Zees ees le recap part deux. For the first half of this recap, click here. Otherwise, all you need to know is the 13 finalists have been chosen, and I am on my knees thanking Jesus, Allah, and Buddha combined that Dani did not make it to the house.
Jay literally comes crashing in—through a literally larger-than-life photo of himself, and literally whips the girls into a frenzy. Okay, no literal whipping (sorry if I disappointed any of you S&M/B&D enthusiasts out there). But he does get the girls psyched up for the start of the competition proper before whisking them away to the Bel Age Hotel for their next surprise.
“The pretty gene is not enough,” Jay tells the girls. In this biz, you need personality. Here to talk to them about how to comport yourself before the public is: Janice Dickinson! Now, I loves me some Janice, but whose ham-headed idea was it to ask the star of “Surreal Life 5” to teach anyone how to best portray themselves to the public at large? This is the woman who dry humped Balki, for the love of cod.
Jay introduces her as the “personality-filled” Janice Dickinson, although if you were to take a cross-section of her, you would see that she is in fact filled with silicone, saline, collagen, botox, gortex, a titanium skeleton, a car battery—oh my God, is there any organic material left in this bitch at all? I’m not hating, though, she looks good for being, as Jade dubs her, “The World’s Oldest supermodel.”
Janice says personality is about finding that one thing inside of you that sets you apart from everyone else. To test their personalities, they have set up a press conference for the girls, with only one mike per table, so it’s up to them to make sure they are heard and make an impression on the reporters’ minds. Gina “I Don’t <3 Asian Men” is nervous because she feels she doesn’t speak well in public. Oh no, not you! You were the paragon of articulate charm and grace in your semi-final audition! (In alternate, bizarro dimension where everything’s the opposite of what it really is here on earth.)
The girls head into the press conference before a table of TV, radio, news, and fashion industry professionals including Todd Newton, Trish Moreno, Rolanda Watts, Tina Frazier, and Trey Smith (a “special correspondent” that looks like a 12 year old boy who crashed the conference wearing his mom’s power suit—how did this child get in here?).
Furonda strategically seats herself right in front of a mike, dead center at the head table. It doesn’t really help, though. After the first question (“Who do you think is the frontrunner in this competition?”), Danielle at the end of the table leans across the entire table and snatches the microphone before Furonda can get a complete sentence out. Furonda snatches it back, but then Jade snatches it to declare herself “the undiscovered supermodel.” When people beg to differ, Jade tells everyone to shut up, and Janice advises that “zip it” is nicer than “shut up.” You know what’s even nicer? Basic courtesy!
The press conference is an unruly free-for-all, with the girls not seeming to understand how to politely take turns speaking. Also, I don’t know where these girls learned how to behave themselves, but their pugnacious prattle is more befitting of boxers trash talking their opponents than, ahem, future CoverGirls, unless they’ve changed their motto to “Easy, Breezy, Bellicose…CoverGirl!”
Even Brooke, the nice, unwashed hippy chick, says she’s not here to make friends, she’s here to win. Oh the humanity! But some girls are just fading into the background, like Kari, whom they advise to take off her hat—and in Janice’s case, her shirt. Janice gives her own nerf balls a squeeze, and in the process gives us a view of seams on her saline sacks. Rolanda Watts tells Kathy she needs to get rid of her down-home accent, and it makes me wonder why some accents are considered pleasing (Nnenna’s) and others not (our president’s—oh wait, it’s not his accent I hate, it’s his awful, awful lies).
Todd asks who has sacrificed the most to come on the show, and an undercurrent of sensitive music plays while Nnenna shows them all how it’s done. “I believe I am the one who left the most behind,” she says, before telling them the story of how she had to sacrifice her dreams of being a model to support her family in Nigeria. Yes, you can make a good impression and step out of the pack without having to attack other people. Nnenna herself says she doesn’t want to get so competitive that she loses herself in the rivalry. Everyone applauds her, and so do I.
