And then there were three! It’s time to figure out who’s gonna win America’s Next Top Model! Will it be Somalian refugee Fatima who’s lived quite the hard knock life? Or will it be Angles! Angles! Angles! Anya ? Or Miss I’m-here-and-I’m-me-and-I’m-not-gonna-change-for-you Whitney? We’re about to find out…
Our final three ladies head back to the apartment after last week’s panel. I forgot how slow things get when there’s so few girls left in the running. We get voiceovers of how badly every girl wants to win and how much she thinks she deserves it. Fatima explains how she’s always struggled with her self-esteem which, hey, coulda fooled me with all the everyone-else-thinks-they-are-better-than-me-but-that’s-just-poppycock-because-I-am-the-bestest talk. Over potato preparation in the kitchen – Anya, curl those fingers under like Tyra taught you! European ERs are a joke! – Whit confides to Anya about how she’s just tickled that the two of them have become such good friends. No reaction from Anya. I can’t help but wonder if this supposed BFFship is a one-way catwalk.
Mona Tyra Mail comes with a warning this week: “Here are your lines. You’ve got some extra time. So don’t make me put you on blast!” What is this, a telegram? Should I insert a STOP after every sentence? I bet an Italian production assistant was behind this because it sort of looks like a failed haiku to me.
Words, I try to rhyme
I confuse-uh the English?
Anya’s flustered because her last attempt bombed. Whitney’s relieved that this go-round, the commercial’s in English. Booo! I want more “BRASILIA!” commercials, dammit! Although, I suppose they would be lackluster because Whitney’s seems to have a better handle on her tendency towards all things pageantry and we’ve said arrivederci to Lauren and Dominique, proud co-bombers of Italian Cover Girl commercial, take one.
Morning comes and the girls head over to my favorite lookout over the Colosseumm – one that most tourists surprisingly tend to miss. Jay and his little Cover Girl minion skip up the steps and reveal that today’s shoot will be both a commercial and a print ad that will dominate a Times Square billboard. Okay, all joshing aside, that’s a pretty awesome prize. But what would a season finale be without a special guest appearance? Well of course they’ve got to bring Saleisha out since they haven’t yet this cycle. I’m sorry to report that an estimated six months after Saleisha’s makeover ep, she’s still rocking the Dora ‘do.
“SeÃ±or, stop looking at my chichis, por favor!“
Even though it’s a bit curlier overall, the bangs are still straight up mommy-put-a-bowl-over-my-head. I should know because as a girl, I WISHED mommy would put a bowl over my head because then maybe my bangs wouldn’t have rested at a 17-degree angle with the horizon. Saleisha’s all “I remember this! I was nervous! But excited!”
Backstage in coiffure and cosmetics, Anya’s overcome with emotion about being so close to the end. Jay gives her an endearing little peptalk and it seems like a really sweet way to try and calm her nerves. At this point, Hoolia’s predicting Anya for the win since she seems to be snuggled up all cozy in all of the judges’ pockets.
Whitney and Saleisha are chatting it up and while Whit drones on about plus-size models and the girl’s pre-makeover looks, Saleisha succinctly cuts her off with a “Why is she crying? Is she okay?” Brava, Saleisha for not taking the time to learn the three girls names who are in the finals. I mean, it’s not like anyone asked you to recite the names of every ANTM contestant ever in reverse alphabetical order. Whit runs over to comfort Anya with a “Jeez, girlfriend.” It’s a darn good thing that these models aren’t judged on their bedside manner. Anya, meanwhile, prays that she makes it to the final two because “there is things I need to work on.” Like your verb-object agreement perhaps?
Fatima’s starts us off this week, and from her opening arrivederci… well, it’s arrivederci, sweetie. Jay observes that Fatima’s runningallthelinestogether which makes her look robotic. He moseys over to her and demands that she act like she’s talking with him, not giving him her grocery list. I also am still bothered by the fact that the girl can’t stand still and pretty much looks like she’s got a spinny chair out of the frame that she’s sitting on as she swivels back… and forth… back… and forth. Jay’s final assessment? “Good. (sigh) Okay good.”
