May 11, 2006

Oh, just Phuket

*WARNING - this post is a complete recap for the 5/10 episode of America's Next Top Model.*

Ah models - back to their world of vacuous beauty. What silly things will they be up to this week?

When last we left our fair girls, the gangly Furonda had been sent packing. The other person in the bottom 2 was of course Jade, and she's now trying to figure out why she was there. A helpful montage shows us that she's been in the bottom 2 for...well, for about half the season. And yet she still can't figure out why, even though TYRA TELLS HER EVERY WEEK. Wake up, fruitcake! Also, Sara assures us that "she wants this just as much as anyone else." In fact, she will say that so often this episode, that I'm going to abbreviate it as my F1 key. We then see Danielle and Sara in the pool, where Sara is saying F1.

The girls head to a lovely setting to meet a former model-turned-designer, who introduces this week's challenge. The models will be going on "go-sees" around Bangkok. For those who have never seen the show, a go-see is like a model audition. Presumably the model's agent has scored an appointment with the designer. The model arrives with her portfolio, has a few Polaroids taken, does a walk, and tries on a few outfits.

But since they're in Thailand, the woman reminds them that they must follow Thai customs. These include taking off one's shoes before entering the room, making sure to smile, and bringing a small gift. The models can go do as many go-sees as they can handle, but with two restrictions. They must be back to the hotel by 4:30. And they must travel by tuk-tuk. If you haven't seen past seasons of The Amazing Race, then I'll explain that a tuk-tuk is like a motorized pedi-cab. So it's not enclosed, it's small, and it's bumpy. Jade then hilariously says about 50 different names for the vehicle, none of which are correct.

The girls go-see all over the place, and there's not much to report, as it will all be summed up shortly. (The gift buying and giving is totally inconsequential, other than Sara almost leaving her portfolio in the store.) But there is one odd designer that has a lingerie collection that she says is inspired by Alice In Wonderland. So the girls have to model the lingerie...while wearing giant animal heads. No, it doesn't make any more sense if you saw the show! I've included a picture here so you can see what the hell I'm talking about. Also at one place Danielle forgets to take off her shoes first. Riveting! OK, not really. But it gets better. I should note here that it appears the other girls actually ARE intimidated by Jade, which I find just laughable. Are you kidding me? She's nuttier than a Payday candybar!

As the day wraps up, all of the girls underestimate Bangkok traffic in rush hour, and arrive late - Sara and Joanie by about 10 minutes, Danielle by 30. But Ms. Jade? Oh you know she had to be special! She determines to go-see every single designer, and thus arrives a full 75 minutes late. She saunters in with her giant sunglasses like she's the queen of Sheba, and the challenge woman is NOT amused. (And worse, she made the other girls just sit there until Jade arrives.)

Anywho, challenge woman scolds them about being late in as harsh a manner as a soft-spoken Thai woman can. She then gives the reviews she heard from the designers...who are all her friends. (ouch) Joanie - not confident. Danielle - not strong enough. Sara - too stiff. Jade - not friendly. Despite all that, Danielle was deemed the winner, who will receive a bunch of lovely clothes from the designers. BUT - because they were all late, no one actually wins, and the clothes go back. (double ouch)

When the girls return to the hotel, they have Tyra Mail, which uses a pun as bad as my post title. They're going to Phuket, a resort city in southwestern Thailand, right on the Bay of Bengal. Naturally they are giddy with excitement. Off they go!

And when they arrive, they are taken to the bungalow where they will spend the night - right on the beach. The girls admire all the natural beauty, and seriously y'all? It's gorgeous. Like...better than the Caribbean gorgeous. Like maybe better than Hawaii gorgeous. A friendly reminder that Asia is not just full of crowded street markets selling chicken feet.

That night, it is revealed that Joanie is actually more bitter about the Sara Is A Copycat episode than we thought. She bitches about it to Danielle, and says she just feels that Sara doesn't want it as badly - this isn't her dream, she was just discovered by UPN in a mall in Georgetown! Danielle rightly points out that she has to focus on herself and not others to get through this competition. Sara interviews that F1.

