Sure, they've talked the talk, but this week on America's Next Top Model, we get to see if our model wannabes can walk the catwalk. Someone takes a dive during an impromptu fashion show, but is it Amanda, whose night vision leaves her in the dark? Speaking of the legally blind Middle Earth mother, an accusation from Amanda provokes the return of "Evil" Eva, and the altercation whips the entire household into one gigantic catfight. Also, more fuzzily pixellated toplessness (plus one bottom) than a Girls Gone Wild infomercial (but thankfully, fewer "Woos"--why must everyone scream "Woo" whenever they flash titty? But I digress). What the heck more could you want, beloved ANTM aficionados, just shy of an expensive FCC fine?
When it's time to walk, there's only one man to see. The eleven remaining girls head to the YWCA to meet J. Alexander, runway trainer extraordinaire. Always one to make an entrance, Miss J. welcomes them to "Runway 101" from atop a desk, garbed in a Hot-for-Teacher ensemble replete with prim blouse, pencil skirt, and shiny apple. Kristi (who, in interviews, appears as if her American flag gown is the only personal item of clothing she owns) asks, "Why doesn't someone explain J. to us? He wears heels, and no one says anything about it." Maybe because there's a little thing called tolerance--you know, when people accept others' lifestyles and footwear and fabulousness, even if it's different from one's own? Oh, "Kristi", considering all the speculation over your gender, that comment is rich.
"Practice makes perfect," J. says, adding that a perfect example of this adage is none other than Yoanna House, the girl who went from horsey catwalk stomper to the graceful butterfly currently fluttering downstage before our very eyes in Cycle 2 of ANTM. Well, okay, she still looks like she's got some slightly stiff Riverdance arms going on, nonetheless, she looks gamine gorgeous in a silk dress of sunflower yellow. The girls squeal with surprise and delight to see the winner of the last competition, perhaps because her presence makes winning seem like more of reality. She sits down for some Q&A with the girls, and talks about how modeling has turned her life "inside out" and provides her advice on confidence. "My philosophy is don't look at the other person, what they're doing. It's what you're doing, what you can do for yourself." I'd forgotten how pleasantly self-poised Yoanna is, and apparently wise too. Of course, if anyone really took her advice, we'd have no show; luckily, they won't [cue sound of angry, roiling cats in the background].
Time to get down to the business at hand, however, so J. rolls out a wardrobe rack so the girls can do a wardrobe change (which he does too, hello pinafore!), saying, "If it's not your size, make it work, make it happen." They change into in leeeettle tank tops, short pleated skirts, and high-heeled mary janes; Norelle mentions that she is not used to wearing heels and is working on walking in them. For the girls' first lesson, Miss J. throws the book at them; or, rather, places it on their heads in the age-old exercise for posture. "Posture, balance, posture, balance!" he yells at them, like an angry fascist dictator, as they struggle to keep the tomes atop their noggins, with varying degrees of success, mostly bad. "Y'all are so beat up," J. laments. Ann is the first person who appears to do well in this exercise; she ends her perfectly balanced stroll down the runway with "And that, ladies, is how it's done." She is followed by her "Mama" and partner-in-crime, Eva, who confesses that she struggles with being the shortest girl in the house, despite feeling and acting like "the tallest girl". "It looks like it's about to fall, but you're not letting it happen," J. observes as Eva strides down the runway. "It's not gonna fall," Eva says confidently, earning hoots of appreciation from J. himself. Kelle, Nicole, and Cassie don't fare as well, all critiqued by J. as needing to relax in some way. But according to J., all Amanda needs are "those eyes" to make her stand out. Little does he know about her struggle with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that will eventually leave her completely blind. For her part, Amanda is determined to not let her disability get in her way.
