America’s Next Top Model: London Bawling
Coming into this episode, I was all excited about spending some time with my old pal Cat Deeley. Would there be a dancing challenge? A hosting challenge? Sadly, Cat was not involved in the challenge at all, which is too bad because the girls could have really used the expertise she cultivated in dealing with the So You Think You Can Dance judges all these years in this week’s “How to get along with overbearing personalities while still acting like adult” challenge. And by “girls” I mean “Louise.” And by “Louise” I mean “Chameeloné.” Confused? This recap will probably do nothing to clear things up.
As the girls return to the house after last week’s judging, I become aware of a bizarre flag ceremony that had previously escaped my notice, wherein a little flag representing the girl sent home is removed. It’s not specified what they actually do with the flag, from which I assume it’s to graphic to be shown on TV.
The ritual burning of the flag, followed by restoration of the monarchy.
Not content with the flag desecration and perhaps angry about missing out on another giant box of crappy gifts, the British girls decide to play a prank on the Americans. They storm into the room where the American girls are sleeping and throw crumpled up paper at them. It’s not prank, exactly. A “prank” usually involves some cleverness, doesn’t it? Some kind of trick, like saran wrap over the toilet or whoopee cushions. This is more like they tried to come up with a real prank but weren’t smart enough, and wound up settling for yelling and throwing things.
In the end, it was dumb and annoying, but harmless. Seymone,however, did not see it that way. Perhaps she was mad because she was in the bottom two. Perhaps the haggis had irreparably damaged her neuro-endocrine system (this would explain a lot about Scotland, actually). Or perhaps she’s just an asshole. She storms after the Brits, and while it’s understandable to be pissed at getting woken up at 2 Am, at a certain point you’ve got to get over it and get back to sleep. The irony of not letting anybody get to sleep because you want to yell about not being able to get to sleep is totally lost on Seymone.
“We will stay up until everyone knows how mad I am about not being able to get enough sleep.”
None of this matters much, except to establish that Seymone is a drama queen and Sophie is quite the instigator. What matters is that she, Tyra, stops by the house to grace the models with her wisdom.
I like this dress except for the yellow band that looks like a live strong bracelet gone horribly wrong. I would also like to point out that Alisha is wearing a leopard print jumpsuit.
Tyra has the models walk before getting down to the important business of the day: talking about how awesome Tyra is. Remember how I mentioned that next cycle’s theme is built entirely around Tyra’s fictitious Harvard degree? I think we all should have foreseen that there’s no way Tyra could wait that long to brag about it.
She herds the girls into a room with a sign reading “Super Model” and relates an anecdote from her supermodel days (yes, referred to herself as a supermodel) about how a reporter once asked her if she had a superpower. The name of that reporter? The voices in Tyra’s head.
Segueing from how she was a supermodel that did “interviews with journalists” (as opposed to interviews with what, Tyra?) to how she wrote a book, Tyra says she called supermodels “intoxibellas” in her book that she, Tyra, wrote, not that she ever mentions it, because Tyra’s modest like that. Then she puts on a cape. I am not making this up.
Tyra also has the girls change into capes, brought out by a couple male models that she call her “bestosteros” (Again, I am not making this up. also, why not “besticles”?). I’m sure Tyra is totally cool with them calling her their “bestrogen.”
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is some kind of empowerment exercise where the girls get to define themselves. This something even better: having Tyra define you. Obviously, as a supermodel-author-harvard-grad-smizer, she’s far more qualified. The girls are all rechristened by Tyra.
- Sophie: Illuminata, possibly because she’s shoved her head so far up tyra’s ass she’s constantly bathed in the sunshine it emits.
- Alisha: Gamatronica. Is she a robot? Because that would actually be cool.
- Louise: Chameeleoné. The accent makes it classy. An umlaut would make it awesome.
- Catherine: Era-descent, because, let’s face it, she’s more suited to playing a maid on Downtown Abbey than modeling.
- Ashley: Charismia. Out of the all of them, sounds the most like a disease.
