Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nicole is America's Next Top Model!

Last night's finale episode was certainly one to remember. For the first time in such a long time, I was truly rooting for BOTH models at the end. Nicole has proven over and over that she deserves to be in the final two. With her ability to inspire photographers and her determination to learn and grow as a model throughout the competition, she earned her spot. Laura, though, deserved to be in the top two just as much as Nicole. I fell in love with Laura's sweet and innocent personality, and what I love most is that she didn't ever reveal herself to be something else. Usually when you meet someone like that on a reality TV show, they eventually turn out to be devious or sneaky, but not Laura. She was pure sunshine the whole season, and I was so happy for her to be in the final two.

The final tasks for this petite cycle of ANTM involved a Covergirl commercial, photo shoot, and finally the stomp to the death fashion show. Laura's dyslexia held her back from doing her best at the last Covergirl shoot, but not this time. Not only did she look stunning, she also did a fantastic job. Nicole nailed her lines, but Mr. Jay was disappointed in her delivery, saying that she came off sounding snobby. What I love about Nicole is that instead of getting defensive and being upset, she did her best to make it better. She's aware of the fact that she comes off awkward and unapproachable, but she works to fix it. As for the photo shoot with Nigel for the Cover Girl ad, Nicole rocked it. From the beginning, she has made a good impression on every single photographer she was worked with. I think Laura disappointed him a little with her inability to find inspiration that was deeper than "milkshakes".

As for the stomp to the death, it was the first time in Top Model history that eliminated models from the same season were called back to walk the show. Erin, Jennifer, Brittany, and Sundai joined Nicole and Laura on the runway. Nicole definitely brought her own signature walk that made her stand out. She really makes her awkwardness work for her by being so confident in herself that you just have to like her. Also, her face looked amazing. Laura did an awesome job in the runway, though. I would have to put her above Nicole in the runway portion simply because she looked like a true model who already had a lot of experience. All in all, it wasn't the most exciting show, but the dresses were gorgeous and the lighting was beautiful.

At the final judging panel, they looked at the commercial and the CG print ad, as well as the entire cycle portfolio. To me, there was no contest on who had consistently delivered the best photographs. Did Nicole even have a single so-so or bad photo? Not one! While Laura's personality is so lovable and I will always be rooting for her to succeed in the modeling business, I agree with the judges pick for Cycle 13's winner: Nicole! She was truly at the top of the pack early on and just never let go. She never quit trying, despite some mean comments from the other girls in the house who didn't "get" her. It was a great cycle overall, proving that petite girls are just as capable of modeling as their taller counterparts. Good luck Nicole, and congratulations. Laura, don't give up girl. You've got what it takes!

Can't wait for Cycle 14 already !

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

America's Next Top Model Recap: Cycle 13, Episode 8

Cover Girl Commercial time came early this season! This week, the remaining 7 models were tested on their ability to perform in front of a video camera instead of a still camera. As usual, some were naturals while others simply fell apart.

For this week's challenge, the models were sent to the set of The Insider, with host Lara and her crew. They were taught some basics about interviewing techniques and then thrown in front of the cameras to do an interview with 90210's Jessica Lowndes. As a trick to see how well the contestants think on their feet, their teleprompter was blanked out after a question or two, leaving them to rely on their own quick thinking to keep the 2 minute interview going.

Jennifer and Erin were memorable as the two that really knew the actress and were able to keep her talking naturally without any dead air time. On the other side of the spectrum, there was poor dyslexic Laura. She started to panic when the teleprompter blanked. She has a hard enough time reading and when they blanked out the prompter, they had a bunch of random letters, and she couldn't tell if she was just having trouble reading or what. I truly felt for her, but she really didn't get over it and find her rhythm. Instead, she did the one thing you can't do on TV, she cursed. Ouch. Of course, that was nothing compared to Nicoles faux-pas of asking the young actress if she'd ever had children before. Awkward! The rest of the group was just so-so.

The challenge winner got a highly coveted reward: A beauty shoot for Seventeen Magazine. Erin was declared the winner and she chose Rae and Jennifer to go with her. High on her win, Erin thought she was the bomb, apparently getting a bit too cocky, which came back to bite her on the ass during the Cover Girl Shoot.

