Tonight marks the finale of Project Runway season 10 and that means fans will finally learn who among Christopher Palu, Dmitry Sholokhov, Fabio Costa and Melissa Fleis will become "the next great American designer." In a recent Q and A session, judge Nina Garcia and mentor Tim Gunn capped off the season by sharing their thoughts on the final four contestants, the judging process and what viewers can expect for season 11.
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On how the judges decide on the winner:
Nina Garcia: We battled it out. No, you know what, here's a little hint. I think the pre-show to the finale was a wakeup call to the designers, and what you'll see is that at the finale they really step it up and there will be a clear and definite winner, and I think it was unanimous to be honest with you. I mean yes it was a struggle because each of them kind of came back with their best game, but I think there was a real solid winner. It wasn't so much of a disagreement towards the finale or at least I didn't think so. For me there was a very clear winner.
On having Jennifer Hudson as a guest judge on the finale:
Nina Garcia: Well you know it was great to have Jennifer; she is a celebrity herself. She has walked the red carpet many times. It's always interesting to have a celebrity's point-of-view, and very timely when she is also coming out with a line of clothes herself.
On what qualities the winning collection on Project Runway tend to share:
Nina Garcia: You know, it has to be a stand out collection; it has to have creativity. At the same time it has to have wearability because this is something that you want to aspire to have but at the same time be able to see yourself wearing it. So those are my two. When I see the winning collection that's what I am looking for, that it is creative, meaning that I haven't seen it before, that it comes from a place of authenticity from the designer, it's their own point-of-view, it's something that, at a glance you can tell who it's from, but all-in-all that it's creative and that it's wearable.
On whether it was surprising to see who made it to the finale:
Nina Garcia: You know what yes. Yes I was surprised who made it to the finale because if you had asked me that question at the beginning of the season I would have pointed out two other characters that kind of lost aim throughout the process. The other thing that was very distracting is that we had some very colorful personalities starting this season, and literally that was very distracting because when you have that kind of personality then it turns the shift. It's all about that personality, and it kind of clouds other people's work so that at the beginning was a little you know confusing. But I think that as the show goes on and you see the people's work and you see their skill set and you see their determination and you see how tenacious they are with their work ethic you start to see the clear winners.
On whether the final four designers were the best four designers of the season:
Tim Gunn: Yes. I'll say that without hesitation, yes. I really do. The cream really does rise; it just does. I mean am I sorry to see certain designers go? Oh of course but no this is a strong group.
On whether viewers will be surprised with the finale's outcome:
Tim Gunn: I never make any assumptions about who is going to win. The judges are constantly surprising me so I go in to it with a certain--well, I don't. I mean this season, as I said earlier, it could have been any of them and I would have been happy. I will say though I have not been particularly happy with the outcome of the last couple of season, and I don't want to denigrate Anya but I thought Viktor Luna's collection was definitively stronger and I was stunned that he didn't win. And this season I was enormously happy with the outcome so I hope everyone else is, enormously happy.
On what viewers can expect for season 11:
Nina Garcia: Well, a lot of surprises, good surprises. I think you will enjoy it. There's not much to tell you that I can tell you right now. Just that there will be some twists and turns and surprises in store but they're all good.
Project Runway airs tonight at 9/8c on Lifetime.
(Image courtesy of Lifetime)