Cornelius Ortiz is arguably the least-liked guy on the current season of Project Runway, and for good reason. He's abrasive, he's overly confident and he has a tendency to trash-talk his fellow contestants. It's hard to cheer for somebody who throws that much shade, which is perhaps why, when both Mah-Jing Wong and Ortiz were mistreated by their respective teams during tonight's episode, viewers really only spoke out in Wong's favor.
Believe it or not, we're here to defend Ortiz. He was on top of this week's team challenge, which involved creating a collection for a pop-up street display, all while abiding by a specific color scheme. Ortiz was grouped with Dexter Simmons and Erin Robertson, and once again, it was obvious that he was the odd one out. His vision did not match the vision of his fellow contestants, who were way too into the head-to-toe red look.
Ortiz voiced his concerns, but his opinion was disregarded. Not only did his fellow teammates fail to give his viewpoint the consideration it deserved, they were willing to sit back and let him do the bulk of the work while they goofed off together.
Despite all of Ortiz's hard work, the red group performed poorly, both among pedestrians viewing the pop-up booth and with the judges. The judges didn't think the red group's looks were terrible; they just didn't live up to the other groups. The teammates were then given the opportunity to share who they thought should go home, and of course, both Simmons and Robertson threw Ortiz under the bus. Not cool — Ortiz's instincts were on point and he was clearly not responsible for the team's loss.
Thank God for Tim Gunn, who came through with the save. Gunn can see past Ortiz's abrasiveness to the natural fashion instinct that he has consistently demonstrated. He delivered the good news backstage and put a stop to what could have been this season's most dramatic standoff.
It's crazy how quickly contestant perception can shift on this show. Robertson was the darling just a few weeks ago, and Ortiz was the villain. Now, we're cautiously rooting for Ortiz, if only because he was so clearly wronged by his teammates and by the judges.
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