One of the unique things about Project Runway Season 12 is the expanded role of our beloved Father Tim Gunn. He still mentors the designers, but also advises the judges on what was going on behind-the-scenes. He’s not a judge himself, but he was given the power to “rescue” one designer during the season.
Last night — on the August 22 Episode 6, “Let's Go Glamping!” — Tim used his save on Justin LeBlanc.
The designers, and Tim, were in tears when Justin left, because Justin's a sweetheart and very much loved. From a TV perspective, it was a win for one of the good guys. But from a design perspective, Justin has yet to stand out in a good way (he's been in the bottom twice, never the top) and his glamping dress wasn't a big hit. Nina Garcia even thought the bottom of the dress looked like the model had a “foaming vagina.” (Vaginas: the unexpected theme of Season 12.)
It doesn’t feel like Justin is on a path to win, but maybe he’s just on a path to break down barriers. Justin is deaf and he’s using the PR experience to inspire others and illustrate how people with hearing disabilities can tackle any challenge they set their minds to.
He’s a great guy, and when he cried we cried, but did he deserve to be saved? There are still 11 people left, including a ton of designers who have been in the top — deservedly so — and will eventually be eliminated since only three or four people will make it to the finals. Maybe Tim saved Justin because he felt guilty, because he encouraged Justin to take risks and never said to scale back? It’s not like it’s Tim’s job to design for the designers, but he did tell the judges he wished he had known Justin was heading in this “can-can” direction.
Justin took a risk and it didn't pay off, but other designers have also gone home for taking risks, and it's not like Justin was just having an off week. (Poor Kahindo could've used that save back on Week 2, when Timothy and his unicorns were still around.)
Justin wasn't exactly a shocking elimination — like, maybe, Nick Verreos on Season 2. What happens if, say, the judges send home Bradon, Dom, Kate, Jeremy, or Alexandria after or even before Miranda (who is STILL there) and Karen? The save wouldn't be able to help.
What do you think? Do you like Justin’s designs or do you just like him as a person? Was it a good call to save him?