Gina is thrown a softball when asked how being an Asian woman factors into her determination to win this competition. Her response: “I guess uh I dunno uh duh durrrr umm I dunno er eeeeee—“ [head explodes]. Actually, she goes on to talk about how she is having an identity crisis before our very eyes. Then when pressed to elaborate all she does is cringe repeatedly. Well thanks, Gina, for breaking that stereotype of Asian people being smart! Did I mention I am of Asian descent? I am not happy about this woman supposedly representing me with her whiny, nasal, stupid blathering. Excuse me, I need to go flush out my mind by watching some old video April Wilkner. Ah, okay that’s better…
The girls are dismissed, and behind the scenes Jade decides to give Gina a tongue lashing for her spineless breakdown in the press conference. “You have some insecurity about your race,” Jade spits out, bluntly. As irritating as Gina’s witless floundering can be, Jade is just kicking the girl while she’s down, which is needless and cruel. Furonda seems to feel bad for Gina, saying that Jade is just picking on an “easy target”—and truly, the slightest breeze can knock Gina down in an instant. It doesn’t make much for her to fall apart.
Gina says that as a Korean-American she feels like she’s a little bit of both and this confuses her. Jade, on the other hand, is biracial (her father is “black, white, and Indian” and her mother a “really exotic white woman), and is totally in touch with who she is. In fact, she’s so comfortable and proud that she lords it over Gina, and makes Gina cry. Joanie thinks that Jade enjoys Gina’s fear of her, and that beating up on Gina makes her feel powerful. I feel like I’m watching someone abuse a small puppy, and it repulses me.
I feel ambivalent about Jade. Wow, she’s evil, but she might have the goods to back it up. Jade’s like the female, Top Model version of Santino Rice!
House (No, Not the Hugh Laurie Show or the Cheesy Horror Movie)
Not surprisingly, Nnenna wins the press conference challenge, and she is told to pick three friends (Gina, Jade, and Sara). The four of them will be the first to pick where they want to stay when they go to the new house for the competiton.
Speaking of the new house, it’s where they head to next. Is there any more thrilling part of ANTM than when the girls first enter their new digs? This house is even more fabulous than the mansion the year before (the common rooms are a little less ticky tacky, I think), and the theme this year is “ANTM Modeling Agency” (aren’t they stepping on the toes of Janice’s new show a bit with this?).
The house is fill with sophisticated muted tones, sleek modern furnishings, and of course, pictures everywhere. A gigantic Tyra gazes down like God onto the living room. The dining room is delightfully decorated with delicious photos of Nigel. And the bedrooms themselves are shrines to specific models. The Twiggy Room is a mod delight, and Mollie Sue selects it because Twiggy is her inspiration. Nnenna naturally gravitates towards the Iman Room. The Janice room, well to be honest it looks to me like a sex club. I mean, when you enter, I half-expect one to start choking on a thick fog of pheromones and heavy bass music to start playing and oiled up muscle men to carry you in and start tickling you with feathers (oddly, I would imagine the exact thing for a Jay Manuel Room as well). Jade picks this room because she always thought Janice looked like “a biracial butterfly like myself.” What a coincidence, I always fancied myself a multi-ethnic moth myself!
The Christi Brinkley room is clean and bright, and Kathy moves in because she feels at home in the blue-eyed blonde’s domain. Finally, the Top Model room is a raucous tribute to all the past pretties of ANTM, with pictures of all our old favorites. Furonda is in “shock and awe,” although the most stunning area of the house is their main courtyard which has a roof of vines growing over a hot tub and pool, a few of girls jump into, fully clothed. I hope they took their watches off if they’re not waterproof!
[b]There Is No Dignity in the Champagne Room[/i]
The exciting evening is capped off with a fine dinner out at a restaurant. When the waiters pop open a bottle of champagne, many of the girls (only the legal ones, I’m sure) celebrate with a glass, or two, or three, or twelve of the bubbly stuff. The girl drinking the most is Gina, who is apparently trying to drown the troubles of the day in a sea of alcohol.
She chugs down her first glass and hollers out for more, while everyone looks on in disbelief and disapproval. This is not responsible enjoyment of an alcoholic beverage, folks, this is the kind of drinking that can lead to no good. It’s not even the fun drunkenness of say, a good time girl like old Brittany from Cycle 4. This is the kind of drunk that Lifetime series and Afterschool Specials are based on, the drunk of the damned.