- Annaliese: Excite-To-Buy. Did I mention I’m not making this up?
- Azmarie: Andro-Genia. Oof.
- Laura: Zagalicious. Mmmmm Zagnuts.
- Seymone: Fiercely Real. Wow, they really just gave up. Not even “Fiercely Realsia”? By the way, this is code for “Plus Sizia”
- Kyle: Next-Doorsia. Alternate name: Dullsia
- Eboni: 30-Never. Because Tyra is going to make you keep those pigtails for the rest of your life.
- Candace: Exotica. Oh, Tyra. You really need to talk to someone about your Asian issues. I love how the smile fades from Candace’s face as Tyra babbles on, and Candace slowly realizes this will not end well.
At least it wasn’t “Un-Americania”
But aren’t we forgetting something? Like maybe a certain prestigious east-coast college and a certain supermodel? And I’m not talking about Christy Turlington graduating from NYU. No, Turlington did it the loser way by attending class, working hard and getting a real degree. Tyra did it the smart way, by buying a certificate. Applying and studying is for suckers.
But buy it she did, and thus we are destined to hear endless mentions of her attending Harvard for “three years,” even though it was only three weeks out of every year, and that she has a “degree” even though it’s a certificate. And it’s all so that she can share her wisdom with young models just starting out.
Kidding! It’s so she can mention she went to Harvard all the time.
The models are sent off for a “business” challenge, led by Kelly Cutrone who earned her business degree by drinking the blood of interns. She’s here to give the models insight from her vast experience running a business and eviscerating reality show actors.
“Everything you’re doing is wrong”
The models will divide into teams for the challenge. Ooooh, how will they be divided up? By age? IQ? No, of course its by country as we are going to ride this stupid theme to its terrible boring conclusion. They must design a campaign for very.com including wardrobe, props and casting all whilst talking on their product placement phones.
The Yanks pick Azmarie as their leader and “Punk Love” as their theme, while the Brits choose Annaliese and “60s British Mod.” The Brits are barely ten minutes in before Kelly C starts kicking their ass. What, no cute nicknames for the intoxibellas, Kelly? No humblebrags? Nope, there’s just this.
“Everything you’re doing is wrong”
The teams divide into subteams to cover all the chores. One group head off to Universal Studios to pick out props in a warehouse where I could happily spend my entire life. The other ladies go make male models strip.
Upon reaching the warehouse, my entire ad campaign would center around this …
… with a lot of this.
Which is why it is probably best I stay out of the ad biz. On the other hand, it is probably also best that our lovely contestants stay out of the ad biz. Except for modeling, I mean.
Honestly, at this point I have no idea what’s happening, but I don’t think the models do either. Mostly it has to do with Tyra going to Harvard and product placement and you don’t hire Kelly Cutrone for a show without giving her the chance to kick soemone’s ass.
Mr. Jay show up the next day for the actual shoot because someone has to help with the male models. There’s a lot of running around, more product placement — this time by CoverGirl — and more of this
“Everything you’re doing is wrong, hangers”
To be fair, she doesn’t say that much to Azmarie, because Azmarie is awesome. Annaliese comes off looking disorganized and lost. And then there’s Louise, who makes the tragic mistake of running across the studio.
Well! Running across the studio is unprofessional! Kelly rather mildly rebukes her, and Louise rather mildly disagrees. Somehow, this all escalates into Louise screaning in the studio parking lot during judging, bit I’m getting ahead of myself.
The American team goes first, with their combination of royal accessories and punk, although there’s not much punk and the royal part comes and goes. Candace, perhaps already out of sorts from the whole “Exotica” thing, comes off looking miserable. She looks like she’s about to hand her crown to a friend so she can deliver a royal beat down.
Seymone is about 50 light years away from either royalty or punk rock. It’s more like Real Houswives of ANTM than punk love.
Kyle is her usual blank boring self. Kelly tells her she looks dead, and that woman is not wrong. Once again, she has forgotten pants.
Jumping + No Pants = Bad Idea
Amusingly, Kelly tells Laura to be less Lands End and more Dolce and Gabbana, Laura responds by marking her territory, irish setter style. I have to admire her novel approach to removing graffiti.
