'Face Off': McKenzie Westmore thinks 'it needed to be shaken up a little'

mckenzie-westmore-face-off-gallery-syfy1-325.jpgMcKenzie Westmore always enjoys hosting "Face Off," but she admits it's nice to have even more familiar faces around her this time.

Season 5 of Syfy's makeup competition series starts Tuesday (Aug. 13), marking the first time new contestants have been challenged by returning contenders. After four earlier rounds, former " Passions" co-star Westmore felt the time would come for such a ... well, face-off.

"As I was seeing these faces come in," she tells Zap2it, "it was like, 'OMG!' I've still kept in touch with some of these people from afar, so it was really interesting as the host to be seeing them again, having had that familiarity but also having to build that with the newcomers.

"I'm always there with open arms for anyone who walks in, but I always love to be that smile for a newcomer as they walk into 'Face Off.' "

Westmore has no worries about being able to deal with all the contestants on the same level: "There's still some concern for the veterans as well, because there are some really good newcomers. It's not as easy a trade-off as you might think. The veterans might know their way around the lab, but there are newcomers who will truly impress the viewers, I think."

They also have to impress Westmore's father, Oscar-winning (for "Mask") makeup master Michael, who's back as a mentor to the contestants. Several other experts of the trade - Ve Neill ("The Hunger Games"), Glenn Hetrick ("Heroes") and Neville Page ("Avatar") - return as "Face Off" judges, with "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke a guest on the first new episode.

"Lots of times when you watch a movie, you know a particular artist worked on it," reasons Westmore, "because they just have a signature style to their makeup. And maybe some of the [competing] veterans saw that and maybe needed to branch out, instead of giving it that same flair. Maybe they needed to try a different style."

However, Westmore notes of the Season 5 contest, "I like that it's veterans versus newcomers and not just all veterans ... though I think it would be cool to do that, too, at some point. I just think it needed to be shaken up a little."
Photo/Video credit: Syfy