The Wife:

Proving that she is totally on top of the cultural pulse, Tyra decided to do an ANTMAmerica’s Best Dance Crew crossover episode . . . four seasons too late. Granted, ANTM and ABDC churn out seasons at breakneck pace (giving us two a year), so they’re in good company on that front, but it somehow felt incredibly stale for her to teach the models how to use dance by sending them to learn moves from first season winners Jabbawockeez with the guidance of Lil Mama and Benny Ninja. Her point in using the Jabbawockeez, who wear masks during their performances and yet still create completely effective dance works, is valid, which is to say that sometimes a model can’t just rely on her face to convey an emotion. But the execution of the challenge reminded me of, well, this Sesame Street segment:

She asked the Jabbawockeez to perform happiness, sadness and anger, and then asked the models to follow suit. Exactly like Muppet Don Draper makes lackeys Muppet Pete Campbell and Muppet Paul Kinsey do in the Sesame Street Mad Men parody. The Jabawockeez and muppets did this adequately. The models failed. Even Dancer Ashley couldn’t choreograph a cohesive dance piece for her competitors that demonstrated anything worthwhile. I’m presently trying to banish said dance pieces from my mind, because they were all fucking terrible.

Marginally less terrible than the others was the team of Jennifer, Kara and Rae, who won 17K in jewelry. Then the girls were taken to Vegas for a photoshoot involving Cirque du Soleil, which I am pretty sure Mr. Jay could just join anytime he wants to. He makes a good host for a carnival of horrors, and I’m pretty sure that end is achieved through years of practice on ANTM. (Alternately, I think he’d make a great flight attendant. I mean, we all heard how nicely he promoted TSA regulations on that “You’re Going to Vegas” video, right?)

Alternate career for Brittany: playing Magenta in Rocky Horror.

Alternate career for Brittany: playing Magenta in Rocky Horror.

But as excited as I usually am by all things cirque and carnival related, this shoot with members of Mystère was sort of blah, even though photographer Mike Rosenthal had the distinction of shooting the actual Sideshow shoot back in Cycle 7. I think part of the problem here is that the girls had to work in groups, which I agree is an important skill to learn, but was also limiting here, not only to the girls, but also creatively. Making the girls pose in groups disallowed anyone to tell a story with the final image. All of the shots ended up being cloudlike women posing listlessly with masked circus acrobats. I mean, what is that even about?

  • Brittany: “I think it’s the Bride of Frankenstein’s second cousin, who is a model.” — Tyra. Because the Bride of Frankenstein herself would never book a modeling job. With that hair.
  • Rae: She did a really admirable job of pushing herself out from the background of this picture and looking mildly alive.
  • Jennifer: Her photo is lifeless and her outtakes from the shoot are even worse. Possibly the worst I’ve ever seen on ANTM.
  • Laura: She worked the pole on the fringes of this shot. It was great, but incredibly strippery. Props to her for looking alive, though.
  • Ashley: Bleh! Bleh! Bleh!
  • Kara: She looks absolutely hideous in this picture, but the judges seem to like her face for some reason I will never understand. Kara is one of those girls who looks pretty in person, but photographs like a Drag Queen from Outer Space.
  • Erin: I think she’s totally lost in this photograph, but guest judge Josie Marin really likes it.
  • Nicole: It’s a fine photograph, but she really suffered from unfortunate positioning here, wedged underneath the crotch of that acrobat, with the light shining right out of her own crotch. Dreadful, dreadful composition.

    Shes being violated by that light.

    She's being violated by that light.

  • Sundai: I have grown weary of Sundai’s single face in every photograph. She looks like she’s waterskiing in this shot.

Callouts: Tyra awarded the first three spots to the girls who had the best group shot as a whole, so that honor went to Jennifer, Rae and Brittany. She then called girls individually: Laura, Nicole, Sundai and Erin, leaving Ashley and Kara in the bottom two. To my delight, Ashley was kicked out of the competition and Kara stayed. Now it’s only a matter of time before Kara gets the axe, as well . . .

Looking less than ethereal.

Looking less than ethereal.

Some thoughts:

  • “He asked for angry, but I think my dance ended up being way more bipolar.” — Nicole
  • Are all the best dancers really that short, Benny Ninja? I think Cyd Charisse would beg to differ.
  • “It’s not just what mama and daddy did, it’s what I did with it.” — Tyra
  • During their discussion of the photos, the judges said Jennifer was being too sexually forward in her photos. Why is this the standard critique given to every Asian model to ever appear on Top Model? These girls can’t all fall into the stereotype of the sexually exotic Asian woman, can they? Sheena, certainly, but Lazy-Eye Jennifer? Really?

The Wife:

Usually, the Tyra Shoot is my favorite shoot of the season, as I really do like Tyra as a photographer, but this Tyra Shoot was somewhat disappointing. Scarves, Tyra? Your inspiration for these photos actually came from you fucking around on your webcam with your headscarf on before beddy-byes? What inspiration! Couldn’t you at least have made up something about Renaissance paintings or India or old movie stars to make it sound more glamorous than the fact that you came up with this one in your final five minutes of waking consciousness?

Its okay, because Nicole doesnt look all that awake here, either.

It's okay, because Nicole doesn't look all that awake here, either.

Even less inspired than the scarf shoot was the Amazing Race through Wal-Mart CoverGirl challenge in which Nigel Barker and his wife Chrissy instructed the girls to wear cheap-ass “model basics” from Wal-Mart and compete in a foot race against the other girls to then acquire horrible-looking gladiator sandals, their photos, and, finally, put on a face full of CoverGirl lash blast lip slicks mascara gloss radiance whatever. In order to make this less droll, one or two girls got eliminated at each station, leaving on Erin, Sundai and Bianca in the final three. Furthermore, the editors honed in on Erin’s competitiveness and made the whole race about how she pushed people and hurt them and played dirty, which later made her cry in a limo. Look, she shouldn’t have grabbed on to anybody’s arm, but when you’re racing through Wal-Mart, you really shouldn’t even bother to pretend that you’ve got a sense of race etiquette that would keep you to politely running around your competitors, rather than barreling through them. All that didn’t help Erin win, though, because the Barkers liked Sundai’s cheeks, so they gave her some inconsequential prize like being on the Wal-Mart website.

Tyra then did her scarf thing, and gave one girl immunity immediately after the shoot. That girl was Brittany, who has won two things, but Erin thinks two is a million. So Brittany was given the much better prize of shooting with two male models that Tyra just discovered, because this prize, ultimately, had to be about Tyra’s merits, not Brittany’s.

Emerging from Tyras womb.

Emerging from Tyra's womb.

As for the rest of the photos:

  • Brittany: With a golden scarf across her face, this reminded me of an Anne Geddes shot of a baby in muslin.
  • Erin: Is Erin’s deal that she’s ugly pretty? She looked like a raisin in this photo. I do not understand.
  • Kara: Looks like an unpleasant drag queen, which is kind of the point, I guess.
  • Ashley: Her clothing at judging was a hot mess, and this photo was one, too. In fact, Tyra had to change her setting three times during the shoot to even get this disaster. Which just goes to show you: not every girl you pick out of a talk show audience can be a model.
  • Laura: Wearing a playset her meemaw made her to panel that I totally adored, I also adored her photo. She looked like a J.A.L. David odalisque.

    Whats an odalesque?

    What's an odalisque?

  • Bianca: Why is this girl so mad in every photo? She’s got stank face in every damn one of ‘em.
  • Rae: Lovely, lovely, lovely.
  • Nicole: Hunched over in a green scarf, Nicole once again knocked it out of the park.
  • Sundai: A nice, simple beauty shot.
  • Jennifer: This is a nice shot, but is it a beauty shot? It shows more body than face, but it does hide her bad eye . . . so  . . . draw?

Callouts: Jennifer, Rae, Nicole, Erin, Laura, Sundai and Kara, leaving Ashley and Bianca in the bottom two. This being Bianca’s third bottom two appearance, she was finally ousted. Praise Jesus!

The Husband:

So…we can all agree that Nicole is awesome, and certainly the frontrunner, right? Her weirdness hasn’t turned off too many people, has it? Walking around her high school with her books in a wheelbarrow isn’t tooooo strange, is it?

Our precious!

Our precious!

The Wife:

Sometimes it is absolutely impossible to care about what happens on ANTM, and last night was one of those nights. We’re happy to announce that, thanks to our next-door neighbors being friends with people, our cat Calliope has returned home to us. As far as we can tell, she’s alright, just starving. She’s lost a lot of weight, but she’s eating a ton here and, I think, is really grateful to be dry and near her people who will rub her little chinnies and snuggle with her.

But even if my cat hadn’t found her way back to me last night, it still would have been impossible to care about ANTM. Here’s the essence of the show in a nutshell: Lulu and Ashley complain about Bianca any time they are not individually in front of a camera. Now, I do think Bianca has a stank-ass attitude, and I also think she needs to get a new face in her photos that doesn’t look so damn haughty all the time. But Ashley and Lulu’s complaints extend far beyond Bianca’s bad behavior and seem to exist simply so they can have some thoughts in their heads at all. I’m glad sensibly insane Nicole, whom I adore, took the time to socialize with Bianca and have a “very real” conversation about the abusive relationship Bianca was in. I’d forgotten all about where Bianca’s hardness stemmed from, and while I don’t like her more for that reminder, I do like Ashley and Lulu a lot less. You know what’s less becoming on a model than short stature? Pettiness. Just stop it, ladies. Stop it.

The challenges of this episode were all about walking tall and looking tall, which Tyra justified as a necessary achievement for a petite model because if they want to compete, they need to be able to hold their own against gajillion-foot tall Glamazons. I mean, that’s how Kate Moss made it at only 5’7” right? So Miss J taught the girls how to walk tall and lean, and showed them that doing so was, in fact, so easy a 9 year old child named Diva Devanna could do it.

Even this child is bored with this episode.

Even this child is bored with this episode.

He then showed them how to walk in tandem so they could do their challenge — a runway show where each petite girl was paired up with a model 5’10” or greater. Sure, a number of them walked tall, but in the same way that a tall Chihuahua walks next to a Great Dane. Most of them tried to be overconfident, but appeared foolish. Especially the really short girls because the models they were walking with had legs that went up to their boobs. Brittany the Mathematician won the challenge by being both overconfident and graceful, which was apparently the right formula for a good walk, according to Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen Magazine Anne Shoket. Brittany was awarded a prom advertorial in said magazine and got to bring two friends. To my delight, she chose Laura. Inexplicably, she also chose Kara.