I’m not sure what’s gone wrong with Eboni (I mean, besides the name, hair, and decision to be on this show), but she decides that writhing = modeling. It was bizarre, like she was giving a lap dance to a royalty fetishist.
And then we have Azmarie, my current favorite. Surprisingly, this shoot suits her much better than the “sexy baby” theme. It’s amazing what you can do when not dressed in a fancy diaper and forced to cling to a Kardashian’s leg. Admittedly, there’s nothing royal or punk about this photo either, but it’s still great.
Somehow, before the Brits even begin, they are in danger of running out of time. I’m not even sure how that works. Are they operating on Greenwich Mean Time? Scottishley goes first, and is declared “lost,” and lets face it, she is. Still pretty though.
Sophie twirls and twirls. Her brown-nosing is totally grating, but I have to admit this outfit and the picture are amazing.
Alisha decides to get a little something besides business out of the ordeal and snuggles up to a male model. I like this shot, even though I hate the clothes. It’s the same clothes we see on every female politician/political wife only much shorter. It’s like a porn version of The Iron Lady.
Margaret Snatcher? The Iron Lay-dy?
Catherine is her usual boring self. This looks like a candid shot from a gallery opening, not a fashion shot. It doesn’t even show all of the dress it’s reportedly selling.
Annaliese, like Kyle and Sophie, goes for the jumping shot. Unlike Kyle and Sophie, she can’t seem to make it work. Where is a trampoline when you need one? There’s something off about the whole thing, as if she’s trying to spot something off in the distance.
Louise, fresh from her passive-aggressive interlude with Kelly, manages to hold it together for her shoot, then promptly falls apart. Oh Louise, you’ve managed to inherit both Linda Evangelista’s hair and her famously bad attitude. Of course, Linda got away with it because she was a supermodel, whereas you were the runner-up on the spin-off of a less network reality show. Still, you are very beautiful
“Finally, that’s over. Now I have to go home and criticize my family”
Finally, Cat Deeley shows up in the episode, at judging. Too bad she’s kind of boring. It’s not terribly surprising, given how nice she is on SYTYCD. It only make me sadder that she wasn’t involved in a competition. Maybe she can come back and give the girls advice on how to not punch Nigel Lythgoe in the face even though he totally deserves it. Wait, that’s the advice I want her to give me, not the models. Seriously, my television can’t take another season of Nigel punching.
“Yeah, Lythgoe’s a jerk, but at least he’s never tried to rename a dancer ‘Next Dooria’”
Last week I got distracted by the record single prize, which apparently allowed another redonkulous prize to fly right on by. The winner will be the face of ANTM perfume, Dream Come True. It smells like delusions, smizes and desperation.
Annaliese steps forward first and right away admits she did not do a good job. I fully expect a Kelly beat down, but she merely winces and says she respects that Annaliese followed her intuition. While I think the US team was way more together and Azmarie a better leader, the Brits photographs and clothing choices were stronger overall.
They are underwhlemed by Annaliese’s weird jumping photo. Tyra calls it catalog, which even though this is for a catalog, Tyra still doesn’t think that’s a compliment. If you’re in the market for a jumping dress, this is for you.
Sophie’s picture gets the appropriate amount of love. Cat Deeley calls it brave, presumably because she’s worried that Sophie will actually fall over. Her close up is fine; her hair worked really well for the theme.
I really truly don’t get why they are so hot for Catherine (see also: Kyle). I mean she’s … fine. Not great, not terrible. I know this show is all about how you don’t have to be good looking to model, and that non-traditional good looks are better, even though they constantly contradict themselves on that score, but I get nothing from Catherine. Not quirky, unconventional beauty, not pretty, just boring. She reads more like that attractive woman who was in that British show I watched on Netflix that one time.
And no one calls her out on not showing the dress. Not even Kelly, who has harped on product selling from minute one and manages to shoehorn in a bonus CoverGirl plug while praising Catherine.
