Project Runway Season 16 Premiere

Project Runway Season 16 Premiere: Was the Right Designer Cut First?

You probably weren’t expecting to hear the sentence “If your butt is big, let it out!” on Thursday’s Project Runway premiere, so allow me to formally welcome you to Season 16.

The long-running reality series is throwing viewers — and the designers, naturally — a literal curveball this time around by incorporating models of all body types, from Size 2 to Size 22. Some designers welcomed the challenge, while others tried (and mostly failed) to hide their apprehension about working outside their comfort zone.

Hostess Heidi Klum tasked the contestants with creating a runway look that showcases who they are as designers, resulting in a mixed bag of ensembles that ranged from “white hot” to “not cute.” Let’s talk about just a few stand-out contestants:

* In the interest of keeping things positive, let’s start with Deyonté Weather, the winner of the first challenge of Season 16. This guy had my heart the moment he talked about the son he and his wife are expecting, and Zac Posen took the words right out of my mouth when he noted that “you can tell [Deyonté] loves women” by the way he designed his stunning (and flattering!) floral number.

* Actually, forget what I said about staying positive — can we talk about those obnoxious twins? Whether they were speaking in unison or just being generally over-confident in their abilities, Claire and Shawn Buitendorp were captivating on screen… for all the wrong reasons. Fortunately, after listening to the judges’ critiques, including Posen’s comment about Shawn’s outfit feeling “hookery,” I’m thinking we won’t have to sit through too much more of their sister act.

* And let’s hear it for Margarita Alvarez, a talented designer who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. (Her impression of the twins was among my favorite moments from the premiere.) With her “fun, bright” aesthetic, she crushed this first competition, for which I applaud her.

* Brandon Kee proved to be one of the premiere’s biggest surprises. For someone who claims to have never designed for a woman before, his look was really impressive. Earlier in the episode, he was genuinely wondering whether he made the right choice in coming on the show, and I think we can all agree he did.

* And then there’s ChaCha, the first designer to be cut from the competition this season — and for good reason. For someone who apparently loved his model’s curves so much that he wanted to “let her butt shine,” he sure had a funny way of showing it. That twisted joke of a clown costume was embarrassing for everyone involved, and I’m with Heidi Klum when she flat-out told him, “I don’t even know where to begin.”

(I know I only talked about six of the 16 new contestants, but this is Day 1, people. I’m not getting attached to anyone yet.)

Your thoughts on Project Runway‘s season premiere? Vote for your favorite designer(s) below, then drop a comment with your honest opinion: Who should be the first to go?