Not to get too dramatic about it, but this cycle is clearly the end of America’s Next Top Model as we know it. Last week’s announcement that Tyra summarily fired both Jays and Nigel means that the next umpteen cycles of the show will be sadly bereft of Mr. Jay’s eye rolling, Ms. Jay’s teetering hats, and Nigel’s uncertain baldness. It’s not that Tyra’s been afraid of axing central ANTM members before—remember Twiggy?—it’s more that getting rid of the familiar crew of the show means that no one really knows what’s going on over there. Whatever integrity ANTM haskept thus far, through all the themed cycles and makeovers, the two Jays and Nigel helped maintain. But post-Jays, what will the show even be? It’s not even really a modeling show any more, so much as a contest to become the most well-rounded, best-liked brand spokesperson.
In the mean time, let’s savor those last few snarky Nigel asides. Luckily, this week had quite a few of them. “Georgina Chapman” kicks off with the house throwing a veritable ticker tape parade over Kyle’s elimination. Seymone, Eboni, and Laura are celebrating so much that they don’t seem to have noticed how bad things look for the Americans. Laura seems to be doing fine, but there’s no one on Team USA like powerhouse smizer Sophie or determined sass-pot Alisha. Azmarie was their real shot at winning this thing. Now, barring an outstanding performance or complete catastrophe, it’s just a matter of time before the brewing rivalry between Alisha and Sophie becomes the main event.
The first challenge this week proves how far behind the American team has fallen. Kelly Cutrone announces that the models will be auditioning to be cast as the openers for the finalists of the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize. The practice walks are exactly what we saw in Toronto. Sophie kills it, picking up two opening slots. The other designers select Alisha and Annaliese as their frontrunners. Catherine was the only British girl who got left out, and that was thanks to a walk that Kelly Cutrone described as resembling “someone on drugs that had escaped from the hospital.” Plus, she stumbled in her first audition, a no-no that earned her a personalized Cutrone dressing down. All of the ladies walk in the shows, but it’s clear that the “fashion mafia” doesn’t pay much notice to most of them. The designer Alisha opened for won, netting her two free nights in one of the Dorchester hotels. Sophie’s the one to watch, and Seymone needs to be careful about excessive arm swinging and dead eyes.
This week’s photo shoot is one of the most interesting ones all season, at least in terms of what the models are wearing. Tyra leaves a cryptic message for the ladies with the word “purr-fect” in it, so the models show up in leopard print, expecting to be handed a tiger cub. Instead, they’re taking on couture items made entirely from Hello Kitty merchandise. The couture pieces are nightmarish in terms of actually clothing—lunchbox on the head, no thank you—but dazzling in terms of their creativity. The models looked like Marie Antoinette if her wardrobe was stitched together from the Sanrio store. Not to mention that their photographer was achingly appropriate for the shoot: 16-year-old Seventeen contest winner Ann He.
Hello Kitty garb is apparently uncomfortable, as skirts made out of slap bracelets are wont to be, but the only person who has the gall to be vocally upset about it is Seymone. She doesn’t take criticism that well, and she’s been sulking since her snub at the catwalk. So she fusses about the weight of her (gigantic, crazed) geisha headpiece and generally sounds like a snot. Eboni, rebel that she is, tries to escape her youthful, Tyra-encouraged look by looking affectless. Mr. Jay takes a look at her photos and whispers to Ann, “the judges are going to eat her alive.”
He’s right. Tyra—who delights in variations of “Goodbye Kitty” as an elimination slogan—rips Eboni to shreds for her photo. Kelly Cutrone adds that “I really thought she was dissing all of us” by showing up without her signature pigtails. Alisha sails to first photo easily, and even Sophie’s somewhat mediocre picture nabs her third place. It’s clear that either Eboni or Seymone is going home. Neither had great photos, but Tyra frames their poor showing in terms of rudeness. Taking a gawky picture isn’t wonderful, but in ANTM-land, not showing sufficient enthusiasm for the competition is inexcusable. Seymone was a bigger offender this time. She gets cut, and gives a last tantrum to the cameraman for our benefit. Eboni squeaked by this time, but I’d be surprised if she and her pigtails aren’t on the chopping block next week.
- Did the ladies get touch-ups on their hair between last week and now? I swear Sophie’s hair is pinker.
- Tyra’s advice to Eboni: “Think Novocain face.”
- Though I disagree with her assessment, Kelly Cutrone’s description of Catherine’s face as “Linda Blair does Hello Kitty” was hilarious.