Lesson two involves being swathed in diaphanous fabrics to work on emoting "grace and elegance." Alas, Miss J. chides Jennipher for not having "an ounce of grace" in her body--ouch!--and Toccara to "suck your gut, Baby, anything hanging out looks nasty." Regarding Kristi, J. feels that she looks "dead," and in training tells her, "You are serving a big, steaming bowl of nothing." Funny, isn't that what Cassie ordered at dinner last week? Yaya, J. feels, is too much of a dancer. And poor Norelle? Well,
according to J., she concentrates too much on the clothing, not her body. Norelle is even harder on herself than he is, saying, "I was seriously the worst girl walking." Norella adds that [famous last words], "Falling, this is something I would do, but I'm not gonna look like a dumb, like, idiot."[/famous last words]
Lesson trois involves big ol' "I Love Lucy" headdresses, "the most awfullest things to wear in the world," according to Jennipher, who clearly was snoozing through her grammar class in Pocatello. To prove this is a likely scenario, J. mentions that the last Dior show had lots of headdresses, which were a lot of work, and there is often no rehearsal. Meanwhile, Norelle just narrowly escapes slipping in her heels underneath her big, feathery headpiece.
At the end of the day, ostensibly as a reward for all their hard work, Miss J. announces that he will be taking them to a party tonight. "Simply models out on the town having a fierce time," he says, with two snaps. Ah, but when was anything ever simple on ANTM? At the danceclub, a large crowd outside piques their interest. Inside, their curiousity is satisfied, when they meet the fashion design duo, Heatherette. Norelle is ecstatic to meet her "favorite designers in the whole world," Richie Rich and Traver Rains (who are heretofore referred to as a single entity), who have dressed Paris Hilton (lest we forget, Norelle is humongoid Paris fan), Gwen Stefani, Aerosmith, Nicole Kidman, et al. Miss J. even stoops down to pick from the floor "all the names they been droppin'."
J. explains that Heatherette fashion shows are the hottest ticket in town. Tonight, however, the girls are fortunate enough to not just attend a Heatherette show, but to be the stars of one. The girls immediately report to hair and makeup, where they are transformed into punk funk street chic divas for the theme "Circus of Panic". Norelle appears to poop herself over a rumor that Paris Hilton might be in attendance, and frets over the big, "ridiculous" shoes they must wear. Amanda says that "as long I see the runway before, I'll be cool." Speaking of which, it's not the standard, straight runway; tonight the girls are expected to navigate their way on a narrow walkway with several crooks and turns that snake through a dimly lit danceclub, ending in a circular stage. With ten minutes left until stage time, and Amanda still in makeup, she is unable to take a peek outside. "I'm legally blind during the daytime," she says, "but at night, it's completely blind." She becomes increasingly scared of falling of the stage; however, she is barred from looking at the runway. "I understand they didn't want me to have an unfair advantage, but I was just trying to get on the same playing field as everybody else."
Jennipher is up first, and clomps through in a creepy Carmen Miranda meets Power Puff Girls ensemble like she's walking through a field of mud; then is followed by Eva, who slinks by with feline grace in a cute trapeze performer-type costume. "Even though I'm short, I love runway," Eva hollers with glee. Cassie is unremarkable, in a gimungous, bubblegum pink fright wig and a "Big Top Big Fun" shirt; Ann goes by pretty quickly in a red, feathery number; Kelle looks terrible in a glittery leotard with bat wings, and a blonde Rick James wig; and Nicole shakes her stuff in teal fringe. But it's Tocarra who gets the biggest and most enthusiastic response from the audience. "I love the crowd, I love to hear everyone cheer...I love to be a showstopper," Toccara gushes afterwards. "You got applause because your titties were out, girl!" Eva admonishes, over a shot of Miss J. impersonating juggling Tocarra's mahoosive hoots. How do you follow an act like that? Yaya comes out, with that dignified air of hers, in a fantastic plastic roller mohawk that is an architectural wonder. Finally, Kristi tromps out, fretting over all the guys below "that can totally see up my skirt." Hello, earth to Kristi, there is a 99.97% chance that these guys are as gay as the day is long and are therefore not at all interested in what exists beneath your skirt--unless the rumors are true and there is, in fact, a penis up there, Miss Girl with Something Extra.