After the challenge, the girls returned home to find a set of boxes waiting for them. In each box was a set of Exact Eye Lights Mascara and shadow along with a stopwatch and a pad and pen. Their instructions were to write their own 25 second script, memorize it, and be ready to do a commercial the following day. Erin, feeling over-confident, was finished in minutes, happily calling out "Done!" and going to bed without much work on memorizing. Others like Nicole and Jennifer stayed up for a long time working on their scripts. You have to wonder why everyone wouldn't take such an important step in the competition more seriously. Everyone who's ever watched the show knows that the commercial is one of the most difficult shoots of the entire competition. It's easy to get rattled or nervous or tongue-tied.

And for Erin, that's exactly what happened. Even though she was happily saying during makeup that she was a winner, she walked onto the set and fell apart. Nigel, who was directing the shoot, was extremely disappointed. He had to call for makeup to fix her face FOUR times because she was crying so much. She never got it together, and I was honestly just rolling my eyes. She should have never acted so cocky, trying to intimidate everyone else, when she wasn't willing to put the time in that was required in order to do a good job.

At the top of the pack was Jennifer, who came across approachable and charming. Nicole also did a great job, finally showing the judges that she is able to put inflection in her voice. She also looked stunning! Brittany, though somewhat robotic, pulled off her lines flawlessly. Sundai had a good script, but geez, the girl had a hard time sounding serious. Her commercial was uncomfortable to watch! And not just in my opinion. Guest judge Kim Kardashian (who is not technically a model but has certainly become comfortable in front of a camera - and is famous for a sex tape she did so needless to say, she's comfortable in front of the video camera), also said Sundai was hard to watch.

The bottom two this week were Erin and Rae. Rae didn't mess up quite as badly on the commercial as Erin did, but in both the challenge and the shoot, she just wasn't memorable. She didn't seem to have any kind of spark or intense desire to be there. In the end, the panel chose to send Rae home. I don't think she minded terribly much either. She was mostly just happy to be going home to see her daughter again. That gives Erin another shot. Let's hope she can find an true inner confidence instead of just that fake mask she tries to put on to intimidate everyone else.

Next week: The model's house is condemned for being a mess! Tyra tells them it's so bad they can't live there any more. Does this mean they are heading out to a foreign country? I wonder where they'll go this time!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

America's Next Top Model Recap: Cycle 13, Episode 7

GO-SEE's! I love watching the go-sees, and trying to guess which models are going to be dumb enough to show up late. I understand the temptation to go to one more go-see, I really do, but if you're only 30 or 40 minutes away from the deadline, you're not going to make it back in time unless the go-see is next door. The cycle's go-see losers? Sundai and Rae. The funny thing is that Rae actually let Sundai talk her into going to one more when they so obviously didn't have time.

The winner of the go-see's was: NICOLE! I can't help but love her! She's got a style about her that just seems cool and calm, and she has, by far, the best look in the group this year. I just don't understand all the Nicole-hating that's going on in the house. Is it jealousy? Sure, she says some strange things from time to time, but for the most part, it seems that she just stays out of everyone's way and keeps to herself. What's the harm in that? Kara had me sitting, mouth open in shock, in front of the TV when she said, "She has the social graces of a fetus." Wow, that is seriously mean! Karma's a bitch, though, isn't Kara? Not only did Neil Lane call her a "disaster" for not having pierced ears when she showed up to model his jewelry, but the casting director of the ad agency said she was greasy and another designer called her 'scruffy'. Ouch, ouch ouch. Not one person liked Kara this week. Rough.

As the winner of the go-see challenge, Nicole won a piece from all of the go-see casting people, including Neil Lane diamond earrings and some awesome outfits. The eye-rolling and hater looks from most of the other girls had me fuming. Erin actually had the audacity to say, "well, you haven't won anything yet, so they might have just wanted you to win." I was literally cheering when Nicole bounced back with, "No, I earned it." And she damn well did earn it. Erin went down 10 points in my book for saying something like that out loud.

Crouching Tiger-Hidden Model
The photo shoot this week was awesome. Each model was dressed in a colorful and flowing frock, then given a choice of traditional asian weapons. Numchucks (no idea how to spell that word), swords, everything. THen, they were taught by a professional how to use their weapon and how to move with a harness on their bodies. This was a great shoot for middle of the season, because it truly tested how much the models have learned. They had to be thinking about their modeling and their faces, but also the length of their bodies, the sleeves on their outfits, and the way they were moving on the harness.