The girls were then asked to parlay their tall-walking skills into tall-photographing skills. To me, this seems to be the most sensible challenge Top Model has ever created. Everyone in the industry wants to look tall, long and lean in a photo. Hell, even non-models want that. However, any sensibility of concept was thrown right out the window when I saw the set . . . which was a playground. Because short women are basically nine-year-old runway divas playing at being adults, women, models, etc. To be fair, some of the girls had warehouse equipment to pose with, or twin-sized mattresses or things of that ilk, but the fact that the playground was there was really bothersome. They wanted to put something there to scale it so that the girls posing in front of it would appear taller, but it could have been anything. It didn’t have to be playground equipment. I really wish Bankable Productions would stop infantilizing these tiny women.

  • Erin: In blue high heels, Erin’s legs certainly looked tall and the judges oohed and aahed. Frankly, I don’t get it. I do not get Erin. At all. It’s a fine photo, but Erin is not special.
  • Bianca: Finally, by asking her to think about Jesus, Mr. Jay got some sunshine to emanate from this girl’s generally sour puss. She did not, however, do a very good job of making herself look long, slightly hunched and sitting in the playground rings.
  • Brittany: Homegirl straight-up failed this assignment, which lets me know that she is not into geometry. She lost her neck and shortened her legs and by trying to bring interesting angles to the shot — she just didn’t actually achieve any.

    On the bright side, this would be a good vampire look for when Bill finally turns Sookie Stackhouse.

    On the bright side, this would be a good vampire look for when Bill finally turns Sookie Stackhouse.

  • Sundai: The judges think she looks tall in this shot, stretching her arms up to the sky. I think she looks like she’s 5’3” and can’t reach the cookie jar.
  • Laura: By placing herself on a warehouse flat truck and being its exact length, she shortened herself. To her credit, she looks great in green and her face, as always, was lovely in this shot.
  • Jennifer: Her photo made her appear to be the tallest Asian woman in the world. And no one noticed her lazy eye! Double plus good!
  • Nicole: Once again, Nicole is the best model in this house. In a shot that would make a great promo version for the ballet of The Princess and the Pea or a romantic interpretation of Once Upon a Mattress, Nicole stood a gajillion feet tall. Amazing. Amazing. Win.

    Why is this bitch not getting first photo every goddamn week?

    Why is this bitch not getting first photo every goddamn week?

  • Lulu: On set, Mr. Jay called his Lulu’s worst set to date. Curved around the rainbow bars, she at least alluded to length, even if she was blank in the face because she’d wasted all of her emotions bitching about Bianca.
  • Kara: She managed to achieve what Brittany couldn’t and both looked tall while creating angles.
  • Rae: I think that, with her legs hanging of that palate, she looked tall, but the judges tell me my knowledge of angles is incorrect.
  • Ashley: The judges liked her angles here, but she totally failed at smizing. DO NOT FAIL AT THE SMIZE.

In the end, Kara, Nicole. Erin, Sundai, Jennifer, Bianca, Laura, Ashley and Rae all continued on in the hopes of becoming America’s Next Top Model, leaving Lulu and Brittany in the bottom two. And because Brittany is another person Lulu complained about, that meant she got to stay while little lezzie Lulu got to go home to her girlfriend.

Know what’s more interesting than models complaining about stuff? A cat.

Stray thoughts:

  • So, I guess we don’t have any “My Life as a Covergirl” commercials this year. I presume this is because Teyona did not test well on camera last year, which I’m pretty sure I wrote about. Extensively.
  • The good news is that we’re still getting Nigel’s “Top Models in Action” spots, from which I was glad to learn that McKey has graced the pages of Vogue Knitting. Someone get me that back issue!

The Husband:

I don’t have much to say, but I do feel proud for simply looking at designer Kevan Hall and proclaiming that he had to be the brother of actor (Chicago Hope, Romeo + Juliet) and director (Gridlock’d) Vondie-Curtis Hall. I know my 90s actors, and people who look like them. I would not have guessed, though, that Kevan was straight, but therein lies my constant misconceptions about the world of fashion, about which my wife is far more knowledgeable.

The Wife:

Last night, the girls were given a non-challenge/actual real world opportunity that seemed cribbed off Petra Nemcova’s short-lived TLC series A Model Life, which, of all the modeling series I’ve watched, was certainly the most realistic in terms of its portrayal of the process of becoming a model. Nemcova’s show set six international models up with an agency on a trial, booked them jobs and go-sees as a group and then asked the girls to use those skills to book their own jobs. There were no challenges and no prizes. No winners and no losers. Well, except for Angelika, who was fired from the agency for being insolent.

Instead of giving the girls a preliminary challenge, Tyra sent the girls to meet with Sean Patterson, their potential new boss at Wilhelmina Models. They interviewed with him (with Nigel Barker’s assistance, for some reason), and walked for him. At the end of their time with Patterson, Nigel and Sean announced that one girl would be cut, because she basically had no potential as a model. And that girl was Rachel of the Doe Eyes, who made the obvious mistake of telling Nigel and Sean that she had musical theatre training but, when asked to perform, couldn’t come up with a song to sing. My husband felt this was somewhat unfair, but I don’t think so at all. Rachel shot herself in the foot by telling them that she had theatre experience, but then being completely unable to perform. I realize that musical theatre is fairly unrelated to modeling, but in base concept, she told them she knew how to perform, and couldn’t deliver on that promise. And so, she was let go. I’d say it was shocking, but the only shocking thing about it was that I’d forgotten she’d been eliminated and so, when the girls are digitally removed from their group shot at the end of the episode, I was completely taken aback to see two women in rope bikinis disappear.

But that attempt to assert the realness and seriousness of televised modeling competitions pretty much went out the window the minute Tyra showed up as SuperSmize for the girls’ actual challenge. As any ANTM fan knows, “smize,” of course, means smiling with your eyes. And Tyra, after hammering home that concept for 13 seasons now, decided she needed to change up that tired adage by coining a new word (a new, super dumb word, if you ask me) and dressing up as a super hero to battle an evil photographer with her incredible ability to smile with her eyes. I’m sorry, smize. Tyra is only trying to save me keystrokes, here.

Something about these smize just aint right . . .

Something about these smize just ain't right . . .

After showing the girls how to do this act, with her usual amount of batshit crazy coaching techniques, she made the girls come to her “Fortress of Fierceness” dressed as pink and purple ninjas to have a smize-off with other girls. First of all, Tyra may sound insane when she’s coaching the girls on her patented modeling techniques, but I will admit that she gets results. Secondly, I’m glad the production design for the Fortress of Fierceness was somewhere between the old Adam West Batman series and Barbarella. I suddenly feel like I should turn my murder basement into a Fortress of Fierceness, complete with bleepy-bloopy machines with pictures of eyes on them and knobs that don’t do anything.

The modelettes stood before Tyra in their ninja leotards, faces entirely covered except for their smizing eyes, as Tyra’s “machines” gauged which girl better executed the concept of the smize. The winners of each heat were awarded a dinner with potential boss Sean Patterson and given nice fancy dresses to wear, while the losers were taken to the same restaurant and employed as dishwashers. The prize makes sense, but the punishment doesn’t. Models in a kitchen? Bizarre. I really didn’t need to see cutaways of the girls washing dishes, proclaiming that food remnants “look like throw-up.” No need to drive home their body dysmorphic disorders! We all already know!

The next day, the girls were taken to Santa Anita Racetrack to pose “nude” on horses with jockeys. Naturally, some requisite bullshit was said about how Seabiscuit was short and he beat other horses and blah blah blah. My husband was an extra in Seabiscuit. I’m sure he can tell you all about that. I like the idea of this shoot, however, I have to question a few things:

a)      Why even have the jockey on the horse? Was it just to make those girls look taller?

b)      Being topless in a photo does not equate nudity. It equates toplessness. Don’t promise me nudity but only give me toplessness.

c)      It seemed like the styling of the shoot was working against some of the girls. Half of them were styled in this sort of faux-Victorian/Edwardian fashion with a lot of ruffles and cream-colored accessories. But other girls were basically wearing fetish gear in black and leather. All of the girls, however, were asked to be soft. And many of the girls who had issues with the shoot were the ones who were styled “hard,” where as the demurely styled girls ultimately read as demure on film. I question the execution of the intent. Some of the girls might have performed better if the conceit were better explained. It’s definitely possible to be soft in fetish gear, but I don’t think that juxtaposition was made clear. They were simply told to smize, and that was it.

  • Kara: This shot was dead in the eyes.
  • Ashley: I completely forgot she existed until she complained about something during the dinner with Sean Patterson. She looked bored to death in this shot and, while the judges kind of like its “simplicity,” I can’t believe they aren’t totally cutting into her for the fact that this atrocity was her fucking TEST SHOT and they had to digitally remove the lighting guy. Ugh. If this were MMAS, she’d have cost them a reshoot. (But then again, if this were MMAS, she might end up winning despite that bullshit performance. I HATE YOU, BRANDEN!)
  • Jennifer: We learned earlier in the episode that she doesn’t have full range of motion in her left eye. I hadn’t noticed before, but the minute she pointed it out, it’s all I noticed. Her makeup failed her in this shot, drawing all the attention to that lazy eye. Tyra did give her some good tips on talking to the makeup folks about that eye so that she can work around it.
  • Lulu: Wearing one of the best hats of the shoot, Lulu also ended up with one of the best shots. I begin to develop a theory about the relative goodness of these shots in correlation to the relative greatness of the hats the girls wore.
  • Brittany: Homegirl got to wear the absolute best hat of the bunch and produced what I think is the most dynamic shot of the bunch. She lay across the horse’s back, a feat downright magical in its effect.

    Not quite as sexy as Jonathans horsey shot from Make Me a Supermodel, but . . .

    Not quite as sexy as Jonathan's horsey shot from Make Me a Supermodel, but . . .

  • Bianca: The judges like her lower body in this shot, but can’t stand her blank expression. I agree. This shot blows.
  • Laura: I think Laura’s face is so perfect that I’m not surprised the wound up producing my favorite shot of the night. I mean, this girl has an amazing face for makeup. She’s spectacular.

    Shes gonna do bad things to you . . . like castrate yo ass.

    She's gonna do bad things to you . . . like castrate yo' ass.

  • Sundai: Everything about this shot blows.
  • Rae: As nice as she looked in this shot, I was very distracted by what the jockey was doing. Was he vomiting? Where is his head?
  • Nicole: With her strangeness, she produced another great photograph effortlessly. Also, she had a wonderful feather hat.

    Oh, this ol thing? I use it to pull my wheelbarrow to school.

    Oh, this ol' thing? I use it to pull my wheelbarrow to school.