Finally, it's Amanda's turn. She is very worried now that she has not gotten the chance to look at the runway, nor has anyone even told her how many steps lead to the runway, or any other info. Dressed as a candy-colored clown, she gets on the first step and looks down to see...Glitter. No, not Mariah Carey's star-making feature film (why was she shut out of the Oscars?), but bright, shiny bits of glitter, strewn all over the floor of the runway and lighting her way. "I was like 'Thank you,' because the glitter saved me," she says. Unfortunately, if you watch her walk, she can't seem to keep her tongue in her mouth; an attempt to be sexy, I suppose, but it only makes her look like a thirsty little lizard.
Let's see, whom have the editors left to go last on the runway? Norelle! Looking like Bride of Frankenstein Goes to Prom, she takes the stage. For Norelle to appear in a show by her favorite designers is "like a dream come true, for the rest of my life, I'll never get over it," she says. For a girl whose reportedly never worn heels her whole life, she actually does a relatively decent job, that is, until she totally eats it at the end of the runway. Just as she is supposed to step up on the circular stage for her final turn, she trips, appears to bang her head on the big pole in the center of the stage, and goes down like a shot bird. In disbelief, Norelle exclaims, "My biggest dream: Heatherette fashion show; my worst nightmare: falling--ALL ON THE SAME NIGHT!"
After "their first shot of fashion crack," as J. describes it, Amanda comes clean to him about her eyesight, even showing him her cane and explaining that she's "completely nightblind." Toccara claims that there is a rumor that Amanda is getting special treatment due to her blindness, even though J. says he didn't know about this beforehand. Eva joins in, saying, "My shoes were too little, I didn't complain about that." The heated debate over Amanda continues on the ride home, when Toccara (in the car with Eva, Ann, and Yaya) says that it "didn't look like she was too concerned about not seeing" on the runway, when she was making posing and trying to look sexy. Even Yaya implies that Amanda is exaggerating her symptoms, when she observes that Amanda later had problems identifying a pole.
In the other car, Amanda talks to Jennipher and Nicole about how much Eva is chapping their hides, even mentioning that she had dreamt that "I beat her ass into the ground...I was slamming her head into the floor." What the heck happened to loving, hippy Mama? I guess the peace train must have derailed. They titter over Eva and her attitude, theorizing that insecurity is what drives her to act as she does. "That's why I want someone to dog her about her height," Jennipher says.
To Catch a Bitch
Back at the Waldorf-Astoria, Amanda finds some things of hers missing, such as some of her laundry, which Eva was in charge of distributing, and $100. She basically asserts Eva is to blame, not directly to Eva of course, but to other roommates, like Jennipher, Kelle, and Nicole. Amanda has even composed a charming song, with an accompanying interpretive dance, that goes: "I'm missing a hundred dollars and my laundry's gone/Cuz of a certain bitch/Ah, certain bitch, certain bitch." Actually, it's quite catchy--watch out Tyra, Miss "Shake Ya Body", there's another hyphenate talent coming round the bend. Amanda searches all over Eva's room for her possessions, and then enlists Nicole to help her set a trap for Eva, their "thief": she leaves out two rings and a $10 bill with "Nicole's sweet ass" written on it. "What's $10 to catch a bitch?" Amanda shrugs, but adds that she will not leave her precious crystals out.
