Does anyone else sense that “Project Runway” is getting progressively crueler to its contestants? At first I was thinking Heidi’s “ve vill make you wuhk” accent was swaying me, but no, I think the producers are gradually getting on the mucktastic reality TV show bandwagon with the goal of making their little designers cry, freak-out or come to blows. Start plying the designers with margaritas and this dog-and-pony show will be ready for VH1.

[Full recap of Thursday (Jan. 21) night's "Project Runway" after the break...]

Take, for instance, this week’s challenge. The designers must consult with their models (often a taste-challenged bunch in the past) in order to make a party dress out of... a burlap potato sack. Really? Really? Why not demand the designers make ballgowns out of used diapers or eight-foot sheets of drywall? Just to drive home the humiliation, the models get to pick their designers this week (waaah?) and must wear un-reimagined burlap sacks at the beginning of the challenge, just to prove that a) this challenge is going to suck and b) actually, really gorgeous women can NOT wear anything and look great.

Emilio thinks this is the most important challenge in which to get immunity. Emilio is right. Some of the designers are dying their burlap, some are sketching cute little tulip-shaped skirts, Anna Marie is covering her fabric with yukky potato prints, but all of them are stressed because hello, burlap is itchy, yucky stuff that should only be worn in Monty Python movies.

So, it’s no surprise when these already grouchy designers start sniping at one another. Mila can’t BELIEVE her model would pick Anthony over her, and passive-aggressively insults him left and right. For a 40-year-old who looks 50, she certainly acts 15. She must be a dream in a relationship. Miss Thing should go home, get a decent dye job, a jawline lift and an attitude adjustment and leave us all alone.

Finally, Tim comes in to break things up/judge everyone’s work. He likes Pamela’s ombre dye job, but he’s worried about her dress being one piece instead of two. He thinks Mila is compromising her integrity by using tulle, which is pretty funny when you think about it. Tim is flabbergasted by Jay’s overly ambitious plan to dye and then detail. He’s intrigued by Ping’s outfit, but suggests she try to cover her model’s crotch, which seems like a good suggestion. He loves Amy’s dip-dye fabric, but thinks she shouldn’t listen to her model’s desire for puff sleeves. Tim busts Jesus for covering his burlap with other fabrics. But Jesus says Jesus has to be Jesus, so I think Jesus is going home.

Oh, good news, by the way. Janeane seems to have calmed down, or at least reached that state of calm you see in people right before they pull out a semi-automatic weapon and shoot up a post office. So, either she’s all better or there’s going to be lots of drama, so it’s a win-win either way.

Goody, it’s runway time!

Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and American icon Lauren Hutton are the judges. Hey, finally, an American icon who isn’t, say, just famous for having a sex tape or being in dire need of rehab or being friends with an even richer bimbo. Let’s hope the show continues in this vein, as I’m afraid the show’s going to start plumbing the depths of reality TV and one week we’ll be subjected to the fashion insights of Snooki.

Anthony
Pretty damn gorgeous. Cute strapless with cool gathering at the bottom of the skirt. I’m sure Mila’s former model was happy to have jumped off the bitch ship with this result.

Ping
Oh. My. God. The model’s ass is hanging out. This episode may have to be NC-17. And that’s to say nothing about the pockets, if you can call them that. Girlfriend, they didn’t ask for Viktor and Rolf burlap nesting dolls, they wanted a party dress. Oh, this is bad, Ping.

Ben
Adorable one sleeved dress with a full skirt. Good job, Ben.

Mila
Very modern with a metallic detail that works. Too bad, as I did want Bitchypants to fall on her face.

Anna Marie
Pretty, but the potato print makes it look like a daytime dress, not evening wear.

Jesse
Since when do pants constitute a party dress? Naughty, naughty, Jesse.

Seth
Fun dress, and I like the hood. Seth isn’t emerging as an interesting person, but there still may be hope for him as an interesting designer.

