I have found a fairly comfortable place for myself during these latest episodes of America’s Next Top Model. Of the girls that are left over, my favorites are Danielle and Joanie, and I am pretty sure that the two of them are going to be in the final two. Sara really hasn’t been in the game long enough to be a threat and if Jade wins, I’ll probably jump off of a building or something, so I don’t like to talk about that. But I also have come to the realization that my favorite is not always going to win. And I think we all must come to the realization that sometimes the person with the most talent isn’t always the person who finishes first in these competition reality shows. Sometimes the producers need a surprise near the end to keep people watching *cough*American Idol*cough*., and sometimes people just have bad days. This week, the Top Models went on their go-sees, and for the ladies and buck-toothed photographer fetishists all over the world, we finally got to see Nigel on the beach.It was yet another close call for Jade last week. She has been in the bottom two four times and while those may not be Bre-like numbers, they are still pretty bad. Jade still can’t figure out why the judges don’t like her and can’t understand why they think she thinks she knows more than the judges. Oh, I don’t know, maybe because your ego is still about twice the size of that chip on your shoulder. You would think that all of those failures over the years, she would have grown slightly humble, but I guess whenever she was feeling down, she can always call on her mother for another fluffing session. When Jade’s mom showed up and waved her hands around her daughter, I didn’t think it looked like fluffing, but now I understand; it’s all about inflating Jade’s huge ego.
As nice it as it is to imagine Jade going home, she has shown a great ability to bounce back. The judges only need one thing to kick a girl out, and it may not necessarily be a bad photo. Danielle has been taking great photographs each week, but since part of this competition involves the winner’s elevation from Plain Jane to Cover Girl, her thick accent is going to cause her some problems. I still think her look is strong enough to get her to the final two, and I think she has enough talent and personality to do as well as any other girl in this competition afterwards, but I am still a little worried.
The producers didn’t really bother to try and make us think Joanie is worried about going home. Joanie’s biggest problem, at least after the difficulty she has when she’s trying to talk with her new teeth, is Sara. We haven’t seen that mean streak from Joanie but she seems to get upset whenever she mentions Sara. She’s upset because she believes that Sara doesn’t really want to be a model, and it would be stupid if Sara won because the other girls actually care about modeling. I see Joanie’s point, but if a girl was found in a mall and is able to win the competition even if she never thought about modeling before then she deserves to win. That being said, I don’t think Sara is that girl, so Joanie shouldn’t get herself all worked up about it.
I can tell you what I’ll be getting worked up over. It’s the go-see episode! Yay! It’s always fun to watch the girls run around because the producers give them a deadline and a map and make the girls fend for themselves around this strange place. These girls would have a difficult enough time keeping it together if everybody around them was speaking English. Throw some foreign languages and customs at them, and it’s sure to be a DISASTER.
The girls met former Thai model Pichita Rucksajit, who was there to teach them some Thai customs. First she reminded the girls that they should take off their shoes when entering a person’s house. Oh, big shocker there. I think it is pretty much assumed that if you are anywhere in Asia, just take off your shoes before entering a building. Hell, take off your shoes whenever possible, because you don’t know if somebody just installed new carpet You’re not going to offend people by keeping your shoes on, so just take them off. At worst they are going to laugh at you and think that you’re stupid, but being an American, they will probably assume that anyway. What is there to lose? Nothing
The other custom that Pichita wanted to make sure the girls understood was…smiling. Thailand is known as the land of smiles, so if you are smiling wherever you go, the people will like you. Once again, a very difficult custom to understand. These poor models, they surely never expected to have to smile for people. What crazy thing will happen after that? Next thing you know, they’ll be telling the girls they will be taking their pictures, perhaps several times in one day, and that they should look their best before the camera! Or – gosh, I can barely say it out loud – take pictures WHILE SMILING? Modeling is damn hard. I don’t know how these girls do it.
So obviously, the girls have a lot to think about. Hopefully they brushed their teeth and clipped their toenails, so as not to embarrass themselves in front of the designers. They were each given 2500 baht ($65) to buy gifts for their hosts, another Thai tradition. Other than Sara almost leaving her portfolio behind, I have to say that most of his go-see time was kind of boring. Yes, the it was funny to see the girls drive around in the Tuk Tuks, and yes, it was funny to hear them mess up while repeating two monosyllabic words back to back, but overall, they didn’t show that much drama.
