America’s Next Top Model
Episode 8 July 8, 2003
Before we feasted on tonight’s main course finale, America’s Next Top Model served us an appetizer. Billed as an hour-long look at how the ten finalists were whittled down to three, the show also promised never before seen footage. I’ve watched enough DVDs with extra deleted scenes to know that if it does not appear the first time around, it’s because a good editor did us all a favor. Nevertheless, here’s a rundown of interesting material we were not previously shown.
Tyra’s voiceover saying, “People think beauty is something you are born with, not something you create. How naďve!” Let’s keep this thought in mind for later use. The accompanying visual is a side-by-side view of Tyra with and without make-up. We see the audition tapes of all ten finalists. Giselle with her mother, Elyse mocking runway poses and Ebony looking like she’s twelve years old. With Cliff’s Notes speed we charge along and see the Psalm 14 fracas and the girls’ first encounter with J. Alexander. In the first of many laughs provided by the runway trainer, he advises Shannon to “marry rich and have babies.” In surprising camaraderie, we see Ebony and Robin performing a funky sit-down cheer and dance routine about being black. Next we learn that Nicole showed her roommates pictures of her boyfriend Cory in which you can see his penis.
The highly anticipated “unedited” version of Elyse’s rant merely showed that in real time, she took more pauses between insults. She can cuss like a sailor but it’s good to know she’s not bionic. Oh, and she did accuse J. Alexander of pegging her as being “uppity.” We learn Robin’s prayer circle was even more long-winded and that Katie credited the fact she was “too sexy” for the judges. No, Katie, read between the lines. They just didn’t want to say “too slutty” on national TV. Adrianne takes us deeper inside the mind of Nicole by blabbing that Nicole directly stated she would give up modeling if it meant not seeing her boyfriend. I guess those penis pictures are not enough. False bravado occurs when Elyse and Nicole tell the confessional camera that they believe Giselle is the next to be eliminated. Sorry, Nicole. It’s you.
Ebony was shown to have some amount of decency by leaving the girls a letter apologizing for storming out without saying goodbye, in particular mentioning Giselle, her nemesis. Strangely enough, she leaves out Adrianne’s name but this seems to just be an oversight. Next we see an exchange between Adrianne telling Giselle that even if she was a lesbian, Giselle would have to be much more butch for her to be attracted. In Paris, Adrianne gives us an even more graphic description of her Carven dress, saying it barely covered her nipple (she points to it). During Robin’s last stand before the judges, Tyra and Janice both get up and get down, impersonating Robin’s butt-grinding dancing and boob-shake. Janice looks like she’s got some moves in her but her dress is too tight to execute them and her boobs aren’t doing anything but staying put. Referring to Robin’s lack of modeling cooperation, Janice delivers a classic line saying, “She should work at Avis.” Kimora suggests having a full-figured black woman as America’s next top model would make a statement.
Phew! Okay, now let’s get to the actual finale!
Elyse, Adrianne and Shannon—The Three Finalists
The show begins with Elyse staring out the window of the penthouse bathroom. She’s sipping water and says to Adrianne, “I miss Robin.” Adrianne, who is bending over and showing us her red g-string (not a thong, a g-string!) laughs at Elyse’s irony. Adrianne’s happy because, with Robin gone, she can do “whatever the f*ck I want and not get in trouble.” She demonstrates by later jumping on top of Elyse in bed, wearing a barely there teddy and thong, and dry-humping Elyse. “Oh my gosh!” exclaims Shannon, witnessing the antics. “Put your moneymaker to work for me!” orders Elyse. Adrianne complies and begins to shake her ass only to quickly realize shaking her crotch is much more raunchy, so she does just that. Shannon admits to missing Robin but realizes now that she’s not around, she “can be more outgoing.” Shannon can’t believe she’s in the final three and Adrianne says that everyone who said she’d never make it to the end can “lick her b*lls.”
Tyra visits and says it’s “getting down to the wire.” The “pinnacle of American fashion” is next in store for our contestants and that means New York Fashion Week. The challenge is to see if they have what it takes to be in a real fashion show.
Win, Lose Because of Drew
The girls now meet with fashion show producer Drew Linehan. Drew used to work for Marie Claire) and it’s quickly evident he knows his trade and is no-nonsense. There is very little time to prepare so he gets down to business. The people sitting in the front row of these shows are “the most important people in fashion.” Even though the shows last one week, it’s actually three weeks of demanding fittings. Drew underscores that each and every go see is an “interview to win the job from me.”
