Glow Up, Series 5, Episode 5: 40,000 Online SillyBucks

This is the weirdest police lineup I’ve ever seen.

Let’s get meta.

Metaverse Switch

Reality TV competitions in 2023 are such an interesting time capsule because you can tell exactly when they were filmed based on how cool and innovative everyone thought the concept of the Metaverse was with Glow Up being the latest to jump on the trend as it enters it enters its final death throes, but the editors were trying their absolute damndest to make it look cool with an intro of floating buzzwords on a cyber-highway

and then it deadcuts to their actual metaverse playground which is basically Roblox for people who think they’re too cool to play Roblox

and they tried to show as little of it in motion as possible because it has the framerate of Runescape Classic in 2002, but remember, it’s definitely THE FUTURE!

So for their adventure into the metaverse, the MUAs having to design makeup looks for Decentraland Fashion Week – and it’s funny they mention Decentraland because there’s a REALLY good documentary about it by Dan Olson on YouTube called “The Future Is A Dead Mall: Decentraland and the Metaverse”

it’s worth watching just for the Modern-style Suburban Family Homes Populated Entirely By Official Nintendo Art. You know, THE FUTURE!

The MUAs were of course having to be as polite about it all as possible and On-May was doing her duty of carrying the reaction shot on her back

she was practically born to star in every single film student’s second year horror movie assignment.

It was another team assignment with the MUAs working in teams of three for this challenge – Team 1 being Saphron, On-May and Axel, leaving Team 2 as Roo, Wezley, Keiran and Roo’s Weapons-grade Look of Disdain

Each team had was given a different garment from Adidas’s virtual range – and these outfits were not made equally – Team Saphron were given The Neobone which at least looks futuristic and Extremely Online

whereas Team Parental Dysfunction were given a garment called “The Personal Floatation Device” and looked like a relic of a 1930s insane asylum

I will hand it to the digital artists – the renders are very good.

Given that the MUAs were having to create three cohesive makeup looks, they had to pick a key artist to lead the charge – Saphron being very quickly elected as team leader and leading On-May and Axel through a step by step demonstration of their makeup look that had the cool, calm energy of a cult masquerading as a spa retreat. Guest judge, Isamaya Ffrench was a little concerned about the speed they were going at though

Ma’am, there were three of them and you gave them over an hour and half to do this in – Saphron could’ve gone on a Starbucks run halfway through and been fine. Although it was probably a sign that the team should have been doing more with the table of kid’s party supplies than just cutting out holographic paper

THE FUTURE! (I hope someone stole the slinkies and the rubber ducks.)

In the end The Neoboners’ looks were good, but they did lack a little ingenuity and originality

but I did enjoy how much the models looked like a friend group that made a last ditch effort for Lady Gaga’s Chromatica Ball

it’s the Stupid Love we have at home.

The other team did not have as much of an easy time as they struggled to come to a decision about who the key artist should be, with Roo eventually being made Key Artist and Wezley privately declaring himself the Mata Hari of key artists

and coming together on an idea was just as difficult, with Ru wanting to do a caterpillar inspired look which Wezley shot down – and most of the challenge would go on like this before they eventually landed on a balloon theme – which they were doing without Roo giving a demonstration of the look, as was kind of required by the key artist, so they ran into problems when Wezley perfectly colour matched the balloon portions of his model’s face

when he was apparently meant to make it a cooler tone to give it a stretched, almost transparent look, but to be fair to him, this conversation happened

and if you’re wondering where Keiran was in all of this, he was outside wondering if he would at least get two Christmases when his parents divorce

this shot has such powerful The Office energy, which I am absolutely sure was a deliberate choice because it fit so perfectly into this whole mess.

We did eventually get three looks and given that they were operating as a warring nation of islands, they did at least look cohesive, and a bit like they’d had a run in with the silly string mafia

and if you think that’s bonkers, the digital render is one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life and I’m convinced this whole challenge was an inside job to burn Decentraland to the ground once and for all

Roo’s at least looks like a boxing helmet which goes with the sporty theme, Wezley’s has an interesting placement on the cheeks and then I get to Keiran’s Christmas elf librarian and I lose my mind every single time

remember when Gucci went insane and made upside glasses that cost £470?

somehow it’s very that and you cannot convince me there isn’t a tech bro out there with a Bored Ape NFT that wouldn’t fork out 40,000 Online SillyBucks to looks like Mrs. Claus at the office party.

Cartoon Crash

For this week’s Creative Brief the MUAs were having to create their very own cartoon character that inhabits a world of their own design and shares at least one characteristic or attribute with themselves. I did like this prompt, my only issue is the fact that “Cartoon” as a prompt is incredibly broad and the styles and aesthetics are very different from generation to generation so everyone was a little up against it because Dom’s go to cartoon characters are apparently Scooby Doo

and Spike from Tom & Jerry

the goalposts were a little small and constantly moving.

The room was a tale of two halves, with Team Neoboners all getting on with their makes up from the start while The Family That’s Falls Out Together, Sits Together were all biding their time on the red chairs

and true to their word, it didn’t seem to phase Keiran that much as they got on pretty swimmingly with their Tim Burton inspired character, Felicity Ever-sad who is the self-loathing corpse-ghost of a femme fatale

it’s a lot to unpack, but her backstory of tragedy and woe is pretty well explained in the moodboard

I did love Keiran’s makeup – Tim Burton was a smart choice to draw from because the style is so recognisable and Keiran absolutely nailed the nuances and details of it all, while also putting a bit of a spin on it with the almost Lichtenstein highlights and paper hair

she pretty fabulous and absolutely belongs on the t-shirts of every hot topic wearing teenager in 2008.

