Wednesday, September 19, 2007

America's Next Top Model: The Bitch is Back

I hope you're ready for some skinny bitches, because America's Next Top Model is back with a vengeance. And you know I love me some ANTM. If you read my preview and watched this episode, then you know how hilariously wrong I was about half of the girls. However, you'll also know that I was totally right about at least two of them. So, you know, there's that. And I’m going to kick things off with the disclaimer that if you’re watching this show and think that you want to look like any of the contestants, you should probably go into the kitchen right now and eat a big bar of chocolate. For reals. Anyway, enough with the cycle-opening formalities, and let's delve right into the bitchy meat of it all! (Spoilers ahead, so don't read if you don't want to know!)

This cycle opens with a bit of an exciting (for the girls, not for us) difference: the semi-finalists are going to the Caribbean! This is explained by the fact that lots of models do photo shoots in the Caribbean. Um, right. Whatever you say, CW. I'm pretty sure you and I both know that this entire episode was an advertisement for Royal Caribbean, right down to Miss Jay giving the girls a tour of the cruise ship and its many luxurious amenities (including nice bathrooms, hopefully, since one of the semi-finalists totally gets some kind of cruise ship dysentery).

After they see their digs, the girls head up to the deck for a "safety briefing." But no! It's a fake out! (First fake out of the season, you guys! I'm getting all sentimental!) Instead, the contestants are walking the "runway," in lifejackets, in front of a bunch of cruise ship passengers. This is both hilarious AND a devious mind game, because those lifejackets totally make you feel way fatter and more ridiculous than you actually look. The walkers we see are largely unimpressive, although Miss Jay claims that some of the girls did well. A beautiful contestant named Ebony is very confident, while a hunchbacked girl named Heather is more insecure, and upset by Miss Jay's criticism.

Next up: DINNER THEATER! Oh. Em. Gee. I'm just going to come out and say it: this show is genius. The more over-the-top it gets, the more I fall in love with it. In that way, my feelings about this show are very similar to my feelings about Cher. Also, this show and Cher are now both inextricably connected to big ships in my head. Aaaanyway, as the girls are eating dinner, Tyra comes out on the stage wearing a crazy outfit with a giant feather headdress (yet another Cher comparison!), accompanied by male dancers in sailor outfits. She sing/talks about finding her next Top Model to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean." Ha. Ha. HA!!! It's extraordinary, and the girls recognize this fact by shrieking at epic decibels.

And now, it's time for interviews with Tyra and the Jays! First up is Ambreal, who goes to Howard University. She does some different runway walks, including a choreographed one with Tyra, and seems pretty fun. Chantal, a tall, thin blonde (which surprisingly doesn't describe half the contestants on ANTM), is very into fashion, and Orange Jay finds her very "modelesque." Heather (the hunchback) starts off insulting Tyra by saying "Hey pretty lady...and Tyra" when she enters. But, she has a good sob story, so Tyra forgives her. Turns out she's been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a mild form of autism which makes her socially awkward. Though she's a terrible walker, the panel thinks she'll be great for editorial photos (and, let's face it, very interesting to have in the house with all the bitches). Saleisha actually knows Tyra from time they spent together at Tyra's TZONE camp for disadvantaged girls. She plays the suck-up card well, saying that the camp really helped her self-esteem. In fact, it helped it enough that she now wants to do Victoria's Secret and Sports Illustrated! Aww...I feel a little inspired myself.

Victoria (AKA "Liz's initial favorite who will probably end up totally incapable of taking good photos") is a nerdy Yale student with an unusually long face and chill personality. She's the poor contestant who got sick on the cruise ship. She says that she should win because she's smart and strong, and only when pressed admits that she thinks some of the other girls are a little...less than smart. Janet, from Georgia, is an aesthetician who describes how to wax butt cracks, and then kind of molests Tyra. She has a semi-mullet and gets really excited about Wal-Mart coming to her town. Janet and I will never be BFF. Marvita has a really sad story about sexual abuse at the hands of relatives, but looks a little too old to be a new model.