To be fair to everyone, I’m fairly sure the ad copy from this shoot has officially replaced “toyboat toyboat toyboat toyboat toyboat” as the Guinness World Record holder for most difficult tongue twister ever. For Whitney’s take, long gone are her fake laughs from the weeks of yore. She’s expressive and doesn’t do too bad of a job of botching her lines and Jay and his CG minion think she’s nailed it. Anya opens with something that sounds like “Arrivedolci” and it’s all downhill from there. She moves like she’s posing for a shoot but she’s sporting a knockout smile. Jay thinks the only thing that saves her is her energy and innocence.
The girls head into a studio for the beauty shot. It’s a bland two minutes with the photographer asking Fatima for more variety and it’s tough to tell if she gives it to him or not. (That’s what she said.) CG minion tells Anya she models from her toes up. I suppose that means she always models with her whole body? Maybe it’s an in-phrase and I’m just the one standing outside the party, looking in, taking a swig of my limoncello, and wishing I could be one of the cool kids – just like CG minion.
This week we’ve got a morning round of panel and it makes me a bit uncomfortable because it’s so out of place. Like when you were a kid and ran into your teacher at a grocery store. Or, as an adult, when you run into a one night stand on the street. Tyra welcomes the “Top Three Baddest Chicks Club.”
Whit’s up first. Except for an awkward pause midway through her commercial, it’s pretty good. Energy and personality without being over the top. Tyra lauds her for being directable. Whitney’s still too pagaenty for Paulina.
If this doesn’t say fresh-faced, then I don’t know what does. Gorge. Ous. Nigel thinks it’s very pretty and Paulina sees his very pretty and raises him a lovely. Mizz Jay loves how she’s resting her chin on her shoulder but is still showing plenty of neck. Tyra says it’s stellar and that it actually looks like a model instead of an actress hired to model. You hear that Cover Girl? Tyra says enough with the celeb spokesmodels.
As for Fatima’s commercial, Nigel thinks it would be great if she were selling toothpaste. Mizz Jay and Paulina have disparaging remarks and imitations as well.
Nigel says it’s stunning but Fatima’s eyes are a bit too high for Paulina’s liking because Fatima’s giving off an air of “I’ve sighted God and I’m happy to see him.” Really, P-Dubs? I thought it was more “Are you there God? It’s me, Fatima.” Tyra sees a wonderfully opportunity to plug her “Smile with Your Eyes for Beginners” lesson and tutorial.
Anya’s best take had me grabbing at my remote to turn on the subtitles. Not only does she butcher the speech, she has verrrry long pauses to break up this gradually detonating bomb of a commercial. Yes, she looks the most cute and spunky of the girls but all my friends that work in advertising (as well as anyone with a scrap of common sense) assure me that no matter how pretty and happy she looked, no company would ever run so much as a clip of this as an ad. Tyra breaks the news a bit more softly and says that all together, it’s a trainwreck but the bits and pieces are better than the other girls. Paulina thinks she’s convincing and honest and that little installments of Anya are perfect. Too bad the average commercial spot runs 30 seconds, not three.
Mizz Jay thinks Anya takes pretty pictures but that there’s never a personality with them. Paulina starts out by enumerating Anya’s charms including her beauty and what a great person she is once you get to know her, but this shot? “Here, you look stupid,” she drops bluntly. No comments from the peanut gallery. Tyra says the picture is lovely and is just the right amount of commercial. Anya’s looking up into the heavens too much, but she doesn’t look dumb.
Before the judged deliberate, Tyra reveals that the final runway show will be put on by Versace and the girls will be wearing designs handpicked by Donatella herself. The panel discussions are nothing we haven’t heard before, but there’s a golden Tyra moment. Paulina criticizes Anya for not having something more substantial on her mind while she posed. Ms. Banks decided to give us a glimpse of her inner monologue from her early modeling days. Gather round the campfire kids, and listen up to Auntie Tyra! “I wasn’t thinking about a damn thing when I was modeling. I was just like, ‘I’m hungry. Is Houston’s open? Did my boyfriend call me? No he didn’t.’”
“Ooooo maybe Friendly’s?”
“Ah no, I don’t think so, Love.”
