Episode nine of “Project Runway” season 16, “A Little Avant Garde,” was a bloodbath. In one episode the show cut its cast of designers by a third, from nine all the way down to six, and it all started with 10 minutes that included so many reversals we could barely keep up. When the dust settled, Claire Buitendorp ended her controversial run on the show with perhaps an even more controversial exit.
At first, Buitendorp was declared the winner of last week’s design challenge, “Client on the Go.” Then her fellow contestant Michael Brambila stormed off the stage, and that was where last week’s episode ended. This week’s episode picked up right where that one left off, with Brambila explaining that he and Margarita Alvarez believed Buitendorp was ripping off her designs from her own clothes as well as from Alvarez’s past looks. Tim Gunn and the judges dismissed those concerns — ideas always cross-pollinate in the workroom — but it was the allegation of another kind of cheating that got Tim’s attention. Buitendorp was allegedly using measuring supplies outside of the workroom, which is expressly prohibited. When confronted directly, Buitendorp confessed to the infraction, so Gunn had no choice but to rescind her challenge victory and eliminate her on the spot. That meant that the contestant the judges had intended to eliminate, Batani-Khalfani, was back in.
But the drama wasn’t over. Despite the judges’ displeasure with Brambila for making a scene on the runway, he actually won the avant garde design challenge, but two designers were so disappointing that the judges ousted them both: Amy Bond and Batani-Khalfani, who wasn’t able to make the most of her second chance.
And then there were six. But what did you think of Claire Buitendorp’s elimination? Vote in our poll below to let us know.
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