If you’ve been watching Project Runway this season, you know that the judging has been — ahem — problematic, due to the inexcusably long absences of judges Nina Garcia and Michael Kors, a.k.a. Señora Don’t Bore Me and Sir Quips A Lot. Frau Klum did her best anchoring the Runway ship by herself all those weeks, but she can’t do it alone. Nor should she have to! Without the continuity of perspective that the regular judging trio offers week after week, the show suffered…big time. Need I remind you of some of this season’s most egregious judging atrocities? Ra’mon went home, Nicolas won a challenge, Logan’s crappy pants got a pass, and Epperson got the Oktoberfest boot. Not. Acceptable.

But at long last, Nina’s back tonight — and she’s here for the rest of the season, folks! In honor of her return, the irreplaceable Marie Claire editor (pictured on the show) chatted with us about the problematic judging … and how one designer’s auf’ing broke her heart.

Entertainment Weekly: We’ve all been missing you terribly this season. Where have you been for the past five weeks?

Nina Garcia: Oh! Well, thank you for missing me! It’s surprising — I didn’t really think it was going to be noticeable. You know, when the move to L.A. happened, the [production] dates changed. We usually film in June in New York. Michael is around and so am I. But this time they filmed end of September, beginning of October — the months when the fashion shows happen in New York, Milan, and Paris. I had to go do my job as an editor and cover the shows, so that’s where I was. It was really out of my control. And I can’t change my life entirely. I have another job, and Michael has a business, which is even more serious. It’s unfortunate, but it was just timing.

EW: There is a consensus among fans that your absence, as well as Michael’s, has hurt the show. What do you think?

NG: I think that we make a really good team: Heidi, Michael, and myself. We have a really good rapport in terms of deliberating. And perhaps that’s what is missing. And we all bring different things to the table. It’s a combination of personalities that works.

EW: Okay, let’s talk about the judging. I personally can’t believe that you would have allowed Nicolas to win the movie genre challenge with his Ice Queen costume—

NG: [Laughs]

EW: Or that you would have sent Ra’mon home.

NG: Oh, Ra’mon! That upset me. Cause I thought Ra’mon was very talented. He was one of my favorites, actually. When I came back from Europe, he was the first person I was looking forward to seeing. And when I didn’t see him, I was like, [outraged] “Who ousted Ra’mon?! Who did it?! Who killed Ra’mon?!” [laughs] You get attached to some of them. You can’t help it. And that’s the problem with having so many people [filling in on] the show. When you’re there all the time, you know what’s consistent. I know what Ra’mon has shown before. I have it in the back of my mind. Even if he has a bad challenge, I know what he’s capable of. But when I’m disconnected for a few weeks, it’s harder for me to connect with the history of what he is doing. And the same goes for the judge that comes in. They’re really judging them on that particular date.

EW: The lack of continuity has been hard for the designers. It puts them at a disadvantage, I think.

NG: Right. Yeah, I agree. I do agree with that. The only person that has been consistent is Heidi.

EW: You laughed when I mentioned Nicolas’ Ice Queen outfit. So, wouldyou have put that thing through?

NG: [Laughs] I can’t comment because it’s somebody else’s decision. It’s done. But yeah, I would have done things differently. Some things would have been different.

EW: Are you going to tell me which ones?

NG: [Laughs] No.

EW: What about Epperson? Another controversial elimination!

NG: Oh…I do agree with the decision to eliminate him.

EW: Even over Logan’s hideous pants?

NG: Ah… Well, you see, I don’t know. [Laughs] You know… that’s hard. Yes, maybe not over Logan. I wasn’t there and I saw it on video, but it’s not the same as when you experience it sitting there in person.

EW: Moving forward into future seasons, will you try to make a point to be there as much as possible?

NG: Yes, yes. Moving forward, it’s back to New York and we’re all there. And we’re all happy to be there! We’ve finished season seven.

EW: And you don’t have any long stretches of absences?

NG: No, none of us! We’re all there the entire time. We’re all there. Nobody missed anything. Nobody was even sick. Nothing!

So there you go, Runway fans. Nina was pretty honest, no? Tell me what you think in the comment section. But before you do that, be sure to click below for the second episode of Project Runway Talk, in which Epperson vents about the suckosaurus season six judging too!

Photo Credit: Mike Yarish/Lifetime

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Karlie Kloss and Christian Siriano guide undiscovered designers through the harrowing rites of fashion.

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