Amy
The handkerchief skirt with the dip dye job is very chic. I love this. I’d wear this. Nice, nice, nice.

Janeane
Not bad, but not great. But Janeane’s happy, so everyone will live to see another day, and that’s something.

Jay
I’m amazed he sent anything down the runway, so I’m already impressed. But I’ve got to say, the skirt is amaaaaazing. Looks like feathers. How did he do that? It’s stinkin’ burlap, people!

Emilio
Nice fit, but I’m worried Emilio only does stripes.

Jesus
There is so little burlap in this dress, I think Jesus should go home.

Jonathan
Great dress, doesn’t look like burlap. Of course, the show is running short on time, so we’re only seeing dresses for about half a second at this point, but this does seem nice.

Maya
Nice use of ruffles and layers. Maya hates it, but honestly, she did a great job.

Pamela
Hey, it does look like denim, but doesn’t look like evening wear. Unless you’re Britney Spears circa 2004. And it doesn’t seem to fit well. Ick.

So, on the carpet are Amy, Jesus, Mila, Ping, Pamela and Jay. Yeah, I think anyone who got named after Ping new they either did a great job or completely screwed up.

Heidi starts with Jay. Michael thought the skirt was made of feathers. Lauren thought it looked expensive. Despite fearing he wouldn’t even finish his outfit, Jay is in the top this week.

Pamela, however, is not. Nina tells Pamela her dress is too short and too tight. Michael says the model would have looked better in a potato sack, but he likes the dye job.

Unfortunately, Heidi loves Mila’s dress. Michael is grossed out by the gaping over the boobs. It is a cool dress, though.

As predicted, Ping is in the bottom. Ping starts crying even before the criticism starts. Everyone feels too bad to rip her apart, so they just gently move on to Jesus.

Heidi asks about his burlap percentage. She doesn’t like the lack of burlap. Lauren thinks it’s a crap dress. Nina thinks it isn’t cool. Jesus, hope you packed.

Michael loves Amy’s dress. Lauren thinks she’s made burlap work as a dress material. It is a great dress.

Once the designers are shuffled off the stage, the judges get to talkin’ (hey, it’s burlap sack week, I’m just trying to be theme-y). Everyone loves Amy’s dress. Heidi wants Mila’s dress, and Jay’s skirt just wows them all. Not clear who the winner is, but I’m thinking Amy, as she stayed truest to the challenge and didn’t disguise her burlap bag.

Now for the losers. Michael hated the asymmetrical ass on Jesus’ dress. Nina is concerned over his love of brown. Heidi wonders if Ping doesn’t understand the challenge. Lauren thinks she could have done something interesting with that outfit, and Michael agrees. She may not go home after all. Michael can’t believe Pamela made her model look fat. Heidi points out that it was well-made and well-dyed, so I don’t think Pamela is going home.

Execution time! But first, the winner. Amy is... in. Jay is... the winner! Suck it, Mila! Heidi tries to fake him out by telling him he’s in, which is even better, because you just know Mila’s black little heart lit up for a second there. She leaves the runway with a tight little smile and you know she’s thinking she’s going to take Heidi out someday.

Ping is... in! Go figure. Jesus is... in? Why? He totally ignored the point of the challenge! Pamela is out. Honestly, I think this is pretty unfair. Jesus’ dress was plug ugly plus he ignored the challenge, while her dress was just kind of tacky. Plus, he’s sucked two weeks in a row. I call foul!

Pamela cries because she fell in love with everyone, so it’s probably good she got eliminated this early because when the other designers start getting mean it’ll break her nice little heart.

Ooh, next week it’s teams of two, so we may actually get to see the fistfights the producers so badly want to incite. I hope “PR” doesn’t turn into Train Wreck TV, but the truth is, even if it does, I’ll still watch.

Do you think Jesus and Ping deserved to stay? Did you think Jay deserved to win over Amy? And why do you think Mila’s such a crank?