America’s Next Top Model: The Fall of Tyra

Here we are at the 12th cycle of America’s Next Top Model. After a dozen cycles, we have to ask if they can do anything to keep it fresh. So far, they’ve had a plus size model FTW, a near-blind contestant, and a transsexual. What else can be dredged up in the bottom trawls of reality TV? Well, MSRies this cycle has the following: an epileptic, a street preacher, a burn survivor, and an Asian. Kidding! There are no Asians.

Tyra kicks things off with a little numerology. Did you know that 12 backwards is 21? And that 21 is a card game on which various sums of money may be wagered by persons over the age of 21? Consider our minds blown, Tyra.

Thanks to a promotional consideration so considerate I half expect Tyra’s weave to spell out “Caeser’s Palace,” the casting special is in Vegas. Very convenient for the girls who get cut, they can toddle right over to the bunny ranch for employment.

I’ve been a teensy bit busy recently and did not get a chance to peek at the contestants (much less post) beforehand. Not that it matters, you know who the finalists will be after the first five minutes, with a few extra thrown in for distraction.

antm030409a_1Right off the bat, we get some girls whose looks can be most generously described as “unusual.” Perfect for Tyra’s ongoing campaign to prove that modeling is about what’s on the inside. Celia’s taken her masculine looks and run with them: she wears suit and works in menswear. Oddly, this helps prove she’s a woman, no transgendered girl would do that. Celia’s bigger problem is her advanced age, 25. I always wonder about the older girls, especially ones that had been living in NYC, like Celia. It’s not like they didn’t have access to modeling agencies. Shouldn’t they have made it by now if they could actually be models?

Allison’s got scary eyes and admits she’s been called a freak. No small feat in New Orleans where the freak bar is set pretty high, am I right Renny?  I sure hope she packed wigs! Angelea gets points on the board immediately by stealing Jade’s line, “This is not America’s Next Best Friend.” London (no seriously “London” is her name, it’s not one Tyra made her pick because there were three Brittany’s, McKey) has headbands, plural.

Fo, which is neither a name or a long-lost musical syllable, is quite pretty. All the girls have been well coached for hysterics this cycle. The ambiance of the first hour is best described as “shreiky.” The initial round of banshee wails emerge for the J/ays, or maybe for the Roman hotties. Wait, that’s what my banshee wail was for. Never mind.

antm030409a_2Jay spouts his RDA of ass-kissery by insisting they are at the Temple of Tyra.  It would play better if the Jays didn’t look like they just rolled in from the Denny’s off I-95. Tough night auditioning Roman extras? Anyhow, the J/ays send the girls off to put on mini-togas they borrowed from the waitstaff and get themselves back to the poolside bar.

The girls get their photos taken in profile, because that’s kind of Roman-like. It’s also not the best way to judges someone’s model potential, but then again, it’s all about what’s on the inside, isn’t it? Along the way we meet Kortnie, the only “plus-sized” gal, and Teyona, the minus-sized gal. Kortnie’s 24, so she and Celia can compare arthritis medications and the side effects of hormone replacement therapy. Sandra announces she’s a goddess because she is from Africa. I think the word you are looking for is “immigrant.” Aminat impresses me right away with her intimidating afro; she’s also gorgeous.


Farmland is named after it’s founder, Jebediah Farmland, son of Ezekial Farmland and Martha Pigfuckerville.

After the sorta-photo shoot, Jay has the girls walk down runway made kinda-hazardous by some vague mist. Despite the Vegas angle, the whole thing is a little half-assed, like it was thrown together at a very hung-over production meeting while the girls waited on the bus from LA. Still, Alex stands out as having one of the worst walks ever, no small accomplishment after so many cycles. Pretty Jessica chimes in for the second “I am strong because I am [ethinicity].” By the way, the Asian count is still at zero.

But all this is a side show as we wait for the main event: Tyra. Given the theme, I was expecting chariots and thunderbolts. Instead, Tyra just kind of ambles out to the pool, looking like a alcoholic Vestal Virgin with a toga slapped together from garbage bags.


Plastic togas save on clean-up after a rough night in the vomitorium

Although from the hysteria, you’d think Tyra walked on water, instead of a platform over the hot tub. She proclaims she’s been the Goddess of Fierce for 2,752.7 years (psst, Celia, that’s 25 in model years) and wants a replacement. After the requisite camp on Tyra’s part, and high-pitched worship on the girls part, we segue to the panel.

Sandra, the self-proclaimed goddess, clomps in looking like a hooker right off the farm. Naturally, Tyra proclaims her “chic.”  This sends Sandra into sobbing hysterics. London of the tragic headbands, tells the panel she’s a street preacher, although her oratory skills seem limited to “praise Jesus.” Jessica looks like the accessory rack at the Gap attacked her. She also proves that skinny jeans can make even hot women look lumpy.


Tahlia impresses the panel with her story: she’s a burn survivor and still bears horrific scars. This is where I have to sound like a bitch, because I honestly think Tahlia would not be there, if not for the scars. She’s a pretty girl, but not pretty enough to be a model, or even ugly in that ugly-is-pretty way Tyra goes on about. And as Jay will later point out, she’s normal-sized; in other words too big for high-fashion, too small for plus-size. But Tyra will keep her around for a few weeks to pat herself on the back for raising awareness before cutting her.


Moving on from tragic back-story to good old-fashioned crazy, Monique describes herself as a conspiracy theorist. Something to do with how the elites are trying to take away our guns. From her body-weight it looks like she suspects food is conspiring against her.

