Last week I let out a bit of steam that had been building about America’s Next Top Model for the past few years. Namely, I’m done with Tyra’s desire to bend the English language to her will and all that entails.
After watching last night’s episode, clearly, she didn’t listen to me.
What I find most appalling is how over the past couple of seasons she has become all about “branding” the model wannabes. Sure, all I know about modeling I learned from TV, but I cannot believe that without Tyra’s declaration that someone is the girl next door and should be branded “Nextdoria”, that girl would never succeed.
In the All-Star season, the contestants were constantly being told they were “off brand”. Especially Laura, the sweet Southern girl who could pull out the hootchie mama when needed. Because she was only supposed to be the girl next door, whenever she turned on the sexy, she was berated by the judges.
Tonight it kept coming up as some of the girls decided they either had to embrace their “Intoxibella” name and super power or rebel against it. In either case, overall it didn’t really help them.
The challenge this week was thrusting the girls into a commercial situation. Tyra gives them her customary bizarre assortment of items – coffee that freshens your breath, facial tissues that glow in the dark, toilet papers that smells nice – and pushes them in front of the camera. It seems as though Ty-ty gave these girls about 5 seconds of prep and absolutely no direction.
The kicker with this week’s challenge was that rather than having a judge or a guest judge decide the winner, a focus group was called in to analyze the different commercial pitches and man were those people harsh. I do think that the questions were a bit leading “Who here didn’t like her?” or “Who here would buy that?”, but overall, yeah the girls did a crap job. There was that one racist guy which was a bit of a shocker, but if they are trying to make this the real world, there are racist jerks galore out here.
Annaleise, or “Excite-to-Buy” (it hurts me on the inside to write that), won the challenge by talking about a TV remote that is also a free weight (WTF TYRA??) and won her British compatriots some diamonds.
But that wasn’t what unleashed discord amongst the Americans. Some of the girls picked on Kyle because even though she stumbled through her commercial, the focus group liked her and found her relateable. The other girls felt that was just because of how she looked. Kyle got upset and started talking about how much she wanted to leave. Of course the other girls decided that this meant that Kyle should pack her bags and go.
Anyone who has been watching this show for a while knows that there is always some girl each season who runs her mouth saying that she is going to leave, and it is usually sound and fury signifying nothing. Every so often, there’s a Louise situation, but that is rare. And it is usually the girls who know that they are close to being eliminated that complain the most about the ones who act as though they don’t really want to be there. This week that was Eboni and Candace. What they don’t seem to understand is that it’s not a zero sum game. Just because she doesn’t want to be there it doesn’t mean you should.
Photo shoot challenge for the week was an odd one. To celebrate US and UK culture, the models would wear fascinators (those outlandish British hats favored by the royals) and pose near muscle cars. Yep. That’s a summary of hundreds of years of culture – hats and cars. It was an OK, fairly boring shoot made slightly more interesting because noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker was photographing them and whenever a judge is doing the photos, the girls get a bit more on edge.
To no one’s surprise, AzMarie got top photo. Though this time the judges said that she seemed either aloof or too full of herself. Eh. I think she is just reserved, which to the judges is blasphemy. Some of the girls who tried to be who Tyra told them to be – Alisha “Gamazon” or whatever Tyra calls her, thrust her legs out since she was told her legs were her defining asset. That led to an odd photo:
Kyle and Eboni decided to go against their Intoxibella brand, both deciding to go sexier than their Tyra given names. Works for Kyle, not so much for Eboni. Also, Eboni? Those pigtails make you look like a brat…and what come out of your mouth doesn’t help dispel those rumors.
Bottom photos this week were, again to no one’s surprise, Seymone and Candace. Candace seems to be incapable of taking a photo where she looks like she is an alive human being rather than a manikin and she is sent home.
Next week? Who knows. We’ll probably see some more hyped up competition between the Brits and the Americans and I’m sure Tyra will ignore my now second warning to cease and desist from butchering the English language.
But Tyra? Remember….this is your SECOND warning. Let’s not get to third, shall we?