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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Project Runway finale Thursday makes it official: Move to Lifetime is a bust for fans

29

October

projectrunway8-gretchen.jpgYou probably aren't watching Project Runway this season, so you'll have to trust me on this.

But the crowning Thursday of uninspired designer Gretchen Jones as winner of the show's eighth season felt like a shark jumped, a river crossed in a long decline that began the moment this plucky clothes designer competition left its original home on the Bravo network.

Because there was another designer, Mondo Guerra, who seemed the obvious favorite throughout the competition. He had the back story -- including revealing on the show that he has the HIV virus and hasn't told his slightly homophobic family -- a quirky manner and stylist personal look, along with inventive takes on old designing styles that blasted through many competitions.

In the show's finale Thursday, the show's top three designers showed off their work at Fashion Week in Lincoln Center in New York. Guerra's style won over judge/host Heidi Klum and guest judge Jessica Simpson.

But there was something about Jones' melange of beige colors and bohemian flavor that appealed to the show's two other judges, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia. Presto: Jones wound up with the crown, instantly upsetting many fans who had followed the competition from the beginning.

projectrunway-mondo.jpgThis isn't the first time Runway has seen objections over the actions of its organizers this season. Contestant mentor Tim Gunn, renown for letting his plainspoken ways get him into trouble, released a blog post blasting the show's producers for developing a nonsensical challenge around the long-ago style of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis -- an idea he said was inspired by a History Channel documentary they hoped to tie-in to the show.

(Gunn later took down the videoblog, saying it upset some of the producers he criticized, but we all know such things never die on the Internet).

Gunn's bewilderment is reflected by the show's hard core fans, who flooded Twitter with complaints after the finale aired. "If Gretchen's finger is on the pulse, the body must be a corpse," read one bitter message from a fan. This educated viewer found some of the finale's twists surprising, including several models who failed to show for Guerra's Fashion Week presentation (what hyper-competitive model would blow off a catwalk show filmed for national television?)

Runway feels like a boat steaming along without a rudder; unsure of exactly where its fan appeal lies and unable to chart where its new course should go. Handing Jones the crown may have provided the show with an unexpected ending to please producers, but it may be one insult too many for long suffering fans.

Check Gunn's tirade out below:

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[Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 1:07am]

    

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