Now the weird part - Tyra arrives, basically to remind the girls that in December of 2004, Phuket and other areas in the region were devastated by the tsunami (Was it really that long ago? Wow.) The area in Phuket has now been rebuilt and is thriving once again. She has them hold hands and have a moment of silence. OK, I'm all for being socially-conscious, and recognizing that you're filming in an area that has been marked by tragedy. But this seemed like a wimmpy toss-off idea that Tyra had. If you really wanted to show that, why not have the girls spend a morning helping a charity that helps displaced victims, or talk to some survivors, or something substantial? This twee moment of silence thing just doesn't feel genuine.

But it turns out that this did ring true with Danielle, who is emotional the rest of the day. Maybe it was from hanging around Katrina victim Wendy? (Remember her? No?)

Onto this week's photo shoot, which is a spread for Elle Girl magazine. The girls will model OP swimwear, and fans can download the photos if they have Amp'd Mobile. ENOUGH WITH THE PRODUCT PLACEMENT ALREADY! Also, some "executives" (more likely interns) from the companies will be watching. The photographer will actually be regular judge, Nigel Barker. Because he has a thing for young girls, so a swimwear shoot is right up his alley. (And yet, sleazy as that sounds, I kind of want to share a bungalow with him, if you catch my drift.)

Joanie is first, and struggles against powerful waves and getting cold. Sara can pose well, but her face always looks stiff - finally towards the end Nigel is able to coax her into softening it. Also, she interviews that F1. Danielle is fighting emotion over the Phuket devastation (OK, I get it, but get with the program sister). She has strong poses, but they are more Sports Illustrated than Elle Girl (i.e. legs spread wide). Jade bounces on top of a boat, but finally settles in for strong shots, which makes me hate her even more for being somewhat good.

The girls then fly back to Bangkok and return to their suite. As elimination looms, Sara tells us that F1. So let's move onto the judging, shall we?

Here there is no challenge, the girls will just be faced with not only their swimwear shots, but also the best Polaroids taken during their go-sees. Danielle is first, and her Polaroids are a bit harsh. Her swimwear shot has her legs spread wide, and I question if this would even work for Sports Illustrated. Sara's snapshots are lackluster, but her photo does have a nice soft face. She insists to the judges that F1. Jade took good Polaroids, but she also didn't smile - a key part of Thai model culture. As much as I hate to say it, her swimwear shot is very good. Joanie's snapshots show that her face is her best feature, but sometimes her posture is lacking. Her final photo is fantastic, as usual. Nigel points out that she seems to only have one expression. Hey, if it worked for Derek Zoolander...

Four beautiful women (apparently they have now graduated from "girls"), three photos. Joanie and Jade are safe! Will Danielle and Sara please step forward? Danielle is getting harped on for her speech yet again (although I think the major reason she's in the bottom 2 is her final shot). Sara has improved, but is it too little, too late despite F1? Well if you've been paying attention you know it's obvious that Danielle gets the photo, and Sara is sent packing. Sara leaves, musing on what a crazy experience this has been, considering she just went to the mall to buy a shirt, and now she had F1ed.

Next week! Finale! Three girls do commercials for Cover Girl! Only two girls will compete in the final runway competition! And one will be crowned America's Next! Top! Model! Don't miss it, y'all. It's bound to be a scorcher. (And if Jade somehow wins, so help me God I will move to Thailand.)


DC Food Blog said...

BEST. RECAP. EVER. Nuttier than a payday bar! I LOOOVE it. Ok. What would you use for the Top Chef F1? Tiffani's - I'm here to play the game or Dave's - Stop interrupting MEEEEE!

Dancer in DC said...

Hee! Yeah, those are good ones.

And I must confess that the "F1" idea is something I saw used on another site, so I'm not nearly that clever. But it still amuses me. :)

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