The Stalking Satan Assignment
After narrowly escaping the bottom two last week, Jason told the camera he was ready to “unleash” his creativity (saying and gesturing the word “unleash” once for every highlighted hair on his head). Maria fawned over John, and Dean was smug and secure as usual. Russell then threw the final four a curveball, telling them they would abandon their usual control over environment and subject, and instead try their hands as paparazzi. Jason apparently has had bad run-ins with the paparazzi due to his mom’s career as a hair-stylist to the stars. (Two questions come to mind: When was the last time you saw paparazzi hounding a hair-stylist? And also, does Jason’s mom do his hair? If so…really?) He proceeded to equate the assignment leader, paparazzi photographer David Aguilera, to Satan and calling him a stalker with a camera.

When the four finalists arrived to the red carpet assignment, they came face-to-face with mountains of silicon and rivers of bleached blonde hair. (Jason: “It looks like a society wedding sponsored by an adult video distributor.” And the nonsensical analogy count climbs higher and higher.) The show never really explained who these people were, or why paparazzi were all up in their business, but the contestants jumped in anyway with schemes to get the porn star imitators to give their cameras some love. Jason stood back, cuddling his camera like a security blanket, Maria and John won smiles by shouting compliments, and Dean sidestepped the more experienced paparazzi with his subtle Slavic charm. (“I just look at people and they get out of my way. I don’t know why.”) Russell picked Maria’s comedic shot as the best image, and since there are too few contestants now to form teams, her shot won her a lunch with the Aussie judge. We’re sure her smile and lack of a Y chromosome didn’t help with that prize choice or anything.

The Star-struck Stoned Assignment
Marie Claire Editor-at-Large Joyce Caruso Corrigan met the four now-veteran paparazzi in a dusty tumbleweed-friendly, steaming hot corral in the middle of nowhere. (Must be where she holds meetings with Anna Wintour to plot their world takeover and the end of polyester.) Then Corrigan escorted them to a nearby airport runway, where they found James in the middle of a photo shoot with Joss Stone. Given 15 minutes each to shoot the R&B singer, John wasted too much time frantically pulling in props, Dean put Stone in the harsh runway light, Maria treated her with the usual charm and care, and Jason lost her in a sea of his own conceptualization. (“I’m shooting as if we’re in the middle of nowhere back in the ’30s shooting a silent film. My wife still has my heart, but for that moment in time Joss had my soul.”) Stone was patient and smiling through all four shoots, even giving the sweaty nerve-wracked photographers some encouraging hugs.

The Final Shot
The judges loved Dean’s picture of Stone stranded in the middle of the runway with only a few pieces of luggage to keep her company, then told Dean the image would run in the January issue of Marie Claire. According to the judges, Dean was able to balance shooting celebrity, situation, and fashion all at once. John and Jason sweated it out in the bottom two, with Jason going home for grasping at creative director and graphic designer titles instead of focusing on getting the shot. In next week’s finale, the three finalists will live the hard life doing a Victoria Secret photo shoot in Hawaii. We think the real competition will be between Dean and Maria in a final Beauty and the Beast showdown.