Elyse falters. “When Drew was giving his long lecture it was really boring,” she says. “It was hard to pay attention and my eyes were glazing over.” Elyse, I went to college too so I know all about falling asleep during lectures. But I sure as shit didn’t fall asleep when the professor to student ratio was 1 to 3 and he’s sitting a foot in front of me. Drew’s voiceover is ominous. “One girl was sort of dozing off,” he says. “You can’t doze off! You have to sell yourself!”
Drew’s last tip is to leave the go see on the positive note you’ll be back. He tells them goodbye and shake their hands. Shannon—in a display of genius—says, “And I will see you again!” This excites Drew because it shows she was paying attention and thinking. “Exactly!” he exclaims. “Good for you!”
The Facts of Life Meets Friends
The girls are strolling through Central Park. When they reach 5th Ave, Adrianne picks up Elyse off the ground (as easily as you or I would lift a roll of paper towels) saying, “I just feel like throwing you around like a rag doll.”
Back at the penthouse, Adrianne and Elyse decide it’s time to have the talk with Shannon. Elyse, perusing an issue of Chunklet deepens her voice and says, “Shannon, when a man and a woman love each other very much, like your mother and I…” Elyse’s delivery is flawless and Shannon reacts with an embarrassed “Noooooo!” The three finalists are getting along splendidly. Shannon asks Adrianne, “Do you want me to show you self-defense moves?” Like the tomboy is really going to pass that up. We next see them play fighting, just as brothers and homo-curious frat boys do. Elyse likes what she sees. “The more I get to know Shannon, the more I like her,” she says. “I think she’s really genuine.” Adrianne takes the credit saying, “My evil influence has brought out the worst in her.” She says this with a diabolical mad scientist accent. Shannon and Adrianne are now wrestling on beds, Shannon admitting she can “be sort of silly at times.”
The three friends walk around Chinatown and window shop. If you’ve ever been to Chinatown you know exactly how pleasant the shopkeepers are so when the girls and crew are in front of one store, we see a frantic man running from the stockroom to see what’s up. The scene cuts but I’d love to hear the story behind that one. Shannon, Adrianne and Elyse stroll arm-in-arm and the scene is endearing.
Tyra Shows Them the Stomp
Tyra Mail alerts the girls to be ready by 7:30pm for a casting. Adrianne read it while wearing a glasses-nose-moustache disguise mask and a Nine Inch Nails tee shirt. They’re excited.
Tyra drops by to show them “the stomp” Kimora wants for her Baby Phat runway show. “Get to the end,” Tyra instructs, “and you’re like ‘Pow! What? So? And?’” Let me translate, she’s saying show attitude. It’s about the stride and the way your hips drop she says.
Tyra gives us a breakdown of the three finalists. “Elyse could potentially rock the fashion world. She has a such a high fashion/editorial look. She is perfect for high fashion. But I don’t know if Elyse really wants this or not. And girls that are ambivalent are usually not successful.” Adrianne’s voiceover tells us that Elyse “hates modeling. She hates doing everything we do yet she’s the best at it.” What Adrianne doesn’t realize is that Elyse puts on that act, like she doesn’t care.
Tyra says “Shannon is all warm and fuzzy and all American. Her smile is just like BING! In order for her to be successful and take it to the next level, she’s going to have to become more edgy, more interesting.” Elyse, in a voiceover, confidently says Shannon “has essentially eliminated herself from the competition.” Is that so, Elyse?
“Adrianne has come such a long way,” says Tyra. “And she really wants this but she’s still so rough around the edges. She needs a lot of polishing.” Shannon’s voiceover expresses admiration for Adrianne’s not caring “what others think of her.” Tyra concludes by saying “I have no idea who is going to win. Absolutely no idea. And I love that.”
The House of Baby Phat
The girls are taking in NYC from their balcony and Elyse tells us about the “go and see” at Baby Phat. Hmm, it’s a “go see,” Elyse. You know that. You did them so well in Paris. What gives?
“Thank you for coming to the House of Baby Phat,” Kimora welcomes the girls. “I’ve been casting all day. I’m doing a fashion show. You guys give it all you got just like the other hundreds of girls we’ve been looking at. So we’re going to take everything that we have done thus far and see what you guys got.”
