With only a few episodes of America’s Next top Model left, I guess it is time for me to own up and admit that this is, appearance-wise, one of the most janky seasons to date. Yes, I know that I have been one of those “it’s really a television show, not a modeling competition” folks who say that we should enjoy all of the reality moments, and I will admit that Jade has given us plenty of those, but overall I think that it has been more busted than beautiful. That being said, I think that we have in Joanie and Danielle two candidates who are attractive, possess modeling talent, and actaully have decent personalities. Hopefully, these girls have end game, because if any of the other three win, well, let’s just say it’s going to get really ugly, or as some of us like to say, really Furonda.As the person still remaining from the last bottom two, it was up to Furonda to start with all of the “I need to step it up talk”. Furonda has had a good run, but this is not America’s Next Top Anorexic Gumby, so I’m not putting my money on her. There is some hope for Furonda, because as Danielle says, it’s not what we do that defines us; we are defined by how we rise after we are knocked down. Or something. I was waiting for the producers to translate Little Rock into some form of English for me, but they failed, so I had to paraphrase. I think you get the point. If life knocks you down seven times, stand up eight. Speaking of Stand Up Eight, you should check out the band of the same name from a friend of mine from college. Rip-Wood-Smith represent!
I know how I have talked about how nice it is to see Joanie’s confidence shine through, but I have to say it again, especially now that Joanie appears to be Jade’s least favorite person in the whole world. Any enemy of Jade is a friend of mine, and she has a lot of enemies that I would like to know, like grammar, sanity, and of course, Joanie. Jade mentioned that Joanie can be very demanding or as represented in haiku:
My name is the pot
Hello kettle. You should know
you are very black.
Seriously. I guess it takes a demanding person to know one. Same thing goes with Jade’s next observation, which is that she doesn’t think Joanie would be a good model because if she would go to castings in New York, they would laugh at her. Considering Jade has been going to castings for years and is not yet a supermodel, she must be familiar with the laughed at thing too.
Home Alone 2 called, it wants MacCaulay Culkin’s hair back
Anyway, I have to admit that when they went to Thailand, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Milan, London, Tokyo, Paris, Madrid, Sydney. These are the type of places that I associate with high fashion. I guess I will always associate Thailand with Theravada Buddhism (if I were to take up a hippie religion, that would be it) and secondary Angkor temples. Then again, I am kind of geek. Still, you must dig deep to find the Thai contributions to the fashion industry. Cradle of civilization? Perhaps. Cradle of modeling? I don’t think so.
However, if being in Thailand meant the girls would have interesting photo shoots, and fun challenges, I am all for it. This week, the girls went to Patravedi Theater to learn the art of traditional Thai dance. As we met the woman that was going to be teaching the girls the nuances of the various methods, we learned that Thai dance is very similar to modeling because both deal with expression with your face and your body.
After a short example performance, the girls got right down to the art of learning the various movements, which involved specific hand gestures meant to describe various states of being. One of the rules they learned was that women should not place their hands above their eye, because that is a sign of arrogance. Jade was very happy to learn about this rule because, as a person “without an ounce of arrogance” in her body, she didn’t want to do something prohibited on accident. I don’t think that Jade should worry about doing something taboo on accident, because she will do enough dumb shit on purpose to make up for it.
As the girls were finishing their lesson, Joanie and Jade started to get into a little bit more. First it was the line about demands, then it was the ounce of arrogance, and now Jade stated that she was not defensive. Look, I feel it is fine to be defensive, especially if you are like Jade and people have been ripping on you your whole life, but just own up to it already.
Although I would have loved to have heard more of Jade making herself look like an idiot, something else grabbed my attention. Danielle had been complaining about migraine earlier, and she said the competition was so draining she took some inspiration from some bible verses. She probably should have taken a nap because she wasn’t looking good, and while she was able to tough it out through the dance lesson, she started having trouble breathing heavily and had to be taken out by ambulance. Apparently they don’t have the Red Cross in Thailand, and so Danielle was instead taken to the hospital in the Batmobile.
Danielle was really quite sick, but you have to admit she picked the perfect time for a doctor’s visit. Soon after she left, the girls were put into traditional Thai dance garb and told they were going to perform for an assembled crowd as well as three judges.
