Tessa Clark won the first ‘Project Runway’ challenge, but readers say she’s NOT the front-runner to win

Before the premiere of “Project Runway” season 17, the predictions of Gold Derby users were, shall we say, off. Sight unseen, most of the fans who gave us their picks here in our predictions center thought Cavanagh Baker was the early front-runner to win. Instead, Baker was the first to be eliminated. Suffice it to say that she is no longer the front-runner in our odds. So who is? It’s not who you might think.

Ironically, while we were way off in our predictions for who would win the season, we were spot-on when betting on the winner of the first design challenge. A plurality of our users correctly anticipated that Tessa Clark would win right out of the gate, and she did, wowing the judges with her minimalist nautical look featuring showstopping white straps. Now that she has proven her mettle, she’s the designer to beat, right?

Nope. And according to our users’ combined predictions as of this writing, it’s also not the other two designers who got high scores from the judges, Renee Hill or Venny Etienne. So who’s at the top of our odds? It’s Nadine Ralliford, a fashion professor with a degree from MIT who in the season premiere made a sporty white suit embellished with black lace. But she didn’t end up in the judges’ top three or bottom three, so it’s hard to know exactly what the judges thought of her. Nevertheless, she gets leading odds of 23/10 on our racetrack.

But with 15 designers still in the competition and only one challenge behind us, it’s still anyone’s game. Do you like what you’ve seen from Ralliford so far? Or will we be surprised by her untimely ouster just like we were with Baker?

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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