  • Erin: The judges love the shit out of this, but I think this one had the biggest styling problem. With so much black eye makeup on, Erin couldn’t not look hard. The judges thought she broke through and looked demure, but I disagree.
  • Crutchney: Blah shot. She complained about having to model in her boot, but Tyra made a good point that Mr. Jay asked her to leave it on for insurance purposes. As in, no one wants to have their broken foot recrushed by a horse.

Callouts: Erin, Brittany, Laura, Nicole, Kara, Jennifer, Sundai, Rae, Lulu and Ashley.

I definitely like Erin’s photo less than Brittany, Nicole or Laura’s, so I disagree with that order inherently, but I also think that Rae and Lulu should have been called before Kara, Jennifer or Sundai.

Crutchney and Bianca were left in the bottom 2, which I thought would surely send Bianca home for her stank-ass attitude about makeup and hairstyles. But no, for some reason, they prefer her to Crutchney, and the petite cheerleader was sent home to heal that foot.

The Husband:

True, I am an extra during the final climactic horserace scene in Seabiscuit, and we most definitely did shoot it at the Santa Anita Racetrack where, around 70 years earlier, Seabiscuit made history. I got the gig through Ain’t It Cool News — I use the term “gig” lightly, because I was an unpaid extra just as I was in Spider-Man — and showed up in my sweet pinstripe suit. We had to look period, so I gave my friend Geoff my Bogart-esque raincoat to cover up his polo shirt. And those of us without hats (i.e. most of us) were given cheap period knockoffs to cover up our modern haircuts.

(For the love of me, I can’t find my original set report for AICN, so I’ll try to at least recreate some of the report.)

Most of this didn’t really matter, as you most definitely cannot see most of our faces or the details of our wardrobe in the finished product, but it was still pretty gnarly. Geoff and I were placed in the bleachers, nowhere near the action, so we felt it appropriate to switch seats and entire sections between the long setups happening. (Filming constant action is tough, and it never fails to amaze me that a director doesn’t lose his mind with all the downtime involved in filmmaking.) Unfortunately, we never really got to the handrail where you can really see the extras faces, but I had to presume that those people were actual paid extras who don’t do bullshit like switch sections for fun or steal from the wardrobe department (more on that later). We did, though, get to a spot near the finish line, but who knows if that was the one angle out of a dozen they used in the final film. Still, you can’t really tell who’s who anyway.

The strange part of the whole situation that the unpaid extras weren’t in big enough numbers to fill out the bleachers, so we were placed among blow-up dummy torsos (with heads), who were wearing the same hats we were as well as a tuxedo t-shirt. The remaining holes would be filled in by CGI, which I’m sure means that my shape is actually copied at least a dozen times somewhere among the crowd.

By the end of a very long day (seriously, where is that set report? I talk about the awesome Equestricam they used for getting close-ups of Tobey), Geoff and I had decided to steal the tux t-shirt off of the dummy and then deflate him. Both were able to easily be stolen away inside my raincoat Geoff had on (I’m a much bigger person than he is, so there was plenty of room in the coat). To this day, I still have the hat and the tux shirt.

The Wife:

Remember how there was a riot during the New York auditions for Cycle 13 — excuse me — Le Cycle 13? Well, if you wondered in particular why such tiny women could be so full of hellfire, then I’m sure you got all of your answers in last night’s two-hour premiere of ANTM. Let me tell you all something right now: shawt bitches be crazy.

The diminutive hopefuls all gathered at L.A.’s Biltmore hotel to be cut from 32 to 20 to 14 who would continue on in the hopes of become America’s Next Top Model, but first they had to endure a faux casting session with the “normative” modeling industry, only to be interrupted by faux French Tyra who pronounced, in her approximation of a Parisian accent, that this season would give short girls a chance that they normally wouldn’t get in the modeling industry just because of their height. The short girls rejoiced, and then spilled out a sack of crazy all over my TV.

So tiny, they have to be on a balcony to see stuff.

So tiny, they have to be on a balcony to see stuff.

A sampling of insanity:

  • Amber the Jesus Freak is straight-up insane. I have no problem with her love of the Lord, but it’s pretty clear that she’s got some kind of personality disorder, what with the screaming, histrionics and random-ass dancing. When she posed before panel in her grandmother’s hat (great hat, but TOO DAMN MUCH for an audition), Mr. Jay called her affected. And that says a lot coming from a dude with ice blonde hair. I’m also terrified about her commitment to scream about celibacy.
  • Courtney straight-up broke her foot during a cheer competition and came to this audition in crutches. There is nothing more inappropriately funny than seeing a girl in a bikini on crutches, donning heels and trying to be high fashion. Priceless.
  • If Amber weren’t enough crazy, there’s also Sundai, who is sporting a giant weave made out of what I assume is roadkill and hails from Bakersfield, CA. This chick is insane in ways I can’t even begin to describe.
  • Amber announces that she dances for the homeless. How does one dance for the homeless, exactly?
  • I like Lesbian Lulu a lot. She’s a little saner than the others, but still crazy enough to tattoo her girlfriend’s name on her chest. I appreciate her sense of humor, though, as she’s already thought of modifications to make to that tattoo should she break up with her girlfriend.
  • But I adore Nicole. This redhead is exactly the kind of crazy I like. First of all, I can’t believe she’s only 18 as, in her space cadet way, I believe her when she says she’s more mature than her competitors. What are some other things I like about her? Well, her nickname is apparently “Bloody Eyeball” due to a childhood affliction. She can’t sleep and gets up to paint (pretty well, I might add) at 3 a.m. and she carries her stuff to school in a wheelbarrow. Nicole, please move to Seattle and be my kooky fabulous friend. Thanks.
  • A quote from super-insane pixie Raven, which I will be using at a job interview someday: “I don’t really have any experience, but I’m cute.”
  • Amanda from Louisiana lives in a trailer with her husband and roommates. They do not have a bathroom. This girl is really something, isn’t she?
  • Not one, but two animal castrators! One a farm girl who reminds me of a blonde Felicia Day, the other an upper middle class Bohemian who lived on an island and worked on a farm and her tan.
  • In addition to two animal castrators, we heard three stories of abuse. I feel for those ladies (Bianca, who cut her hair defiantly after her boyfriend beat her; Sundai, whose mother beat her and she ended up in foster care; and Rae, who was abducted and raped), but what, really, does this have to do with modeling and their desire to model? I’m all for sharing your stories and using them to shape who you are (as Rae seems to achieve), but somehow including them in the audition process of ANTM seems a little exploitative. Save that for the Tyra Show, ladies!

Ultimately, Tyra chose a Top 14, consisting of:

  • Jennifer, the Only Asian One
  • Erin, about whom I have nothing to say
  • Rachel, of the Doe Eyes
  • Kara, the Dillettante
  • Lulu the Lesbian
  • Rae
  • Ashley, who was plucked from the Tyra Show audience
  • Brittany the Mathematician from Livermore, CA
  • Bianca
  • Courtney the Cripple, whom I shall henceforth refer to as Crutchy or Crutchney
  • Nicole of the Bloody Eyeballs
  • Amber the Jesus Freak
  • Laura from Kentucky
  • Sundai

The Chosen 14 were sent off to Melrose Avenue and fetched by the Jays for the next round of competition. Mysteriously, Amber the Jesus Freak never appeared and Tyra informed them that she had to leave the show for personal reasons (how . . . nebulous . . .) and that Lisa of the Threaded Brows would be taking her place in the competition.

Immediately, the girls were given makeovers, which I presume is for my benefit so that I don’t forget what any of them look like. The fabulous Sally Herschberger was there to administer the haircuts and Tyra explained her plan for each girl via the Tyra-strator, which is just kooky enough, but way less scary than Magic Mirror Tyra.

This should be her new ID card at Santa Clara University.

This should be her new ID card at Santa Clara University.

  • Brittany had her blonde hair dyed dark, presumably so no one would confuse her with Anna Paquin. I heartily approve.
  • Erin went ice blonde, and it turned out better than I’d expected.
  • Nicole gets her red hair amped up with some saturated color and a crazy-ass giant weave. It is fierce.
  • Rachel goes dark brown, which is a good change for her.
  • Jennifer gets her hair cut only slightly shorter. I deem this not nearly enough change.
  • Sundai gets a Rhianna bob. It’s good times.
  • Lisa gets her hair cut slightly shorter. This is also not enough change.
  • Crutchney gets her dyed redder and cut shorter. She now has a Kim from Cycle 5-ish do. It is super hot.
  • Lulu gets a straight weave and bangs. She now looks like a cute version of Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Flavor of Love 3.

    Thing 3? Quick, someone call Flav!

    Thing 3? Quick, someone call Flav!

  • Bianca gets her eyebrows bleached. She isn’t happy, and I really don’t know how I feel about this.
  • Rae gets her blonde hair iced out. It looks great.
  • Laura gets highlights, which are fine, I guess.
  • Kara also gets highlights and I am indifferent to them.
  • Ashley gets a straight black weave with a center part. This makes an immediate dramatic improvement.

With the exception of Bianca’s reaction to her bleached eyebrows, no one was unhappy with their makeovers and everyone looked very pretty. Dare I say these girls acted professionally? I guess everyone’s crazy goes away a bit when you’re getting an $800 cut from Sally Herschberger (who looks fab with the long shag, by the way).

The girls then headed to their new house, which was funhouse themed because, you see, short models are basically children. For some reason, Tyra’s production people stole mannequins with colorful hair from the Limited Too and put them up around the house, as well as funhouse mirrors and, strangely, an ostrich statue. They were then given a Tyra Mail from the Bankable Productions vault that instructed them that their next photoshoot would somehow involve babies (i.e. make them go “gaga”).

I know my husband disagrees with me, but I find that there’s something inherently disturbing in our cultural infantalization of grown women. And here, not only is Tyra putting these women (if I can call them that, as the median age of the contestants appears to be 18) in a childish funhouse, but the photoshoot actually asked them to model in editorial recreations of their baby photos. Outside of the context of the shoot, many of these photos turned out beautifully and the women in them looked like women. But there were certainly others that didn’t transcend the context and ended up being portraits of grown women pretending to be babies . . . or, in one case, looking like an adult baby at a fetish party. I know that this was meant to be in fun, but I just can’t help thinking that asking adult women to emulate the way they were as children is harmful to women in general. I think it’s also got a little bit of sexualizing childhood to it, which is simply not okay in a world where six-year-olds can buy thongs. I’m sorry, guys, but sometimes I just can’t turn my brain off the way Tyra wants me to. So this photoshoot was a little bit offputting.

Furthermore, at panel, the judges hid themselves behind their own baby photos, and it was most disturbing to see Tyra’s baby picture positioned above adult Tyra’s legs. So wrong. So creepy. Not unlike some of the photos:

Adult Baby Alert!