Kara and Sundai stood out as the worst this week during the shoot. Sundai, though cute, was called "Abysmal" by Jay, as she wasn't able to get past the distractions of the weapons and the harness to focus on her modeling. Kara bombed it big time, and honestly I'm not surprised. Anytime a model starts obsessing over the success of someone else in the house, it's only a matter of time before they are booted. Not because Tyra knows about it or disapproves, but because their focus is on someone else instead of themselves. If Kara truly wanted to model, she would be thinking about her own issues and how to improve rather than constantly bitching about Nicole's success.

Some of the best and most impressive on the harness this week were Laura, who really used her weapons to elongate and lengthen her body; Nicole, who looked fierce and in control the entire time; and Jennifer, who just looked natural and amazing in that red outfit.

Guest judge this week was "supermodel" Jessica White. While beautiful, I doubt the use of the term 'supermodel' here. Okay so she's posed for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition 7 times, does that make her super? I don't know, but anyway, she's successful and that's what is important. Also, I like her because she said Nicole is "my absolutely favorite." With each week that passes, I agree more and more.

The highlight of this week's panel for me was Nigel Smeyezing. It was awesome. He looked like he had something stuck in his eye.

The best photo of the week is: NICOLE. As the winner of yet another thing this week, Nicole has quickly shot to the top of the pack. Nigel still wants to see more personality and inflection in her tone of voice, but she's modeling at the top of the crowd and I think she'll go far.
  • Laura (second place and still on top for me. she needs to step it up though if she wants to truly stand out in this competition)
  • Brittany
  • Erin
  • Jennifer
  • Rae
  • And the bottom two: Kara vs. Sundai.
I just knew Kara was going to be in the bottom 2 this week when they opened the episode with her dissing on Nicole. She should have spent more time worrying about her own problems and less time thinking she was better than everyone else. Sundai was given another week in the competiton and Kara, much to her own surprise, was booted out.

I almost felt sorry for her until she said, "What's the point of being in the competition if I had to go home in the middle? If I didn't win?" I hate that attitude! The point is that you were on an extremely successful TV show where you got tons of exposure. The point is that you got some priceless modeling experience and (hopefully) learned a lot in a short period of time. What a terrible attitude to have. Think about all the girls who didn't make it on to the show. You should be grateful you had the chance, and sad that you wasted your opportunity by letting yourself become distracted. Peace out, Kara. Nicole rules.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

America's Next Top Model Recap: Cycle 13, Episode 6

It was group week on Top Model, with the remaining 9 contestants modeling and dancing in groups of 3. It's always tough to find a way to really stand out in a group, and sometimes, as Ashley learned, it's harder when the rest of your group is pulling you down. Interestingly enough, she was on both sides of the fence this week... as the puller and the pullee so to speak :).

Benny Ninja, the pose-master extraordinaire, was on hand this week along with Lil' Mama and the Jaberwockies, to teach the models how to express themselves with their bodies instead of just relying on their faces. This is one of the most important lessons a model can learn. After their teach, the girls were split into groups of 3 and given one hour to come up with a dance routine that exemplified happy, sad, and angry, using their bodies only and a mask over their faces. Through the curse of the draw, Ashley, who is the only real dancer in the group, was given Nicole and Erin as her two dance partners. Neither of her partners have a shred of dancing talent, and in fact, Nicole needs some serious work when it comes to learning how to be free and move with her body. Needless to say, their group was at the bottom of the three groups. Laura, Sundai, and Brittany were in the middle, only really shining on their "sad" portion. Rae, Jennifer, and Kara did an excellent job embodying all three emotions and as their reward, they each got to choose a piece of jewelry from the collection of designer Rhonda Faber Green (totaling 17,000 bucks). Again, the looks of sheer jealousy from the other girls this season make me cringe and laugh both at the same time!

Back at the house, it was Ashley who was unable to let the dance competition go. She continued to obsess about it, even going so far as to say "We were the only group dancing real dance moves. If it was me by myself... totally different story." Of course, back in their rooms, dogging Ashley were the houses' new "gossip girls" Jennifer and Kara who were seen numerous times this episode talking about the other girls and speculating about how far each would go in this competition. In my opinion, those two need to be paying more attention to their own modeling instead of spending so much time talking about everyone elses' modeling. In this weeks' photo shoot, both Jennifer and Kara were at the bottom of their groups.

