This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A lot of "Project Runway" fans including yours truly are still mad that Season 8 ended in October with incredibly unpopular Gretchen Jones named the winner instead of incredibly popular Mondo Guerra.
Six months later, "Runway" mentor Tim Gunn is still steaming about it.
"Why did the villain win? Why?" he asked at a personal appearance in Salt Lake City last weekend. "I could not believe it. Gretchen's talented, and she's not a horrible person. But was she the winner of the season? I don't think so."
Gunn was clearly not a Gretchen fan. During Season 8, he took the unprecedented step of scolding her in front of the other contestants for her behavior.
"The 'Project Runway' designers are like my kids," Gunn said. "I love them all. I will say I love some more than others. And there's some I wish I'd left in a basket."
He wasn't Jones' only detractor on "Project Runway." Host/judge Heidi Klum told TV critics that if it had been up to her, the results "would have been different." She claimed she was "overruled" by the other two judges.
Gunn blamed judge/designer Michael Kors for what happened, with an assist to judge/magazine editor Nina Garcia.
"Oh, boy. I'm going to get in trouble for this," he said. "Michael was campaigning for Gretchen. He said, 'We need a sportswear designer to win one of these seasons.' " Not coincidentally, Kors designs sportswear.
"I thought, 'Well, Mr. Kors, you just want to validate yourself. But do you want to validate yourself with Gretchen?' "Gunn said. "I wouldn't."
Until nearly the final moment, Klum and Garcia were on Mondo's side.
"Nina was very much in favor of Mondo, and then Michael nudges her and he says, 'You know, Gretchen listened to every word of advice that you gave her. Mondo didn't listen to you at all,' " Gunn said. "So suddenly, Nina is, like 'That's right! He didn't! I'm going with Gretchen.' So that's how it all happened."
The always-charming Gunn said that, although Klum was "miffed" with him because he gave an interview in which he referred to Season 8 as "the season of the crack-smoking judges," she enlisted his aid to talk to Kors and Garcia. But it didn't work.
"When Heidi walked me back to my chair after this horrible, eviscerating moment with Nina and Michael, she said, 'So, am I no longer a crack smoker?' And I said, 'Yes, correct. You're no longer a crack smoker,' " Gunn said. " 'Regrettably, though, you passed your pipe to Nina and Michael. So now they've had an extra dose.' "
Season 9 will film in June and July, and according to Gunn, it may begin airing before it's finished shooting.
Scott D. Pierce's column appears Mondays and Fridays in The Mix. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-257-8603. Twitter: @ScottDPierce; Facebook.com/tribremix; sltrib.com/blogs/tv.