Shear Genius: Season 2 Premiere Recap
Shear Genius, the competitive reality show that is like Project Runway with hair instead of clothes, is back tonight with its second season.  Host Jaclyn Smith and mentor Rene Fris have returned for all of the hair-cutting fun, along with two new weekly judges and a bevy of rotating guest judges.  The twelve finalists will compete to see who has the chops necessary to take the title of "Shear Genius" and win $100,000, an apprenticeship with Nexxus Salon Hair Care and a chance to style hair for an Allure magazine feature.

Tonight, the new crop of stylists will be tasked with cutting the hair of live clients while blindfolded and then must offer up interpretations of famous hairdos . . . with a twist.

The 12 finalists enter the Shear Genius salon to be greeted by Jaclyn Smith and judge Kim Vo, famed colorist. The finalists are all impressed by the mood-lit set and we're immediately bombarded by their cocky proclamations that they are the best, especially from Charlie, who says that he's technically from hell but currently resides in Denver, Colorado. I am amused that he is completely bald, being a stylist and all.

Jaclyn tells us that each week the contestants will compete in two challenges – a “shortcut” challenge which will give the contestants a short amount of time to show off their skills, and an elimination challenge that will determine who will go home. The first shortcut challenge gives the stylists five minutes to consult with their clients and 45 minutes to cut and style – all while blindfolded.

Despite being unable to see, the stylists' clients do not get harmed, though a few of the stylists did manage to cut up themselves. After 45 minutes of fumbling for scissors and mousse, the clients are all sat down and examined. The clients seem to all have uniformly blah haircuts to my eye, but they're not bleeding, so that's good.

Somehow Kim judges these cuts, proclaiming Nicole and Dee the top two for their professional efforts, Nicole for handling apparently difficult Asian hair with ease and Dee for giving her cut a creative flair. The overall winner, Kim says, is Dee.

The rest of the contestants are put in order from best to worst, with the bottom two being Nekisa for having a barbaric cut and Oshun for giving a butcher job.

Afterward, the contestants head to their new house and ooh and ahh, as is custom for virtually all reality shows now. The next morning they head back to the salon to meet master stylist and their mentor, Rene Fris. Rene tells them through his thick accent that their elimination challenge involves giving their clients hair cuts of famous stars.

The stars? Turns out that they are cartoon characters ranging from Marge Simpson and her blue beehive to Jem of Jem and the Holograms with her giant ‘80s hair. The stylists pick their client / cartoon combinations in the order which they were placed by Kim after the shortcut challenge. They are told they will be given two and a half hours to create their interpretations of the cartoon hair, and off they go.

Blond pixie Nicole wants to give her Jem client red hair, but her client is totally against it. At the urging of Rene, she and her client settle on deep red highlights. Bald bitch Charlie decides to make fake blue pubic hairpieces to wrap around his Marge Simpson cut, which sounds hideous, but what do I know about hair?

After more flying hair and unusual coloring choices – including a weird striped 'do from Nekisa – it's on to the hair show. Kim Vo, Allure Magazine editor Kelly Atterton and celebrity hairstylist Neeko will be the judges.

First up is flaming Texan Daniel's version of Wilma Flintstone, which is a very southern take on an up 'do and bun. Bubbly Gail also did Wilma, but chose something sleeker and curled. Nicole's Jem is a pompadour pulled back into a messy and modern ponytail, while middle aged Glenn's take looks like a basic mom haircut with pink tips.

Nekisa's Lucy (from Peanuts) looks a lot like the real Lucy's hair with some orange strips hidden underneath the bun. Oshun is in love with his Lucy, but with the curled pigtail thing he did, it doesn't look much like Lucy to me.

Marge Simpson hair is next, which should be interesting. Matthew's take is basically Peg Bundy with hard to see blue highlights, while Charlie's 'do is . . . Marge. It's a big old beehive surrounded by a blue weave. It's . . . interesting.

Hipster Parker took on Betty Boop and did an awesome short, flippy cut that looks fantastic. Dee's version is more 1920s and curly, but doesn't look nearly as cool. Tori Spelling look-alike Meredith did Judy Jetson and it looks like the kind of hair I'd see on a Kid's Incorporated rerun. Paulo's version of Judy Jetson is sort of ugly and plain, so I'm not sure what went on there.

Nicole, Parker, Meredith, Dee, Glenn and Paulo all made the cut but weren't at the top, which I call shenanigans about since I think Parker and Nicole did awesome. The remaining six are grilled about their Marges, Lucys and Wilmas, with the judges especially digging into Oshun about his lazy looking work. Daniel continues to harp on how he's from Texas and loves hairspray and bigness, and it's all sort of exhausting.

After commiserating, the judges call back out all 12 stylists to give them the results. Charlie, Nekisa and Daniel are the top three, with the winner being Daniel for his shellacked, sleek take on Wilma. Matthew, Oshun and Gail are the bottom three. Despite his Kanye West-style cockiness, Oshun's inability to work with his client's fine hair and give her a flattering cut has eliminated him from the competition. His apparent strategy was to at first hide his great work so as to surprise the judges later in the competition. Sure it was, Oshun.

This season on Shear Genius, the stylists will do even more strange challenges, contestants will cry, there will be more bouffants and even harsher critiques. Also, since this is Bravo, gay men will be endlessly catty.

- , BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Photo courtesy of Bravo)