Wezley also coped with the 15 minute time penalty remarkably well and in true Wezley fashion lay down the perfect high concept base within minutes

he did run into a momentary rough patch though as when he went to lay down the flames of his Fire Lord character using the airbrush he couldn’t quite get it working, so he was slapped with the [Distorted Circus Music of Doom], which sadly the subtitlers didn’t caption

this was the first sign that things this episode were not going to entirely go Wez’s way, because despite a really technically beautiful makeup, the judges, ironically, didn’t respond particularly warmly to The Fire Lord

it does lack a little exaggeration with most of the facial features being parred back quite a bit but I loved the sense of movement he managed to get into the flames, especially the tiny ones around the nose that look like he just puffed them out in annoyance.

I was a little worried for Roo being in the red chair because their time management in the creative briefs has been a little hit or miss and they had an ambitious makeup this week with their stained glass gargoyle of perpetual sadness

and the judges were a little unsure during the process because it was looking a little canine, Val aging herself to dust by referencing Deputy Dawg who nobody has thought about since 1964

but I’m glad they liked Roo’s gargoyle in the end

the stained glass effect came out so well – the neon pink highlights are so clever, but what I like most of all is the softness of it, it reminds me a lot of The Biskitts (it’s my turn to age myself to dust, Val)

because it did still look quite canine but sometimes a gargoyle can be a tiny little dog that guards the world’s treasure for reasons that didn’t matter to me as a kid but now plague my mind.

Over with the other three and Saphron managed to hit another home run with her makeup

the colouring is incredible and the design features like the eyes being hidden by wings is clever and speaks to the shyness she was trying to portray but all I can concentrate on are the cephalopod whiskers which I both want to flick and maybe chew because they look a bit like a foam prawn sweet? And sure enough she got Ding-dong’d

I often wonder if Val ever regrets making “DING DONG!” her catchphrase?

As for Axel and On-May, the judges really loved the latter’s Slime Monster makeup

I’m not sure it feels complete – the fact you can see the model’s hair is a little distracting and the placement of the slime kind of obscures the makeup that she painstakingly rendered – nobody can draw a gaping mouth as well as On-May, she’s well and truly found her niche. I think I much preferred the very AAAH! Real Monsters concept she had than the final product

the green and pink work much better than the green and red.

Lastly we have Axel who was creating a Snake/Alien hybrid called Sandy inspired by the bedtime stories their dad read them as a kid

I might have a bit of a theory that Axel’s dad actually just put on the 10 hour loop of the “I’m a sneaky snake” video and Axel is wildly misremembering things

the sort of sunset colour scheme is beautifully aesthetic and I’m as big a fan of the scale work as Axel was

but beyond that there wasn’t much about it that read as particularly serpentine – I think the lip shape was meant to evoke a forked tongue but it kind of just looked like someone trying to convince themself they have a cupid’s bow.

Smoked Out

The judging for this did feel a little wacky because I don’t feel like Wezley’s makeup was as far off the brief as the judges were making out so I personally would have spared him from the Face Off challenge. I get why Axel was down there though, the look just hadn’t come together to be as recognisable as it could have been, but I might have made their Face Off opponent On-May because it didn’t feel entirely finished and I feel a little bit like she got away with murder here. But the judges decided it was Wezley vs Axel in the Face Off

their fight for survival being fought over a smokey eye with negative space over the lid

needless to say King of the Causal Smokey Eye, Wezley, was feeling quite confident and I’m pretty sure could have done this with his eyes closed but Axel wasn’t going down without a fight

this could have easily been a double save because neither look lacks enough symmetry for it to be particularly noticeable – the right eye on Wezley’s has a slightly larger negative space but I did find it odd that the judges said Axel’s had “perfect symmetry” when 10 seconds earlier they were griping about the hard line on his left eye’s inner corner, complete with True Crime Gaussian Blur

I really didn’t want to lose either of these two – for me they were both picks for the final but the judges decided that it was pack up time for Wezley, who can at least go home with the title of Gag of the Season

and given that he’s basically biologically engineered to make great television, perhaps this is the only way it ever could have ended for him. And if you want to follow him on Instagram, he’s WezleyWebber.

And so, we’ve reached the halfway point with our Top 5

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One thought on “Glow Up, Series 5, Episode 5: 40,000 Online SillyBucks

  1. Charlotte

    Was that Saphron’s first ‘ding dong’ thus far this series? I know a couple of others have had them but I feel she’s had most of her wins in the first challenge so far and this was the first in this challenge.

    Thinking that the judges / team got fed up with Wezley’s attitude maybe? A major trait an MUA should have is working well with others and no one just becomes a global brand owner / makeup superstar (whatever he said he wanted to be in his VT) without it. As you said, it was hit and miss to send him through to the face off here over On May (his lava lord was excellent) and they were both good in the face off…it seemed like they just wanted him gone! His reaction was very much how he’s been portrayed though….

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