Project Runway: Junior “Real Cheerleader Challenge”

We’re finally back this week with Project Runway: Junior, after a two-week holiday break, which is an eternity in TV time. It’s not an accident that this is now the fourth spin-off in a row of Project Runway, and that two of the three which were not successful sat in this very schedule block. Lifetime’s bizarrely old fashion notion that one puts their reality show on hiatus over the holiday break to run terrible holiday movies is one that belongs in the 1980s, not the 2010. How large will the drop off be in the ratings as viewers forget to return?

For those who do return, we are treated to the “Knicks City Dancers” which you’ve probably never heard of, but that’ s fine. They’re basketball cheerleaders, and they’re the clients the kids are designing for today. They’re not making performance outfits, they’re making them an outfit for their regular life. Think of this as  a “real woman challenge” except that the “real women” are pre-screened to already conform to certain height and weight beauty standards. No freaking out about having to design for a size 12 for these kids.


Once again there’s no trip to Mood this week. Instead they ave “Mini-Mood” for this one day challenge. I’m starting to wonder about the choice to rely on Mini-Mood to this extent. Is it to keep the kids from having too many choices? Is it so they don’t have to worry about budgeting? Is it to give the kids extra time, so they don’t lose an hour in NYC traffic? A combination of the above? It’s certainly a boon, because the clients are all walked through the fabric choices, which is not something Project Runway proper gets to do for these challenges. (Also, one of the girls asks for a New Years Eve outfit, which suggests this was taped in October/November.)

Let’s see what Tim has to say about these outfits.


  • Jaxson: His outfit is…bright. Like bordering on clowny bright. It doesn’t look as horrifically sewn as some of what we’ve seen from him so far. Still, Tim calls it janky, and makes him switch to a less cheap looking fabric.
  • Peytie: She’s making a dress for attending the wedding. She’s worried the fabric looks cheap. Tim agrees, but says that her silhouette is aces.
  • Bridget: She’s doing a day-to-night outfit. Tim worries that though he likes the kimono overlay, the outfit is underwhelming.
  • Samantha: She’s not making pants, but her day wear separates include denim and an olive-green military-ish style neoprene jacket.
  • Zachary: “A night out in Paris!” he exclaims. Tim is worried about his sewing on his big flowy pants.
  • Maya: Her client wanted pants for her NYE outfit. Tim thinks they are well-tailored. Maya worries they’re dull. Tim says it’s because the overall outfit is, not the pants themselves.
  • Zach: A Sunday Brunch outfit, which looks like matchy-match separates of a crop top and a skirt. Tim sighs that it’s fine.

With everyone getting a critique, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to show these guys starting over, and the fittings with the cheerleader crowd. Unlike most “real women” challenges, all the clients are very positive about their outfits, and if they’re not, their lack of positivity is kept off camera.

Let’s see how the judges react to these outfits.


Apparently we have extra time, because Hannah does interviews with a couple of the designers on how they found this challenge before introducing the judges. She reminds us Tim still has the Tim Gunn Save, which he may just hold on to until the finale again, or he may decide not to use at all.

Mushy Middle


Peytie: It’s pretty. Not much to it, but pretty.



Samantha: How do you make a cheerleader look short and fat? Why do the judges insist on loving her? I mean, I know why–she’s different. And they want to encourage her masculine POV. But ugh.


Zachary: I really love the idea of the pants, even if there are execution issues everywhere. The judges are so upset about the construction issues, because they love him, and wanted to give him the win.


Zach: Taylor Swift owns this outfit. I swear I’ve written that at least once before this season. But in this case, “Taylor Swift” is the right answer. The judges love it, and he takes the win.



Maya: Yawn. The judges call it “fine.” They have no intention of sending her home, but this outfit is so whatever.


Jaxson: How is he still here? That skirt looks like a parachute. She looks like she’s in her fifties in her styling. It is just awful. The judges call the top really well made, which is like “are you blind?” No.


Bridget: Did she get that Kimono from my mother in law? Why does she like this? I would not complain that she’s going home over it, because I can see why, but seriously, how much longer must Jaxson float through this competition?


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