I’m just going to put it out there: As far as Shear Genius is concerned, Dallas owned. Ol’ Big D sent up the two most likable guys for the season premiere -- one, tall, blond, a touch reserved and totally humble; the other, not as tall, not as blond, in no way reserved and fabulously confident.
From a Bravo nut’s perspective, Matt Tully seemed a bit taken aback by the whole spectacle of the first episode. Hell, a blindfolded cut/style “shortcut” challenge followed by a cartoon-inspired elimination challenge would freak out anyone. But he also just seemed less about showboating and drama and more about effort. He wound up in the bottom three for a Marge Simpson-inspired blue 'do that was criticized for looking more like Peg Bundy than the beloved bee-hived mom.
But, I feel confident that even folks from other regions were relieved that Matt survived after his talking heads exhibited not only a handsome face, but charming comments like, “The only thing I love more than hairdressing is my wife.” Matthew was also the first (and pretty much the only) stylist to admit he’d made a mistake (his shortcut challenge style was uneven). Even after all his difficulty turning jet black hair blue, his defense of his Simpson style was honest: “I see the inspiration of it, but I don’t see a cartoon character, no.”
And after the news that he was safe from “last cut” Matt proved himself even more affable: “I felt humiliated, so I just sat there and I ate my slice of humble pie. I’m gonna work as hard as I can to do better from now on. I don’t want to go home any time soon.”
A rarity in reality TV, it was a sincere moment.
Daniel Lewis, in energetic contrast, had the camera eating witticisms out of his hand. If face time were gold on this show, Daniel would be wealthy after only one episode.
While Matt was endearing, Daniel chose to go with flamboyant southern entertainer. His first words? “I’m Daniel Lewis, and my signature hairstyle is Dallas hair. Period.”
He got props from celeb colorist and judge Kim Vo on the shortcut challenge. He then went on to win the elimination challenge (and immunity for the next episode) with a fab-u-lous Wilma Flintstone up-do.
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“I wanted Wilma to hop off that page, pump up the hair a little bit, put a black dress on and go to the Bedrock Ball,” Daniel said when describing his intentions.
Allure's Kelly Atterton said she could see a celebrity like Gwen Stefani with his style but also identify the Wilma inspiration. Guest judge Neeko didn’t approve of Lewis’ heavy hand on the Aqua-Net, but Daniel was quick to reply. “I’m from Dallas. I’m sorry, I have hairspray in my back pocket 90 percent of the time.” Viewers got a cut to Matthew laughing -- and insurance that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Daniel.
In the end, Oshun (yeah, pronounced “ocean,” and apparently he’s “deep” too, because he said so about one million times) was snipped from the show, and we all got to see what a serious bitch Jaclyn Smith is when someone’s eliminated. First, “You can say your goodbyes and leave.” Then, “Gail, you barely made it. With 11 stylists left, the competition will only get harder. Have a great evening.” Yikes.
In the season preview at the end of the show, it appears we’ll be seeing a Charlie’s Angels challenge -- with guest judge Kate Jackson, reunion! -- and something unfortunately involving the Real Housewives of Orange County. Daniel Lewis’ face showed up all over the preview, but only two blips of Matthew Tully. I worry the reserved Matt we saw on Episode One won’t win much face time, save for shots of his actual face. In the world of reality TV, this is a concern for his staying power. But i do hope my fears are unfounded and the rest of those spares get axed way sooner than he. Our boys did Dallas proud last night, and I’d like to see them both stick around awhile. --Merritt Martin