Usually for the go-see episodes, we get a few moments with all of the girls visiting all of the designers and we get to see all of their gaffes and such. I had thought with the girls having to buy gifts, somebody was going to buy some awful gift that would offend people, but that didn’t happen. OK, maybe the gifts were sort of worthless and didn’t need to be mentioned, but I wish we would have at least had a chance to see them all do their runway walk. The designers barely spoke about them, and we actually had Jade talking about the girls more than anybody else.
This image has ruined me for Victoria’s Secret
Joanie was at her first go-see, where she was trying on lingerie and learning to walk with a bug animal mask on her head. The designer, Disaya Prakobsantisukh (I’m not sure, but I think that is a sausage native to Bulgaria) of Boudoir mentioned that the look was modeled after the tea party from Alice in wonderland. After seeing Joanie in that lingerie, I was thinking I should have a biscuit myself, not that Jade would agree. Jade bumped into Joanie towards the end of her go-see and proudly mentioned that Joanie was not meant to be a lingerie model. You know, it’s not that she thinks she knows more than the judges or the designers or anything, she’s just saying, Joanie isn’t a lingerie model.
Jade remembered to take her shoes off, buy Disaya thought she was a little moody and didn’t smile. The only person who forgot to take off their shoes was Danielle when she went to visit Yui Jongnarangsin, director of Tube. Danielle had earlier thought that she would get so lost she might see signs for Korea, and was really upset with herself for forgetting the shoes, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as when she went to visit Rai Van Bueren, designer for Sexy Little Beach. I loved Rai not only because of the name “Sexy Little Beach”, but she was perhaps the Waspy-est person on the entire Asian continent at that particular moment. Poor Danielle’s hair was not liking the heat and humidity, and she was looking really disheveled.
Sara also went to Tube, and Jade showed up while she was there. Of course Jade had a few words about Sara, saying that the designer didn’t like her because her walk was tense. You know, it’s not like Jade knows more than anybody else or anything, she’s just saying. I can’t fault Jade too much though because Yui wasn’t saying much. I do have to say that of all the designers, I think Tube had the best designs, but he didn’t say anything about the models.
By this time, it was getting close to the time when the girls had to get back or become late. Everybody was worried about being late except for Jade. Sara and Joanie are fifteen minutes late, and Danielle comes back in another twenty minutes. Jade? Well, she was more concerned about meeting all of the designers, which is great and all for her personally, but in the grand scheme of the competition, was not a good idea. In the end, Jade was one hour and ten minutes late, and what was worse was that she rolled in like nothing was wrong.
Pichita was very upset. Well, it’s not like you could really tell because I guess they removed whatever it takes to raise your voice the last time she was in for a face-lift. So how were the results? They liked Sara’s potential, but she was very stiff. They liked Danielle’s walk, but not her disheveled appearance. They loved Jade’s look, but she wasn’t very nice. Joanie? She was very aware of the customs, but she just didn’t stand out. The winner of the challenge was Danielle, and she got to take home two racks of clothing from the designers. Or she would have if she had been on time. Sucks to be Danielle.
The go-sees weren’t really a huge ego boost for anybody, but the girls got a chance to take a lot off their minds when they learned they were to travel to Phuket. Phuket does not rhyme with bucket; it’s actually pronounced poo-ket, but yes, I giggle whenever I see it on a map as well. Actually, I don’t giggle as much ever since the Tsunami of 2004, but I do giggle. Only exasperating matters was the little airplane graphic they used. Yes, their heads were once again boppin up and down in their fake little plane. I was humming to myself “Spendin all your money on me and spendin’ time on me”. Why? No particular reason, I just like BEP.
Phuket is a resort town, so it was no surprise to see that the girls had another plush villa for their accommodations. Everybody was happy to be near the ocean, which is surprising because it’s not like Bangkok is hours away from the beach, but it is nice when you can hear the waves from your room. It may have seemed like paradise for some, but Joanie was still fuming about Sara. She once again gave the “Sara doesn’t have the desire excuse”, but for Joanie, it’s more personal. Sara is the only other blonde hair, blue-eyed girl left, so it is some pressure on Joanie. Danielle told her to focus on herself, which is good advice. Besides, the judges laughed at Sara’s attempt to copy Joanie, so I think Sara’s imitation is only helping Joanie in the eyes of the judges because they see what happens when somebody tries to copy her.
