Another episode of Project Runway has come to a close for season 8, and was it just me, or did it feel like a marathon? The extra 30 minutes? Great in theory. In execution? Boring! I’m not even sure exactly where the extra time fell, but I know that the things I’d like to see more of (like the new blink-and-you-miss-them Tim Gunn camera interview moments) and I know that we didn’t get them.

Project Runway, Season 8, Week 2 Larger Than Life Photo:

The challenge this week? It was pretty broad. They had to design a look for a Marie Claire billboard. That meant they could make just about anything! Some of the designer’s decided to go for ideas they’d never done before (pants! infinity dress!) while other’s went through many evolutions of an idea, just hoping to have their model covered down the runway in something not entirely shameful. Some succeeded, other’s did not.

In the end, the top three were Gretchen, Valerie and Mondo. I agreed with all of these! The bottom three were Nicholas, Jason and Peach. Again, I agreed.

Additionally, I didn’t have much love for a few other designs. Casanova‘s navy blouse/white capri situation as it looked like something a bored, rich and tasteless wife would wear to go sailing with her husband on his yacht. While I keep thinking Ivy is great, she continues to bore me as though she were designing for a knock-off J-Crew catalog. In the cases of both these designers – without their accessories, their looks would have fallen flat.

The decisions made were that Peach could stay, but Nicholas and Jason had to go. Jason didn’t even stay – he just ran off. Clearly this is not a personality we would have wanted around, and his dress was also obviously ridiculous. As another designer put it, those safety pins were a kiss of death (of course he lied and said they were on purpose, during judging.) I felt bad for Nicholas – no, heartbroken – but I also didn’t like anything he’d made. Peach will be nice to have around, to see her perspective on a few more challenges but I don’t forsee her going too much farther with her style aesthetic. The reason some of the other designer’s are so nice to her? They don’t see her as a threat!

The obvious winner was Valerie, but the judges picked Gretchen to win. I liked both designs, I just liked Valerie’s more – especially for the billboard. Her dress was a little different with some modern, futuristic variety. But Gretchen’s look was a bit different than what they usually show for covers or ads – so the judges went with hers. Mondo also deserves some credit – I like him a lot. I hope he makes some friends on the show! He has a very great brain, and he makes copious notes about things the way I do.

I have no idea why Michael Kors was gushing about the model’s photograph for Gretchen’s design being so great. Tyra Banks would have laughed it right out of America’s Next Top Model! There was not enough energy, visual composition, or SMIZING (smiling with the eyes aka energy in the eyes aka please don’t look dead!). While I like the model, she’s seems inexperienced. But that didn’t matter because the model for the billboard ended up being Supermodel Coco Rocha! And she really rocked the hell out of Gretchen’s design.

I loved the way Gretchen (who only slightly veers on pretentious and is not as annoying as she could be) was gracious, and that Valerie was still able to express to the group that she was a little disappointed.