September 22, 2006

Don't call her a diva, even if she is


Now that I have your attention, perhaps you're ready for the trash-talking, runway-walking, nude-balking premiere of America's Next Top Model! It's a two-hour show, so bear with me, faithful readers.

First up, Tyra reminds us where we have been. Supposedly past winners have appeared all over the place, but I guess until one of them becomes a Victoria's Secret angel, we won't remember them. But a few are familiar to me - remember Eva? Or Naima? And last season's winner Danielle? Enough of the nostalgia - on with the show!

To begin the process, Tyra and her staff looked at a lot of photos and videos. Eventually they whittled that down to a group of 33 girls who are invited to Los Angeles as semi-finalists. And when they land, they discover that a true Top Model needs to be ready to work it at any moment. Because Ms. J meets them in the airport, and escorts them directly to the tarmac where a wind machine and photographer are set up. They snap some shots, and that gives us a quickie introduction to the girls. If you think I'm going to name all 33, you are about to be sorely disappointed.

Moving on! The girls then meet for a brunch at a hotel. The lovely event on the terrace is interrupted by those damn "Aswirl Twins" from last season, and they are so dumb and ridiculous that I can't even talk about them for another second. Finally breaking up that madness, in walks Ms. Banks herself. She greets the girls, they're excited, fun and such.

Later that day each of the girls "auditions" for Tyra, Ms. J and Jay Manuel. I swear, Jay has become even more orange since last season. In fact, I shall henceforth refer to him as OJ (Orange Jay). Just don't confuse him with a certain former football star and actor... Anywho, during this audition period we learn a bit about some of the girls. There's one girl that totally emulates Tyra (her name is Christian). Another has a husband in Iraq and 2 kids at home. Then there's the girl who is a stripper and tries to say it's part of modeling. Tyra is NOT amused.

All that takes awhile, but I'll spare you the pain and humiliation to move right to the first cut. The girls meet Ms. J and OJ in front of a beauty parlor, and inside they are told there will be 21 Tyra magazines (which is odd, as Tyra does not have a magazine yet, which I think is actually healthy, RACHAEL RAY), and inside each is a photo of a girl that's made the first cut. Predictably, they start a stampede racing into the parlor. Much screeching, much jumping up and down. Also much crying, as the girls that got cut are pretty upset. (And to be honest, the ones that survived could have done a bit less celebrating in the losers' faces.) Shockingly, stripper girl is cut. Except not shocking, because she had bizarre lips.

After the chaff has been sent packing, the girls are presented with a wall of bad wigs. They are told that they will be having a photo shoot shortly, and each need to do their own make-up, and can use a hair piece if they like. In general, most of the short-haired girls opt for the wigs, sometimes with tragic results (What were you thinking, Brooke?). They are then instructed to meet OJ up on the roof of the hotel.

It is there that he reveals that he hopes they paid attention to their hair and makeup, because that's all they'll have - this will be a nude photo shoot. I admit to being shocked by this, but I suppose I should realize that our American culture is edging closer to that of the Brits - not so prudish about the nudity. OJ promises that this will be extremely tasteful, and there won't be full body shots. (In other words, no ta-tas or va-jay-jay.) Most of the girls are like, "Sure, why not?" But one girl in particular is struggling - Ginger. Short version - she's from a conservative Republican background. Eventually she does it, but only stays up there for 2 frames. Lame! Top Models get naked on command! Or at least it would appear so.

Later that evening, it's time for Tyra and the J's to look at the girls' pictures and make the final cut to the 13 that will compete on the show. They point out various things about each girl, and I really can't be bothered to tell you what they said about all 21. Just be assured that they were often right on the money.

Back outside, and Tyra faces 21 beautiful ladies. She will name 13 girls (What, no photos?) who made the final cut. And here they are, with a brief snap judgement at this moment thought from me on each:

A.J. is a little bit punk, with short (probably dyed) black hair. She's hip and I like her.

Amanda and Michelle are identical twins. Amanda has the straight hair and I think wants this a little more. Michelle's hair has a bit of waviness, and I think she's actually the better of the two.