Adult Baby Alert!

  • Rachel: Her baby photo showed her holding a red purse, so that’s what she did in this picture. I liked this one, but Miss J was right to note that she had one super freaking koala foot for a hand here. It was good, but not great.
  • Ashley: I just don’t like this shot of her melting into a couch. I can’t get past the ookiness of an adult woman in a romper in such a vulnerable position.
  • Brittany: In her baby picture, she was innocently eating a pixie stick. As an adult, I am pretty sure that pixie stick is full of heroin.
  • Jennifer: She was buried in the sand in her baby photo, and her editorial rendition produced one of the best shots of the day as she lay across the sand, looking sexy, but not slutty, and still very regal. If I saw this picture in a magazine, I’d buy whatever perfume it was for.
  • Kara: I do not like the transition between her baby cabbage patch photo and her adult one. I think this was an art direction failure, not necessarily a modeling one.
  • Rae: Her baby photo showed her at the barre, so for her adult photo, she donned eight-inch fetish ballet heels and draped herself so elegantly that she produced easily one of the most ethereal and beautiful shots of the day.
  • Sundai: Sundai’s baby photo was of her clutching plastic cups in a droopy diaper, so they styled her in some diaperesque underwear and asked her to pose with giant plastic strollers and kegger cups. This was, by far, the worst photo of the day. A complete stylistic failure, it was like she was an adult baby waiting to be assaulted at a frat party. And her modeling couldn’t save it.
  • Lisa: She had to be a little clown, and received some of the best photo styling of the day, but unfortunately couldn’t wear that costume. Tragic, because this picture could have been awesome. Her clown neck ruff is so amazing that I want it.
  • Nicole: This crazy bitch was so fibbity fab fab in her harem pants that I’m calling her crazy face for the win right naw.

    The best two of the bunch. Fo sho.

    The best two of the bunch. Fo sho.

  • Laura: This ended up being a lovely beauty shot of her, posing with a baby doll (meant to emulate her baby sister), but the dead dolly in it was really disturbing.
  • Bianca: Eh.
  • Erin: I liked her shot, but I also don’t remember it today.
  • Lulu: The styling of Lulu’s shoot was even more offensive than Sundai’s, as she posed in a romper with pig tails and pouted, but I ultimately liked this shot.
  • Crutchney: She produced the most artistic shot of the bunch, staring at herself in the mirror like a baby narcissist.

Shes this fabulous just lying down.

She's this fabulous just lying down.

Callouts: Rae, Nicole, Jennifer, Ashley, Courtney, Erin, Lulu, Rachel, Laura, Kara, Brittany and Sundai, leaving Bianca of the Rotten Attitude and Lisa of the Threaded Brows in the bottom two. Ultimately, Lisa was booted because she has no personality whatsoever, where Bianca’s stank attitude is, at least, a personality.

Stray thoughts:

  • Miss J was never a child, but, like Athena, sprang forth into the world, fully formed. At least, that’s what his lack of a baby picture told me.
  • Guest judge Chanel Iman had nothing at all to say. What a waste.

The Husband:

It’s not that I disagreed with my wife’s assessment of the disturbing nature of the infantilization of women. I just shooshed her because I wanted to see what kind of crazy was happening onscreen. You do not talk over Mr. Jay, foo’!

The Wife:

Even America’s Next Top Model knows that The Amazing Race is the best fucking reality competition program on television, and you should all tune in to see hunky Phil Koeghan tell you about the world while forcing teams of two to complete totally weird and random tasks that marginally teach both the racers and viewers about the cultures of the countries they’re visiting. Actually, I totally wish Tyra could have gotten Phil to pop up to announce ANTM‘s very, very easy version of TAR. Phil knows a lot about fashion. Here, listen to him talk about how much he loves Russian boots (complete with techno soundtrack!).

So after boarding that ANTM standard aircraft with the models’ heads photoshopped into the windows, the girls arrived in Brazil and were greeted by Fernanda Motta, host of Brazil’s Next Top Model, who would later appear on judging panel and prompt Tyra to proclaim that a version of ANTM appears in over 120 countries. When she said that, I expected one of the modelettes to pipe up, wide-eyed (but not as wide-eyed as the Lemur) and say, “Really, Tyra? I didn’t even know there were that many countries in the world!” Because that’s generally the kind of idiocy exhibited on Top Model. And, hell, with the way Natalie was acting in this episode, I am now completely shocked that such a statement didn’t come out of her mouth. But I’ll get to that later!

First, Fernanda told the girls about the origin of that ubiquitous piece of MuZak “The Girl from Ipanema,” heard in elevators and piano lounges across the land. It’s based on a real person, model Helo Pinhiero, and if the girls completed their shoddy version of TAR, they would meet the legend that inspired the song. Lemur did not disappoint me at all when she expressed her disbelief that she would meet someone who inspired a famous song, because that’s as close to actual fame as she’ll ever come. Other than Tyra, of course.

Fernanda told the girls to pair up, sent them to their cabs and made them race to a flower shop to find Helo’s favorite flower, which just so happens to be the Bird of Paradise. They then raced to a park where, once all of the teams arrived, a band broke out into an appropriately MuZak-y rendition of “The Girl from Ipanema” and Helo descended the staircase in some strange, swishy white terrycloth pants, dancing to her song – all to tell the girls in her delightfully Charo-esque accent that the song was inspired by the way she move her hips like zees and to give them the keys to their new home in Sao Paulo! Not like it really matters, but Fo and Natalie technically won the race because they delivered Helo’s flowers first, which won them the strangest prize I have ever seen: baskets of Swarovski crystal-encrusted Havania flip flips.

Um, what?

Look, I realize that ANTM apparently doesn’t have a budget this year, what with their sad confetti celebration last week where they couldn’t even afford a costume for that poor nude male model, and that whatever budget they did have went to getting a new ANTM travel map graphic for the photoshopped plane sequence (to make it look slightly more TAR-ish), but giving someone a basket of $30 and under shoes, “classed up” with garish bedazzling just to make them more expensive is not a prize. The phrase “polishing a turd” comes to mind. They’re in fucking Brazil, home of amazing shoe designers – why not throw some limited edition Gabrielle Rocha their way? Ah, because that would be a real prize, not at all befitting a totally perfunctory competition such as the Amazing Model Race.

Natalie expects their new house and spends most her time complaining that they don’t have a pool. Aminat then complains about her, because Aminat is a hater, but it turns out that pretty much no one likes Natalie, which is fine by me. The first Correlo de Tyra arrives, reading: “Fight or flight? You better give me both.” And the girls are ferried off to the location of their teach/challenge involving the Brazilian martial art of capoiera, a word I had been trying to think of since I saw the preview last week where Celia kicked Aminat in her hater head. Thank you, Top Model, for solving this mystery for me. I park near someone at BART that has a “capoierista” sticker on her car, and I have been wondering what that is for the longest time. Now I know to never fuck up that girl’s car, because she will kick me in the head just like Celia did to Aminat. Clearly, I find that action so amusing that I could watch it over and over and over again.

Celia, kicking ass and taking names.

Celia, kicking ass and taking names.

After the girls learned a few moves, they were taken to meet the Js and photographer Paschoal Rodriguez, who asked them to utilize the fighting skills they had just learned in their modeling. The winner of this challenge would receive 50% more frames in their next photo shoot . . . frames that would be stolen from another girl. Teyona kind of forgot there was a camera that she was supposed to model for and delivered a photo in which she actually looked like a turtle. Celia looked like she was doing well in the shoot, but blocked her face in every shot. Fo and Allison looked the most model-fighter in their shots, while Natalie basically did the can-can. Amina looked tough, but, unfortunately, can’t make a good face in a photo to save her life. Thus, Fo was awarded the win, and, in retribution for not being chosen for the Seventeen shoot last week, stole half of Teyona’s frames for their upcoming shoot, thus officially driving a deep rift between the two girls.

Corrello de Tyra Numero Dos appeared and informed the girls that “tomorrow, you will enjoy the fruits of your labor.” And that very next day they were taken to a favela, a poor neighborhood in Sao Paulo where they would inexplicably dress like Carmen Miranda and try to embody her in a fashionable way in the shoot. Natalie got all uppity about being in Brazil’s version of the ghetto, which made me want to punch the bitch in the face. When you are lucky enough to be able to shoot on location, you do not complain about what that location is. You work there, do your job, and go sleep in your comfortable hotel room at night. Furthermore, this favela was nowhere near as impoverished as any neighborhood visited on The Amazing Race. Every year, the racers end up in some off the grid part of India or somewhere in Africa where children play in mounds of trash and families live in shelters made of found materials. This favela was nothing like that. In fact, I’d say it was cleaner and nicer-looking than some low-income neighborhoods in the Bay Area. Racers on TAR are always moved by poverty, and it either makes them grateful for everything they have, or deeply sad that they’re around people who have nothing. Celia expressed that she felt this way, but not Natalie. All that girl could see was that the neighborhood she was in wasn’t nearly as nice as her cozy home of Palos Verdes, California.

You are not in the suburbs anymore, honey.

You are not in the suburbs anymore, honey.

Natalie’s complaints aside, I myself don’t really understand why the girls were dressing as Carmen Miranda in a favela. First of all, Carmen Miranda was born in Portugal and emigrated to Rio, not Sao Paulo. Secondly, I can’t find anything that indicates she grew up in poverty. Her dad owned a barber shop, which to me would indicate that they were pretty securely middle class. In short, this shoot didn’t really make any sense, but it looked pretty, and that’s the whole point, right?

Tyra stole two babies and a pineapple this week for her Guide to Finding Your Inner Fierceness commercial for nothing, and she rambled something to these adorable babies about pursuing your dreams and, when you do, your dreams will bear fierce fruit. So . . . like . . . a cherymoya? Or a durian? Those fruits are pretty fierce, and I definitely do not want my dreams or any other part of myself to bear them. I really think Tyra is rapidly advancing toward a point of complete deconstruction as each week she shows me signs of language breaking down. This show is turning into a David Lynch movie. Next week, I bet those tiny kidnapped babies will be dancing the samba across Tyra’s screaming, crying Naomi Watts-esque visage to a swing track about inner fierceness. Just you wait. It’s going to happen.

In other news, the Brazilian judging room hurts my eyes because it’s so goddamn bright, and I think I went completely blind in my right eye when Miss J’s plaid bowtie entered the frame. On to judgment!

