I like Daniel. Daniel is America's gay boyfriend. But he choked. It turns out that, for all his technical skill and the improvisatory ability that served him well in weekly competition, he wasn't ready for a full-collection runway show. Half his pieces were ugly and the other half had nothing interesting or special about them -- you could see them on the rack at Banana Republic. Chloe, frankly, was kind of a joke, with those plasticky materials and grotesque throws and, as you point out, the overuse of the openings-in-the-back motif.

Santino's clothes, though, were beautiful, sexy, elegant, and wearable. Of the three collections, his was the only one that looked like it was made by someone who likes women's bodies.

Santino's strategy: (i) Use flashy, overwrought clothes and an arrogant-prick love-to-hate-him persona to make it to the final three. (ii) Reveal your softer side the episode before fashion week. (iii) Bust out these lovely subtle dresses that no one knew you had in you in the final round. The trouble was that the arrogant-prick thing worked too well, and there was no way they could let him win. When Nina Garcia told him she wondered what had happened to his individuality, you could see him realize: The fix is in.

I fear the credibility of Project Runway has been badly tarnished. Reality shows that are perceived to monkey with the results for narrative purposes have been known to lose all their popularity between one season and the next (cough cough Joe Millionaire). Viewers generally won't get fooled again.