Miss J. shows up to announce who won the challenge of the previous evening; they will have to choose two other girls to accompany them on a luxurious, all-day pampering trip on a yacht. But first for the critiques: Jennipher must be lighter; Amanda was trying to be too sexy; Eva could have worked the cape more. He tells Ann, "You walk like a dude. You're just so damn pretty." Of Toccara, he says she held her own, however, "I was afraid your puppies were gonna get out of the cage." Kristi, he said, looked down too much. Norelle, well he says he loves that it was her favorite designer, "we live for that moment, and you falled down in it." The person he felt really "nailed it," however, and the winner of the yacht cruise, is Eva, who immediately launches into an end-zone happy dance in everyone's face. She chooses "Anna Banana" to come on the yacht with her, natch, but also, inscrutably...Kelle? What in tarnation? The same girl she was talkin' smack about not too long ago?
"If anyone in the house but her had won, we would have been fine," Amanda says, voice dripping with acid disguised as honey. In their long, narrow, Shining-esque hallway, Eva irons some clothing in preparation for her yacht trip as Amanda storms through the house, loudly searching for her crystals. "My crystals are missing," Amanda says frantically. "What crystals?" Eva asks, and just as she does, Amanda walks past and bumps into Eva's arm. "Excuse me, you just bumped into me, you know that right?" Eva asks. "It was an accident," Amanda mutters bleakly, not even looking at Eva. "Don't be mad, please," Eva says, then immediately tensions escalate, with Amanda saying she has a right to be mad, Eva saying she doesn't have a right to bump into her without saying "Excuse me," Amanda saying she didn't feel like being excused and other such profundities. Amanda says the reason she's mad is someone stole her crystals, and she won't leave the house until she's searched "everybody's pockets".
Amanda's not the only one coaxing Evil Eva out of her shell of (relative) niceness. In the next room over, within earshot of Eva, Jennipher says that she's glad Eva won because they can now have a "celebration of getting the bitch out of the house." Toccara snorts, "Oh my God, Jennipher went there." Eva, no petite flower, confronts Jennipher, saying, "This whole thing is a competition...Don't hate on the next person when they win." Jennipher says she didn't like Eva's being in everyone's face, and impersonates Eva's happy dance, including a remark about "skinny bitches." Eva defends herself by saying, "I said tall bitches." When Eva says she's just being herself, Jennipher accuses her of being duplicitous; asking why she makes nice in front of the judges, but acts like Evil Eva the rest of the time. "Because I'm cute, I'm sorry Jennipher, but I am." Ann steps into the ring to defend her Mama, even though it really has nothing to with her, and before you know it, it's a tag team between Ann, Eva, Amanda, and Jennipher. Ann (who is starting to scare me in a "redrum" kind of way) tells Jennipher, in so many bleeps, to shut up while she's talking, then Jennipher violently pushes her out of the way--I guess that's the problem with one long narrow hallway, or perhaps the genius...Could the art directors have anticipated all the bumping and shoving in here? "Don't ever touch me again or you will get knocked out," Ann threatens. "I'd like to see that," Jennipher spits back. So would we, Jennipher, so would we.
Eva calls Amanda out on no longer being the sweet mother who would have said "excuse me" and then tells everyone they're "playing a role today, get over it." Kelle runs through the house and tells Eva they need to get out of here. Estrogen is at a rolling boil by the time Amanda recreates "the bump" for Yaya, and then starts crying over the loss of her crystals, "the thing that means the most to me, and takes away my negativity." All I can say is, I don't know how well those things have been working for you in the first place, you might want to get your money back. The whole house needs a major cleansing, so I suggest getting some huge, industrial-sized crystals instead. Ann still won't let Jennipher's threats go, and mutters violent threats as she cleans her ears with Q-tips (that can't be safe). Eva tells Ann, "I didn't even know you were a bitch. But now I see it. All the time."
While everyone argues, Kelle wanders around asking someone for if they have an extra pair of sunglasses she can use (what, Miss Gucci Fancypants doesn't have her own designer specs?), and reminds them they have a yacht to catch. Before the whole household explodes from conflict, Yoanna picks the girls up for their day of luxury on a yacht, on which they take a breathtaking ride around Manhattan, get massaged, and eat little finger sandwiches. Ann is "starstruck" by Yoanna, says Eva, "but she's from Erie, Pennsylvania." I don't know on whom that's a worse slam, Yoanna or Ann?