  • Aminat: Paulina complimented her on how luscious her skin looked this week, which she said was because she got some sun, which prompted Tyra to immediately get into mommy mode and warn her against getting too much sun. Aminat interpreted this as Tyra saying that she didn’t want the girl to get any more chocolatey, but Tyra told her it was for her health. I’m glad Tyra cares about skin cancer, which is exactly why she should have me on the damn show! Or at least on The Tyra Show. I’d go on that, especially if I were sharing my airtime with a segment involving trannies. Anyway, Aminat’s picture was declared just okay because she was doing Black Girl Model Pose 101. She continued her stank-ass attitude, though, telling Tyra and the judges that she was doing more during the shoot than what she actually did, at which point Tyra rolled her eyes and Paulina informed her that she is beautiful, but boring.
  • Natalie: Totally blasé photograph in which she looks exhausted. Fernanda tells her she’s missing her spark, and Natalie proceeds to blame her bad photograph on Mr. Jay’s direction. This is a lie, because Mr. Jay actually knows what he’s doing, and Natalie does not.
  • Celia: Tragically, Celia’s photo was really flat this week. Her body looked great, but her face didn’t.
  • Lemur Allison: The Lemur totally and completely rocked this shoot. She was cute, fun, sexy and sassy. She embodied Carmen Miranda without being too literal and gave good face.
Baruch a ta ai dios mio!

Baruch a ta ai dios mio!

  • Fo: Mr. Jay’s take from the shoot was, “It was Carmen Miranda. On crack. As a drag queen.” Nigel’s opinion, on the other hand, was, “Very cute, but it’s as if someone’s done a remake of a Carmen Miranda film.” Either way, that means it’s an actressy photo, not a modely one. And that’s not great.
  • Teyona: Tyra hates the nightie she wore to panel, but thinks she looked sassy in her shot. It’s not very Carmen Miranda, but it is editorial. Tyra then reminded everyone that Teyona had 25 fewer frames than everyone else and delivered this great of a shot, which was impressive. Not impressive? That Tyra actually said Teyona had 25 less frames, further contributing to English speakers’ general confusion between fewer and less, and making me roll my eyes.


Callouts! Lemur, Teyona, Fo and Celia, leaving my two least favorite models in the bottom two. Stank-ass Aminat was given one more chance, although I’m not sure why, and Natalie was sent home, which is fine, because she’s a horrible person and a horrible model. She may have great legs, but I think she should look into a career as a porn star, because she constantly looks like she’s on coke already, so it really wouldn’t be that much of a stretch for her.

The Husband:

My wife told me I should write the following, as it relates to modeling shows on television, despite the fact that it has nothing to do with ANTM.

Two nights ago, I couldn’t get to sleep, so I rummaged through Comcast’s OnDemand function to grab some short three-minute segments. The best are usually provided by either MTV (they have a collection of Jackass short features, for instance) or G4, a channel designed for that ADD-ridden guy with a lisp and a penchant for anime who works a few cubicles down from you. I chose “Cutting Edge,” then “G4,” then chose the “Gears & Girls” section, because I thought hey, since I’m going to sleep soon, it might be a good idea to ogle some PG-13 bikini-clad women so I could have good dreams…uhm…of my wife! (Yeah…that’s the ticket!)

The three-minute feature was called “Superbabes” or something, which was pretty much just that week’s top 10 internet “hotties.” (Disappointingly, only one of them was actually dressed like a superhero.) When the countdown got to #3, I did a double-take. Why, it’s my beloved Lucia Dvorska.

Superbabe? Indeed.

Superbabe? Indeed.

Who is this gorgeous Slovak model? She was a contestant on the stellar TLC series A Model Life with Petra Nemcova, an eight-episode series that aired its final episode almost two years ago at the end of August, 2007. In it, Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova took six various models from around the world and put them through a bout of fashion model training. There was no competition, so technically, as my wife pointed out, there were no “winners,” but three got to do a final shoot in the Bahamas, and another (Angelika, obnoxiously pronounced with the emphasis on the “lik”) definitely ended up as the sole “loser” and was not allowed the final prize given to all the other models – representation by NEXT Modeling – because of her piss-poor attitude, her fighting with the judges and her complete hatred for the modeling industry.

Five of the girls were damn good in various ways, but Lucia, especially, was not only drop-dead gorgeous but seemingly a delight to work with. Despite some competition, especially from Beatrice (the Brazilian minor who was waaaay too young to look so sexy), Lucia was the obvious stand-out, even if some of the judges worried about her weight. (As usual, she didn’t really have weight problem…at all…but looked like an actual woman.)

The next day, I went through the IMDB page of A Model Life, chased a couple links, and found that not only was Lucia now represented by Elite, she was actually in the very Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition that was sitting on my coffee table. (I don’t read SI, and I haven’t really perused the issue, but my wife certainly has.) Lo and behold, there’s that beauty, nearly two years later, from a TLC show that nobody seemed to have watched, doing better than almost every single contestants on ANTM, completely rocking one of America’s most well-known photo shoots. And her online gallery is even better.

(This is where my wife will post a pretty ridiculous picture of Lucia with some wildlife, so I hope she can also find the “other” picture that we can both agree on. She knows which one I’m talking about.)

Nothing says Top Model quite like carrying an ittle wittle lamby wamby in a bikini!

Nothing says Top Model quite like carrying an ittle wittle lamby wamby in a bikini!

Success can come from modeling television shows, and it doesn’t even have to be from a buzzed-about Tyra product. Being a good model, listening to critique, having a good onset demeanor and being an all-around good person does pay off, so let that be a lesson to, say, ANTM’s Sandra or Natalie, who did nothing but hate and bicker. Despite what Janice Dickenson may seem to promote, being a cruel soul can only take you so far. And now, the pleasant Slovak girl, described as a “newcomer” by G4, is the envy of many.

I totally failed when I posted this before, because this is the photo my husband wanted me to post. He liked it because her boobs looked nice. I liked it because I thought she had nice lines. Either way, suck it, CW.

I totally failed when I posted this before, because this is the photo my husband wanted me to post. He liked it because her boobs looked nice. I liked it because I thought she had nice lines. Either way, suck it, CW.

Suck on that, CW.

The Wife:

Continuing down the road of terrible episode titles, we got “Take Me to the Photo Shoot” this week, which would have been clever, if the photo shoot involved aliens, but didn’t, so it wasn’t. We actually got a two-shoot episode, though which was kind of neat. The first Tyra Mail told the girls that “a Top Model knows how to be direct,” which lead them to a challenge in which they acted as creative directors for one another, posing in Southpole Jrs. urban chic street hip hop fashion wear clothing designs. (I just felt like using a lot of words to describe a brand that I don’t think had much of a look going for it.) If the budding little Miss Mr. Jays did well, one lucky winner would be rewarded with a fashion spread in Seventeen. What strikes me about this particular challenge is this: knowing the tension between Tyra and Mr. Jay, I felt like asking the girls to do his job was, in some way, her means of erasing him, or at least reminding him of his place in her empire. Let it be known, Mr. Jay, that Tyra could replace you with a model at any minute. Step it up, or resign yourself to hosting Canada’s Next Top Model.

Working it like a good little lemur.

Working it like a good little lemur.


On the other hand, though, it was a good idea for the girls to see what it’s like to direct their sorry asses on a shoot, as well as style and edit their sorry asses. The experience clearly proved valuable for Lemur Allison, who learned enough human language to make an amazing picture of Aminat. It was, however, completely unappreciated by Aminat when she was directing Natalie, as her poor time management led Mr. Jay to snap at her. She was all like, “It’s so not my fault,” and he was all like, “Bitch! Please! You just dumb!” And, despite all that, Anne Shoket from Seventeen somehow thought that what I felt was the worst-looking picture in the bunch was actually the best Seventeen cover-type photo of them all, with Natalie looking listless with her arm over her head, in jeans so whiskered around the thighs they actually made her look like a normal-sized girl. Celia put out a great photo of Fo, except she chose a final shot where the girl’s ankles were cut off, and so Teyona, who directed Celia, won, particularly because she demonstrated good styling techniques, which, amazingly, had nothing to do with Celia herself. For the Seventeen shoot, Teyona brought along her model Celia and her friend Aminat, which apparently angered Fo a little bit, who thought Teyona was her bestie best bestie.

The Tyra Mail for this week’s actual photo shoot suggested, “You haven’t had too much R&R – maybe it’s time for some R&B.” And so Mr. Jay woke all the girls up at 5:30 at the asscrack of dawn and brought the styling team to their abode for hair and makeup – because that’s how real Top Models do it. Then Ciara showed up and they were informed they’d be posing with her in their photoshoot, as crazed fans wound up in her microphone wires. Or, as photographer Mike Ruiz explained, “The metaphor is that you’re tangled in Ciara’s web.” Um, actually, Mike, it’s not really a metaphor anymore when you are literally tangled in things that are attached to the person entrapping you. Poor London had issues with this shoot because she’s gained 15 pounds over the course of the competition, which, to a model, is the equivalent of 100. She was feeling badly about it, but then Mr. Jay felt the need to talk to her about it. He did so gently, but, still, it’s not like she wasn’t aware after last week’s Joe’s Jeans incident. It is somewhat disconcerting that she gains weight so quickly, as this competition is really only, like, 2 months long. To gain 15 pounds in 2 months is a significant amount of weight, but if she’d had that weight on her when she started, no one would even make a deal of it. I still think she’s pretty and takes a fierce photo, even if she’s allegedly model fat now. And so the tragedy of weight-related issues in the fashion industry continues . . . sigh.

Right, because when I think of Brazil, this is what I think of.

Right, because when I think of Brazil, this is what I think of.

At panel, Tyra brought back her damned Guide to Finding Your Inner Fierceness, this time dishing out the advice that music always helps a model find her groove. Apparently, nearly nude male models carrying Brazil nuts also helps, because after a drawn-out segment where Tyra ate said nuts and tried to guess what they were, it was announced that six of the seven beautiful girls standing before here would join them on a plane to Brazil. The ensuing celebration of Brazilianness seems very scaled back this year, which I assume is due to the economy. They could only afford two Brazilian flags, cheap maracas from the Oriental Trading Company and some paper confetti. Not to mention all the money they spent asking that male model to shell all of those Brazil nuts for The Goddess of Fierce. After a set PA came to sweep up the scaled-back debris, the judging began.

This time, itd be called White Celia . . .

This time, it'd be called White Celia . . .