Kimora and runway trainer J. Alexander (my favorite person on this show) take a seat and watch the girls walk and try out. Adrianne’s first and her voiceover tells us “I didn’t think I did a good job at Baby Phat. I’ve always been told I walk like a man.” J. Alexander sees Adrianne’s trying but there’s something lacking still. “It takes you about five minutes of warming up and then you come together.”
Shannon, who says “I was more excited than nervous,” is up next. “If you practice a bit more, you get more confident in yourself. Simply put, Shannon throws down. She walks perfectly and turns like a pro. J. Alexander is loving this. “You’ve come together, girl!” he says. “I ain’t mad at you!” Unlike that slob dumbass Randy from American Idol, this curious phrase actually sounds okay coming from J. Alexander. “Oh, you’re pulling it together!” the praise continues. “Practice makes perfect,” a radiant Shannon says.
Right before Elyse’s turn, Kimora says “You guys are walking better than me, honey, because it’s been a looooong time.” Kimora realizes she spoke too soon because Elyse has problems. “Are you nervous?” she asks Elyse. “Don’t be nervous.” “I am a little nervous,” responds Elyse. Kimora asks, “How long have we been together?” J. Alexander tells Elyse to “relax your fingers. You walk like you have dirty napkins or tissues.” That’s exactly what Elyse looked like! In any event, Kimora tells them that they all did well. “I was very, very impressed.”
Tyra Mail informs the girls only two of them will continue. Adrianne, wearing a “We lied…size matters” tee shirt, thinks she deserves to win this because she’s come “a really long way.” Shannon thinks giving it your best and your all makes “you feel like you should be rewarded for that.” Elyse is half-assed about this, of course. “I don’t think it’s acceptable to say anyone deserves to win this competition. It’s really not a basic human right to get a modeling contract.”
Fashion show producer Drew Linehan is this week’s guest judge. Elyse is up first and is instructed to do three poses. She does not nail them. Asked why she initially did this, Elyse responds “on a whim…I thought it would be fun.” Drew asks where she’s progressed. Elyse responds in her confidence. She says it was “hard for her to accept criticism on a physical basis, because I come from this totally intellectual, mental world.” Tyra calls her on this by reminding her of the answer she gave back at the L.A. semi-finals to “You don’t think there’s anything outside the physical that makes a supermodel?” Elyse responded “I don’t think so. No.” Tyra asks her if she still feels that way. Here’s Elyse’s answer:
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I swear her response is this complicated. She talks about estrogen as a beauty determinant and it goes straight over the head of Janice, while Kimora inspects Tyra’s cranial features. Beau wants to look like he understands but it’s calculus to him as well.
Adrianne is up next and she wants to be a model because she loves being “the center of attention.” It makes her feel like “God.” The judges grill her if she’s ready to do a real fashion show. To walk in front of the most important people in the industry. Adrianne responds, “I could run in four-inch stilettos!” Beau tells her to not do her “goofy smile.”
Shannon lights up the room and Janice immediately comments on her hair—it’s pulled back. “It makes your neck look long,” Janice says. Shannon does her poses and she nails them. Janice makes a crack about toothpaste commercials (Ha, our very own FORTer hepcat made that joke last week) but she’s loving Shannon. Drew grills her about naming photographers and about her measurements. Shannon doesn’t know. She’s told it’s important to know everything about the industry. Still, everyone is beaming.
Kimora says “Elyse came off like a know-it-all.” Janice says this could work for her or against her. Tyra says she’s got the edgy part but needs to be commercially viable too. Drew says she’s the most high fashion but qualifies it with “out of the group,” meaning it’s not reason enough to win. Tyra next says something surprising. Out of the blue, she says America’s next top model isn’t just about being a high fashion model. She has to do Sports Illustrated, Victoria’s Secret and Revlon ads too. Well I’ve been watching since episode one and it sure seemed like the focus was on high fashion. Tyra isn’t sure about Elyse’s commitment either.
Tyra says when she first saw Adrianne in L.A., she was not a “looker.” Janice says it looked like she “hoofed,” not walked, in. But now she shows promise. Tyra can see Shannon on Jay Leno and David Letterman’s couch. Drew is harping on Shannon’s inability to name names of photographers. Beau says “the camera loves her face.” Janice says, “I hate these cuts! They drive me crazy!”
The Last Two
Tyra delivers an impassioned “We’ve all been together a very long time” speech. She asks each girl how badly do you want it. Adrianne says, “Real damn bad, Tyra Banks.” Shannon says, “Words cannot express how bad I want this.” Elyse says, “Damn bad, Miss Tyra.” In a voiceover Elyse tells us how Shannon told her that Jesus said Elyse would be staying. “That makes me feel pretty comfortable,” Elyse says rolling her eyes.
