'Face Off' recap: 'Going for Gold'

A look at the new (and familiar) faces of 'Face Off'

Season Five of Syfy’s make-up competition series Face Off started off with a big surprise for eight talented new artists. We already knew the twist that the eight newcomers would be up against eight veterans of the show but they seemed a bit surprised and nervous when hostess, McKenzie Westmore broke the news.

The season is promised to be “jaw dropping” and will look familiar as perennial judges Ve Neill, Glenn Hetrick, and Neville Page return and Michael Westmore is once again on board as the artist’s advisor. The prizes are similar as other seasons as well and include $100K; a 2013 Fiat; and a VIP trip from new sponsor, Kryolan Professional Make-Up to one of their 85 locations.

This year’s newcomers met and learned of the twist, at a masquerade ball at the Park Plaza. They are: Eddie Holeko (age 20); Steve “Tolin” (33); Scott Ramp (52); Samantha Allen (27); Adolfo Barretto Rivera (32); Laney Parkhurst (24); Lyma Millot (33); and, Rick Prince (38). Adolfo enjoys doing glam make-up, Rick is self-taught, Eddie is the youngest at age 20 and is a student of CG, Lyma was a former dentist, and Scott is the owner of The Scream Team. Laney has some damn cool style. I like her.

Joining the newcomers are the veterans: Alana Schiro (season 3); Brian “Tate” Steinsiek (s1); Eric Zapata (s4); Frank Ippolito (s1); Laura Tyler (s3); Miranda Jory (s2); Robert “RJ” Haddy (s2); and, Roy Wooley (s3). Will Frank behave this season? The death of his dad seems to have mellowed him and he’s made a positive change.
Foundation Challenge
After meeting some of the Heroes of Cosplay, the importance of make-up making the costume was stressed and the Foundation Challenge was revealed. Their challenge was to create an original character based on a costume of one of the party goers. The union of make-up and wardrobe is key.

Guest judge was Twilight director, Catherine Hardwicke, and after they had two hours to work on their creations, she ultimately picked a vet as the winner. In fact, the top three looks were all vets: Laura; Roy; and Tate. Tate won the challenge, and therefore immunity, for his very cool and creepy sorcerer’s lover.

The gang heads to check out their new digs and get rested up for the Spotlight Challenge. Their home is pretty awesome but the newbies all have to share one bedroom surrounded by the vet’s most awesome designs. Intimidating? Most definitely.

Spotlight Challenge
Meeting at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, the artists are dramatically greeted by McKenzie. She revealed that they’ll be engaging in a team challenge ... newcomers versus the vets.

Their task was to create original fantasy characters that would all live together in their own hyper-stylized world. Each team must design a faun, ogre, pixie, troll and a witch. Academy Award winning make-up artist, Bill Corso offered hints, including the need for collaboration and cohesiveness in their designs. Laney was a bit star-struck!

Day One
The first day in the lab made the vets nostalgic and the newbies really excited. They chose their models and started in immediately on the five hours they had to design and sculpt.

The idea the newbs had was that all of the creatures were each a high member of a counsel and they all shared a gem stone in their chest. Lyma (pixie) and Adolfo (troll) were given their own characters, so needless to say, they were a bit stressed. Eddie and Tolin handled the ogre; Laney and Rick tackled the faun; and, Samantha and Scott worked on the witch.

The vets came up with having the witch have no eyes and that the other creatures possessed her eyes and were her minions. Frank, R.J. and Eric were assigned the ogre; Roy created the faun; Tate designed the troll; Alana and Miranda had the pixie; and, Laura designed the witch.

Day Two
They were provided with ten hours to finish their sculpts and make their molds. They received great advice during a walk-thru by Michael Westmore. He encouraged Lyma to be bolder with her pixie and really liked the fingers on Laura’s witch’s back.

Adolfo holds the award for having the most drama in this episode when he experienced a mold disaster. It cracked and he had to wait until the last day to deal. He handled the stress fairly well ... from what we saw.

Day Three
Application Day gives the artists four hour to finish putting their looks together on their models and then they’re allowed one hour for Last Looks. Sam and Scott seem to disagree about the painting of their witch and R.J. helped out Adolfo with releasing his mold. It was a mess, but salvageable.

Last Looks are hectic as usual but they all manage to put a cool look on the stage for the reveal and judging.

Reveal and Decisions
The judges appeared to have enjoyed the majority of the creations with the exception of the poor ogres. Both the vet’s and the newb’s designs were similar knuckle-dragging beasts and they were not well received. The judges were concerned that Tolin didn’t recognize the badness of the design.

The disaster that was Adolfo’s troll didn’t fair so well either but he remained safe because the judges respected that he was aware of his failures. Glenn loved Laney’s hair idea on her faun. In the end, Rick, Laney, Lyma, Scott and Samantha were in the safe zone but sadly, Eddie, Tolin and Adolfo were the bottom looks on the chopping block. Tolin was sent packing for being part of Team Ogre.

Miranda took the coveted position of the winner of the first challenge. Her collaboration with Alana on the pixie design really impressed the judges.

It’s undeniable that this season has some amazing talent and we’re looking forward to future challenges that include: creating a futuristic Frankenstein and his bride; a Mother Goose-inspired character; and a grim character based on one of the seven deadly sins. Aliens, ghosts and elves will challenge the 16 artists as well.

Tune in to Syfy next Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET for the all new episode, "Future Frankenstein."