  • Natalie: The judges say she really stands out in this picture, which I think we all know is because the stylists froed out her hair in a way that seems impossible. I think she looks a bit zaftig in this shot, as the way the microphone cords cut across her belly make her look a tad on the side of pregnant.
  • Aminat: This photo is a total failure. Per Miss J, “What you needed was two cups of crazy and a pinch of insane.” Word.
  • Celia: Her photo is “not classically pretty,” but she looks really hardcore in it. She reminds me of Brigitte Nielsen in Red Sonja.
  • Teyona: Girl got a fierce shot this week, what can I say?
  • London: Nigel thinks her shot is a bit over the top. Tyra loves that London smiles with her eyes in person, but wonders why that goes away in a photograph. To my dismay, Miss J immediately wonders what she’s been eating. Thanks, Miss J. You’re real fucking nice.
  • Fo: Dressed like a movie star from Mexico in the 1940s, Fo delivered a shot this week that was all angles and 100% awesome.
  • Lemur Allison: Finally, she delivered a different kind of face in her photo this week. Miss J wishes her body were as dynamic as her face in this shot. She then goes on to compliment her experience working with Mike, which Tyra tells her is not smart because she’s worked with Nigel and he’s sitting right the fuck there. Or, you know, they could not act like children and just listen to what the girl has to say. Whatever.
And if they ever need a new Barbarella . . .

And if they ever need a new Barbarella . . .


Callouts: Teyona, Fo, Natalie, Celia and Allison, leaving Aminat and London to wonder whether or not they’ll be able to journey to the Amazon. Strangely, Tyra chose to keep the girl who takes terrible photos over the girl who gained weight and sends London back home to her God while Aminat gets a ticket to the rainforest. Frankly, I would have kept London, who I think has more potential than Aminat. But I guess, as always in the world of fashion, some who is skinny but has no talent is favored over someone who looks like a normal person and has talent.

The Husband:

Whatever, Tyra. You’re just leaving me open to now cast London as a manic pixie dream girl in whatever Cameron Crowe rip-off film I intend to do in the future. I’d give her a small part, to be sure (like the best friend who shows up in three scene) but London’s got that gnarly little Godspell thing going on – that nifty combination when hippie meets Christianity and doesn’t bug the hell out of me – and I think that if she has the acting chops she claims, she could definitely make a cinematic impression.

And yes, wife, casting her on 90210 wouldn’t be a bad idea either, especially considering she looks exactly like Jessica Stroup. Maybe she could be a cousin. Or a long-lost sibling, a bastard child from their personal trainer-banging whore of a mother.

The Wife:

Apparently, the acting lessons in this episode started even before Paulina’s teach and Clay’s challenge, because back when this was filmed (during Thanksgiving! thanks for fucking with my sense of time even more than Lost, ANTM!), Natalie acted like a spoiled brat and didn’t help clean up the dishes, but thanked everyone who did (which is what you do when you’re an asshole, right?) and then Aminat acted like what she said was somehow racist. That is the most interesting interpretation of that scene any actor could have possibly found, and Natalie furthered that interpretation by saying some nonsense about how, in the part of California she hails from, people don’t do their own dishes? I think her point was that she doesn’t have to work hard because she’s not from the ghetto, but I feel the need to point out that I do my own dishes and I am not from the ghetto. Since when is cleaning up after yourself and acting like a human being “ghetto”? Clearly, whoever wrote that scene is a genius beyond measure because I’m starting a PhD program in the fall and I didn’t even understand what was going on here. Waiting for Godot makes more sense than whatever happened between SquishyfaceNatalie and Aminat.

The acting continued when the girls received a Tyra Mail reading, “Tomorrow you will be molded into a fine piece of Clay,” and they all pretended that they had no idea the C was capitalized and suggested they’d be doing things like art modeling or painting or something. But no! Clay with a capital C is always Clay Aiken! The person who should have bested Ruben Studdard in American Idol season two with his breathtaking rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”! The person closed out the role of Brave Sir Robin in Spamalot! Leader of the Claymates! The man my mother-in-law has an oil painting of in her office! The one and only Clay Aiken! What fools these models be!

I mean, seriously, yall should bow in my presence.

I mean, seriously, ya'll should bow in my presence.

But before his Royal Clayness could be revealed as their scene partner for the acting challenge, Paulina put the girls through a teach in which they had to say common phrases with different emotions, drawn from a bag. Allison, being a Lemur, is simply not very good at pretending to be a human, and Tahlia evidently doesn’t know what words mean. Everyone else does okay in this, and so Paulina unveils Clay and hands the girls scripts for their scene . . . which, insultingly and disappointingly already have the proper emotions for the lines noted in the margins. Really? You guys really have no faith in these girls at all, do you ANTM producers? I get that not everyone is a great actor, but I have to assume that the girls aren’t so untalented that they can’t figure out a way to interpret a line for dramatic effect. I’ll be insulted for them, though, because apparently none of them cared. They seemed like they all had fun with their scenes, even the Lemur. Tahlia, however, was fucking awful, and Natalie carried on the character she created during the Tgives feast into her scene with Clay, which she did not appreciate. He is from Le Aiken de Clay! How dare you insult him with your hands, unsullied by dish soap!

Paulina and Clay, though they both loved Celia, deemed London the best and awarded her with $5,000 in Joe’s Jeans merch . . . which she sadly couldn’t wear because she struggles with her weight? Uh, really? It’s not like she’s Salome whose fat ass (Husband Note: If by “fat” you mean “sweet.”) is constantly measured over on Make Me a Supermodel, so how were we ever to know? London’s weight drama came the fuck out of nowhere and might be just another fine bit of acting, if you ask me. That girl looks great.

The next Tyra Mail put an end to London’s weight drama, reading, “Do you play well with others? It’s time to find out!” And so the girls headed off to their CoverGirl commercial shoot, where McKey was filming and looking absolutely fabulous in that purple dress because she’s gorgeous. Mr. Jay puts the girls in groups and tells them that they’ll each take turns in the lead role in the commercial and, further proving that this show has no faith in the models it claims it will produce, he gives them a TelePrompTer. Le sigh. Spokesmodels need to be able to deliver lines naturally, people! Just hire me, the girl with the giant skin cancer hole in her arm! I can read real good!

My preliminary thoughts on the commercials:

  • Celia: Although I think her face’s natural angles are a little harsh for TV, she was excellent. Clearly, this was going to be the commercial to beat.
  • Teyona: Oh, God, the poor girl can’t even look at the camera or read English.
  • Aminat: It was like she didn’t even want to be there, delivering a performance that seemed, to me, kind of like she was angry to even be asked to do a commercial.
  • Lemur Allison: Because Lemurs are afraid of technology, she had a lot of trouble looking at the camera and reading at the same time. I’m amazed Lemurs can read at all.
  • Natalie: For some reason, she was given an outfit that made her look like a Can Can dancer. Her commercial was okay, but a little flat.
  • Fo: As cute as she is, Fo did not sound natural delivering these lines at all. She is for looking at, not for talking.
  • London: London’s commercial was really good. I think she’s a natural in front of the camera (her family is comprised entirely of actors, she says) and I want her to be cast on 90210 immediately.
  • Tahlia: Someone should just kill her now because this steaming pile of crap was the worst of the bunch. I was surprised, though, that she didn’t cry about being asked to wear pants. You know, because that means someone didn’t want to hire her because of her burns. The best part of her commercial was Mr. Jay telling her that modeling will be hard for her until she quits the business. Truth!


At panel, Tyra forgot to include a Guide for Finding Your Inner Fierceness commercial . . . am I to assume she didn’t include it because the recap special was just laced with the things? (I didn’t even DVR it because Lost was way more important.) I did not miss it, and neither did anyone else. I hope she lets them go for the rest of the season.

The judges’ thoughts on the commercials:

  • Celia: Clay thinks she’s excellent at being in character, but Tyra says something strange about how Celia “acted” a little too old for the CG demographic in the commercial. As in, she felt like Celia was the prim auntie to the little models in her commercial. Ouch. 25 is totally dinosaur old in model years.
  • Teyona: Nigel tells her that she’s photogenic, but not telegenic and that her commercial was too squinty, like she was having a hard time reading the prompter.
  • Lemur Allison: Girl, you should know that you cannot wear the same dress twice when you appear at a judging panel on a reality show! Tyra never wears the same dress twice and neither should you! In fact, this upsets Tyra so much that she asks Alison to change clothes with another girl during deliberations. As for her commercial, her Lemur eyes become dead doll eyes, but Tyra compliments her on looking like the 14-year-old girls CoverGirl products are sold to.
  • Aminat: Nigel does not like how she cuts off the ends of her words and Tyra says her commercial sounds exactly like Teyona’s.
  • London: I guess the judges and I watched completely different commercials, because they thought London sounded like a street thug. To add insult to injury, they told her that her shorts made her look fat. Poor London!
  • Natalie: Miss J called her performance stiff, Tyra says it’s unmemorable and Clay Aiken mentions that she does not play well with others.
  • Fo: Miss J thinks she sounds like she has a mouth full of marbles and, sadly, everyone notices how good Tahlia looks in Fo’s commercial more than Fo’s performance.
  • Tahlia: In the reverse of Fo’s commercial, everyone notices how cute Fo is more than Tahlia’s performance. Nigel sums this up very well: “You know that it means? It means you’re both background.” Also, Tahlia still has no idea what a model looks like, showing up in a cast-off bridesmaid’s dress from a springtime wedding.


Callouts: After announcing that everyone was week this week, Tyra awards Celia with the first call out, then Natalie, Teyona, Fo, London and Aminat, leaving the Lemur and Tahlia in the bottom two. Thankfully, Lemur Allison was given one more chance and I no longer have to sit in agony as I wonder why Tahlia doesn’t know that one of her eyebrows is, like, a half inch higher than the other. Nor will I ever have to hear her whine about anything ever again. The Goddess of Fierce exists, and she is good and just.

The Husband:

So, one of the things Natalie mentioned during that dishwashing brouhaha and its aftermath (and their quick talk with McKey behind-the-scenes) was mentioning how she was from California, not like the other hicks. Now, I know a lot of people get the wrong idea about California, from thinking that SoCal represents the entire state to thinking we’re all beach dwellers to thinking our entire population is simply a bunch of wacko liberals. But here’s the thing – if we’re talking area-wise, California is about 90% “hick.” Get outside the major metro areas and you’re dealing with conservative suburbs and rural areas that look just like every other state. Hell, even IN the San Francisco Bay Area, basically once you lose sight of the city or the hills of Marin. It bothers me that Natalie thinks, or even jokes, that California is not a “hick” state. Oh, it is, alright. Just visit. I dare you.

Just remember, Los Angeles County may be 4752 square miles, but go directly to the right and you’ve got San Bernadino County, a massive 20,000 square mile sprawl of desert and cactus and tiny oases with fast food chains you’ve never heard of, and it looks just like any other Southwestern state.