Tyra calls Shannon’s name first! Shannon looks completely astonished but immediately composes herself because she knows she belongs there and more importantly must show that to the judges.
Adrianne and Elyse are asked to step forward. Adrianne gets a tiny speech about working harder. Elyse however gets the lengthy one. I’m not believing my ears because this is a sure sign of elimination. She has to “appeal to the masses.” Tyra also tells her she can use her intelligence without “putting down other people or sounding derogatory.”
Adrianne’s name is called! Elyse is eliminated! They embrace and Elyse gives Adrianne a slap on the ass. “I can’t say that it feels good to be eliminated,” Elyse says, “but I also can’t deny that there is a certain sense of relief that comes with it. It sucks to lose at anything but the decision has been made for me. I’ll be a doctor and not a top model. When I leave, I’ll be gone forever.” Elyse’s photo disappears from the finalists’ portrait. “This is real,” Tyra says.
Adrianne and Shannon go to a beauty salon for hair work before their big show. Adrianne is talking about how much she misses Elyse. Shannon has the eye of the tiger look to her. I’m so proud. Sure, she misses her too but she knows right now the focus is on giving this last test her all. “We are ready!” exclaims Shannon as they leave the salon (I tried to get the name but couldn’t decipher the lettering).
Tyra Mail invites the girls to Blue Fin that evening for a nice dinner before their huge day tomorrow. The girls arrive and see J. Alexander, Tyra and make-up artist Jay Manuel sitting in a private room. This is Shannon’s first time eating sushi but—trooper that she is—digs in and loves it. This girl is on fire and can do no wrong.
Now it’s time to dish dirt on the other competitors. Shannon was astonished by Tessa’s beauty the first time she saw her. Adrianne hated living with Katie because she sensed Katie thought she “was really ghetto.” “Well…” J. Alexander says, jokingly implying Katie wasn’t too far off. Jay rags on Nicole’s uber-confidence that she’d get far. J. Alexander says Ebony told him that he “didn’t understand her essence.” Adrianne, word-for-word, repeats what she said about Giselle, that when she wasn’t annoying she was pretty cool. She also felt like a “dog” when Kesse left. Shannon said Kesse “sparked up” things. Adrianne tears Robin a new one as Shannon is shocked to hear but Adrianne quickly distinguishes her from Shannon. Shannon “believes in God and stuff and actually acts like a decent human being.”
Our group of revelers now dance a bit to loosen up for tomorrow’s runway action. Shannon, in a black mini-dress, struts and shakes her boobs as if it was for Mr. Jay’s enjoyment. J. Alexander breaks it down military-style and shows why he’s worth every penny. Adrianne grinds on the floor like a champ. They all do a group hug and huddle to pump themselves up for the final day.
Back at the Flatotel, Shannon says she’s stuffed and Adrianne lets out a burp that Booger from Revenge of the Nerds would be proud of witnessing. As they wash their faces, Adrianne discovers a zit and panics. Shannon offers and then insists on popping it. Adrianne won’t have it but they both laugh as only the last two survivors could. They exchange good nights and Adrianne says, “Tomorrow we fight to the death.” Adrianne rocks.
Face Off in Bryant Park
The next day, Adrianne and Shannon go for their fittings. Kimora is hands-on scrutinizing how every piece looks on them. Finally, satisfied, she tells them to go to hair and make-up and she’ll be back. We’re ready for the show!
New York Fashion Week centers around the tents at Bryant Park. It’s as flashy and energetic as any rock concert or an opening of a new Ikea. Shannon is awestruck by the fact they get to wear identification badges around their necks. “That just makes you feel cool!” she says. Tyra says everything has to be perfect and if it isn’t, “then the whole room just saw you screw up.” Talk about pressure!
We’re backstage and everything is moving quicker than a suburban family’s minivan through Harlem. Adrianne and Shannon are transformed with wigs, hoops and outfits that would cause heart attacks in the Bible Belt. They walk!
Now, as I pointed out in earlier posts, ANTM tried to pull a fast one on us. Adrianne and Shannon walked in a pre-show practice walk but it was edited with footage of Kimora’s actual show. It still must have been super exciting and intimidating for Adrianne and Shannon. Kimora, Tyra, Janice and Beau were at the end of the catwalk cheering on both girls. Adrianne looked very stiff but Shannon was smoking hot. She walked brilliantly, had the look and attitude and was truly a model for a few moments there.
