Lola is a fascinating character. While all thirteen candidates nearly fell over each other to grab the work they had chosen, Lola seemed totally lost and unable to choose between two equally poor pieces of bad art. When I visited her during my studio visit I was even more worried for her. Her desk was surrounded by a number of attempts that looked weak at best. When I went to see the exhibition I was very pleasantly surprised how she transformed a pretty awful object into something very poetic, mysterious, and appealing. Her making it into the top three of this challenge demonstrates that in this competition it is the finishing line that counts. You maybe way back in the field early on and still make it to the top if you get your act together in time for the exhibition.
While watching this episode I learned of Michelle's horrendous accident and her brush with death. It makes her work for this challenge all the more meaningful and powerful. She managed to imbue the fairly ordinary looking totem with some beauty and very ably combine it with rest of her work that she did in her impressive signature style paper sculpture technique. She clearly deserved to win this first challenge.
The nine other artists who were not singled out in this episode all produced interesting work, so it is extremely difficult at this stage to say who the front runners are going to be in this exciting and wide open competition.