I had almost given up on Bravo reality competitions: Top Chef reached new depths of dull, Project Runway jumped ship to Lifetime, Shear Genius was a mistake from the get-go. And then along came Work of Art, and I suddenly remembered what made this network great. The contestants were appropriately wacky, the challenges were innovative, the guest judges were impressive even to a non-connoisseur like myself. I quickly fell in love with this freshman series, experiencing an instant devotion I hadn’t felt since Season 1 of Top Chef.
Tonight, Work of Art’s first season comes to an end. I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through the hiatus—that’s assuming Bravo gives the series a second season—but I’m banking on Top Chef: Simply Desserts. (With Miles off my TV, I’m going to need replacement eye candy.) But the show’s not over yet: there are three contestants left, and tonight will see the crowning of the Next Great Artist. Will it be twee flower child Peregrine, charming wonderkid Abdi, or disaffected hipster Miles? Here’s my take on the final three—and my prediction for the winner.
Number of Wins: 1
Number of Times in the Bottom: 2
Strengths: Well, she’s made it this far. Peregrine has a distinct, often childlike style. She’s made some of the most memorable pieces of the competition, including the My Little Pony gone wrong sculpture “Rainbow.” Though she’s only 32, Peregrine is the oldest of the three finalists, and given that she spent her childhood in an artists’ commune, she’s arguably spent the most time developing her craft.
Weaknesses: At its worst, Peregrine’s work is cluttered (see her misguided Time Machine cover) and predictable (her collaboration with Mark, “Heaven and Hell,” comes to mind). Frankly, it’s surprising that she made it into the finals above Nicole, who produced more consistently interesting art throughout the season. And Peregrine continues to fall back on her wacky San Francisco childhood. It’s been done.
Chance of Winning: 5%. This should have been Nicole’s spot. Peregrine’s just not cut out for the final three.
Number of Wins: 2
Number of Times in the Bottom: 2
Strengths: Abdi’s produced several successful pieces. While he’s only won twice, he made it into the winner’s circle on three other occasions: that’s a pretty solid track record. His latest work, “Baptism,” was one of the best of the entire series. It’s no wonder he progressed to the final three. Unlike Ryan’s and Jaclyn’s self portraits, Abdi’s are almost always creative and eye-catching.
Weaknesses: His pieces often, quite literally, fall apart. There’s no denying Abdi’s talent for sculpture, but he tends to get in over his head. Time and again he complains about not having enough time to complete something to his liking, and he’s frequently forced to change his game plan at the last minute. The preview for the final episode shows another sculpture going to pieces—not exactly a surprise. He’s also done the pop art thing a few too many times.
Chance of Winning: 20%. A win isn’t inconceivable, but Abdi will have to pull out all the stops to overtake the frontrunner.
Number of Wins: 3
Number of Times in the Bottom: 1
Strengths: OK, I’ll admit it. I have a big crush on Miles. He often comes across as two-faced, difficult, and pretentious, but he’s pretty damn adorable. He’s also a great artist. I don’t know if it’s an act, as some have speculated, or if that’s genuinely just the way he is—honestly, I don’t care. Miles makes great art and he makes for great TV. His pieces aren’t the kind of art I’d usually be drawn to, but he sells them so well that they tend to be my favorites. Also, did you see his bare ass last week? Just saying.
Weaknesses: OCD, for one. Although Miles has used his condition as inspiration for a few challenges, it can also cripple him into inactivity. An attack of anxiety this close to the end could prove disastrous. He’s also been judges’ darling from day one, which might mean they’ll give us a different winner. This is still a reality show after all—and Bravo needs to keep things interesting.
Chance of Winning: 75%. Just give him the title already. He was made for this show.
Which of the remaining contestants do you want to see win?