Basically this task was to see how well the girls could take direction and become somebody else, which is essentially the basic premise of modeling, right? Jade went first, and as soon as she started to dance and throw down her signs, those hands rose up to arrogance level four or five. The judges remarked that Jade looked very stiff (maybe because she is the oldest there) and it looked to me like she was still trying to get some krumping in.
Joanie was next and while it sounds like I am just gushing over her, I honestly think she did very well, and the judges really agreed, saying that she was poised and elegant and that she had a beautiful smile. Man, if they like veneers that much in Thailand, Hailey Duff should be flying there in no time.
Following Joanie, everything went downhill. Jade was stiff, but Sara looked as out of place as, well, a six-foot tall blonde glamazon doing traditional Thai dance. And as bad as she was, Furonda may have been worse. Furonda said that her weakness was her nerves, and it’s easy for her to forget things, such as her dance movies. At least you can say that she was having fun, and she was entertaining the crowd, who couldn’t help but laugh at her attempts to dance.
As much as I thought that Nnenna might have deserved to stay a little longer, losing her meant there was a good chance somebody else would win. That somebody was Joanie, who was ecstatic with her win, and decided to take a long Sara. Their reward was dinner with Siri Udomritthiruj, who was one of the judges and is also the fashion editor for Vogue Thailand. At dinner, the girls talked shop and Joanie was presented with a warrior’s head. It was all very exciting, but my mind was still on Danielle.
I have liked Danielle since her first photo. She’s funny and seems as genuine as a reality show contestant can be. None of that would be worth anything if she couldn’t take good pictures, but Danielle has got that in the bag as well. But whatever. When we saw Danielle again, she was still in the hospital getting and IV for fluids. The doctors said she was exhausted, dehydrated, and had a little bit of food poisoning as well. Danielle was already worried about missing the dancing challenge, and she knew that no matter how much the judges liked her, she wasn’t going to move on if they couldn’t find some frames. Therefore, she leaves against medical advice, and goes back to the hotel.
Danielle’s a tough girl, and so I wasn’t too worried that she would be able to get back into the game, but what if she wasn’t on top of things? I would think that the judges wouldn’t send her and her consistently wonderful photos home, but you just never know. The girls get to the location of their shoot where Jay Manuel rides in on an elephant, which Jade called preposterous. I guess elephants are a little preposterous when you think about them, but it’s not one of the first ways I would describe them. Maybe Jade was confusing preposterous with smelly.
Our contestants were told that since the location was so remote, they would have to ride the elephants in, which was bad news for Danielle. She was having enough trouble keeping her food in while lying motionless in her bed. Elephants don’t exactly gallop through the forest, but there was enough of a rocking motion while they walked that Brangelina would be proud. I’m not sure if Jay knew what had happened to Danielle the day before, but he was making fun of her the whole way, until they got to the end and he was like “Get her some water!”, which would have helped a lot more if he had been around the day before.
After last week’s dismal product placement performance, the producers turned it up a notch. The shoot was sponsored by Venus Vibrance, the only power razor for women. At first I thought that that it was called Venus Vibrate, but after doing a search, I knew I must have the name wrong. The concept was to contrast the smooth and silky legs of the models with the rough skin of elephant, but elephants don’t shave their legs, so what is the big deal? It’s definitely no Lubriderm alligator, that’s for sure.
The girls were all sent to the side to make sure they got rid of any leg stubble, and then started the photo shoot. Overall, I really liked the photos from this shoot. There was even a little controversy towards the end as Sara blatantly ripped off a bunch of Joanie’s poses, which got Joanie really upset.
Danielle got to go first, and while she didn’t exactly give up, you could tell that she was bothered enough by her condition that she became worried about her performance. You all know I love Danielle and there is something about the way she can pull off her poses so effortlessly that you know she was made to do this. She’s not a drama queen and didn’t try to use her hospitalization as en excuse. Instead, she just pulled off a great photograph.
When Jade is lacking confidence, it really shows up in her photos and in her face. During the Thai dance, the instructor mentioned how you can see the look of worry and despair on her face as she was going through the motions. In this picture, you can see that Jade is not at ease, and if you were to look at the wide angle shot, her body position just looks uncomfortable. Also, we have to give her the “Did you just say that?” award for when she said that elephants are in the same family as ancient dinosaurs. I guess you could say that if you ignored the whole warm-blooded, don’t lay eggs, weren’t around during the Paleolithic thing.