This week's photo shoot was in fabulous Las Vegas on the stage of Cirque de Soleil's show "Mystere". It was all about standing out in the photograph as groups of 3 modeled with groups of 3 performers. Mr. Jay's performance on stage deserves and honorable mention as well. I'm surprised Tyra wasn't there all dressed up in Cirque makeup, though... seemed right up her alley.

Guest judge for the week was Josie Maran, a 5'6" model who has had a successful 19 year career, modeling for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, Victoria's Secret, and various campaigns and magazine covers.

Tyra called each group to the front, then took them through the photo one by one. I have to say, Miss Tyra was cut-throat this week in her critique of the photos. Photo number one was Brittany, Rae, and Jennifer. Rae really stole the photo with her smoldering eyes and fashion forward look, but Brittany was a close second with her bride of Frankenstein awkwardness that worked for this shoot, but Jennifer "brought this picture down." Tyra was brutal, saying that Jennifer's film was awful.

Group two, it was Ashley that pulled the shot down. Tyra said her performance was "very poor", and I have to agree. For all her talk of wanting it and trying her best, she really didn't follow Jay's directions very well about the angles of her body, and it really showed. Laura, on the other hand, had my very favorite photo of the week. She looked sexy and strange and confident and beautiful. Each week, she becomes more and more my favorite. Tyra said she must be drinking "fierce juice." Haha. I agree! Kara was "middling", not really standing out as great. She more just blended in, bringing nothing to the photo.

Group three's downer was Nicole, which was surprising to me because I expected her to shine on this very theatrical and strange photo landscape. Rather than going "golem" and contorting her body, she was just there, plain and uninteresting. Sundai stood out in her group photo, with Tyra saying that she had to choose a picture that wasn't her best just to get a decent shot of Nicole. I think Sundai has improved a lot, but is it enough? Erin did a good job in the photo shoot as well, but I didn't see anything really new and exciting from her. I don't feel that she's really getting better so much as staying decent.

So who goes home?

Best photo this week was given to the best collective group: Rae, Brittany, and Jennifer. I hated to see Jennifer get "best photo" just because she was in a group with the two best. Having one of the weakest photos of the bunch, it didn't seem fair, but fair isn't the name of the game, I guess. She skated by and she better be thanking her lucky stars! Next, Tyra called names individually. Laura, Nicole (who should have really been towards the bottom in my opinion), Sundai, and Erin.

That left Kara and Ashley in the bottom two, and there was no doubt in my mind who was going home. Ashley has been in the bottom two several times, and there was just no saving her this week. She was sent home, giving Kara another week to battle it out.

Next week? Go-sees!!! In L.A. rather than abroad, which is interesting. Also, looks like they are giving the girls cars to drive around the city rather than relying on taxi's who know where they're going. Should be fun! THe photo shoot looks even more fun, though, as the models take to wires Kung-fu style.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

America's Next Top Model Recap: Cycle 13, Episode 5

So many wonderful things on last night's episode of Top Model! We got to see more of Nigel (and to see his gorgeous wife); we learned how to make up the perfect "smokey eye" from makeup expert Sam Fine; we got to watch Tyra the photographer in action; and best of all, we got to say goodbye to my least favorite model on cycle 13.

First things first, after the girls got over losing Lulu (not that anyone but Ashley really seemed to care), they were whisked away to a top model teach with makeup artist Sam Fine. He taught the models how to make their faces look model perfect in case they are called to a shoot or to a go-see on the spur of the moment. His advice for a model's 4 must-haves?
  • Concealer
  • Bronzer
  • Mascara
  • Lip Gloss
The trick is not to cover too much, but to even things out and to make your eyes really pop and your lips shine without looking like you put too much makeup on. It's all about trying to make yourself look as if you don't have makeup on at all. He also taught them how to make up their eyes in a smokey look by applying loose powder below the eye, then concealer on the lid, and finally using a contouring eye brush to apply dark brown below and above the lid. I'm personally planning on giving it a shot asap.

The challenge this week also involved making yourself look great for a spur of the moment interview. Nigel and his wife Crissy Barker (a CoverGirl spokesmodel), met the models at a Walmart during the wee hours and challenged them to a four station race. CLothes, Shoes, Makeup, and Photo were the four stations. The trick was that there weren't enough items at each station for every girl, so speed was important. Apparently, Erin took this contest to heart. The replay video showed her pulling on people's arms, shoving others to the side, and even intentionally throwing another girl's photo on the ground. While you have to admire the fact that Erin wants to win and is willing to go for it, you have to wonder if she will be admired in the industry when she fails to stand out as having anything positive to her determination.

