean updos and sleek waves. His “character-within-a-character” approach is cool (the 18 year old model is playing the character of a young actress who’s playing a character in a ‘40s period film; also see 45 year old description above). But Linda thinks the styles are aging and Kim wants to stuff rice and beans in the 18 year old’s “burrito hair”.
My favorite style: the 30 year old’s curling iron set brushed out long with waves at the tips
My favorite overall look: although the French twist definitely adds years to the 45 year old, it suits her character’s role; love the outfit and jewelry choices (belted tuxedo shirt with a popped collar and pearls galore)
Least favorite: the burrito is close, but the 60 year old model’s bad ass short cut just doesn’t suit her well
Storyline: Nicole’s brunette is an “average” woman who grows up without a lot of money, but is the 18 year old “It girl” cheerleader everyone wants to be near or be like. She doesn’t have enough money to go to college, so she starts a family with the man of her dreams by the time she’s 30. By 45, she and her husband experience more success and greater income, and at 60 she adoringly looks at the photos of her grandkids on the fridge and feels proud of her life. Yawn…
While selecting outfits, Nicole chooses a dark dress for her 30 year old model that actually looks older than the summer dress she gives her 45 year old. She struggles with coloring all her clients within the allotted time, and doesn’t even finish the style job on the 60 year old. However, guest judge and former Shear Genius regular Sally Hershberger is still extremely impressed by Nicole’s talents at such a young age. Jaclyn Smith points out that Nicole’s story seems very personal, and Nicole admits that she received inspiration from her mother’s own story. Some boo-hooing ensues and I guess we’re supposed to be touched.
My favorite style: the 18 year old has a long, blunt ‘70s style hairdo using extensions
My favorite overall look: again, the 18 year old – great hair and great dress, despite briefly spotting her red bra strap during the runway show
Least favorite: the 60 year old’s choppy, unfinished look (but doesn’t the model look fantastic for 60?)
When discussing their plans for the money back at the house the previous night, the stylists listed their dreams. Dee wants to take half the pot and buy her beloved mother a house anywhere she wants; the other $50,000 will be invested in her own salon. Nicole wants to save most of her money and send her parents on a cruise. Charlie wants to pay off his few bills, get his boyfriend a nose job, get drunk, and buy designer clothes. Wait a minute. Charlie has a boyfriend???
Well, Mama, where do you wanna live? Congratulations, Dee, you are this season’s Shear Genius!
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