The next day, Tyra walked in, wearing one of the most awful outfits I have ever seen her try and pull off. It’s not that I really cared that her butt looked big; as you know, I don’t mind the cushion for the pushin’. No, it really bothered me that she decided to sport the Juicy Couture Gumby Pirate Collection J-lo tracksuit.
Seriously Tyra, you made me cry
I like Tyra’s visits at this point in the show because A) the girls still shriek like Brooke Shields at a Scientology convention whenever she is around and B) we usually get those self-gratifying one on one interviews with Ms. Bankable herself. This time, there was shrieking, but no one on one. Instead, Tyra was there to lay a big guilt trip on the girls about Phuket because 6,000 people died there from the Tsunami. OK, don’t hate me because I am jaded, but it looked to me that they had poured plenty of money into bringing Phuket back to the tourist paradise that it is. I would be more worried about those poor bastards in Aceh province Indonesia, who don’t have millions of western tourists attracting billions of development money and instead have to rely on a bunch of UN task forces and special commissions to actually get something done.
I understand where the producers were coming from, but did you see Jade when Tyra was giving her lecture. Jade said that it was very emotional for her, but she was a soldier, and she held it together. Yeah, it’s not hard holding it together when you don’t have a fifty-foot wave CRASHING ON YOUR HEAD. It also helps to hold it together when your home wasn’t destroyed and nobody you knew died. Am I being hard on Jade? Yes, but I just got the feeling that she only cared about the Tsunami because Tyra cared about it.
After a little moment of silence (and Jade waving her hands in the air, perhaps focusing lots of energy or something) the girls traveled by boat to their next shoot, which was sponsored by Elle Girl magazine and Amp’d Mobile. Elle Girl has added a little bit to ANTM the past few years because the girl who wins will appear on the cover of one of their magazines. Amp’d was added because they paid a lot of money to have their name mentioned.
The photo shoot was going to feature sex OP swimwear, which was good because I needed something to get my mind off of seeing Jay in that sarong. There was also a special guest photographer. That’s right ladies, it’s time for the annual Nigel Barker photo shoot! I know how the ladies swoon over Nigel, and it makes me wonder if I should shave my head and start taking pictures of scantily clad women to get the girls to swoon over me. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever pull off that British accent. Nigel had a little something extra today. He is usually very clean cut, but this time he had a little stubble working for him, which gave him a sort of Mystic Tan + Jason Statham look. I can never hold out on you girls, so her is a picture of Nigel. Go grab a glass of water and cool off if you have to. TVgasm will be here when you get back.
Who’s McDreamy now?
Jay said that Nigel knew all of their strengths and all of their weaknesses, and you can tell he was really able to give them a lot of direction and really wanted them to do as well as possible. He might have only been nice because he wanted them to “thank” him later, but you can’t deny the pictures from this week, which were great.
People have started to complain a little about Joanie because they say she only has one look. That might be true, but I think the look she has works for this competition, and she has not been afraid to mix things up. Joanie had another strong picture. She wasn’t afraid to look straight into the camera, and she had a great mix of sexy/innocent and the eyes really popped.
It’s frustrating to watch Sara because you can see she just has a slamming body, but she can’t do anything with it. The trick is to be able to relax, but relaxation is not something Sara seems to be very good at, perhaps she just lived in DC for too many years. All of the other girls took a lot of pictures in the water, which was difficult because the waves were strong (not Tsunami strong, but strong) and the waves were cold. Sara couldn’t handle the waves and they took her out of the water quickly. This close-up you see of her is very classically beautiful, but the rest of it is almost embarrassing how awkward she is with arms and her torso.
This is usually time to hate on Jade for being mannish and a drag queen, and while I can’t say that she was really soft looking in this photo, you have to give her props for this shoot. She got on top of a boat, and although it was rocking back and forth and about to knock her off, she worked it out. Nigel was so very impressed with her because she was modeling. Other girls were posing, but she was modeling.