I have to give Furonda credit for taking another good picture. There is something about her that is very phtoo-GEE-nic, as Twiggy would say, and she is another one who doesn’t have trouble pulling off a natural pose. In the wide shot, I thought her arm looked unnatural and her right leg didn’t look like it was attached to her body.
Joanie has been a superstar, and this week she really impressed Jay by asking if she could do a few things that the photographer hadn’t thought of, including a shot being suspended in the air by the elephant’s leg. Every pose she did screamed model, but I have to say, I would have thought the judges could have picked a better shot. I still love her, but I think the jaw looks a little strange. The best part about her shoot was when Jade, for the second time, said Joanie was “not on her level”, which is true, but only because Joanie is at such a higher level than Jade, and not the other way around.
As this shoot got started, Sara commented on how she was going to watch the other girls and see what they are doing in order to get some ideas for her poses. For such an intelligent girl, you would have thought that she would have picked up on that concept a little earlier in the competition. Sara basically tried the poses that she saw Joanie perform, although she was nowhere near as graceful in execution. That being said, when she wasn’t trying to copy Joanie, she looked like a model, maybe more than any other time in this competition. It’s amazing that I have never talked about her eyes before, but they really popped for me today[wow, that was quite the freudian slip, thanks doodle].
Although none of the girls really cried when Nnenna left, her departure really demonstrated that this competition is beginning to get really serious. It was no longer good enough to take a good picture; these girls really had to work it, and it seemed like they all had good frames from this week. Sara was still bugging out about the backlash she received after coping Joanie, saying that her imitation is, well, the sincerest form of flattery after all.
The judging challenge this week asked all of the girls to demonstrate an emotion using only their bodies, and they were given masks to obscure their faces. The three emotions were sensuality, despair, and compassion, and although the girls weren’t told to use the tricks they learned from their Thai dance instruction, most of them chose to do exactly that. I thought this challenge was only OK and it looked like it was nothing more than an excuse to make to laugh at Furonda, who was not expressing emotions so much as she was just being spastic.
When it came time for eliminations, it was no surprise that Joanie went first. She is really dialed in right now, and just seems to be living and breathing modeling. The only big complaint from the judges was that she is not bringing that model look or that model attitude with her when she is in front of them.
The big surprise came when Sara’s name was called next. Jay Manuel narc’d on Sara for stealing Joanie’s poses. I hate it when Jay narcs on the models. It’s not like Sara was anywhere close to what Joanie was doing, so to tell on her for stealing makes him a little bitch. A little bitch that never leaves the house without looking tres couture, but a little bitch nonetheless. The judges actually said that it isn’t a problem if she takes another person’s look, but if she is going to try and pull that off, she is going to need to make that imitation her own style. Yes, for a minute there, I thought Paula Abdul was on the panel, and when you think about it, she would be hilarious as a guest judge.
This imitation is no flattery
Since Sara was second, I was starting to get a little worried about what might happen next, but Danielle’s name was called, so that was a big relief. The judges praised her for being one of the few girls who actually gave them a model-esque look when demonstrating her emotions. Again, it just seems like whatever Danielle does is effortless. When Danielle mentioned that she felt woozy during the shoot, Tyra said that it didn’t show up on her face. Tyra even mentioned that she had a stomach condition (IBS??) that she also had to work through. Like Joanie, the judges had a big complaint, and that is her accent. I love accents myself, so it didn’t bother me, although I was having some trouble understanding her today. I think it would be easier to be a Cover Girl with an accent than it would be with a gap in your teeth, but the judges said she would need to work on it.
That left Jade and Furonda in the bottom two. Each of them had their own unique way of doing things. Jade’s problem was that it was sometimes difficult for her to take directions and Furonda’s problem is that she was sometimes so out there that there wasn’t anybody who knew what to do with her. This is a difficult elimination, because I really do not find Furonda that attractive, but she has been taking just as good pictures as Jade and she is less of a bitch as well.
The judges decided that Jade was going to get another chance to prove herself. It doesn’t really bother me that much because I don’t think that she has a chance to win, and it is going to be tough for either Sara or Jade to break into the Joanie vs. Danielle match up that it seems like we are destined for.
What did you think of this episode? Did Furonda deserve to go home? Was it OK for Sara to steal Joanie’s poses?