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Lifestyles of the Bitch and the Shameless
The finalists assemble outside the city hall of Beverly Hills, where J. and Jay inform them that they will be getting a tour of celebrity homes, and who better to give them a deluxe Star Tour than Robin Leach, host of “Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous.” The girls scream, but is it only out of politeness? Because half of them don’t appear to have any idea who he is, or maybe they think he’s Gordon Elliott. Everyone loads into a big double decker bus, and it’s off to see the homes of LaLaLand’s luminaries.
Talk about your champagne wishes and caviar dreams…Robin Leach pops open a bottle of bubbly (actually, sparkling apple cider) and classy dame Lisa proceeds to take a swig right out of the bottle. “No no no, from glasses, young lady,” Robin admonishes. Cassandra, who so loves to judge others, says, “I’m thinking, oh my gosh, have some class, but I don’t want to say anything to her…Even though I may have been raised more privileged than some people, there’s no reason to rub that in people’s faces.” I know some people would probably like to rub your face in something after that remark, but seeing how I was raised to have some courtesy, I too shall hold my tongue.
Robin announces that they are now in a tony neighborhood which is home to top models like Heidi Klum, Cindy Crawford, and Claudia Schiffer. They pull up to a mansion that Robin says “contains a very unique cast of characters, in fact it is the home of America’s Next Top Model!” Now the screams of joy sound sincere, as they snatch the key from Robin and run into the posh Bel Air mansion.
The place is quite fabulous in a “Barbie Dream Home” type of way, decorated like some crazy department store, with fashion on display all over and of course pictures. Still, it’s definitely the most tasteful and opulent of all the ANTM digs so far. The rooms have themes revolving around bling, shoes, purses, and perfume. Ashley and Kim declare themselves best friends, and pick a room together. Bre mulls over the irony that she went from working in a boutique to having to sleep in one. I mull over the irony that Miss Stinky gets put in the perfume room.
There is a hot tub in the living room, and since this is Southern California, the obligatory pool in the back, where Kim sits with her toes in the water surrounded by the [must be said in sexy Barry White growl] ladies who all lean in with great curiosity at the sight of a real, live lesbian! Kim tolerates the attention, in fact, I’m sure she’s workin’ it, and she good-naturedly says, “A lot of these girls don’t know anyone who’s gay, and it’s kind of exciting for them.” Aw yeah, Kim gonna be pimpin’ up in this henhouse fo’ shizzle, yo.
Kim mentions that she does have a girlfriend at home, but makes sure to add it is an “open relationship.” Sarah, of the big, pillowy lips, offers, “I’ll make out with you, Kim,” in a half-joking, yet perhaps half-not way. Yup, it’s always the small town innocents who bust out like bananas when they hit the big city. I think love is in the air! Wait, no, that’s the just the smell of Bre…
The next morning, and people are either making breakfast or talking about how they don’t eat breakfast. Kyle and Cassandra are chatting in the kitchen, when Cassandrobot notices the bottoms of her feet are dark. “This house is dirty,” Cassandra says with deep disapproval, as she sits with her blackened feet on the kitchen counter, where people put their food!. For a girl who grew up so privileged, why is she sitting around like she was raised by wolves?
Cassandra is so overbearingly control-freakish that she has Nicole talking about how she’s driving people nuts. There is a lovely montage of Cassandra criticizing everything from the décor, to the pool temperature, to past ANTM contestants. Kyle believes Cassandra feels she’s better than everyone else, and Lisa thinks her being spoiled will be her weakness.
Red Carpet Ride
Their first official TyraMail arrives, heralding their first challenge. It asks if they have “high self esteem” and “how much are you worth”? The girls are ready by 4, as specified, at which time a man appears at the door. Turns out he is the chauffeur for their white stretch limousine, which is a BIG ASS LIMOUSINE with possibly more square footage than the home I currently occupy. It is decorated in pink and black, with Top Model logos, and stuffed with makeup too.
They are dropped off to a place where Jay informs them they will be attending a big, red carpet event tonight. And not only will they be attending a fashionista, press, and celeb-filled Life & Style event, they will also walk in a fashion show this evening. They will need to do their best to impress. Slippery Sarah, who slid slightly during the semi-final fashion show, is excited but scared at the same time, because she is aware that she “can’t walk.”
The “celebrities” start to arrive, and the only one I can identify is Tori Spelling, who haunted me the first year I lived in L.A. by appearing at every club, coffeehouse, and street corner I went to. She is haunting me again—damn you, Tori Spelling, will I never escape your inordinately large-headed ubiquitousnessosity?!! Then hunky Nigel Barker appears in the audience, and all is forgiven.
Meanwhile, the girls discover they will have to do their own makeup, provided of course by ANTM sponsors CoverGirl. Kim, who never wears makeup, has no idea how to use any of it, and asks for help. Her “best friend” Ashley, blows her off completely, saying, “I wasn’t helping anyone. That wasn’t my concern, this was a competition.” I guess the “pretty gene” only applies to her exterior (which is starting show signs of wear: nice bags under those eyes). Ebony helps Kim, and Kim reevaluates whether her “best friend” (for all of what, a day?) is someone she can trust.
