Chrissy Metz, LeAnn Rimes and Mark Montano Talk New Crafting Competition Meet Your Makers Showdown
Meet Your Makers Showdown is no casual DIYer's crafting show.
"It's very advanced and a lot of techniques," the show's host Chrissy Metz tells PEOPLE about the Discovery+ competition series, which challenges top artisans from across the country to showcase their skills to win a $10,000 prize.
Metz, who admits she is a novice when it comes to crafts herself, supports the four contestants in each episode as singer LeAnn Rimes serves as inspiration judge and designer Mark Montano uses his knowledge as a craft expert judge.
"I used to scrapbook and people used to pay me to scrapbook for them. It was my little side hustle," the This Is Us actress, 41, says. "But these are true artists who have been studying this for quite some time and I can't even begin to understand how it all happens."
The six-episode series will focus on six artistic categories including artisanal soap, paper art, fluid painting, stained glass, polymer clay, and candle making.
Rimes, 39, knows a thing or two about the art of candle making.
"I never thought of myself as crafty, but then when I started making candles, I was like, 'Oh, there's a whole new side of me that I discovered.' So I get to expand upon that being part of the show," the two-time Grammy winner tells PEOPLE.
Adds Metz of her costar's craft interests, "She's also very detailed with the things that she wants to do. It's nice to see a judge that actually cares about it, and is really invested."
Montano is also excited to tackle his judging duties. "This really pushes the maker movement, which I love and appreciate, and am part of," he tells PEOPLE. "When I found out LeAnn was going to be a judge and Chrissy [was host], I was like, 'What? This is my life.' I could not believe it. I was so excited." The judging panel will also include a guest expert in each episode.
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Not only is Meet Your Makers Showdown an opportunity for audiences to meet artisans from across the U.S., the show will also be a chance for fans to see a different side of Metz and Rimes.
"What's nice is I can just be myself. I'm not playing a character, which is so different. I'm all about challenging myself and just trying different things," Metz says. "I'm really excited about it. I think people are going to love it. I know I love to see things being made, spoken about and the people who are passionate about what they're making. I'm telling you, it's so impressive. It is so impressive."
Rimes hopes viewers will get to see more than just another celebrity judge on a competition show. "It's a new side of me that people don't really know very well. I'm glad I get to share that, it's a playful side," she says. "For me, it's really important to connect with people in a different way. I'm not coming on here as LeAnn Rimes, I'm coming on as someone who has a passion for creativity."
This will also be the first time fans will see Rimes sharing constructive criticism about things not related to music.
"I'm very picky, I'm very particular. I have a really good eye," The Masked Singer winner says. "I mean, you think about what I do with music too. I create something from nothing, and so I have a really keen eye for detail. I know what sells, I know what people like and most of all, I know what moves me. That's really kind of where I'm coming from as a judge."
Having to eliminate a contestant, no matter how hard they crafted, was the most difficult part of the job for both Rimes and Montano.
"We have a hard time breaking anybody's heart. And to be honest, we have done that," Rimes says. "I mean, it is a competition show, but we didn't realize how hard it was going to be until the very first one when we had to do it. We're like, 'Oh my God, this is like breaking up with someone.' We just realized, as artists, what big hearts we have for other artists, even though we do have to critique their work. We have a lot of empathy because we know what that feels like."
Montano adds, "It hurts us because we, as creators, know what it's like to put your heart and soul into a piece of art. And then to have somebody say, 'Well, maybe you didn't make it to the final round.' And that was hard for us."
Montano, who admits to being "more critical" than Rimes, credits his fellow judge for motivating the contestants. "LeAnn is really good about making sure to point out that they are here for a reason," he says. "They're competing on this show because they are one of the best makers that we can find. We try to be constructive at the same time, but we also really want to let them know that they're on this show because they're good at what they do."
The first episode will showcase the artistry of artisanal soapmaking, one of the crafts that Metz has "absolutely a hundred percent" more appreciation for after watching the contestants compete. "When it looks effortless, it's very difficult," she says. "We're talking about embeds, layers and techniques of incorporating the soaps to the color and how the fragrance dyes the wax. And I'm like, 'Huh? I thought you just put some wax in the little pot.' "
As for whether the show will lead to a craft boom, Montano says he hopes it increases the need for more creative artists.
"People need a creative outlet. I think we're realizing more than ever that creativity is really high when it comes to what we should value. I think as adults, we lose sight of that sometimes," he says. "I think the COVID pandemic gave us a moment to actually come back into connection with that, and I don't think people are going to let that slip away."
Meet Your Makers Showdown premieres Nov. 27 on discovery+.
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