Even though Erin's thirst for a win landed her in the top 3, Nigel and Crissy chose Sundai over Erin and Bianca as the model who made it to the end with the most put-together look. As a reward, Sundai won a $1000 walmart gift card and an online photo at

The next day on the way to the photo shoot, some of the models compared their bruises (which were a direct result of Erin's tirade through walmart the night before) and Erin cried. I think the stress is beginning to show for some of the women, but do you think Erin should really apologize? Maybe, but the others need to realize that the modeling world is cut-throat so stop complaining and get on with it already.

The photoshoot revealed an exciting twist - Tyra as their photographer! These are always some of my favorite shots of the season, so I was anxious to see what she had in store for the girls' this season. What I love is that Tyra keeps showing this season that she truly does care about the career success of the models once they leave the show. She wisely told them that as shorter models, "beauty" shots could be their bread and butter, then she proceeded to help them nail it. Some models, like Kara, Bianca and Ashley... failed to deliver. I think they were nervous and stiff with Tyra. Others like Brittany, Jennifer and Laura were completely at ease and took direction so easily.

The other twist at the shoot was that Mr. Jay and Tyra chose the best photo of the week right there on the set, giving Brittany immunity as well as a photo shoot for (complete with hot male models.) Oooh, the jealousy was so thick, I could feel it in my living room. The looks on the losing models faces as she went through her shoot was pure jealousy and hatred. Wow, 10 models still in the competition and it's already seriously tense. I can't wait to see what happens once we're down to the final 5.

Guest Judge at panel this week was China Chow, a 5'3" model who makes an impressive living as a beauty model. I love that Tyra is bringing in new judges that can serve as role models for these young girls. Hopefully they are looking up the work these models have done and seeing what can work in their own careers. This week's order was:
  1. Brittany (whose final photo was good, but I don't know that it was really the Best... wonder if Tyra would have changed her mind if she had chosen at panel instead.)
  2. Jennifer (trying her own ideas and screaming on set to get a great and powerful shot really paid off)
  3. Rae
  4. Nicole
  5. Erin (whose picture, in my opinion, should have been 1 or 2 this week)
  6. Laura
  7. Sundai (who deserved to be at the top too, this was her best shot ever!)
  8. Kara (yikes)
And the Bottom 2 came down to Ashley vs. Bianca. It's terrible to say it, but I was hoping for Bianca to be sent home. While she seems to know a lot about fashion, she could never quite deliver a wonderful or unique photograph. Her attitude stands in her way and until she can conquer her own issues, she's never going to be a top model. Tyra sent her home, giving Ashley another chance.

Next week, Benny Ninja!!! The girls will learn all about posing. I have a feeling Nicole is going to blow this one out of the water. We'll see!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tyra's Fortress of Fierceness

Tonight's episode of ANTM saw a return of Tyra's completely crazy side as she reinvented herself: Super-Smize, the supermodel/superhero teaching models everywhere how to smile with their eyes. You would think that any model who ever watched ANTM would have practiced "smize-ing" every night for hours before coming onto the show, but getting individual instruction from Tyra herself is worth its weight in gold.

I personally was just happy to see Tyra be her crazy self. Her no-fear ability to just do whatever the hell she wants is what makes me love her so much!

And now, more recap, less Tyra fan-fare:

The models made their way to Wilhelmina Modeling Agency where the president, Sean Patterson flew in to meet them in person. Photographer Nigel Barker joined him as the two interviewed each of the models one-on-one. Everyone seemed to think it was a challenge where there would be one winner, but since this is the season for turning everything on its head, there was, instead, a loser. Directly after the interviews, Nigel informed one sad model that she just "doesn't have what it takes to be a Wilhelmina Model."

So who was it? Was it clueless Lulu who actually told them "I don't pay attention to photographers." right after she had just said that she loves and follows fashion? Or was it lazy-eye Jennifer? No, it was doe-eyed Rachel who completely tanked when Nigel asked her to sing a few bars of any song she wanted. She did, after all, tell them that she'd done some musical theater. When it came down to it, the president of Wilhelmina just thought that Rachel had no spark and no personality, and she was sent home.