More to fret over: the runway for tonight’s show is an odd, square or X-shaped puzzle, which the girls think was designed to create collisions, since two girls will be sent out each time. Sarah is getting ever more nervous, convinced that she has the “worst walk” and “bad balance.”
Nate Dogg, hip hop artist, is the MC for the event tonight. He announces each girl as they come out in their different looks: Ashley is “sensual,” Bre is “quirky,” Cassandra is “posh.” Coryn, as “regal” nearly collides with Diane. Jayla (“spunky”) and Ebony (“avant garde”) both give little winks at the end of the runway. Nik is “cutting edge” and Kim? She’s “awkward”—no, actually, she’s supposed to be “sassy” but seeing her in a strapless tube dress is just wrong. Lisa is certainly “feisty,” Nicole “ferocious,” and Kyle “confident.”
You Got Me Straight Trippin’, Boo
Then it’s time for Sarah. Oh Sarah…dear, sweet, small-town, bi-curious Sarah. Such a doll, so pretty when she’s not actually in motion. Her first step onto the runway, and she’s already bit the dust, tripping off the main stage onto the runway. While not a full-on pratfall, it’s conspicuous enough to make audience members gasp in horror. With tear in her eyes, she says later it was “humiliating.”
Everyone changes into their second outfit, and when Sarah comes out for her second go-round, she TRIPS AGAIN, this time to catcalls from the audience. Poor Sarah has not made a single trip this whole competition without some kind of stumble. “I just humiliated myself twice,” Sarah says, looking deeply pained.
Asked how she thought the night went, Diane says she thinks it went okay, then laughs heartily and adds that she’s sure the audience could tell they were amateurs. Jay, in Pepto Pink, comes backstage and tells the girls it was “the absolute worst fashion show I’ve ever done,” and after a night like that he’s probably going to need to swig a little Pepto Bismol.
In the limo, the girls let off steam after their long night. Kim cheers up a still-sad Sarah by telling her she’s beautiful. Sarah then surprises everyone by flying across the limo to jump on Kim and give her a big, ol’ smooch on the mouth. In fact, the broad shouldered Sarah pins Kim down in a full-on snog session that prompts Nicole to yell, “This is models gone wild!” In the midst of much laughter and (yet more) screaming, Kim finally comes up for air and declares, “One down, eleven to go!”
Pretty Hate Machine
Back at the mansion, Lisa tells Ebony there is only person she doesn’t understand in the house: Cassandra. “You can tell that girl ain’t struggled at all.” Ebony admits she’s “like a machine.” Lisa pretends she’s Cassandra, replete with robot moves, and wonders where she plugs in her battery. “Cassandra’s a weirdo,” Ebony puts it simply.
To Lisa’s credit, she doesn’t talk behind anyone’s back what she wouldn’t say to that person’s face. Back in the house, Lisa tells Cassandra that they feel she’s like a robot and asks, “What’s the deal?” Cassandra simply smiles, a perfect pageant smile with just a glint of steely coldness, then says, “You know how sociopaths don’t feel emotion that’s why they can kill people without feeling bad about it? Only I never killed anybody.” [cue Bernard Hermann theme from Psycho] YET! I told you, pure evil. I’m sure Lisa didn’t get a bit of sleep that night.
High Flying, Adored
TyraMail arrives, saying, “It’s a bird, it’s a plane…No, it’s a Top Model in the making.” Okay, is it just me or is TyraMail guy slacking off along with Naughty Pixellator guy? He’s not even trying anymore.
The next morning, the girls meet Jay at a location where a big crane and harness are set up in a narrow alley. Michael Ruiz is there to shoot them flying in the air, dressed as superheroes. In hair and makeup, the girls are outfitted in shiny spandex, capes, and colorful, KISS-meets-JEM makeup—basically, what I like to wear on the weekends.
Kim is first and struggles with getting the angle correctly. Jay is not impressed, and Ashley comforts her bestest Top Model friend by saying, “Dude, you were sucking real bad, it was incredible.” Who wants to sing a rousing round of “That’s what friends are forrr…”? Ashley follows, and sees it’s really not that easy. Jay keeps yelling that she has no neck, and says that they’re lucky if they got one good shot of her.
Bre does pretty well, save for her Superhero on the Potty Squat. Nik, despite claiming that she didn’t know anything about superheroes, “turned it out” for Jay, while Kyle seems to do okay too. Diane gives fierce face, and Lisa aces the shoot, and by looking like Jay’s “Matrix fantasy.”
You know there’s always got to be one, and this episode, Coryn confesses she’s afraid of heights. But unlike other girls who cry and scream and throw fits, Coryn earns everyone’s respect by sucking it in and doing the shoot without complaining.
Cassandra “shows her dark side,” Nicole gives “intensity,” and of Ebony, Jay says simply, “She’s good.” Sarah laughs and says she was just “looking a fool” as usual; fortunately, Jay says she lucked into one good shot. Jayla “rocked.”
At home TyraMail announces the first elimination; leaving Slip ‘n’ Slide Sarah and her new girlfriend Klunky Kim scared that they might be the first to go.