Before long, Gina ends up stumbling around like a broken marionette operated by someone with Parkinson’s, gazing googly-eyed around the room. Kathy says she’s never seen anyone so drunk in her life, and it really scared her. And so it should, children! I feel like the one-armed man in “Arrested Development” who teaches the Bluth kids valuable lessons, “And that’s you don’t drink more alcohol than you can handle in a public place!” But it’s true. And at least Gina gets to keep both her arms in the end.
After assisting Gina’s limp noodle of a body into the vehicle, they head for home. “I’m never gonna drink alcohol again,” Gina swears. Well, she’s not the only one doing outrageous and potentially embarrassing things on national television. Back at home, a passel of tipsy girlies have assembled in the hot tub. And you know what that means. Straight male viewers of ANTM, and indeed all who enjoy objectifying women’s bodies, this is your moment of glory! [cue the Allelujah Chorus] The Nekkid Hot Tub Scene!!!
Before you can say “climbing ratings in key demographics” those little bits of string and lycra have been flung aside in a fit of giggles. Oh Pixellation Person, whoever you are, you have your work cut out for you. Kathy does not feel like joining in, but the girls nekkid in the tub appear to be: Jade, Sara, Kari, Joanie, Mollie Sue, and Nnenna. Danielle looks down, shocked, but doesn’t leave—oy, voyeur!
Joanie decides to liven up the party by offering Nnenna $100 cash to do runway around the pool nekkid. Joanie, no stranger to strippin’ for money, puts her money where her mouth is, actually flashing the cash, but Nnenna declines. Jade, sucking down a glass of red vino, says she’ll do it. But she’s all bark and no boob. Ultimately, she wimps out, saying “I’m worth more like a million dollars.” Joanie says she sees right through Jade’s “façade of strength.” Ultimately no one takes Joanie up on her generous offer. She didn’t even ask for a happy finish!
Take Ty’s Advice
Morning brings sunrise and Tyra, who takes time out of her busy schedule doing her talk show and plotting total and complete world domination to visit the girls and give them a little advice. Tyra says they are all unique beauties, pointing out that if they look around, “no one looks like anyone else.”
Joanie asks about how to achieve variety in facial expressions, and Tyra says the trick is to learn how to “pull your cheekbones up just using the muscle in your face.” Yes thanks for your invaluable wisdom Tyra. What else was I going to use, the muscles in my butt?!! Of course you use the muscles in your face!!! (Or, if you’re Janice Dickinson, animatronics supplied the Jim Henson Creature Workshop.)
Sara wants to know how to be yourself in press situations. Tyra says to pretend they’re people that you know, then demonstrates the right and wrong way to act in an interview. Her “wrong” answer consists of Gina-like uncertainty and hesitance. Her “right” answer is…I have no idea what that is. A Soul Train dancer? I mean what the hell, Tyra. I guess her message is to “just do it.” Wow! That’s original! And catchy! That could be like…like a saying or a slogan or something! Someone should think about using that to sell shoes assembled by toddlers in Thailand, yeah!
Forunda brings the powwow to a screeching halt when she asks sheepishly if Tyra has any tips for the girls who leave the show. Tyra’s temper takes a sharp, Joan Crawford type turn, and she sternly snaps, “You shouldn’t be asking that…I don’t have that tip, I don’t give those tips.” Furonda stammers and tries to recover by saying she only asked that question because other girls asked her to ask it. Huh? “Ain’t nobody ask you nothing,” Danielle says later. Leslie speculates that Furonda is not as confident as she says.
Girls Gone Bald!
TyraMail!!! The first TyraMail of the season says “Let’s cut to the chase.” The majority of the girls think makeover time! They are brought to the Warren Tricomi salon thinking for sure it is time for their style renovations. Jay leads them to believe this is true, and he also introduces a special guest, model Eve Salvail, who comes out with a short platinum blonde boy cut that looks like it could beat up Jay Manuel’s platinum blonde buzz cut.
Eve’s career defining moment was when she shaved her head bald and got discovered by Jean Paul Gaultier. Then Jay breaks the news to the girls: “You girls are going bald.”
[time is suspended in a deathly, frozen silence]
Jay milks it, “We thought we’d just even out the playing field to see who could really bring their beauty from within. We don’t really have hairdressers today, it’s just us and some clippers.” The girls freak out, turn red, look like they’re about to puke. Gina and Kathy look the most disturbed, but pretty much everyone is taken aback by Jay’s statement.