Anchal is Indian-American and gorgeous. She'll be fighting against the fact that her face is unique in its angles and shape. I love her.

Brooke is a hyperactive blonde and tiny. Not a fan.

CariDee is a wide-eyed blonde and expresses each emotion about 5 times bigger than necessary. Sorry, but no.

Christian wants to be Tyra in a way that I think is a tad unhealthy.

Eugena is one of those girls who is like, "I say what I'm thinking, and it's not my problem if you don't like it." I'm assuming she's only on the show to be a shit-starter. I think she has problem skin.

Jaeda looks older than she is (18) and her face is a bit hard.

Megan has a pixie haircut and seems a bit tough and cool. She has an "Are you serious?" story that she was in a plane crash when she was only a couple years old - they crashed in a snowy area, and her mother died on top of her - the warmth keeping Megan alive. I know!

Megg says that she's "rock and roll" and anyone that says that usually isn't. Yuck.

Melrose looks a bit weird to me, and her personality is too set in its ways to win this competition.

Monique is filling the requisite slot of "African-American girl from a troubled background that will be healed through the power of this show and Tyra's guidance." Also, she's kind of a bitch.

The losing girls cry and are comforted by Tyra. Sorry mother who abandoned your kids - go take care of them. Sorry Ginger - learn how to get comfortable with your naked body.

And with that, the winning girls pile into a huge stretch Escalade limo to their house for the season. As usual, it has Tyra's face plastered everywhere and has a hot tub. The theme of the decoration this year is "Tyra Magazine" which explains the fake issues in the parlor earlier. The wrinkle here is that for some weird reason, there are only 11 beds. So when Monique is one of the ones to not get a bed, she goes on the offensive. She moves Eugena's stuff, and dumps some water on the bed. She then lays on the bed, and when Eugena comes back, Monique says "I peed on it." So she's not only implacable, she's a bit crazy. Eugena finally relents.

The next day, we discover that the girls clearly have no trouble eating, because the kitchen looks like a pigpen. Melrose is not amused as the self-appointed mother hen. So she calls a house meeting. They discuss being respectful, blah, blah. Then when it comes to talking about showers (i.e. if you have 13 girls in one house, you need to be quick), Monique says that she takes long showers and that won't change. You can imagine how this makes the other girls react. (Let's just say that "bitch" comes up in several interviews.)

Finally we move on to the first challenge. The girls see a short runway show of clothes designed by Elmer Ave, all worn by men. Then comes the details - they will each pick a model and strip him of his garments and will then style and do a runway show themselves. The Elmer Ave. guys really want to see "rock and roll." You would think this means that Megg is supposed to win, but she's lame and Melrose wins because she sticks out her tongue. In other news, A.J. looked really awesome, and Anchal was unsure of herself. And one of the girls tripped - I think it was Michelle. Anyway, Melrose will win a prize that she'll find out later.

Fast forward to the first photo shoot. Tyra comes in doing a super-fake "I am a stereotypical diva model" act that the girls find very funny. I only find it funny because it reminds me of Margaret Cho screaming in a way that only she can make truly funny. After she leaves, OJ comes in and says that was the hint that today they will be doing "our most controversial shoot ever" - they will portray model stereotypes. Umm...that is so not controversial at all. Posing with a tarantula? Maybe. Anyway, they get their assignments (which I'll outline below), and head off to get hair and makeup. But as Melrose's prize, she'll get a personal assistant for the afternoon, and a massage.

Some highlights of the photo shoot:

Monique is supposed to be angry and throwing a cell phone at her assistant. But she appears to only be able to throw it one way, across her body. Also, she can't do the angry diva routine very well, which is surprising considering her behavior in the house.

Both Christian and Jaeda have issues with only giving one expression to the camera, no matter how many shots are taken. Not a good sign.

Melrose gets her massage, and then decides after that she'll need to have her makeup retouched, even though it will make her late. When she shows up 10 minutes late, OJ is not amused. (Not that he can show anger very well - I'm guessing Botox.) She gets a warning and they go on with the shoot. Melrose is supposed to be a model that won't get out of bed for less than $10,000. Instead of looking apalled, she just does really bad acting. She sucks.