Scottishley doesn’t get the same level of admiration, even though she looks a lot better and actually manages to show the clothing. I’m not wild about the make-up here, but her close-up is very nice.
Poor Alisha, she made the fatal mistake of choosing a picture that cropped off her legs after Tyra super model/mogul went to all the trouble of naming her Gamatronica. Huge mistake. Show both your gams and your trons next time, Alisha. Tyra didn’t spend all that money at Harvard so her arbitrary nicknames would be ignored. Tyra also says that Alisha’s jacket is wearing her. I think the problem is that the jacket is super fugly, especially paired with the skirt. If it makes someone as tall and thin as Alisha look frumpy, you know that won’t look good on us regular mortals. At least in close up she’s got a male model to distract her.
But who cares about all that. Louise is ready for her meltdown. It starts with Nigel saying she looks mean in her photo (which I don’t agree with, not that it really matters), and Louise makes a scoffing sound. This is followed by Kelly saying that Louise needs to put some “gratitude in her attitude” and that Louise was rude and condescending at the shoot. True! Louise responds that Kelly was also rude and condescending. Also true! Everybody’s an asshole, or in Louise’s case, an arsehole.
This is followed by what I can only assume is a heavily edited few moments of the panel trying to explain to Louise that it’s their job to be rude and condescending to her, and it’s her job to smile politely and take it, interspersed with Louise frowning and sucking on her finger so hard the psychology papers practically write themselves.
Finally, when even cramming her whole fist is not enough to silence the demons, Louise storms out. Here’s one problem with dramatically storming out of a room: you need a complete exit strategy. Stomping out is not enough, you gotta have your transportation and everything lined up and waiting, or you just wind up screaming in the parking lot that someone has to take you home.
I have to imagine that this scene plays out all the time on the studio lot.
We don’t actually see what happens to Louise – I can only assume there was tasering involved – and rejoin the judging panel. Tyra, surreptitiously wiping Louise’s blood from her shoes, announces that she like to think that their criticism is constructive, in the same way she likes to think that this show is about modeling, and that the universe revolves around her.
Moving along, Azmarie receives favorable reviews for both her picture and her leadership. I can’t disagree.
Kyle, for me, is the American version of Catherine. Not that they look alike, but the judges seem to love her, and I don’t quite see why. For me, she deserves the “pretty but boring” tag that so many other models get tarred with on the show. Tyra admires her controlled jumping. My problem is that her face is wearing the same blank expression she had in the Kardashababy shoot.
Seymone bores everybody.
Once again, they love Laura’s unconventional poses, and how she shows off the clothes. She certainly demonstrates their ability to not rip in the crotch. Handy if you are required deliver the beat down whilst on a shoot.
It amuses me that Tyra wants Seymone to sex it up more (because plus size = sex to Tyra), and she desperately wants Eboni to remain a perpetual child. Stay in the box Tyra puts you! She didn’t give you horrible nicknames so that you be multi-dimensional! This picture is pretty bad, though.
And finally, we have Candace, aka Exotica. Nigel finds her photo cheesy, as opposed to the sophisticated taste of all the other photos. Perhaps Exotica is merely unfamiliar with our ways? You know how tough it is when Tyra doesn’t think you look like normal people.
The photos now present something of a problem. Should they send somebody home even though they’ve already put a model on the last train to Crazytown (or in as the Brits say, Bonkersmouth-on-Bedlam). Azmarie gets the first photo, followed by Sophie, laura, Kyle, Catherine, Seymone, and Annaliese, leaving four girls.
Tyra declares that the remaining four weren’t picked by the client, whereas the rest will appear briefly on the website for as long as contractually obligated, before disappearing forever. By the way, I can’t believe the client chose Catherine’s picture over Scottishleys. Tyra has only one photo in her hand, which is supposed to ramp up the tension, except everyone knows she’s not sending home three girls on top of the one that just escaped screaming into the streets of Los Angeles. Indeed, everyone stays. Thank you Chameeleoné. I’m sure everyone in England will be dying to work with you after watching the show.