Meanwhile, back at the old homestead, Amanda has found her crystals. "I'm an idiot. I hid them so they wouldn't get stolen," she says with an embarassed laugh. Now she feels "silly" for having accused Eva of being a thief "without any proof." Yet, Amanda makes the world's worst apology, still implying that her other missing goods are someone elses fault, but proposing, "If you will accept an apology, I will make it." Eva agrees to let the whole issue go, stating, "I may be loud, but I am not a thief."
TyraMail asks "Can you stand out in a crowd?" The next morning, they meet Jay Manuel and photographer Hyungwan Roo at the studio, where they are told they will be posing for an advertisement, which will be published in People magazine, clad in Lee Jeans...and nothing else! Kristi, looking extremely reticent, says her family "is not gonna like it very much." The girls will actually be shot in two groups, the photos of which will later be composited together to create the final ad. Still, Hyungwan tells them that for the group photos, they will all need to be "on" and giving him their full attention at all times.
According to Jay, "The girls clearly had no problem throwing their tops off." There is a lovely mammary montage, well, fuzzy pixel mammaries, as it were, as everyone whips their tops off. Cassie, obviously, was a natural; Nicole says, eloquently, "Whatever." Norelle is so comfortable topless, she shakes her chi-chi's for the world to see. "I love my boobs," she proclaims, proudly displaying her exhibitionist tendencies; proving that she really does take emulating Paris Hilton seriously. One girl who is not so comfy getting nuded up is Kristi, of course; nevertheless, she goes through with the shoot.
Group A consists of Ann, Kristi (whom Jay is critical of for not knowing how to "cheat her jaw so it wouldn't look so large"), Kelle, Nicole, Cassie, and Amanda. Group B includes Norelle, Toccara ("perfect" in every shot), Eva, Jennipher, and Yaya. The shoot is over without much incident, in fact, Jay gives them props, "Good job today, I'm really surprised." He tells them to get dressed, and everyone complies, except Norelle, who says, "I can't put mine away." Jay appears nonplussed, but amused. Laughing, he says, "Norelle kept trying to show me how gorgeous her boobs were, which they are [but] that doesn't mean she's going to be America's Next Top Model." Might want to try that on one of the straight male judges next time, Honey; which I guess means Nigel. A topless Norelle then hugs a topless Yaya, in a heartwarming show of sisterhood that's sure to make the cover of Ms. magazine. Or Sapphic Times.
After a creepy, crime-scene-looking, lead-in photo of Tyra ("it puts the denim on its skin or else it gets the hose again"), it's elimination time. In the evening, the girls appear before Tyra, Janice D., Nigel, a solo Nolé (Empress Minnie must be vaca), and special guest judges, Heatherette. Miss J. is also present to administer the girls' test for the evening. Tonight, they will have to walk in shoes two sizes too small, wearing an ugly, Pepto Bismol pink dress. After changing, they reconvene before the judges' panel to see the Lee Jeans ad as it will appear in People magazine. Janice D. declares it very 60s, and "acid-trippy," with wide, googly eyes that make it appear as if seeing it really might have tripped off an acid flashback.
Cassie is first in tonight's evals: Nolé can see the pain on her face from those tight shoes, but tells her she has to tough it out, as she might have to, in show after show, wear small shoes. The judges respond really well to her closeup this week, deeming it one of her "best to date." Nicole has a little difficulty walking; but the judges like her picture (Richie says he can see her "face on a box of hair color"; Janice likes her "androgynous" look). Kelle stumbles out of the gate, and the judges appear to stifle laughter; Tyra tells her she could tell she "gave up," adding that "the best athletes, the best dancers, and the best models push through the pain." Speaking of pain, Kelle's closeup is truly painful to look at. The judges, and even Kelle herself, appear repulsed, and I realize that, you know what, Kelle wasn't kidding, she really does have a monkey mouth after all. When Kelle starts to whine, Janice reprimands her by saying, "Snap out of it, this is valuable advice we're giving you."
