Project Runway 2 concludes and Top Chef debuts tonight on Bravo

Project Runway 2 concludes tonight at 10 p.m. ET, when either Chloe, Daniel, or Santino will win the competition, perhaps only to turn down the show’s prize just like last season’s winner. As the episode begins, we’ll see how each designer handles the last-minute challenge they were given: to design and construct one more piece for their collections with less than 48 hours to go before the runway show.

TV Guide talks to the three finalists; Chloe says the designers were forced to tape the reunion immediately after learning that they had to construct an additional piece; Daniel says that Tim Gunn gave the same skeptical reaction to all three designers but only his was shown; and Santino says the designers weren’t allowed to hook up, or else “that would have been my Plan A, to have sex with everyone.”

Immediately after the winner is crowned, the show hands Wednesday nights at Bravo over to Top Chef, which debuts at 11. It’s a talent-based competition show from the same producers that seems like it could be the next Project Runway.

Tragically, it’s not, and the show is a mess. The first episode’s editing is disorienting, and host Katie Lee Joel’s halting, near-shouting speech will make you long for Heidi Klum. It’s barely possible to follow what’s happening in the first of two challenges, and the second isn’t much better.

The show does demonstrate why its sibling is currently one of (if not the) best reality TV shows on television. As we watch the runway shows, we can judge the fashion; as we watch chefs make food, we can only judge it based upon appearance. And Top Chef‘s judges don’t do a very good job of explaining the food’s taste to us, so we’re disconnected. The chefs may have talent, but we can’t participate in the process in the same we can as we watch people construct dresses. Perhaps the show improves in subsequent episodes, but if not, Bravo won’t have another runaway hit on its hands.

Project Runway 2 and Top Chef [Bravo]