The Wife:

And so the fallout from Celia’s actions last week begin. And friends, that fallout was not pretty. For some reason, Sandra absolved herself from the entire discussion of addressing Tahlia with Tyra and went turncoat, reporting how every other girl in the house had planned to ambush Tahlia at panel. Actually, let me make that more accurate: every other non-black girl in the house. Somehow, this battle came down to a battle across racial lines, with Sandra, Teyona and Aminat backing up Tahlia while Natalie, Lemur Allison, Fo and London sided with Celia. (Did Fo somehow lose her blackness in this fight in favor of her Mexicanness?) As Celia and Tahlia stood on the stairs uninvolved, Teyona and Aminat took it upon themselves to scream and hoot and holler at the other girls, culminating in Aminat screaming in Natalie’s face about . . . something. I don’t really know what this fight ended up actually being about, because once everyone else got involved, it stopped being about Celia and Tahlia.

After about seven minutes of girls screaming at each other, they all magically reconvened to read their first Tyra Mail: “Cut it out. I don’t want to see anymore blank faces.” The PlaidMobile spirited them away to some mannequin-filled alley, where Mr. Jay told them he did not want them to ever be called “just a clothes hanger,” because America’s Next Top Model cannot be merely a stick with clothes on, she has to have a face, too! To make his point, he then destroyed a mannequin, in exactly the way I would have liked to do to those super-creepy talking mannequins in Shopaholic and to Old Navy’s extremely un-clever “Super Modelquinns.” Any talking mannequin that isn’t Kim Cattrall deserves to be given the slow topple to the ground and left alone, shattered in an alley somewhere in New York.

Once away from the carnage, Jay introduced the girls to Howard Stern’s wife, Beth, who is a model who gives good face. She helped them practice The Only Three Expressions You’ll Ever Need as a Model by putting the girls in front of make-up mirrors, and gently demonstrating how they can go from whatever awful face they were making to the correct ways to express “sensual,” “mystery” and “alluring,” which all sound more like cheap perfumes than expressions, possibly because only one of those is a noun.

Jay and Beth then went on to remind us exactly whose show this is by asking the girls to pose with their faces . . . inside a cardboard cut out of a photo of Tyra. In this moment I fully realized what I have always known: this is not a show about modeling, this is a show about Tyra. And every girl on this show should aspire to be like Tyra, so much so that a contestant should inhabit the spirit of Miss Banks by sticking her head through a cardboard cutout of her mentor/surrogate mama/idol/megalomaniac. The idea, Jay reminds us, is for the girls to learn to pose with their face and to make their face match the body pose provided by the far superior Tyra Banks. This challenge proved to be too hard for everyone but Natalie and London, the only two girls to correctly match their faces with the photographs of Tyra. Natalie won this teach, by the way, and was awarded with 50% more frames in the upcoming photoshoot. Considering I’ve never seen an ad where someone sticks their head through a cardboard cutout of something else, wouldn’t Jay’s lesson have been better delivered by finding some other way to show the girls how to connect their faces with their bodies? Ah, but another way wouldn’t have worshipped the Goddess of Fierce, and may have angered her. And no one wants to anger the Goddess of Fierce.

I think this is one of the most disturbing things Ive ever seen.

I think this is one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen.

The next Tyra Mail alerted the girls to the theme of their photoshoot: “You’re all looking a little pale. I think you need some color.” After deciding that the shoot will likely be a rehash of Cycle 10’s paint-on-the-face shoot, Tahlia and Celia have a nice quiet chat in a strange hallway about their feelings toward the incident at panel. Celia maintains that she wasn’t trying to be mean to Tahlia, but merely that she wanted the competition to be fair, and Tahlia tells Celia tales about her various self-esteem issues while eating a bag of Cheetos. Girlfriend, if you are a model and you are eating a bag of Cheetos, I think it is obvious to everyone that you have self-esteem problems. Through the healing power of Chester Cheetah, the girls work out their issues like adults and agree to be cool.

At the photoshoot with Keith Major (who shot Tyra for the Ebony cover – did you guys know that??? wow! he shot Tyra!), the girls suspicions are confirmed in re: paint on their faces. Jay tells them that they’re going to be doing a beauty shot where they have to emote their power colors. Look, I think we all get the abstract notion that colors represent certain feelings, but I honestly don’t think any of the girls conveyed the “emotions” of these colors very well, except maybe for Fo and Tahlia, although I say that last name reluctantly.

Tell me that she doesnt look like shes surprised and horrified by the murder she just committed.

Tell me that she doesn't look like she's surprised and horrified by the murder she just committed.

  • Allison: Pink was her color, and although she kept saying things about how she wanted to be girly, she mostly looked to me as though she were some frenzied animal who had just eating a very raw steak and smeared it all  over her face. I guess that’s girly, if you’re from a Hell dimension.
  • Aminat: She had green, which she said represented the Earth and thus she wanted to be “earthy.” I am pretty sure that isn’t an emotion. But I guess she’s not a good enough model to convey jealousy or greed.
  • Tahlia: The photo Tahlia ended up with actually really captured the regality of purple. She had serious bitchface in it, and that worked. But throughout her photoshoot, it was pretty clear that she was trying to go for sexy, telling Keith Major that she was pretending he was her boyfriend and that she was posing for him. She lucked into doing well on this.
  • Teyona: Assigned yellow, Teyona apparently misunderstood the entire concept of yellow and, dear Lord, I thought she looked hideous throughout this entire shoot.
  • Fo: The Blaxican beauty had red and conveyed it’s passionate intensity flawlessly.
  • London: She had blue and her performance reminded me a bit of Tilda Swinton as The White Witch.
  • Natalie: Squishy face Natalie had orange, and Mr. Jay wanted her to convey firey passion. She didn’t deliver, though, until her extra frames kicked in. Personally, I would have gone for exuberance or boundless energy with orange, not passion. Jesus! Not ever color can be passionate!
  • Sandra: Sandra had white, which would have been beautiful because she’s so dark, but she started thinking of angels instead of Aborigines and it all went to Hell from there.
  • Celia: Stoic Celia was given a stately gray and I was reminded of the living statue challenge from Cycle 5 where winner Nicole failed at being perched upon by birds.

Easily the artiest shot of the bunch from the only girl who truly understands aesthetics.

Easily the artiest shot of the bunch from the only girl who truly understands aesthetics.

At panel, though, the judges apparently saw different pictures than I did, because they seemed to love nearly everything . . . either that, or no one explained the concept of emoting a color to them. And that’s probably for the best, really, because it’s a ridiculous notion.

  • Aminat: The judges thought she nailed this picture and that she looked “natural.”
  • Natalie: She took a straight-on shot and thus had no angles in her face. And that’s not good when your face is squishy.
  • Tahlia: Rather than spending time talking about her photo, the judges talked to Tahlia about last week’s panel incident and how it’s okay to question yourself because that’s how you improve. Tyra also suggested that Tahlia spend more time questioning how she looks in person because although it’s a model’s job to look better in photos than in real life (uh, sometimes, Tyra!), Tahlia is a fucking hot mess in person.
  • Celia: After deciding that, if she went home, she was going to go out swirling, Celia strode into panel wearing the most fucking fibbity fab fab outfit I have ever seen anyone wear on Top Model. She slicked back that bob, donned a voluminous golden skirt and topped it with a hardcore leather jacket and looked like a fucking force to be reckoned with. The judges complimented her on her personal style, as well as her graceful embodiment of the color gray in her picture. Keith told her he wanted to shoot her more, which is basically the ultimate compliment.
  • Teyona: While I think this picture is terrible, the judges think her skin looks amazing and that the picture is so hopeful Barack Obama should put it in the White House. Uh, okay . . . if hope looks like a crazy homeless person, then sure.
  • London: While I like this picture, the judges think it’s weak because they recognize that London is giving the same face in it as last week. And that’s no good if she’s already relying so heavily on her strongest face.
  • Lemur Allison: Keith says he hated working with her and the judges give her the same criticism about relying on the same look as London. I fucking hate the picture and they love it. Go figure.
  • Sandra: The judges and I finally agree on something in that Sandra’s shot is horrendous. It’s bare and emotionless.
  • Fo: I think Tyra said it best when she purred, “Weerrrrrrrrrrrrrrk! Majah!” in response to this photo. Fo is hella hot in this pic, no joke:
Like TyTy said, Fos face is fabulous.

Like TyTy said, Fo's face is fabulous.


After the girls were sent away so the judges could privately pick them apart, the producers continued to focus on the Tahlia vs. Celia drama in which Nigel comes to the realization that I’ve already come to and admits that he hates Tahlia’s personality, and Paulina, likewise, finally picks up on my observation that Celia is the most stylish girl to grace Top Model . . . ever. I don’t know why they’re wasting time on this, as neither of those two girls is going to go home because their pictures this week were really strong.

Callouts: Fo(!!!), Teyona, Tahlia, Aminat, Lemur Allison, Natalie, London with Celia and Sandra in the bottom two. Celia, it seems, was only put in the bottom this week so Tyra could further express her displeasure with the girl’s actions last week. She spends some more time upbraiding her for getting in between another model and her money, which is a big no-no in the Book of Tyra (aka The Guide to Finding Your Inner Fierceness, now with 50% fewer adorable children!), and then lets Sandra go home. I am grateful that Sandra is gone because she’s a terrible person, and my opinion stayed unchanged as Sandra’s final confessional played over footage of her packing her bags in which she came across as completely ungrateful even for the opportunity to piss me off in my living room. And yet another haughty African girl fails to win ANTM. Maybe they should try, oh, I don’t know, not being so aloof?

This doesnt read serenity, it just reads drunkenness.

This doesn't read serenity, it just reads drunkenness.

Next week: Bad acting and Clay Aiken? Have I died and gone to a production of Spamalot?


The Wife:

Can someone explain to me why this episode was called “Put Your Best Face Forward?” It’s not as though any of the challenges directly related to having one’s face thrust forward, and that’s usually the kind of literalness the ANTM writers go for. I suppose it vaguely relates to the idea of an immigrant making a brave stride to come to America, putting their “best face forward” in so doing, but the episode titles from this season and last really make me miss Tyra’s “The Girl Who . . .” structure. This episode would have been much more memorable if it were called “The Girl Who Continually Doubts Herself and Somehow Got Best Photo This Week” or “The Girl Who Stood Up for Herself” or, better yet, “The Girl Who Was Told by Tyra to Step Back in Her Place.” Because, really, the most memorable thing about this episode was Tyra scolding Celia like a Kindergarten teacher scolds her class.

