With the adorable little Project Runway: Junior down to the top five, it’s time to start revving up for another adult version of the program. The variation known as “Project Runway: All Stars” usually runs over the Winter season, but has been shifted this year to Spring to make room for the kidlets. If the Junior variation holds for another season (and it might just), we should consider this to be the show’s new home.
The most interesting turn of events? The one-and-done spin-off Under The Gunn apparently is considered fair game for the hiring pool. It is well-known to fans that “Under The Gunn” happened in part because Heidi refused to do a spring season in 2014, and the contracts say they can’t call it “Project Runway” without her consent. (This partly necessitated the move to creating a full on spin-off that focused on a kid’s version, first with Threads and now with PR: Jr.) Despite the insistence at the time that Gunn was a spin-off and not part of the regular series, that has clearly been rethought in post, as the casting list now outright refers to it as “Project Runway Season 12.5.”
So who do we have returning to gain the “All Stars” moniker, whether they actually warranted or not? This year, the line up isn’t as impressive as last year’s murderer’s row of returning winners and fan favorites. But there are a few that might not be seen as stretching the definition quite so terribly.
The cast list includes:
- Daniel Franco, seasons 1 and 2
- Stella Zotis, season 5
- Valerie Mayen, season 8
- Layana Aguilar, season 11
- Ken Laurence, season 12
- Alexander Pope, season 12
- Dom Streater (winner), season 12
- Asha Daniels, Under the Gunn, a.k.a. season 12.5
- Sam Donovan, Under the Gunn, a.k.a. season 12.5
- Emily Payne, season 13
- Mitchell Perry, season 13
- Kini Zamora, season 13
- Fade Zu Grau, season 13
Once again, the cast is overwhelmed with a bulk of recent graduates, including four from just this past season, and three from the one just prior. Dom is the only returning winner, who despite her popularity on the show, managed not to go anywhere in the aftermath. Alexander Pope was the best of the Season 12 runway shows, too bad he was relegated to the “dummy” collections. I’m not surprised they are having him back. I am surprised Ken Laurence was asked to return. Clearly this is partly to bring drama (since he and Pope had the rather awful freak out at each other in Season 12.) But Laurence also melted down the day of the runway show at NYFW, and refused to walk his dummy collection. I’m really not sure it’s a good idea to bring back someone who is so obviously not emotionally cut out for this.
On the happy side, the show did get three real “All Stars” worthy of the title from yesteryear, Daniel Franco and Stella Zotis are from the Bravo years–let’s hope they don’t undergo the same culture shock of the Lifetime way as Chris March did last go round. Valerie Mayen has been trying to get back on the show for a couple of rounds now, including being a candidate for “Project Runway: Redemption” to return in Season 12. As for those Under The Gunn kids… I wouldn’t count on them being there for very long, even if they did get to the end of UTG.
Project Runway: All Stars starts February 11th, 2016.