As if losing someone so suddenly wasn't hard enough on the models, then they had to face Tyra's "Smize-ing" challenge where they were all clothed in tella-tubby-esque pink skintight outfits and asked to battle it out one-on-one. The winners were immediately dressed in designer clothes and whisked away to a private dinner with Sean Patterson at one of Tyra's favorite restuarants - The Bazaar. The losers had to put on rubber gloves and scrub dishes all night. Yuck!

But as we all know, it's the photo shoots that matter most in this competition, and this week's shoot was both fun and challenging. Keeping with the "smize" theme, the women were asked to pose topless with long wigs covering their chests while on a horse at the Santa Anita Park. Some models like Brittany and Laura seemed right at home nude on a horse, giving it 100% and just relaxing and having fun. Others, like Courtney and Bianca, wanted to blame something else for their bad performances. For example, Courtney got upset that Jay wanted her to leave her boot on while she was doing her standing poses. She let that one thing interrupt and effect her entire photo shoot, and personally, I don't even understand why she was angry. He was only trying to protect her foot, right? And it wasn't like it was going to be in the shot.

Bianca's complaint? That she didn't like her blonde wig. She said that after last weeks' stint in the bottom 2 for her attitude, she had learned to keep her mouth shut, but I don't think she was doing a good job of it, personally.

This week's panel included guest judge, Lauren Conrad. What? Seriously Tyra? We couldn't come up with someone else? I guess Lauren is qualified since she designs clothing, but... well, I'll keep my mouth shut on this one. Her comments actually turned out to be right-on, so it wasn't so bad. Oh, and worth mentioning is Miss Jay's strange idea of making his sleeves bigger and poofier each week. I can't wait to see the outfit she/he wears on the final episode.

The Good: Brittany laying full out on the horse, definitely smiling with her eyes. Laura looking both sexy and cute with her braids and her broken down body. Nicole looking five foot ten next to the horse and pulling out an amazing close-up. Erin looking fierce with her ice blonde hair and dark, smoldering smize.

The Bad: Courtney looking angry and doing nothing unique with her body. Ashley standing there looking bored because Tyra chose her test shot as her best shot. Ouch.

The Ugly: Omg, Bianca. Not only was her attitude once again ugly, (When Tyra asked her if she was ready to see her best shot, Bianca's answer was a snarky, "Yeah, I want to see this blonde hair.") but her face was pure ugly in her photo. Even Tyra said she had the "Who farted?" face looking like she just smelled something terrible. I thought Mr. Jay said it right when he said that Transgendered Isis from a few seasons ago was softer and more lady-like than Bianca in this shoot.

  • Brittany
  • Laura
  • Nicole
  • Kara
  • Jennifer
  • Sundai
  • Rae
  • Lulu
  • Ashley
And this week's bottom two: Bianca (again) and Courtney

Ultimately, it was Courtney who was sent home. I personally would have given Bianca her walking papers, because I don't see much potential in her modeling so far. But, in the end Courtney's excuses about having to wear her boot and being upset about it and giving up right from the start of her shoot were her downfall. Tyra said the judges just couldn't put up with a model who was willing to give up and stop trying, and I have to agree with her there too. Bianca better be thanking her lucky stars to get another chance, but if she can't get it together by next week, I think she'll be heading home too.

Next week: The model's have their first fashion show.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cycle 13 Premiere!

Yay! Our favorite reality series is back for Cycle 13! I have been looking forward to this night for so long, and it definitely delivered. Even though I love the show just the way it is, after 12 Cycles, Tyra thought it was time to try something new, and I'm loving it! This Cycle, Petite is the buzz word, with models 5'7" and under ONLY. That means no plus size models. Instead, it's pint sized models!

After what turned out to be a predictable first hour of casting, the season really got to the good part with the second hour's normal episode. Only 13 out of the 14 girls chosen at casting actually showed up to the party, so one lucky girl got to come back. Amber, the girl who proclaimed early on, "I am for Jesus Christ and I will do whatever he wants me to do" apparently found out that JC did not plan for her to be on ANTM. Instead, dark-eyed Lisa got a second chance, but would she make the most of it?

The first order of business this season was not the typical scream-over-the-cool-house scene. Instead, Mr. and Ms. Jay took the girls straight to the salon for their Tyra Make-overs. I was actually very impressed with how well everyone took their new styles... with one major exception. Bald Bianca, the only person who had almost NOTHING done to her since she has no hair to speak of, was the only one who acted like a complete baby about her makeover. All she had done was that they bleached her eyebrows. I wanted to reach through the TV and strangle the be-yotch for daring to complain about something so stupid! My favorite makeover? It's probably a tie between Erin's icy blond hair and matching eyebrows and Nicole's afro red!

