‘Project Runway’ season 17 predictions: Who’s the early front-runner to win? Cavanagh, Garo Sparo, Nadine …?

Season 17 of “Project Runway” has its long-awaited premiere tonight on Bravo. In addition to a brand new host (model Karlie Kloss), a new mentor (Christian Siriano) and new judges (Elaine Welteroth and Brandon Maxwell), there’s a brand new crop of 16 designers competing for a prize package of hundreds of thousands of dollars. So who’s the early front-runner? We’ve been asking our readers to boldly stick their necks out with their early forecasts here in our predictions center.

It would be challenging even for Nostradamus to anticipate who will be this year’s champ from among more than a dozen hopefuls. We haven’t seen any of them in action yet beyond the trailer for the season and the official bios for the contestants (get to know them all below in our photo gallery). Indeed, our readers are split 10 ways as of this writing, but a few speculative favorites have risen to the top.

A plurality of predictors are betting on Cavanagh Baker to win. She gets leading odds of 13/5. Baker hails from Nashville, Tennessee, where she has her flagship store, and she has already designed for the likes of Lucy Hale, Camila Mendes, Miranda Lambert and former “Runway” host Heidi Klum.

Ranked second in our predictions with 31/10 odds is Gary “Garo Sparo” Spampinato. Originally from North Carolina and currently based in New York, Garo Sparo has experience in everything from bridal gowns to special effects costumes, mixing Victorian corsetry with modern style.

Currently third in our forecasts with 11/2 odds is Nadine Ralliford, who was born in Jamaica and has traveled the world. She’s currently a professor in fashion and has her own brand that caters to women of all ethnicities. That international perspective should certainly serve her well on a wide-ranging show like “Project Runway.”

What do you think of our early predictions? Are we right on the money or completely off the mark? If you think you know better than we do make sure to visit our predictions center and vote for yourself before tonight’s show. And come back every week to keep predicting the show as the season progresses.

Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs every Wednesday on Lifetime. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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