Adrianne and Shannon each walked twice, two different outfits. Shannon’s outfits were a long stripped dress and a gold boot, mustard mini, leopard top with fur shoulders. Adrianne was in a fur-trimmed skirt with leopard top and then a long black dress. PETA, go screw yourself.
After the show the two girls spend their last night together. “Are you scared” asks Adrianne. “Yes,” replies Shannon. They are competitors and buddies, as Adrianne says.
Before the Judges For the Last Time
The girls walk into the judging room and see black and white profile photos of themselves on the Sony. Tyra announces there will be no guest judge. “Just us four,” she says. “We know you.”
Tyra shows them their strongest photos from the competition. Shannon is up first. “You rock,” says Janice about her snake photo. “Sex appeal,” says Beau about her Reebok photo. Kimora says her bikini photo is not her favorite. She gets a thumbs up for her Wonderbra photo.
Adrianne gets high marks for her snake photo. Janice likes her bikini photo, other than her foot placement. Beau lauds her athletic build. Everyone loves her diamond photo and Beau wishes we had one of Shannon.
Tyra asks each for final words. Shannon says, “I may have not been perfect in everything but I tried to learn. I can become that supermodel. I got it in me.” Adrianne says this has been the best experience. “I can be a sex machine,” she says. It “really contrasts what I am at home.” Janice says the girls have grown “leaps and bounds. We’re all so proud of you.” Tyra admits that when she woke up that morning, she didn’t know who she wanted.
Deliberating For the Last Time
Janice: “I have to say that Shannon blew me away last night with her performance. Adrianne still walked down that runway like she had a broomstick shoved up her ass.”
Kimora: “Shannon kicked Adrianne’s butt. That smile that usually kills me, I didn’t see it.”
Janice: “I’m going to take off my negative remarks from before about her not doing the nude shoot. Big deal. She morphed into a model.”
Beau says he’s “the voice of dissent. I think Adrianne did the best last night. Shannon was an imitation of a model whereas Adrianne just had more of herself.” Beau sees the potential in Adrianne to develop her own walk.
At this point, the vote is looking like a 3 to 1 in favor of Shannon. Various aspects of modeling are discussed and Shannon is coming out on top. Kimora thinks Adrianne is the more beautiful of the two and has the edgy look a model needs. She all but admits Shannon would make the better all around model though. Tyra says when she first saw Adrianne, she wrote a big “NO!” next to her name. For Shannon, she wrote “Miss Apple Pie. Very commercial. Very sellable.”
Damn, is Shannon going to win this?!?!
America’s Next Top Model
The girls are summoned to the room. Behind Tyra is a cloth covering the photo of the winner. It will drop in a few seconds, and the girl who is shown will have her life changed forever.
Tyra says Adrianne “transformed like Cinderella.” To Shannon she says that originally her look was too commercial, even described as “boring.” But she adds that last night Shannon “stole the show. That show was you.”
The cloth drops. Adrianne is America’s next top model.
Adrianne’s mouth is shaking just like the time she had food poisoning. She looks like she’s about to collapse but luckily Shannon is there to give her a congratulatory hug and hang-ten hand gesture. The judges now converge on Adrianne and give her hugs and kisses. Adrianne says she even feels as if she loves Janice Dickinson. In the Best Moment Ever On Reality TV, Janice responds, “I didn’t vote for you!”
It’s a beautiful and fitting end this series.
Shannon says, “I came here to win but I didn’t. But I’m also pleased because I made it this far and a lot of girls would definitely want to be in my position and they are not.” She’s getting misty just a tad while she says this.
Tyra tells Adrianne to forget about waitressing in Joilet. “Screw serving ever again!” exclaims Adrianne. “I’m going to have a good life now. My family is going to have a good life now. A lot is going to change. And it kicks so much ass.”
I thought Shannon was going to win. Given another week, I think her momentum would have surpassed Adrianne. Shannon holding back was her mistake. I like her a lot so I’m blaming Robin. Tee hee.
Congratulations to Adrianne. You earned this one. Also thanks to her and Shannon, Elyse, Robin, Kesse, Giselle, Ebony, Nicole, Katie and Tessa for letting me rag on them for the duration of the series.
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If you missed them or just can't get enough, read the Episode One, Episode Two, Episode Three, Episode Four, Episode Five, Episode Six and Episode Seven recaps!