Wednesday, October 24, 2007

America's Next Top Model: Finally living up to its trashy reputation...

Tonight on America's Next Top Model, the girls dressed like garbage in an elaborate metaphorical interpretation of the way the fashion industry treats women attempt to raise awareness about recycling. Riiight.

We rejoin the gals as Ebony is discussing how she's sick of doing poorly in panel, Ambreal is placing a tearful call home, and Heather is worrying about the lack of non-profile shots in her portfolio. Bianca, taking a break from her normally stank attitude, is actually pretty supportive and helpful towards Heather. Hmm. You know, I don't think I really hate any of the contestants this season. Not a Lisa, Melrose, or Jade to be found! Which is probably a bad thing, come to think of it.

In much more interesting news, Tyson Beckford has come a-calling! Ebony freaks out and runs away from him shrieking, which is pretty hysterical. He's there to teach the girls about how to be a spokemodel, and instructs everyone to grab an item from the kitchen and try and sell it to the room. The girls' pitches are predictably entertaining. Money quote from Tyson, regarding the electric water heater Ebony's trying to sell: "Let me know it's hot, it's moist, and it's really what I want." Hee! Heather does a nice job, but Ambreal gets to feed Tyson a mango. ...Still in the peel. Wow, I don't think I've ever seen anyone just bite into an unpeeled mango like that. Yuck!

TyraMail! They're off to meet Tyson at a studio where they'll be doing a 30-second PSA in teams of three for Keep a Child Alive. Lisa, Chantal, and Bianca do well, though Bianca has some trouble getting her lines out. Heather, Jenah, and Ambreal have a very nice presentation. Sarah, Saleisha, and Ebony actually also do a pretty good job, though they get a bit messed up on the charity's actual purpose. Hey, nobody crashed and burned! Is this a Top Model first? Heather wins a photo shoot for Carol's Daughter, art directed by Mary J. Blige (huh?) in random drawing between the girls in her group, while Jenah and Ambreal win $500 gift baskets. In the photo shoot, it looks like they must've dipped Heather in a vat of bronzer, but it ends up looking pretty good.

As the girls chow down on chicken fingers and pizza in their walk-in closet that night, Ebony drops the H-bomb. No, the other H-bomb. That's right, she wants to go home. Suuure. We'll see if that pans out. The other girls take it about as seriously as I do.

The next morning, Orange Jay informs them that they'll be doing a high fashion photo shoot with a pro-recycling message, in which each of them will be representing a different recyclable material. It will be...dare I say it? Derelicte! Watching the girls try and smile as they realize they're going to be portraying trash is pretty hilarious, I have to say.

Heather, as "aluminum cans" (ha!), rocks the face-on shots, though I have to say, her final shot isn't quite as fabulous as her profiles have been. That may be due more to facial structure than anything else, though. Chantal, representing "shredded paper" (ha!), does fine, though her hair is totally covering her face in the final shot. Sarah, portraying "garbage bags" (ha!), does a good job with creative posing. Her final photo is really good, but Nigel mentions her weight loss, which she claims not to have really noticed. The old screen grab they show in comparison to her current weight is pretty funny, in that anyone tucking their chin in like that would look a bit chubby. Well-played, ANTM editors.

Saleisha, as "car parts" (ha!), is a little stiff. And also knocks over half the set. Her final shot, though, is great, and makes me feel better about her crazy haircut. Ebony, representing "bubble wrap" (ha!), is far from her best, and doesn't seem to take Jay's criticism seriously. It almost looks like she's snarling in her photo, and though she walks up to the panel with a smile, she doesn't leave it with one after being critiqued for her lackluster efforts and attitude on set. Jenah, as "cardboard boxes" (ha!), knocks it out as usual. And actually manages to look presentable at panel!

Bianca, portraying "oil" (ha!), has apparently mastered Tyra's mythical "smile with your eyes" technique. Though her final shot is a bit stiff pose-wise, her face is fantastic. Unfortunately, this means we don't get the traditional "smile with your eyes" tutorial at panel. Lisa is "plastic bottles" (ha!), and she does well at the shoot, though it doesn't really manifest itself in her final photo. Tyra thinks she needs to take riskier risks. Which may only make sense in Tyra's head. Ambreal, representing "newspaper" (ha!), tries to pose her heart out, but just can't make it interesting. She's got the ol' Dead Eyes, and makes the mistake of blaming it on her fake eyelashes. She also gets the "that's not the girl who started here" criticism, so it's a one-two punch. Yikes.

Before elimination, Ebony reiterates in an interview that she's hoping Tyra won't call her name. Tellingly, perhaps, she doesn't go so far as to say she'll quit. Tyson is the guest judge at panel. In solo deliberation, the judges praise Saleisha's improvement, Jenah's consistent fabulousness, and Heather's head-on skills. They don't love Ebony's attitude, Sarah's weight loss (which is taking her out of her plus-size niche), or Ambreal's...non-Top Model-ness.

Saleisha gets the first photo, followed by Jenah, Heather (continuing her reign of terror as Covergirl of the Week), Bianca, Sarah, Chantal, and Lisa. As anyone who saw the first five minutes of the episode could have guessed, that leaves Ebony and Ambreal, who were the weakest on set this week. Ebony gets the photo, and tearfully says, "I no longer want to be here." Wow, I didn't actually think she'd do it!

She says she doesn't think modeling is for her, but Tyra disagrees, saying that she thinks Ebony just can't handle people telling her she's not perfect. Harsh! I mean, Jesus, this is an industry that gives girls eating disorders and drug addictions in their quest to stay thin and "perfect." Is it really so bad to see that pressure up close and choose not to be a part of it? Deciding you don't want to be around people who are telling you you're doing a bad job, yelling directions at you, and criticizing your looks seems like a healthy and mature decision to me. Tyra says that "the most unattractive thing in the world to [her] is a quitter," and sends Ebony home. Ebony thanks her and leaves the room without hugging anyone. As the rest of the girls stand by, shell-shocked, Tyra encourages a sobbing Ambreal to make the most of her second chance. This is totally bananas, you guys!

In her exit interview, Ebony says that she's sorry for wasting everyone's time, that she really misses her family, and that she just wants to go back to being "happy Ebony." Which, true enough, we've never really seen. The editors show us her casting tape, in which she begs Tyra to let her on the show, saying "you won't regret it!" Aww.


Colleen said...

he bit into an un-skinned mango!!!???!! MANGO HERPES!!!! MERPES!!!! MEEEERRRPPEEEESSSSSS!!!!!!

Liz said...

Yeah, it was second only to the time I saw someone bite into an unpeeled kiwi. UGH.