On to the judging room, where Tyra announces the prize package: a contract with Ford Models, a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl and a fashion spread in Elle magazine shot by Gilles Bensimon. New to this cycle, the winner will also be on the cover of ELLEgirl magazine…alongside Tyra, and don’t you dare block her light!
Tyra introduces the judges: suave photographer Nigel Barker returns to the panel; while runway diva extraordinaire, Miss J. becomes a regular judge for the first time. He’s wearing a gigantic corsage with a flower representing each girl, “and each week there will be one that falls off…sad but true.” Also new to the panel is a true fashion icon that is “one of the top three most influential fashion models on this earth,” Twiggy. Twiggy was the first teenager to become a model, and she is still one of the most recognizable faces of the 1960s. Whereas Janice Dickinson used to claim she was the world’s first supermodel, Twiggy arguably truly was the world’s first supermodel. Tyra also explains that she popularized “Twiggies,” i.e. lashes drawn in with eyeliner on the bottom lid. Silly me, I thought it was Malcolm McDowell all this time.
Pretty Gene, Pretty Gone
Evaluations this week will be based on the Life & Style fashion show and the superhero photo. Lisa earns high marks from Twiggy and Nigel for her performance in the fashion show; it’s only Miss J. who wants to “clean that up” up a bit. Everybody loves her superhero shot. Nicole’s walk, though fine by Twiggy, needs work according to J. (I guess this is the trouble with having your runway trainer on the panel, tougher standards). When the panel rips apart her photo, Nicole seems a little pissed.
Kyle’s walk is again loved by Twiggy, not by J. The panel is ambivalent about her photo, liking the pose but not her weak expression. Bre’s horse trot works for Nigel, but not for Twiggy; they love her dynamic flying pose, but her lack of connection with the viewer in terms of her face is seen as a flaw. Kim’s walk is seen as “a man in a dress” and the panel wants her to go with her masculinity instead of try be something she’s not; Nigel doesn’t like Kim’s pic so much, though Twiggy does, adding that she even saw a flash of herself 40 years ago.
Ebony does fine in terms of runway but no one likes her picture. Diane’s face is “undeniably beautiful” but her walk lackluster; similarly, in her photo, it’s fierce face then blah body. Ashley’s walk is “boring” and her picture looks like a hero weakened by kryptonite. Nik’s Stevie Wonder head roll on the runway distracts the judges, but her photo kicks ass. J. doesn’t like the way Coryn carried herself on the runway, and no one seems blown away by her picture. Jayla’s “itchy scratchy” dance in the fashion show must go, but they did like her energy; the jury is split on the photo—Twiggy likes the face, Tyra does not.
Nigel doesn’t like Cassandra’s “prom walk,” Miss J. does. When Cassandra explains she was trying to keep the dress up so as not to flash anybody, Nigel declares there wasn’t enough flashing at that fashion show. “Down boys!” Twiggy commands, before Miss J. looks at her like she has two heads. “There’s only one boy at this table,” Nigel explains. The panel does seem to love her photo though.
Nigel chides Sarah not so much for tripping, but for not recovering from it well. He says that she looked upset and like she wanted to run off as quickly as possible. Twiggy likes Sarah’s high-flying heroine, and likes that her face looks “sexy and scary and the same time” (which is how I myself have describe German porn); Nigel likes the close-up, but finds her legs look really short.
The judges deliberate, and then the moment of truth arrives. Tyra gives her favorite “I have X beautiful girls standing before me” speech, even doing the same little eye flutter at the exact same moment each time. She hands the 12 photos back to: Nik, Lisa, Cassandra, Diane, Jayla, Kyle, Bre, Ebony, Coryn (though not without saying “Those eyebrows are killing me. Groucho Marx, girl.”),
Nicole, and Kim.
This leaves Ashley and Sarah in the bottom two. Tyra tells Sarah she’s not standing there because she can’t walk, but more because she cracked under pressure. Tyra says Ashley’s probably wondering why she’s even in the bottom two; no big mistakes on her part, her photo and walk were “all right,” but only just. Tyra wonders if “maybe she’s just the pretty girl who doesn’t have what takes to be a model.”
We’ll never know, at least not on this show, because Tyra hands the last photo back to Sarah, advising her that next time she trips on a runway, she act like she did it on purpose. Ashley leaves walking right past her chum Kim, and a tearful Sarah. “Being crushed SUCKS. Being crushed first SUCKS,” Ashley cries out, before finally accepting that “There can only be one winner anyway. This is how it was supposed to be."
Anybody still with me? Bless your heart if you are, I know this was one plus-sized recap. Join us next week when Sarah and Kim start picking out China patterns, Cassandra reveals her secret life killing hobos for kicks, Ebony recites the phone book from memory and—ooh, makeovers! Okay, only the makeover part is true (though admit it, Cassandra’s an even more likely hobo killer than Rebecca from Cycle 4).
The word of the day is homophone! Send questions, comments, and prayers that my loved ones in the Gulf Coast are safe to snowflakegirl@fansofrealitytv. com.