I made fun of Jade for her Tsunami tears, but I won’t make fun of Danielle. Why? Because I like Danielle and I don’t like Jade. Simple as that. Danielle was really bothered by the tsunami story and Nigel spent a lot of his time trying to get her to focus on her photos and not her surroundings. I don’t think it was Danielle’s strongest photo, but she was brave and faced the water and, well, I’m not ready to be done with her.
After the photo shoot, the girls packed up and headed to Bangkok. They started lamenting about having to leave paradise. Shit, it’s not like their hotel in Bangkok was in some shantytown or anything. Is there anybody else out there that would trade a week of their job for all of the pressure that is living in a five star hotel and trying on clothes? I know modeling is harder than it looks, but come on, but I invite any of theme to pull an sg-dub and blog I Want to Be a Hilton and The Cut for a whole summer, and then come back and talk to me about pain.
At the elimination, Tyra went over the prizes like always and then said that they were to be judged on their pictures, which would include the Polaroids that the designers took of them. Tyra made it a big deal to say that the photographers like Polaroids because they can’t be altered, and you never know what kind of airbrush went through their portfolio. Uh, you can also just take your own digital pictures like the guys at Tube did, but whatever. Tyra then told us about her two booties, the public one, which is nice and round, and her model booty, which is nice and round, but airbrushed. Something must be in the water today, because Tyra really wasn’t entertaining me like usual.
By now, I think we all know that the star of this show right now is Joanie. The judges loved her picture, and were very impressed with how she looked in front of them. She had her hair pulled back and was showing a little neck, which Tyra really liked. I was beginning to worry that Tyra had gone blind after I saw her with those earrings and that dress, but that wasn’t the case. The addressed how she didn’t stand out in front of the judges by working on her posture. They all raved at her picture. Disaya said she really surprised her with her versatility and Twiggy said that she has really come a long way to looking like a model in her photos.
After Joanie, there was Jade. I had my hopes up that this would be Jade’s week to go, but she really did step it up. Nigel said that he had seen a different side of her, and the judges loved her confidence. I like Jade’s confidence as well, but there are too many times when that confidence turns into cockiness and you just get sick of hearing what she has to say. She kept on talking about how if she got to pick the transportation, it wouldn’t have been a Tuk Tuk. Well no shit! You don’t get to pick the transportation Jade! Why would the judges consult with you? It’s not like you know more than they do, right?
That left only Danielle and Sara. I was sure that Sara was going home, but the judges really liked her photograph. I did think the close-up was great, but I thought the body language was bad. The only big criticism was from her expression. Tyra tried to show her an example by smiling with her eyes. I laughed at how ridiculous it was, but try it for yourself, it is sort of hard.
It was Danielle’s weakest picture, so I was really worried when the judges started talking about her. She “won” the challenge, but the judges asked her why she was flustered. She also complained about the Tuk Tuk, but they reminded her that she needs to be ready for any situation and it’s all about the clothes clothes and the pose pose, and not how you got there. They liked her picture, but criticized her for making it look too much like a men’s magazine. Her legs were kind of spread a little bit, and while I wasn’t too bothered by it, we were reminded that she is trying to sell Elle, not Sports Illustrated, so she needs to be softer. Instead of legs apart and chest out, she needed to have her legs to the side and hunch her back a little bit. And then there was the accent. Is there any way she can do Cover Girl talking like that? I defended Tyra for wanting to fix Danielle’s teeth and I should defend her wanting to fix the accent, but I just can’t, even though I know it might keep Danielle for winning. Keep that sass and the accent, and work the runway.
So, like I said, it came down to a choice between Sara and Danielle. On one hand, I love anybody named Sara and she has been improving, on the other hand, how can you keep somebody who has performed as consistently as Danielle out of the top three?
The judges decided to stick with Danielle, which is great because I nearly lost it when they got rid of Mollie Sue and I probably would have really lost it if they had booted Danielle. As for Sara, I think she could have a decent modeling career. She’s so tall and she just needs to work on becoming more natural at it. If she has the desire, she can be good. If not, she’ll go on to law school, marry a representative and then divorce him twenty years later after his foolish senate campaign.
What did you think of this episode? Can you believe that Jade made it another week? Will Sara continue with her modeling? Did you have any nightmares from that Alice in Wonderland lingerie show? Can anybody stop Joanie from winning the whole thing?