But before that hoopla in the final few minutes, Tyra made the girls jump through her regular series of hoops, such as inviting former contestant Toccara of Cycle 3 fame to host a slumber party with the girls in some free sleepwear from Mira Kelis and talk about how important it is to have personality, because its totally Toccara’s personality that made her one of the first black women to be featured in Italian Vogue. (I would wager that its because she’s got a really classic Sofia Loren-ish figure and Italians like that kind of thing, but I guess being an unapologetically vivacious lady helps, too.) In other news, nobody likes Sandra, Tahlia’s confidence continues to flounder and, inexplicably, Kourtnie thinks that she has the personality of an old male comedian trapped in a curvy chick’s body. I think I’ve seen that movie . . . isn’t that The Hot Chick with Rob Schneider and Rachel McAdams? Man, I can’t wait until Kourtnie buys a box of tampons and runs around screaming, “I have to put these WHERE?” That’d make for a great episode.

I hear Benny Ninja coming! Quick, everyone! Look fierce!

I hear Benny Ninja coming! Quick, everyone! Look fierce!

After Toccara jetted back to wherever she came from, the girls received a Tyra Mail: “If you can’t move to the music, then that might pose a problem.” And off they went to a posing challenge at the Marquee with Benny Ninja (!) and Aussie model-turned-DJ Sky Nellor. Benny taught the girls how to create poses inspired by different kinds of music, his best piece of advice going to Fo in re: posing for country western music:

“Think of horse dung.”

Wow, I wish Randy Travis had given the contestants that advice on last week’s Idol . . .

The girls started picking on Kortnie’s poses, claiming via confessional that she wasn’t taking the competition seriously and just wanted to be funny all the time . . . you know, because she’s Rob Schneider. All of this talk of Kourtnie being funny was very, very strange considering we’ve never heard anything about it before or seen her attempt to be funny or weird. I mean, she’s not Jael, who was both funny and weird and you knew it from the minute you laid eyes on her. Or crazy-ass Lisa from Cycle 5, who, let’s not forget, wore a diaper around the house one night and wet herself. Intentionally. Most of the girls this season are fairly boring people, and Kourtnie is chief among them. It’s not a good sign when the most interesting thing about you is how your name is spelled.

Oh, and if you want more proof that most of the girls this cycle are incredibly boring, here’s a whammy: I completely forget that Wind Tunnel Teyona even existed. The girls received another Tyra Mail to set them up for their next challenge (“Practice your posin’ if you wanna be chosen.”), a cabaret-style pose-off facilitated by Benny Ninja and The Blonds for a house full of queens and Boy George, pre-imprisoning an escort, I presume. Ninja made the girls compete in two heats of five models, with the incredibly gay audience’s applause deciding the winner of each heat. I look away from the TV for a second during the first heat and only caught Allison (sour lemur poses), Kortnie (trainwreck poses), Sandra (even the gays hate her) and Celia (easily winning this round by being a posing bitch BAMF) posing off and could not for the life of me figure out who the final girl in that heat would have been. As I went through the next heat of Aminat (booed by the gays), London (also booed by the gays), Tahlia (super duper booed by the gays), Natalie (yays from the gays) and Fo (stripper boos), I still couldn’t remember the tenth model. My husband kept insisting that it was a black girl with a strange name and I kept insisting back that there were only two black girls left now that Ninja was gone: Sandra and Aminat. It wasn’t until the photoshoot that I even remembered Teyona existed. He was right, but that is not a good sign. At all. (Sorry, Teyona! You are boring as shit!)

Natalie and Celia easily advanced to the next round of Benny’s pose-off and Celia won as the gays love for Natalie was fleeting. Celia best amused the queens and won a dress from The Blonds, which was very, very sparkly. Once again, Tahlia’s confidence flagged and I realized that I hate her and do not have time to put up with her emotional rollercoaster ride. At this moment, I decided I wanted her gone. She stole my scars angle, and that was enough reason for me to hate her, but her emotional instability is really the nail in her coffin here. I will not be happy until she gets the hell off my TV.

Oh, shit! The British are coming!

Oh, shit! The British are coming!

The photoshoot was introduced by Tyra Mail: “Models aren’t the only ones that migrate to New York to make their dreams come true.” Immediately, the girls assumed they were going to be birds, cleverly latching on to the word “migrate.” Little did they know that they’d be taken to Ellis Island to be high fashion immigrants, recreating old timey photos using a long-exposure 8×10 camera, surrounded by dirty little immigrant children and Benny Ninja posing as their multi-ethnic husbands. 10 points for creativity with this shoot, because I think foremost that reminding people that this country was intended as a refuge for anyone who longed for freedom is truly important and because I really liked the idea of shooting with an old timey camera. Kourtnie said she related to this shoot because immigration is how most of her family got here, and I hate to burst the poor girl’s bubble but since not a single girl on ANTM this season is of Native American descent, that’s exactly how EVERYONE’S FAMILY GOT HERE! (For some, though, it was perhaps not through Ellis Island, but through British colonization, Dutch colonization, in chains to a debtor’s colony or, sadly, on a slave ship.) I really wish we had some old timey photos of my nonna, Philomena Carmela Caruso (or Carmela Philomena Caruso, no one is really sure because we think they switched her first and middle names when she came through the immigration station) looking fabulous with her luggage and her children when she came through Ellis Island. But, alas, we do not have those photographs. Because photographs were expensive back in the day, which really is the one issue with this shoot . . . immigrant families coming through Ellis Island probably couldn’t have afforded these long exposure photographs, and the only reason they would exist is if some cub newspaper photographer asked them to allow him to photograph them for the paper. That’s how I’m going to rationalize this shoot to make it completely make sense.

Some preliminary thoughts during the shoot:

  • Mr. Jay calls Sandra his biggest disappointment so far. Ouch.
  • London looks just like Eliza Doolittle in that stripey “I come from Morcambre” outfit. She thinks she looks like Kate Winslet in Titanic, but apparently doesn’t realize that Kate Winslet was filthy stinkin’ rich in that movie.
  • Tahlia does really well in this shoot, and that’s disappointing because I hate her.
  • Alison is apparently a Russian dockworker in this shoot. She looks like Kristen Schaal in the Flight of the Conchords‘ “Petrov, Yelyena & Me” video:

In Tyra’s strange self-promotional intro to panel, she only had two little babies with her, disproving my theory that she will collect babies like Miss J collects bowties, but still confusing me. She has also stolen Blair Waldorf’s bow-print Milly blouse (which, btw, looks way better on Blair), which proves to me that sometimes Tyra shops out the of CW wardrobe closet. On to the judging:

  • Teyona: The girl whose name I totally forgot received generally favorable reviews from the panel, who noted her strong eyes in the photo and said empty things like “there’s a history” and “there’s a romance” in this photo, which I guess needed to be said just because it was the first photo and that way they could get it out of the way and never have to say it again.
  • London: Her face is great in this show, but the judges don’t like that she’s posing in opposition to the children she’s with.
  • Sandra: Girl is dead in the face and totally disengaged from the shot.
  • Lemur Allison: This is the first shot of the bunch that looks like a fashion shot, says Nigel. Tyra and Paulina thinks that she doesn’t look like a mother to the kids she’s with, but like a big sister. “Because mommy died on the way over,” Paulina morbidly notes.
  • Aminat: A good shot with a strong face.
  • Fo: Similar to London’s shot, she is disengaged from those she’s posing with.
  • Natalie: For some reason, the judges think she looks like Keira Knightley. This is not true, because Keira Knightley has a chin and an elegant neck, neither of which are attributes of Squishy McSquishface. However, it is a great fashion shot.
  • Kourtnie: This pose is sour, in the parlance of one Benny Ninja. She’s dead in the eyes.
  • Tahlia: The judges clamor around this shot and dub it the best picture so far. They think she is exquisite in the photo but that she looks like a hot mess in person. Both things are true.
  • Celia: Tragically, Celia gets lost in this photo and is completely upstaged by the little girl in the white outfit standing behind her. I blame this in part on wardrobe, who dressed everyone in dark colors and put that one little girl in white. If Celia were in white, or a lighter color, it would have drawn the eye to her, even if she were reclining on the side, a pose that made London stand out in her photo, even if it didn’t work to her advantage.
There were some bad wardrobe decisions that led to this shot being so awkward.

There were some bad wardrobe decisions that led to this shot being so awkward.

As the judges deliberate, Miss J comments on Aminat’s knockedy knees, and I learn a new Tyra fact: she learned how to unknockify her own knees. I propose that Tyra enter into a new business teaching women how to unknockify their knees and elbows. That should be a chapter in her whole “finding your inner fierceness” tome.

Callouts: Tahlia, Teyona, Lemur Allison, Natalie, London, Aminat, Celia and Fo, leaving Sandra and Kourtnie in the bottom two. As Tyra deliberated on who should stay, the girl who just dies in the eyes in photographs but is interesting in person, or the girl who relies too much on her natural beauty and sometimes forgets to try, the camera kept cutting to Lemur Allison, who seemed genuinely concerned about who would be leaving. The only reason I can imagine for her concern would be wondering if Celia would actually do what she said she was going to do in an earlier discussion in the house: tell Tyra that Tahlia had expressed numerous times in the open that she didn’t want to be there and that Tyra should consider those comments before sending anyone home. Celia did announce this, in her shiny new Blond dress, after Tyra made the decision to keep villainess Sandra over Rob Schneider girl, and then Tyra shot down her cries on unfairness by reminding Celia that it was unfair of her to speak on Tahlia’s behalf, reminding the Bergdorf’s employee to take her place in line, i.e. a place far below The Goddess of Fierce.

Was Celia wrong to speak her mind to Tyra about Tahlia? Because I hate Tahlia, I’m inclined to say no. I, too, believe that she should leave the competition (and modeling) if she doesn’t have the confidence to handle criticism, which she clearly doesn’t. Celia took the fall here for expressing the opinion of every other girl in the house, and that takes balls. Furthermore, she did so in a respectful way that was more matter-of-fact than accusatory, and she politely took her place when told to. What she said can be backed up by the dailies, if TyTy ever cares to watch them. But Tyra has never forced a girl to leave because she didn’t want to be there without the girl saying it herself, or Tyra coercing her to say it (such as the case the plant from last cycle who didn’t think high fashion should exist). And Tahlia, owner of her own fucked-up emotions, has the right to decide whether or not she wants to leave the competition outside of an official elimination. Mostly, this little skirmish needed to happen so that there could be some drama in the house, and it appears we will get it next week.

Am I wrong to think that Tyra liked this shot best because its the most Tyra of the bunch?

Am I wrong to think that Tyra liked this shot best because its the most Tyra of the bunch?

As for me, I’m on team Celia. Even if what she did was not the kindest thing, Tahlia needed to be called on her bullshit. Because that’s what it is: bullshit.