If only they had the balls to really do it, but just like every other reality trope, things are never quite as drastic as they make it seem and everything’s a trick: in truth, Jay admits, for today’s shoot they will wear bald caps for their first photoshoot. “Thank you, Jesus,” Jade proclaims, “because I need hair.”
Everyone relocates to the studio. Ever warns them that it is not easy to shoot with a bald head, because your emotions show more without hair. Just ask Patrick Stewart. And Howie Mandell. They head backstage for some makeup magic, which consists of a bald cap that is placed carefully to cover their real hair, and painted over for verisimilitude. It looks real! Well, except for the girls with longer hair, whose ponytails hang out the back, like a vestigial tail.
With their heads smooth and naked and their bare shoulders adorned with Swarovski crystals, the girls look like beautiful, otherworldly creatures. Or mannequins. Appropriately, they will be posing in front of a bare white background with wigless mannequin heads for an artsy, futuristic, almost Kubrickian-type shoot with photographer Pascal Demeester. Danielle is surprised that she doesn’t look as bad as she thought she might bald, deciding “That’s kind of hot!”
Kathy is first, and not only does she feel like a “penis with ears,” her inexperience means that she flops like a penis in need of Viagra. Despite a lot of coaching, Jay’s kindest assessments is that she looked like she “just farted.” Leslie, in contrast, just got in front of the camera and turned into a model instantly. “I just sat back and watched the magic happen,” Jay says. Jay thinks Kari started out a little too “safe” in her poses, then improved later on.
Meanwhile, backstage, Jay catches Furonda practicing her poses, which is what he says he “look[s] for in an attentive, good model.” Oddly, once in front of the camera, the fierce poses he saw backstage simply did not develop—Jay says she was “awkward” and “didn’t know her angles.” Furonda, however, mistakenly thinks she rocked the bollocks. “I think she thought she was gonna nail it, and she didn’t” Jay laments.
Mollie Sue has a hard time and is mad at her self that she didn’t do better. Sara, despite her lack of experience, totally commands her shoot, impressing Jay and the photographer. “That bitch turned it out!” Jay says with approval, but warns Danielle that she must “represent.” Danielle does well, but unfortunately doesn’t know she’s being complimented by Jay. “I don’t know what regal means,” Danielle says. Where is this girl from again and can I go there and personally pimpslap the head of her school district for doing a piss poor job educating the youth of America?
Wendy seems to get through hers without incident; Gina is a “deer caught in headlights” in every frame; Brooke has problems with her big ol’ man jaw. Joanie, Jay says, looked exactly like the mannequins onset because she didn’t evoke any emotion. “And that’s not a good thing,” he bemoans. Nnenna, who probably know what “regal” means, actually looks regal too. Nnenna’s rocking the competition and don’t think the other girls haven’t noticed. Mollie asks if anyone has a list of her allergies so she can “knock her out of the competition.”
Finally, Jade. She’s been in New York since she graduated high school, pursuing her dream to become a model. Jade struggles a bit with her shoot, leading Jay to observe the difficulties of working with a girl who “thinks she’s a model already because got what she thinks is it and everyone’s missed her…maybe there’s a reason.” That is definitely a thing to make you go, hmm. “I’m a star. I know I can do Vogue, W, Victoria’s Secret, GQ, I’m ready!”
TyraMail announces the upcoming elimination, which is accompanied by the usual fretting and uncertainty. Gina, in her nasal whine, says hopefully she won’t get eliminated and will have a chance to keep learning and improving. At least I think that’s what she’s saying because the whole time I am actually distracted by the gigantic MOLEY MOLEY MOLEY MOLE on her chest under collarbone. Oh my goodness, at first I thought, someone get that leech off of her, until I realized what it was. Woo, child, if she makes it to makeover, I hope she gets that thing lasered off.
Back to the Farm
At long last, the girls appear before Tyra and the panel for their very first judging of the season—I mean cycle—no, season. Cycle? Am I Asian or am I American? Damn it, Gina’s rubbing off on me. Anyway, Tyra dangles the carrot on the stick. The prizes for the lucky winner are: a modeling contract with Ford, a spread in Elle shot by Gilles Bensimon, and $100,000 contract with CoverGirl cosmetics.