Back at the house, Melrose worries about she has dropped from winning a challenge to doing so poorly today. How the not-so-mighty have fallen!

And then at last the girls arrive to their first panel judging. They've really spiffed up the room - full of glowy runway floor and everything! Also, the prizes are a bit different this season. Ford Models? No more - it's a new agency. Also the spread will be in Seventeen instead of Elle - perhaps Heidi's show got the corner on that market, eh? And the photo shoot will not be done by that French photographer with the unpronounceable name. But the judges remain - Tyra, Nigel Barker, Ms. J and Twiggy. No guest judge this week. Also there will be no special challenge - we'll move right to the best part - harsh criticism! So here are the girls, in alphabetical order:

AJ was amazing as a casting couch victim. Does she look like Pink in this photo, or what? Surprisingly, AJ doesn't recognize how hot she is here, so she's playing the lack of confidence card early - a cagey move!

Amanda portrayed an anoerxic model who is measuring her waist, thinking she's not skinny enough. She really has the ugly/beautiful thing going on here - well done.

Anchal is all Beyonce' in shimmering gold as a narcissistic model. (I like how they photoshopped in four different shots to make this one. Anchal is also trying to overcome the issue of self-confidence.

Brooke is supposed to be a jealous model, but she looks more like an angry woodland creature. On the right track, but not quite.

CariDee is a dumb blonde, and is portraying a dumb blonde. (rimshot) She actually captures it quite well, although Nigel says her challenge was too easy. Was that a back-handed insult?

Christian is supposed to be a bad actress model, but she just looks...tired? Whatever, it doesn't work.

Eugena is a black model that is trying to "be white." The body? Hot. The face? Like Serena Williams if she took a Xanax. *snore*

Jaeda is a model who's had too much plastic surgery. Apparently she interpreted this to be done as "wax museum." Will someone wake me up?

Ah, I see that Megan will! Megan is a diva model with her lap dog. Very cute, although I think the angle on her legs is a bit off. Still - a very good start!

Megg is portraying a model who's strung out on booze and drugs. And I think the photo is quite good, but as Tyra points out - she is squinting so much that you miss her eyes, which could nail the shot.

Melrose's shot turns out just as OJ said it would - it looks like really bad acting. Moving on...

Michelle actually nailed the shot of the week! She's playing a bulimic model, caught in a bathroom stall gorging. It's really hot and artistic, and she bears more than a passing resemblance to Fiona Apple (around the time of her second album). You go, girl!

(Hey, I just noticed all the girls have names that start with A through M - how odd is that?)

Monique's shot has two issues - the first is her face. She looks less angry, and more like Whitney Houston belting a high note. Also, the assistant is in the foreground of the shot. The judges harp on that, but isn't it the photographer's fault? Or OJ's?

Time for the judges to deliberate, and the girls to sweat. Or, glisten if you will.

Most of the girls get praise. The ones being singled out for falling short are Brooke, Christian, Eugena and Jaeda. Who will they choose?

13 beautiful ladies (I guess "girls" conflicts with the show having nudity), only 12 photos. The first photo goes to...Michelle! Great work, twin #2. The others are handed out, leaving Christian and Melrose to step forward.

Christian, you are boring and trying too hard to be Tyra and not yourself. Melrose, you actually HAD a diva attitude at the shoot, which is unacceptable. But...she'll get one more chance, as she gets the last photo. Melrose collapses on the ground in a completely embarassing way, and Tyra practically has to pull her up - you're SAFE, you twit! And then Christian is sent on her boring way to be boring, perhaps in boring catalogs.

Next week - make-overs! Will Jaeda cut her hair? Do we care?


joyous said...

I wanted to text you so bad when Tyra made them all start twirling. Twirl, girls, twirl!!

ScottE. said...

Sadly, I think I might be watching this show now...damn. I don't want to watch another trashy reality tv show.


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