Canada’s Best Beauty Talent, episode 2: please tell us something, because we want to learn
When it comes to creating a web-based reality series, there’s a lot of trial and error before a show gets things right—at least that’s what we’re seeing with Canada’s Best Beauty Talent. Every week, the show will have one 12-minute challenge episode and one 12-minute results show, which should leave very little room for filler—yet in its first two episodes, CBBT has unfortunately included quite a lot. Host Coco Rocha and expert Vittorio spend a great deal of time talking, when we’d rather see what the contestants can do. This week, for instance, there’s no concrete information as to how Patrick and Léa achieved their hilariously dubbed “Marie Antoinette–meets–J. Lo” creation (which lost, despite the name) or which products made for Isabelle and Cait’s fresh, “layered” look.
The fact is, we’re tuning in for some good old-fashioned reality TV drama, or for some insight into an industry that makes people look almost-perfect (or for both, in a perfect world). The beauty industry is a billion-dollar segment of the economy, but it’s underexposed to mainstream audiences—even on Fashion Television, little is shown outside of 30-second backstage beauty segments at fashion weeks around the world. We hoped this show would be a much-needed exploration of how hair and makeup artists do their jobs, using both technical skill and artistic inspiration to create glamorous fashion editorials. And because Rocha jumped on board, we assumed it would be worthwhile—she is both high-profile and rather savvy, after all.
However, so far, the show’s judging panel—consisting of Flare’s editor-in-chief Lisa Tant, Fashion Television’s Mary Kitchen, singer Mia Martina, mysterious hair and makeup expert Vittorio and Rocha—relies heavily on fashion-speak like “It’s too costume-y” and “There’s too much going on” over thoughtful criticism. The judges don’t ever explain what they mean when they praise Isabelle and Cait’s gorgeous “layered look.” (Layered could just mean one colour painted over another, but surely there’s more to it than that, or we’d all be makeup professionals?) Vittorio has proven to be a poor man’s Tim Gunn (we at least learn a thing or two during Gunn’s “make it work” moments on Project Runway), the judges offer no insight on how the looks could have been improved, and Rocha’s hosting is as awkward as Iman’s on Project Runway Canada—or worse because we know Rocha knows how to entertain, but we’ve seen nothing but stiff script-reading from her. Still, we’ve only seen four contestants compete so far, so this has to get better (right?) We’re excited about next week, when we’ll actually get to see the 10 remaining hopefuls run amok.
• Short, breezy exit lines are out, because this is how Rocha says farewell to Patrick and Léa: “You no longer have any chance to be Canada’s Best Beauty Talent. Your time to shine is over. Pack your kits.”
• The show must not actually brief its judges on the challenges, because Tant, Kitchen and Martina spend a great deal of time discussing whether or not the prepared looks are red carpet ready. The challenge was, quite plainly, to create a “stylish look.” There was never any talk of it being for night, day, formal or red carpet, so it seemed like a lot of wasted airtime.