SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the fifth episode of “Project Runway” Season 18.
After Tyler Neasloney’s exit on last week’s episode of “Project Runway,” viewers wondered who would be the next to talk back to the judges. For those who come for the fashion but stay for the drama, thankfully it didn’t take long to get an answer: Sergio Guadarrama was not willing to take the criticism of his team’s 1980s look.
The fifth episode of the 18th season of “Project Runway” was stuffed with the usual conflict that comes with a themed challenge, control issues and cohesion, but contestants’ overall attitudes took a turn for the audacious during elimination.
Music icon Cyndi Lauper joined judges Brandon Maxwell, Elaine Welteroth and Nina Garcia this week to give feedback on the pop-punk 1980s-inspired challenge, and a history lesson of the era. “Don’t blame it on the ’80s,” Lauper said.
The contestants were split into two teams: Team Chaos consisted of Brittany Allen, Dayoung Kim, Delvin McCray, Nancy Volpe-Beringer, Geoffrey Mac and Victoria Cocieru; Team Stripe included Chelsey Carter, Marquise Foster, Shavi Lewis and Guadarrama. Team Chaos lived up to their name and took the win, leaving Team Stripe on the chopping block. In the bottom three were Guadarrama, Foster and Trygg. In the end, Trygg was eliminated, but it was Guadarrama and his ego, not his garment, that made the most waves on the runway. Guadarrama’s look didn’t “connect in any way, shape, or form,” according to Garcia, and Lauper said she would “never wear it, ever.”
“I tend to dress women 40 and up, so a little bit older,” Guadarrama responded. “So all my stuff is going to look more sophisticated, even if you don’t agree. That’s who pays my bills, so that’s who dictates my designs. If you like it, if you don’t, that’s not my problem,” he said.
In the other room, safe contestants grimaced watching the scene unfold. “I think he should stop talking,” said Kim.
After a tense commercial break, Maxwell had some words of wisdom for Guadarrama: “You willingly signed up for something, and that happens to be this competition. You have to be careful about going into something with excuses,” he said. He wasn’t the only judge who weighed in. During deliberation, Welteroth stated that “he was actually a bit arrogant.” This attitude problem didn’t prove enough to send him home, though, so Guadarrama will return for another week.
Mac won this week’s challenge (and immunity for next week) after Team Chaos suffered strife at every turn. The designer felt pressured to impress Lauper, calling her one of his idols when he was growing up in an army family. During a minor meltdown in the workroom, he revealed that one of his first memories was being hit in the face with a baseball and his dad telling him that he wished he had a boy. Even though he was only in second grade, Lauper taught him that “it was fine to be yourself.”
Mac teared up when Lauper named him winner and, after thanking her profusely, asked for a hug that was promptly given.
“Cyndi’s music helped me through super confusing moments in my life. To have her sort of appreciate my art is incredible,” Mac said in his confessional.
Trygg was also shedding some tears, but for a different reason: She was disappointed that the judges only saw a “dull version” of what she had to offer, and she lamented how she’s “too scared” to put herself out there.
There was only time for so many tears, however, before mentor Christian Siriano whisked Trygg away to the workroom to pack up her things and left the remaining contestants to prepare for the next challenge.
“Project Runway” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.