Natalie’s so dull her only backstory is that she hasn’t had to work. She and Aminat have killer bods. Aminat wins on height, she’s 6’1 without the added yardage of the fro. Please Tyra, do not mess with the fro!

Kathryn from Farmland is already starting to crack, even though she’s brought her collection of wacky pens to impress Tyra. In Farmland, collecting pens shaped like food is the equivalent of joining a gang. Kathryn chokes when Tyra asks her about working models, but recovers to name designers later and kiss Tyra’s ass enough to redeem herself.


“Note to Self: Start Tyra Banks pen line IMMEDIATELY.”

Alex, the terrible walker, lacks in looks what she lacks in personality. Did Tonya Harding have a daughter? I’m half-afraid she’ll knee-cap the panel for looking at her funny.


Isabella stops by from her PTA meeting to chat with the judges. She’s epileptic which may be enough back story to make up for her bland good looks. If she can plug whatever medications she’s taking, her future as a pharmaceutical sales rep may be sealed.

Enough about the girls, let’s get back to Tyra. This panel is all about her, after all. Tyra interrupts Nijah’s story about being prom queen to tell the story about how she Tyra, had to have her prom date hold her down to prevent herself, Tyra,  from snatching the prom queen title she, Tyra, so richly deserved. Instead it went to some mousy girl who was totally hot once she took off her glasses and started dating Freddie Prinze Jr. Not that Tyra is bitter or relives the details on a daily basis or makes hang-up calls to the girl who won or crowns herself prom queen every night before she goes to bed.

Luckily, Tyra gets to one-up a later wannabe. Allison, the scary big-eyed girl has an obsession with blood and nose-bleeds, but has never had one. Well! Tyra has had them! She had them all the time! Everyone said Tyra had the best nosebleeds of all! Better than that bitch who stole Prom! “Jealous” returns Allison (seriously).


Backstage, Angelea cries over the memory of her dead daughter. Holy crap. Strangely, Angelea does not bring this up at panel, instead mentioning how she slept at the Port Authority for two days to audition, fighting off all the rats that tried to nest in her weave with her mighty blue talons.


Ancient Celia does a pretty twirl for the judges as her aged bones creak and break. Tyra forces Fo to explain what “blaxican” is, as though it could be anything but “black” and “Mexican.” Kortnie insists there is more than one way to be beautiful and many, many ways to spell Kortnie. Also, she banged Dale Earnhardt Jr. But she doesn’t want to talk about it. Seriously, don’t ask her! Not even when she mentions it, or provides the producers with photos, or writes in her personal background information, or links to it on her myspace page, or shows you her “I banged Dale Earnhardt” tattoo. It’s private.

The girls gather round the J/ays and their 5678th clothing change so far. It’s time for another round of cuts of all the girls who have gotten no screen time and a couple who have. This mostly makes me sad because the pretty girl next to Kathryn is doomed.


Sorry pretty girl on the right. I suggest you either bang Dale Earnhardt or develop epilepsy.

The hopefuls open personalized boxes. Those with golden wreaths move on. Those without can step right out to the casino floor and start taking drink orders. Everyone we’ve seen moves on except for Alex (fight!) and Monique (conspiracy!). The remaining girls do a photo shoot where they embody a “goddess” attribute as best they can which, needless to say, is not very well.

To be fair, getting assigned stuff like the “Goddess of Justice” is pretty hard to pull off. It’s dumb enough I can’t believe they didn’t save it up for a regular photo shoot where they could trick the girl out in scales and a blindfold.

The first fight of the cycle breaks out between Sandra and Angelea. Much like the Trojan War, it was over someone looking at someone funny and who has “ugly ass corns.” Nothing good ever comes from open-toed shoes. Jay steps in to break things up. Angelea soon regrets letting Sandra “pull her buttons.”



Going back to shooting crying babies at Walmart will seem like heaven after this.

During the break, Tyra announces the special midget dwarf elf leprechaun girls under 5’ 7 cycle that will air in the fall. It’s casting now, shorty, so if you’re a wee wannabe, hustle on over to an audition as fast as you stumpy legs can carry you.

Tyra and her J/ays meet up so the voices in Tyra’s head can pick the finalists. Tyra loves Sandra’s “eyebrow bone” and no one has the courage to tell her there’s no such thing. Jay tries to point out that Tahlia’s not model material, but Tyra overrules him on the basis of her back story. Perhaps as backstory insurance, epileptic Isabella moves along too. Tyra says people will think she’s crazy for choosing Allison, but I won’t, mostly because of this.

Tyra, looking very nice in her white toga, announces the finalists. As with the first round of cuts, everyone we’ve seen except two move on. Way to build in tension, ANTM. 

In case you were wondering who did get cut, Kathryn has to pack up her pen collection and head back to Farmland and Angelea either has to go back to Buffalo or get very comfortable at the Vegas bus station. Judging from Angelea’s reaction, I’m guessing the latter. They and the other five girls ANTM couldn’t bother to show all get a pep talk from Tyra and a coupon for the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Well, it looks like this cycle will have a good mix of contestants. As usual, there are some pretty girls (Jessica, Aminat, Fo, Nijah) and … the others. Sandra certainly seems poised to bring the crazy, and delivers it in the next hour (recap soon!). What do you think? 

brilliantmistake | 03.10.09 | Filed in America's Next Top Model,Recaps

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