Tyra also reminds us about Fatima’s previous struggles and all that she’s overcome in her life. Hoolia’s inner recapologue: “I’m hungry. Why did Tyra have to mention Houston’s? They make a mean cheeseburger. I don’t think I’ve had a cheeseburger since Christmastime. Doesn’t she know that everywhere I go, I’m surrounded by only pasta, pizza, and prosciutto? Damn you, Tyra. Oh yeah and IF THEY SAVE FATIMA ONLY FOR HER CAUSE EVEN THOUGH SHE DOESN’T TAKE DIRECTION AND CAN’T ARRANGE A VISA THIS WILL BE THE BIGGEST LOAD OF CRAP EVER.”
The first girl Tyra calls is Anya leaving Whitney and Fatima. Okay, come on here people. Yes, Anya’s probably got the strongest portfolio to date but she did not ace either aspect of this shoot. She should be saved, of course, but to be called first? Ridonkulous.
Whitney takes beautiful pictures and is stunning but the judges think something’s up with her and are still wondering, “Who is Whitney?” Fatima’s face is also stunning but modeling is much more than being beautiful. Fatima has displayed that she can’t listen and deliver what a photographer asks of her. Whitney gets called and my muscles unclench. Yes because I love Whitney, but mostly because now I can relax knowing that whatever the outcome of this show, the undeserving Fatima won’t win.
Oops, we’re not quite done with panel yet. Tyra has some words of wisdom for Whit: “Whitney there’s somebody inside of you and we feel she’s probably not as pretty as Whitney is on the outside. And she’s coming out right now, the real girl is coming out. We see beautiful pictures but right now what got you here is the potential of what we think is there.” I’m not sure how much I buy this whole Whitney-has-a-subconscious-level here. Maybe her self esteem is a wee bit overinflated, but I don’t think that deserves a dig like “your true soul is probably kind of ugly.”
Meanwhile, Fatima still feels confident, she’s the first refugee on ANTM, she had the lobster bisque, yadda yadda yadda, we will see her face again. The next morning the girls head to the Seventeen cover shoot with Nigel. Since it’s the July issue, they’ll be shooting in front of a huge American Flag and decked out in too many brightly colored red-white-and-blue acrylic accessories. And I say this as a girl who freaking adores the 4th of July and spent last year’s on an Italian beach obnoxiously decked out in an unmatching navy with white polka dotted bikini top paired with red and white striped bottoms. I also may or may not have this year’s outfit already planned out and purchased. And seriously, this cover shoot is too much even for me.
Off-camera, Anya’s clearly helping direct Whit’s shoot. Make like tiger!
Alright already, lets skip to the good stuff. Fashion show, fashion show, fashion show at lunch! The girls arrive at the show location and Mr. Jay has been slaving away night and day to create an authentic-looking Roman set. It looks like ANTM was a little short-staffed when it came to manual labor for the set construction and had to call upon the more feminine of the Jays.
“Mi scusi, where should I move this authentic-looking Roman column?”
Saleisha will lead off the show and hunky Adonises will strut down the runway as well. Pre-show, the girls’ nerves are getting the best of them, so they gab about it with their makeup artists. Whit’s quaking in her stilettos because she’s been in the bottom two four times and Anya’s never been, not even once. Wow, seriously? That’s very impressive. Whit’s makeup guy – I can never remember their names – reminds her that she’s the first “juicy booty” to make it this far and she should be proud of that. Without his own personal Lauren Conrad, Jay’s scurrying around worried about how everyone’s going to get in order and how he’s going to pronounce their names. These are quite difficult tasks, considering he keeps getting distracted.
“When I die and go to fashion heaven, I want you there. No wait, I want you instead. No, you. Okay, I want all of you.”
Backstage the girls scramble into their outfits and slip on their heels while the judges make their entrance by sauntering down the runway. Tyra catwalks out in a boobilicious gown – what, no movable throne held up by peasants? – but my eyes are elsewhere.
I spent a semester abroad in London and let me tell you, no one looked like this. Nigel Barker, you are false advertising.
With one last piece of advice from Jay – stomp it to the death! – the girls are off. Anya’s the first to strut her stuff. I’m no runway expert but she looks good to me, maybe a little too angry looking and could use a little more movement of her body and less back and forth swinging of her arms. Anya interviews that she worked it and felt really confident.
