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How the Bravo's Project Runway judges decide who's in and who's out every week may be a bit of a mystery to viewers.
Sure, we see Brandon Maxwell, Nina Garcia, and Elaine Welteroth furiously writing on their comment cards as the looks come down the runway every episode, hear their critiques for each designer, and watch them deliberate. But what exactly are they scribbling on those cards, and what's going through their minds as they evaluate each design?
Well, wonder no more, Project Runway fans, because Brandon and Elaine revealed all about the judging process in the latest installment of the Project Runway After Show.
First off, the judges explained to host Christian Siriano why they decided to bring all four finalists (Chasity Sereal, Coral Castillo, Kristina Kharlashkina, and Shantall Lacayo) to the Season 19 finale, which airs on Thursday, February 3 at 9/8c. "I would like to talk about the decision keeping four designers was a real thing that you guys wanted, as well as I," Christian told Brandon and Elaine. "People might think that the producers are like, 'You have to keep four designers.' But I want you guys to really explain to the world that that's not happening."
Brandon confirmed that "the producers don't tell us what to do" before breaking down why the judges chose not to eliminate anyone in the January 27 episode. "Ultimately, we're trying to decide who's going to Fashion Week. So, today, truthfully, was actually a weirdly magical moment," he said. "It was like four women on the runway for the first time who had very clear points of view. And I think there was a point towards the end after we had heard all of them that we looked at each other, and I feel like we were all telepathically like, 'Well, they can't go home.'"
"We couldn't do that to America," Elaine added. "We need some good news."
Brandon then shared how judging normally goes in each episode. "We do the challenge, and then we score it as it goes down the runway, numbers one to five," he said. "Nina is first out of the gate. She's like, one, two, three, four, five. And then I'm somewhere in between the ladies. Meanwhile, Elaine is writing the next best-selling novel."
And Brandon wasn't totally exaggerating. Elaine showed her card on Kristina's look for the penultimate runway of the season, which was filled with written comments from top to bottom. "Wow," Christian reacted when he saw Elaine's card before the judge explained, "I am a writer, so I do write novels."
On the contrary, Brandon's card was completely empty. "Truthfully, hand to God, I did not score today, because from a designer's perspective, I wanted to hear from them," he said. "I wanted to know if it had a personal story for them."
That was far from the only insider scoop from Brandon and Elaine. They also revealed "what you don't see behind the scenes" during judging. Find out in the Project Runway After Show, above, where you'll also hear more from Brandon and Elaine on how they think the top four will fare in the final runway show and learn about the fashion injuries fan favorite models Mimi Tao and DD Smith had to endure in Season 19.
Project Runway airs Thursdays at 9/8c. And you can catch up on Project Runway the next day on Peacock.
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