Ann is next. Janice tells her she walks like an "East German swimmer." Her picture, however, total gorgeousity. Tyra says, "Oh my God," and Nigel says, "Thank God." When it's her turn, Nigel tells Amanda she should never look down then asks if she wears contacts or glasses; she take the opportunity to tell them about her eye disease. Janice cracks, "Oh I've walked off of plenty of runways, trust me." Nigel just tells her that this is something she'll have to overcome, however she has to do it. Her closeup gets rave reviews yet again; Nolé says that "No matter what angle we shoot you, it comes out beautiful." Kristi stomps out, leaving Janice so horrified, she must cover her eyes as if she can hardly bear the sight. Nigel describes her as "a train wreck coming towards me." Her picture does not impress either, they can see her discomfort, and Tyra tells her she needs to relax her chin.
Norelle provides comic relief when she hobbles out, nearly falling toward the end. Nolé likened her to the Tin Man, "in need of a major oil job, quick!" She explains she's never walked in heels, and the panel unanimously advises her to "eat, sleep, and drink" now. Her picture is undeniably sublime, however; Tyra says, "The other girls need to be skurred." Toccara is a trooper in her heels, and doesn't even give a hint of pain until they ask her how she feels in them and she breaks down. Nigel gives her kudos, saying, "You are comfortable in your body, you are sexy with your body." Nolé deems her "strong, confident, and sexy." Her picture also earns high marks, though Tyra says she'd have liked her to "pop that booty a little more Beyonce'd out." Tonight, Eva's walk is considered too "dainty" and not as tough and strong as her personality would call for (I would guess this is due to the shoes); the judges mostly like her picture, except to Tyra who thinks it's a little too stiff. Again, Yaya's dancing training might be working against her; Tyra makes fun off her head being held so high, saying, "It reminded me of Coming to America. I thought, what is she doing, this is not modeling?" Her picture, however, is praised as "amazing" and "one of the best shots tonight."
Finally, here comes Jennipher. In a sadly misguided attempt for attention and rocognition, at the end of her walk, she turns around, and lifts her skirt to unveil her buttcheeks, which are inscribed with the initials "ANTM" (did she write that herself, I wonder, or did she get someone's ass-istance, wokka wokka). Well, the booty flash is a joke that unfortunately backfires bigtime. Janice calls it "license to get fired, pulling that kind of joke on a runway." Nobody likes her pic this week, either.
Deliberations do not garner any new observations, although Janice and Nigel do tussle over Amanda (Janice says her blindness is not an issue when she photographs so amazingly, Nigel argues that no agency will be willing to sign a legally blind model). When the girls return, Tyra hands back photos as follows: Cassie, Ann, Nicole, Toccara, Eva, Amanda, Norelle, Yaya, Kelle. The bottom two (sorry, Jenn, no pun intended) are Jennipher and Kristi. Tyra tells Jennipher that her ANTM booty joke flopped, and Kristi that the judges sense an insecurity within her and also dislike her mouth (yeah, because hearing you have an ugly maw is bound to boost a girls' self-esteem). Even despite her ass-related antics, it is Jennipher who gets the photo and will return next week, while Man-Face gets the boot. We watch as Kristi packs up her American Flag prom dress, slinging it around unceremoniously (what, no tri-corner fold?), and tearfully says that "I need to get away from modeling for a while...It doesn't discourage me entirely, it just makes me want to rethink things." And on that note, another girl leaves the suite, leaving only ten behind in the competition.
Anyone else think the acting in Jay's "Beauty Tip of the Week" is like a 1950s industrial medical education film? Feel free to email me at snowflakegirl@fansofrealitytv. com to share your questions, comments, and beauty tips.