When it’s Whit’s turn to walk she just about shoves Anya aside to make her way to the stage. And damn girl, what Anya lacked in movement and sass, you’ve got in spades! Honestly though, Whitney’s dialed it up a little too much for my liking. She needs to sort out the proper places to go over the top with her personality (like a sorta cheesy Cover Girl commercial) and learn where that’s less appropriate (like a Versace runway show). Also, this dress is NOT doing it for Whitney. Could they have picked something more unflattering? It’s sort of see through and emphasizes her thicker midsection while masking her hips-butt-legs. At the end of the runway, one of the straps slides off her shoulder. Aren’t there people who get paid to make sure that kind of stuff doesn’t happen?
Backstage the girls squeeze into their second looks and for whatever reason, Whit goes out again before Anya does. And ohmigod, I want this dress. Minus the long train thing in the back. It’s Barbie pink and the neckline and empire waist are gorgeous and the gold chain straps aren’t too shabby either. Much more flattering on Whit. As she walks, the voiceover interview rolls and Whitney talks about how her dress kept getting caught in her heels. The camera cuts down to the train of the dress tangling in Whitney’s heels and I crunch my diet Coke can I’m so nervous. After Chantal’s slip-up last year and Carrie Bradshaw’s runway faceplant, I’m all too aware of the horrible ways that this could go wrong. Thankfully, Whitney manages to make it off the runway in a vertical fashion. Phew!
Anya’s thisclose to showing some plumber’s crack in her metallic number. The bottom of the dress is tight around her legs so she’s gotta walk like a penguin. She also seems to be walking faster than she’s comfortable with, and that’s definitely not helping the matter.
At the end of the show, the girls head back out for a victory lap while they politely golf clap. For themselves? For Donatella? For Tyra? It’s unclear. Post-show, Tyra heads back stage. Mama’s so proud of her Bobsey Twins!
Well Gasmii, it’s time for our final panel of the season and it’s almost enough to bring a tear to my eye. But then I remember that I won’t be subjected to Tyra’s accents again for another good three months or so, and my frown turns upside down.
The judges dissect Anya’s runway first. Mizz Jay thinks she could and should have done better because she looked like a windup toy. Paulina jumps to Anya’s defense saying that the dress was narrow. “Girl, don’t let me get up here and start twisting my little black ass and show you how to walk in a dress like that,” he retorts. Yes, Mizz Jay, please do! No dice. Tyra thinks Anya looked stunning and Hoolia thinks that Tyra needs a new adjective.
According to Mizz Jay, Whitney delivered straight out and bam! Hit it. Like any two like-minded souls, Nigel agrees with Hoolia and didn’t like Whitneys’ first outfit either but thinks she redeemed herself with her second walk. Whitney reminded herself of young Tyra because she used to overdo the hips with her walk. Cue the footage. Whoa. Tyra nearly pinballs herself from one side of the runway to the other as she walks. Still, Tyra says this was a good thing because it made her stand out. Tyra thinks Whitney did great but notes that Whit didn’t pose at the end of the runway to give the photographers a good shot.
Next up we check out the best of both girls’ shots from previous weeks.
Homeless: Mizz Jay fell in love with Anya but Paulina thought she could do better. Nigel loved Whitney’s angst and Tyra forgot Whitney had beautiful dark hair and comments that this makes Whit a versatile model.
Genres of music: Nigel noticed that Anya couldn’t find the light. Jay loved Whit’s mouth, Nigel thought her shot was believable, and Tyra loved the “ugly-pretty face.” Then Tyra does a truly spot on imitation of how most models would grimace, but she’s above naming names.
But I’m not. FATIMA.
Fuerza Bruta: Nigel thought Anya’s shot was one of the best of the bunch and Tyra still wants to hang it up in her living room. Tyra awkwardly mock gives birth to Whitney’s full-figured fetus shot and rounds out the circle of life of Tyra impersonations for this season: first, the bedroom eyes, then the fake orgasm, and finally the uncomfortable childbirth. If Tyra ever, ever procreates, I don’t even want to be in the same State as her when she delivers.
50s Paparazzi: Nigel thought Whitney looked beautiful but didn’t deliver the message. Now he knows her much better (did we miss something at that Seventeen shoot?) and feels that if given a second chance, Whitney could deliver. Paulina was angry that the male model overshadowed Whitney. Nigel thought Anya’s shot was great and because she’s such a Tasmanian devil on set, she takes lots of risks. Tyra thought Anya looked like a mannequin and apparently that’s a compliment.
