Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

America's Next Top Model: “Beverly Johnson”

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This season, it seems like Tyra Banks is speeding up the usual order of America’s Next Top Model events. The group challenges that the models have had so far usually show up in the last four or five episodes of a cycle, not the first few. And tonight, we had the obligatory international go-sees, only with 10 ladies left in the bunch. In a cycle that’s focusing on the clash between British and American models, you might think that the ladies would head to England to give the other ladies home turf advantage. Maybe they’ve hidden that up their sleeve for later in the cycle, but this week the ladies all piled onto planes to visit our illustrious Northern neighbor. Why Canada when they’ve barely explored all the kitsch that Los Angeles has to offer? Whither the beefeater cowboy photo shoots?

The answer to this is our beloved Jay Manuel, he of the Backstreet Boy frosted hair and elfin smile, who happens to be a Canadian national and the host of Canada’s Next Top Model. He has a collection showing at Toronto Fashion Week, and bravely decides to have the ANTM ladies come up to audition for the catwalk. None of them had great walks in the initial model off, but some of the girls are more confident than others. Like Alisha, whose smack-talk gets better every week. “These bitches about to get cooked,” she assures us.

The challenge is actually a kind of mini go-see, but minus the terror of the girls having to find their way in a foreign city and all, y’know, meet at the same location at a designated time. Though they all try out for eight designers, they actually only audition three times. The first panel doesn’t go that well for most of the ladies, as the manager of Pink Tartan, frustrated with walks she finds “too hippy,” stops Ashley mid-walk and tells them “You’re clothes hangers to me; it’s not about movement.” This is probably a good note from the real modeling world to the modeling competition arena, but it sure takes the wind out of Ashley’s freckled sails. The second event is a casting smorgasbord, with six designers on hand to pluck up the ladies as they walk, and the third is a trial for Jay Manuel himself.

I wasn’t surprised that Sophie did well. She’s been a frontrunner since the beginning, and has the gumption and bone structure to make an actual modeling career. Her walk is one of the least wooden, and a Azmarie/Sophie finale would be an legitimately interesting aesthetic showdown between Azmarie’s bold look and Sophie’s more traditional British pixie thing. But Sophie’s not the only one who does well: Eboni matches her four bookings, and the designers seem to eat her up. Eboni’s got a good luck, but until tonight her photos have been pretty terrible, and her way comes with a determinedly constipated look that’s not that attractive. Both Sophie and Eboni win a trip back to Canada for the Calgary Stampede, which is like the Vogue of rodeos, I guess.

Ashley, Catherine, and Seymone don’t book a single show thanks to one issue or another. Azmarie compares Catherine’s walk to a penguin, which is unfortunately accurate, and Ashley describes her own uncertain totter as “Bambi on ice.” They may not have gotten a single show, but at least they didn’t get fired last minute. Kyle and Laura both got cut from the Pink Tartan show for lack of confidence, leaving Sophie to go it alone as the ANTM representative.

Which leaves the photo shoot to determine the fate of the three unluckiest go-see-ers. Mr. Jay had assured the ladies that it wouldn’t be dangling from CN Tower. Something of a shame, because it would have been less ridiculous than the actual photo challenge, which was to wear multi-colored (I assume maple) leaves while a patient assistant drizzles maple syrup on them for the camera. Don’t worry though, it’s organic maple syrup. Thank God. Like the insane “make the models into Greek salad” challenge last cycle, this wasn’t a particularly interesting thing too see, even if it is completely bizarre to describe. It mostly involves the women trying to look fierce without getting syrup in their eyes, plus doing their best sexy pancake expression.


Eboni pulls out the best picture despite herself, thanks to Kelly Cutrone’s newfound love of her exotic look. No surprise that Sophie and Azmarie pull it out, but things were looking pretty dire for Seymone before she finally got a good photo this week. Despite last week’s breakdown, Kyle gets more in the game at panel, with her saucer-eyed photo throwing her solidly in the middle. The bottom four are all Brits, but the girls who are really in trouble are Catherine and Ashley. I was beginning to think that Cutrone had tamed her biting moments from the last couple weeks until she got to Ashley’s photo, where she looks like she’s “from an elf tribe and [she’s] lost your plant.” In the end, Ashley gets set loose to go home to her “wee Scottish babies,” and another subtitled one bites the dust.

Stray observations:

  • Beverly Johnson, who is sadly short on camera time, got in one good line when she says to Kyle “Oh, you have my old waistline.” Nice.
  • Wait, is Tyra eating a flag-colored glob of something in the titles? Ewwwww.
  • Best Tyra couplet this week: “Dead eyes/ No smize.”