Hey y'all, Marjorie couldn't make it this week, so I'll be starting our Project Runway discussion.

Coming off the weepiest episode in PR history, I was kind of expecting all the drama to be taken down a whole lot of notches. Especially considering the challenge: create fashion activewear for New Balance to be sold as part of Heidi's personal collection on Amazon.com. New Balance. Heidi's personal collection. Amazon.com. Oh, and do it all with a palette inspired by the overcast winter sky. Yaaaaaaaaawwwwwnnn.

Obviously nobody was revealing a secret immunodeficiency this time out but there was scandal and backtalk all over the place, beginning in the workroom. Hometown hero/ reality TV supervillain Gretchen was put in a box by Heidi's palette and initial critique. Having Heidi in the workroom doing Tim's job really harshed what's usually the mellowest part of the show.

And what did you guys make of Mondo's exchange with Heidi (embedded after the jump)?

Yikes. Then Tim said that they had to make three designs instead of one (which everyone was actually pretty happy about) and that they would have help. Anyone who's watched the show in past seasons knew what that meant: there are six designers gone and six left; bring on the returning designer drama.

And it came, pulsing through the body of recently departed designer Ivy Higa. I've never really been a fan of Michael Costello - in fact, I think he should have been out long ago - but, as Gretchen admitted (graciously, I think) the judges like his stuff. Heidi even fed him his equivalent of manna from heaven in the workroom by sneering, "Who's that who said you can't sew? Oh I forgot, she's not here anymore!" And Michael C has been a pretty stand-up guy considering all the passive-aggressive nastiness he's had to put up with. The dude's earned his place in the final six, at least.

But Ivy couldn't rest without accusing Michael of cheating with Topstick and turning it into a big to-do. "Why don't you ask Lenka about her boobs, then?" Michael shot back, surely sounding more cutting in his head, followed by this sad exchange:

MC: How does it feel to be eliminated for a crappy design?
IH: Um, you know, it's a TV show.

Ivy then explained in her confessional how Michael should be eliminated for "taking [her] dream". In the end Michael was hurt, Mondo and Gretchen were disappointed, April was thrilled, Casanova was high or confused and Christopher congratulated Ivy on her balls ("Pearls," she corrected). Can't we all just focus on the internet-exclusive New Balance challenge?!

After Daddy Gunn hastily put a damper on the Topstick-gate it was time for the runway show! Andy was the clear winner in my eyes. I thought his hoody was fantastic.

I wasn't feeling Michael C's fashion poncho but the judges and producers like him too much to give him the axe. Christopher on the other hand has been nearly invisible this whole season and his stuff was fatally blah. It was clear he was going home.

I know I'm not alone in keeping Mondo closest to my heart of all the designers. He is maybe the most lovable Project Runway contestant since Austin Scarlett due to the fact that he has a strong, distinct aesthetic and is both self-possessed yet humble enough not to shit-talk anyone else's work. All that puts Gretchen in an unflattering light. I was unimpressed with Mondo's designs this week, though, besides the "kooky headbands", which were pretty sweet. Gretchen, on the other hand, I thought pulled out her best runway show in a few weeks. The judges felt it was too "hosh-kaposh", though. She went for leggings again, which was kind of boring, but I'll definitely take it over April's designs. I'm pretty tired of her black and grey palette, booty shorts
and sheer windows in unexpected places. It doesn't look classy or edgy.

As far as villain-watch goes, the producers have backed off of Gretchen a bit (leaving Ivy to do her thing) but comments like "Heidi just doesn't like me... but I'm here and I should be" are just bratty. I like Gretchen, I like her clothes but that made me cringe.

Anyway, bye to Christopher. Then there were four. Next week: design for Michael Bloomberg!

Stray notes and quotes:

Heidi seems insufferable to hang out with, doesn't she?

"It's like pumpkin pie on T'anksgiving with a turkey pie on top."

"She's not getting on a treadmill, she's getting on a walker," oozes Michael Kors.
"Literally!" adds Nina.