Tyra also introduces the judging panel: “noted fashion photographer” and hunky biracial butterfly himself, Nigel Barker; “legendary runway coach” J. Alexander, who points at the 13 on his t-shirt (is this his flower corsage this cycle?); and “fashion icon and living legend” Twiggy (anyone with a Pizzicato Five song written about them is legendary indeed).
Tonight, the girls will be judged on their photos and their press appearance. Sara begins, and her first photo of the season is a stunner. Twiggy calls her “some wonderful creature from another planet” which Miss J. speculates is “Planet Beauty.” Tyra declares it “one of the best pictures in Top Model history.” Danielle. Danielle was worried about her bald head because she has “dents” in her head from getting her hair pressed as a child. Nigel likens her to a prettier Grace Jones, but Tyra warns about tilting her head so far back that you get sucked into her nostrils.
Jade’s photo is “striking” but not “particularly magical.” Tyra says that her bone structure is both blessing and curse, because if she’s not careful, it could look “dragalicious.” Tyra says that people from the press perceived Jade as being “arrogant.” You think? Jade doesn’t see it, and claims that she’s humble. Nigel says part of being humble is being quiet, just as Jade fires back defensively. He chastizes her talking back to the judges. I myself feel ambivalent about Jade. True, she’s arrogant and possibly evil, but there really is something there. Jade’s like the female, Top Model version of Santino Rice!
Joanie’s declared a “surprise waiting to happen” for her stunning baldy photo. Nigel compliments Gina’s “fantastic” cheekbones, which everyone thinks she hides behind her hair. Tyra actually commands Gina to tuck her hair behind her ears. Tyra says that Mollie Sue’s film in general “wasn’t strong” and she tends to “squint” thinking that’s “intensity”; Tyra implies that she lucked into one good shot. Furonda’s picture is “interesting” like an art piece, but not actually “pretty.” Wendy’s has a sadness in her eyes that some of the panel finds appealing, but some do not feel connects with the viewer. Nnenna’s picture: fabulous, naturally.
Tyra tells Kathy has to work on her accent and her terrible posture. Her photo? “Dead,” lifeless, “nothing.” Ouch. The panel just loves Kari’s photo, but something about it scares me, I guess because it looks like one of those creepy baby dolls. Leslie’s photo is good, Twiggy says she didn’t even recognize her in it, which might be a compliment but also suggests, Hey, you look kind of crappy in person. Brooke’s picture is a big disappointment; Miss J. she looks, not like a mannequin, but a “manne-can’t.”
The judges deliberate, and the frontrunners are clear, as are the weaker contenders. The funniest moment is when Nigel says Furonda’s picture looks like “Furonda call home” replete with the little E.T. voice. The saddest (and most exploitative) moment is when Tyra stops to tell everyone about how Wendy was a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Save it on your daytime talk show, Tyra!
Tyra assembles the girls to hand back the photos: Nnenna (I like her; I don’t get the Gumby hair she’s wearing at the judging but I like her a lot), Sara, Leslie, Joanie, Kari, Danielle, Jade, Molly Sue, Brooke, Gina, and Wendy.
That leaves Forunda and Kathy in the bottom two. It’s Tyra’s favorite part of the show, lecture time! She tells Furonda that although she thought she “rocked it” she actually may have done “the worst.” Kathy might be cute enough in the hometown, but in the real world of modeling, does she “measure up”?
The answer, alas, is no. Kathy does not measure up, and the picture instead goes to Furonda. As Furonda stands before Tyra and Tyra repeats the phrase “rocked it” I am suddenly struck by Furonda’s resemblance to 2D of the Gorillaz (who coincidentally have a song called “Rock It”).
So it’s back to the farm for the happy hillbilly, Kathy, whose simple sweet nature brightened up the household for the brief period she was in it. As she leaves, she executes the “drop it like it’s hot” move she learned in the big city. She is disappointed that this did not turn out to be her “chance to shine.” She says we haven’t seen the last of her, and that “I’ll be on the cover of something someday…I’ll be big.” Better Farming Magazine perhaps? Aw, I feel too mean making fun of this girl, so I’ll just say goodbye and good luck.
You can email me at snowflakegirl@fansofrealitytv. com if you want. Or don’t. Or, okay yeah go ahead. Or not, I guess uh I dunno. Uh duh durrrr, umm er eeeeee—[head explodes]