The girls exit the room and the judges deliberate. It’s all stuff we’ve heard before. The bottom line: Anya has an amazing presence (and angles!) in photographs but the judges are concerned that that energy doesn’t come across in person or on the runway. Whitney is so beautiful and the judges appreciate that she has taken their criticisms into consideration and improved on them. Anya’s fashionable but Whitney’s pretty. Paulina sums it up: “Whitney’s the one that a man would want to have in his bedroom but Anya’s the one that you’ll buy the dress from.” Both girls represent something that the winner of ANTM has never had before – at least, according to Tyra. Anya is so high fashion and is an example of how beauty isn’t cookie cutter and Whitney’s plus-sized.
At this point, I’m pretty sure that based on past performance and the edit of the episode, Anya’s got it in the bag. Tyra calls the girls back into the room, they’re from different worlds, they’ve made it so far…. We get it already Tyra! Cut to the chase! The suspense is killing me. America’s Next Top Model is…
Whitney barrels into Tyra’s arms while Anya’s being such a gracious loser. She’s got a big smile on her face and looks genuinely happy for Whitney. Even though she’s not America’s Next Top Model, she’s still proud of herself and knows she has her whole career ahead of her. Good for her. Brava, Anya!
Whitney basks in the spotlight and embraces all the judges, including a kiss-kiss with Mizz Jay. Oh wait, Tyra’s got a footnote for us, “You’re the first girl with some booty to win ANTM and actually the correct term is full-figured model.” Hey T, thanks for throwing that in there with a minute and a half of the season left! Paulina thinks that Whitney shouldn’t be called plus-sized or full-figured, but just beautiful. Awwwww, Paulina.
Cue the waterworks from Whitney as she recalls her struggles growing up and not looking like other girls and wondering what was wrong with her. Now, she wants to be a role model for other girls and other women in America to embrace their bodies and so on.
We close with a fun little photo shoot of Whit and the judges. Give me catalog!
Give me high fashion editorial!
Give me the cover of Seventeen Magazine!
And so ends another season. I enjoyed it, but then again I’m not always known for my high standards. There’s already the inevitable “She only won because she’s plus-sized” backlash starting. The way I see it, the plus-sized girls get screwed either way on this show – if they get cut too soon, it’s because they’re plus-sized. If they win it, it’s because they’re plus sized. Even though I was inclined to think Anya’d win, thinking back over it concretely, she really only has 1/3 of the hat trick. Yes, she’s the best on print, which worked in her favor to help her be the first girl called most weeks since the majority of shoots were still photos. Her runway leaves much to be desired and, save for Lauren, she’s easily the worst on film. Whitney’s more even across the board and really is a better fit for the Cover Girl aspect of the prize. Regardless of why she won, I’m happy for her because I’ve been rooting for her since Day 1. Congrats, Whit?
On a larger scale, are you guys still feeling the love for ANTM or do you think it’s past its prime? I feel like there’s obviously some girls that get cast for the drama aspect but I feel like recently, they’re probably casting more and more girls that have a lot to improve on to make the competition more even and therefore more exciting. I understand the philosophy behind it from a ratings perspective, but in the end I always am left with a kind of empty, indifferent feeling. I can’t remember the last time there was a season where I felt like one girl was far and away an amazing model that truly excelled at all aspects of modeling.
Do you guys feel like we’re losing out on deserving winners for the sake of a more equal and eventful competition? Was Paulina able to bring it this season or did you miss Twiggy? Should Fatima have been cut when she was? Are you planning to tune in for Cycle 11? Do you think Whitney got to keep Mizz Jay’s vest with only her name on it as a prize or did Anya get it for a parting gift? Or did they get to keep their Versace dresses instead? Were you keeping track of how many other TV shows I referenced in this season’s recaps? Wouldn’t you totally putt Mizz Jay on the cover of Seventeen with a pose like that? And of course, how do you feel about Whitney winning? Talk back one last time!
I’ve had a blasty blast recapping these for you guys and I hope you guys equally enjoyed reading them! I’ll miss your healthy debate in the comments almost as much as I’ll miss my Nigel fix for the next three months. Baci! xxxx