January 04, 2008

If a Model Stomps in an Empty Palace

Mea culpa - I've been putting off my America's Next Top Model finale recap for weeks because I didn't like it very much. But with the New Year - I resolve to recap episodes, even if they suck it! So let's get on with it.

Previously on Top Model, Bianca was a bitch and learned that karma is, too. And I predicted that it was highly unlikely that Saleisha would lose the title.

As is the custom, the top 3 move right into a commercial and photo shoot for Cover Girl, knowing that the winner will have her ads appear in some issue of a magazine that none of us is likely to see. This time around the product is some kind of fruity lip stuff. Chantal will be lemon, Saleisha will be tangerine and Jenah is berry. Coincidentally, I love berries above all other fruits.

Anywho, there is the usual struggling with lines, but none of the girls really suck. But we get lowlights of Jenah's challenges (as foreshadowing) as well as Saleisha's (to add "dramatic tension").

Suddenly we're at panel. Prizes! Judges! The guest judge is a Chinese designer, and as is the custom, the 2 finalists will "stomp to the death" in his "fashion show." Note the quotation marks - they'll be important later.

The girls are first asked to each name who they think has the most and least potential. All of them have seen enough of the show to know that "myself" is the only acceptable answer to the most potential question (see also: Dionne, Michelle). Saleisha and Chantal take this opportunity to double-team Jenah, saying things like, "I wouldn't want my sisters to look up to her." Um...OUCH! Seriously, those two went a bit too far in their criticism.

Naturally this means that when Jenah goes up for her critique, she has a small breakdown, sending Tyra into her full-on Typrah mode. Typrah draws out of Jenah all her hurts, like the fact that Jenah practically raised her little sisters. Typrah closes this moment with the cheezy line, "Remember when you were trying to find yourself at the Great Wall? I think you just did it."

The photos are all pretty good, so before you know it, Tyra is standing in front of 3 beautiful girls, holding only 2 photos. First photo goes to Chantal, which is pretty much ridiculous. Will Saleisha and Jenah please step forward?

Saleisha, the judges came up with a faux criticism that you "still may not be high fashion enough." Jenah, we need you to not be in the final 2 so Saleisha can win. And thus Saleisha gets the photo.

Jenah takes her defeat rather graciously. I was really pissed, but I imagine if anyone can carve out her own career in fashion without Tyra's spoon-fed help, it will be Jenah.

So...the final 2 go get ready for their fashion show. They learn that there will be all kinds of performers including men on stilts. Make-up is applied, and some surprisingly fierce outfits are put on. Time for the show!

First, a bunch of performer extras go and line the "runway" in a big palace. Then we get slow-motion shots of the judges all walking the runway to their places. And although cheezy - I kind of enjoyed seeing them all work the runway as they might have in days gone by. Finally, the audience comes in. Oh wait! There is no audience. Seriously. This fashion show? Is being performed for four people. And a bunch of paid performer extras. How is this a "fashion show?" Answer - it is not. Like the final outcome of this season, it was all manufactured.

Anywho - they walk. Saleisha works her hips, Chantal works her height. On Chantal's final pass, a man on stilts who was probably given 500 yuan by Tyra "trips" on Chantal's garment. Chantal has the basic human emotion of compassion and looks back to see he's all right - and then finishes.

Final judging! A recap of the "fashion show" causes Twiggy to say that Saleisha's walk was a bit too bouncy. But it's Chantal's apparent blunder that gets more criticism. Setting that aside, let's compare portfolios!

And here we have the ultimate demonstration of why this final 2 sucks. They only compare 3 photos. Three! Usually they look at 6 or so. But they could only do 3, as there were only 3 photo shoots where Saleisha looked like a model. Which is exactly why they kept Jenah out of the finals - her portfolio would have blown away any competitor except maybe Heather.

Whatever, let's cut to the chase - Saleisha is the winner. She screams and cheers for herself, and I throw up a little in my mouth. And of course even more evidence has surfaced that perhaps Saleisha was given preferential treatment. Ugh. Most unsatisfying finale since the tattoo neck won Project Runway.

Here's hoping that the next cycle turns out better! And with the writers' strike, it will be here before you know it.


joyous said...

They put Saleisha's ad in the year-in-review issue of People Magazine. PEOPLE. You bet your sweet ass this girl was groomed for a while to take this cycle. A major, national weekly magazine's third most popular issue. Yup, this cycle smells rotten.

The Kara said...

As you know, I don't watch this show but I was on my way to work on Friday and saw Tyson (or is it Tyrese?) and Nicki Taylor in Times Square. It was chilly and they were with a bunch of skinny, young people; all of them were freezing their tiny tuckuses off and taking pics. I think it's for that new show on Bravo. I still can't bring myself to watch it though the WGA strike is wearing on me. It's def pushing me into shows I wouldn't normally watch - so we'll see how long I last!