Mila, an Eastern European-looking blonde, is very, very talkative. Sabrina, who is really into her hair, is extremely, extremely confident. Like, she can't come up with her worst feature, and calls her talent "extraordinaire." Sabrina doesn't believe in tempting fate, clearly. Jenah is also very confident, and although I like her unusual look, she kind of reminds me of someone who is reinventing herself as a bitchy girl. She claims that girls hate her, that she's really smart, that she only hangs out with guys, something about beer pong, etc., etc. Whatever, Jenah. Sarah, who plays a joke on the panel involving pulling a long strand of paper from her nose, is kind of awesome. Unfortunately, she's also our token plus-size model for the cycle, so she's probably doomed. Especially since she's not actually plus-size--she's just not skeletal. In fact, she appears to be about my size (if I were eight feet taller), and I consider myself to be on the slim side. This show is bad for my self-esteem, you guys.

Lisa, a "bikini dancer" (read: exotic dancer without the nudity), is gorgeous, and seems like a cool person who's overcome a fair amount in life (6 years of foster care, to be exact). Bianca chooses to spend her time talking about different kinds of bitches: fun bitches (her), and bitchy bitches (Ebony). She really, really wants this. Jennifer, a bah-tender from Boston, is apparently blind in one eye (and also really wants this). Kimberly brings Tyra a weird painted horse figurine from her hometown and screams like crazy when asked what she does when stressed. The panel loves her. Ebony (the aforementioned bitch) uses the tried and true "the girls that don't like me are just jealous" defense. She's actually really beautiful. Tyra plays talk show host and gets her to cry talking about her drug-addicted mom. Not cool, Tyra! Apparently, Ebony only lashes out at other people because she's in pain. I'm sure the girls she's mean to will feel totally better about it once they hear that.

After the interviews, the models head off to a beach in Antigua with the Jays, where they see Jaslene, last cycle's winner, posing for a totally fake photo shoot! Jaslene talks about how great it is to be a top model. (Yeah, honey, if your completely lame first My Life as a CoverGirl didn't convince me, this won't either.) She looks really skinny, which is per usual, I guess. In fact, she's probably put on some weight since this shoot. At any rate, the girls are there for their own, slightly less fake, photo shoot. They all get in the water to have their photo taken while the other semi-finalists stand around and make mean comments. The standouts, in my opinion, are Victoria, Lisa, and Heather.

And it's finally time for the first cut. Sabrina, unaware that the first cut is the deepest, is totally psyched for it, because she thinks there are a lot of girls who don't deserve to be there. Wow, the girl clearly doesn't have a superstitious bone in her body, but (spoiler alert!) is about to learn a valuable lesson. The usual "find your photo and start screaming and jumping up and down, or crying if you don't find it" mayhem ensues, and Sabrina is one of the criers. After gathering the remaining 20 contestants together and asking each one why they should be in the competition (and getting boring, vaguely inspirational answers from each girl that they show), Tyra meets with the Jays to go over photos. Their favorites seem to be Jenah, Mila, Lisa, Victoria, Chantal, Heather, and Janet. They think Saleisha and Bianca would be much better post-makeover. They like that Marvita looks different, but don't really see "high fashion" in her. Because God knows all Top Model winners go on to careers modeling couture.

All the semi-finalists gather at the pool, which has a hilarious transparent runway/bridge going across it, so that anyone whose name is called can't get too excited running up to Tyra without risking falling in. (Unfortunately, this never happens.) In are Mila, Bianca, Jenah, Chantal, and Ambreal, at which point the remaining girls start to tear up. Victoria, Sarah, Saleisha, Kimberly, Ebony, Janet, and Heather are also in, and Lisa is weeping by now. But wait! She's in! Hooray! The losers, according to Tyra, are "all special" (according to me, they're largely crybabies, with the exception of Marvita), but they aren't "role models." Um, what? Tyra is crazy, you guys. CRAZY. And that, my friends, is why I love her. And this show. No, I'm not afraid to admit it. (Although seriously, I do think it's probably creating a whole new generation of bulimic youngsters, so I'm really hoping they'll do an all plus-size cycle, or something. Because Jesus Christ, these girls are dangerously skinny. And it's turning them mean, if the clips from next week's episode are any indication.)