Fun House
Next, the girls headed to their new LA house. With a "fun house" / "carnival" theme, the sign at the door reads, "You must be this SHORT to enter" with a hand pointing to 5'7". Very cute! Inside, the girls found bunk beds with little dolls wearing their faces at each bed (which eliminates any drama with choosing beds - have to wonder if Tyra was so riot-scared she tried to eliminate as much as possible). A nice V-shaped runway and a fabu pool and hot tub are the highlights of this very chic house.

First impressions at the house - Bianca is really a bitch. Seriously. She seems to say all the wrong things. At one point, she was even rude enough to say to quiet Nicole, "I think something's wrong with you." Nicole, yes, is a bit strange, but she's just quiet and being herself. At least she isn't bothering anyone or saying ugly things behind their backs. Laura is just about as sweet as she can be. She's like Bianca's polar opposite. She even brought clothes that her grandma made for her. There's just something so innocent and very cinderella, rags to riches about Laura that has me rooting for her.

The Photo Shoot
I loved the theme of the photo shoot this week! Mr. Jay had a baby photo from each girl and their job on set was to use their baby photo as the inspiration for their current photo. The assignment was to modernize the theme and be very "editorial". With it being the first shoot, you always expect some girls to be rough, but at the very least, you hope they will be excited and eager to please... but some fell far short of this.

On one end of the spectrum, there was Rae, a mother who is dealing with being away from her daughter for the first time. Did Rae complain about being away from her baby when she was on set? Not a drop. Did Rae complain when the stylist gave her impossible 8-inch shoes to wear as she portrayed a modern version of her ballerina self? Not even half a drop. She worked it and had a great attitude the whole way around.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Bianca. Can you tell she's already my least favorite of the girls? She started complaining from makeup on, saying that she didn't like her makeup. Then, instead of going on set and just making it work, she walked out there with some serious attitude and complained to Jay about her makeup and the smell of her outfit. Seriously?

The hottest on set were Rae, Nicole (who definitely looked fierce), Laura, and Jennifer. On the not-so-hot side were Bianca, Lisa (Jay actually said watching her was like watching paint dry), Sundai, and Britany. Everyone else just sort of fell into the middle somewhere.

I was anxious to see the judges panel since we all know that Paulina got the boot after last season. I was hoping they would bring out some fabulous new model or maybe even bring Twiggy back, who I loved. But no, instead, they introduced a guest judge... supermodel Chanel Iman. I wonder if they will just do the entire season with only four judges this year instead of five. I think it would be nice if they would bring Mr. Jay into the judging so he could talk more about their presence on set, but four judges will be just fine.

This cycle, instead of the regular contract with Elite Model Management, the winner receives a contract with Wilhemina Models. Tyra explained to the contestants that they chose Wilhemina because they work with models of all shapes and sizes. The Covergirl contract is still a go, though.

Best part of tonight's panel? When Tyra dissed Brittany for being too sexy, her excuse was that she was used to modeling with blond hair, but that her dark hair somehow brought out the sexy part of her. Tyra's response was to actually rub her own boobs and say, "Well, my hair is darker too, does that mean I have to be sexy all the time?" Nice. Tyra's such a kook, I love her!

Worst part of the panel? The fact that Bitchy Bianca actually got a good picture despite her attitude problems.

This week's order, from best to worst, as called out by Tyra's midriff-baring self is:

Best Photo: Rae! Her good attitude and willingness to find a way to make those ridiculous shoes work really paid off!
  • Nicole
  • Jennifer
  • Ashley
  • Courtney
  • Erin
  • Lulu
  • Rachel
  • Laura
  • Kara
  • Brittany
The bottom two: Lisa and Bianca.

I was really proud of the judges for putting Bianca in the bottom two. Even though her picture turned out well, she got a lashing for having such a bad attitude. I hope we will see a real change in her next week. Lisa, the girl who was given a second chance when Amber dropped out of the competition, failed to make it worth it. She simply couldn't deliver when it came to her photo shoot and she was sent home.

Next week: The girls go to Wilhemina Modeling Agency and someone is immediately eliminated. Oh the drama!!
Header Image by Colorpiano Illustration