America’s Next Top Model Cycle 5 started out with a bang this week when Tyra and company introduced us to our new set of wannabe divas. I like selection shows as much as the next guy, but unless it is your first time watching a particular series, you pretty much know how things are going to go. The real magic begins when people start living together and they have to compete. To some, using the word compete with the word modeling doesn’t make any sense, but any fan of the show will tell you that the competition is as fierce as you can imagine.One of the reasons why ANTM is such a great show comes from some of those modeling paradoxes mere mortals like myself cannot hope to understand. We saw a lot of people get cut yesterday, some of whom we thought should have stayed. Likewise, we saw a lot of people make it who we thought were hideous, and I was not shy about stating my reservations about some. The thing is that it doesn’t matter what we think, it is what the camera sees that makes all the difference, and that is really what the judges are trying to anticipate with their selections. We also have to wait for the makeovers to see what professional makeup and styling will do for the complexion. But all of that can be discussed later. For now, we have to find these ladies a place to live.
Continuing on the Beverly Hills theme, the girls all piled in front of City Hall in front of the “scenic” entrance that is on Crescent between Santa Monica Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard. I know I have mentioned it before the there are two Santa Monica Boulevards in Los Angeles that run parallel to each other from just east of the 405 through Beverly Hills. I remind everybody because it is still one of the dumbest things I can ever imagine. A close second is that there is a Harvard, Yale, and Princeton street in every neighborhood in Los Angeles. There is even a Bowdoin (which people pronounce Bow-doyne) and a Hobart, but no Dartmouth. WTF is up with that?
I would like to know what people think when they first think of Beverly Hills. If you said “Star Tours,” you are right in line with the ANTM producers. All of the girls piled into a double decker tour bus for a private tour of the homes of the stars. And if you don’t think it could get any better than that, they also exhumed Robin Leach, who is now about as cool as that guy who dresses up in stockings and says “Welcome to Beverly Hills” in 100 different languages.
The girls were as surprised to see Robin Leach as I was, but seemed excited when Robin said that they would have a champagne toast. It became a little less exciting when Robin said that the girls would only get apple cider. I will give a little shout to Lisa who took hers straight from the bottle. With instincts like that, you know she has to be quite the party girl. That didn’t stop some people from trying to be a party pooper, and by some people, I mean Cassandra. When she saw Lisa put her lips to the bottle, she went on about how she was raised proper like, and she was sorry for people who weren’t. You can already tell she is going to be a huge bitch. I am not sure why she was complaining, it’s not like she was swigging some Bollinger Grand Anne 1973, it was grape juice. I hope that Lisa gets an actual bottle of champagne and breaks it over Cassandra’s head and we can christen her the HMS Stupid Bitch.
These star tours are such a rip-off. I have also mentioned it before, but there is no reason to take them or to buy one of those maps they sell every thirty feet on Sunset. There are tons of nice homes in Beverly Hills. How do you know where Tom Cruise lives? You are never going to see them, so if the tour guide says “this is Tom Cruise’s house,” you won’t be able to call him or her out. It seemed as if Robin was giving them a tour, but I think they just drove up Beverly to their new house and they added the Leachmeister’s narration after the fact.
Oh that’s right, I said they drove up to their new house. Last season we had the model loft, and this season we have the model Beverly Hills mansion. Everybody rushed in and they shrieked because of all the pictures on the wall of the past contestants, and as an added bonus, the house was set up like a department store. There was a section for bags, belts, tops, bottoms, and yes, shoes. Everybody quickly picked up their rooms. It’s funny to see which people think they are going to best friends. I am still Pink Positive 4EVR , BTW.
The girls have a little bit of time to spend in the house, and we get a little bit more from open-minded Cassandra, who is complaining about how dirty things are. Because you know back on the plantation, her mammy would never let so much as a crumb disturb her delicate and genteel sensibilities. Then again, I do love that accent. A more interesting conversation was taking place next to the pool where Kim was hosting her own little version of “Inside the Lesbian’s Studio.” Somebody asked if she was “full on” lesbian, which I guess means they might have thought it was a phase. I would definitely say that Kim is more Ellen than Anne Heche. We learned from Kim that she has an open relationship, but she won’t touch guys. She doesn’t care if her girlfriend kisses guys, just as long as she is still hot to trot when Kim gets back to New York. We’ll be asking sg-dub to investigate that right away.
Our first Tyra mail of the season tells girls to see how much they are worth and tells them to be ready by 4 PM. This year, the girls are traveling in style. It looks like Fred Durst had an estate sale because the ModelMobile is a stretch Excursion limo dressed to the nines in all things America’s Next Top Model. If I can get a case of that ANTM water, I will definitely do a giveaway. The girls drive into Hollywood where they pull up for their first moments as real models in their own fashion show packed with real celebrities and real people from the industry. It’s ballsy to have the divas do this so early because OMFG did you see them walking?
Inside the nightclub, the girls were told about their challenges, and for this first one, they had to do their own makeup. Everybody grabbed some CoverGirl, and ran towards the mirrors, but a few people had some problems. First, Bre said she doesn’t wear makeup, so she didn’t really know what would look good. She kept it simple with some eyeliner and a few other basics and managed to get by.
Kim, on the other hand, had a real problem. She didn’t wear makeup, and she literally didn’t know how to put it on. You would think that if you signed up for a model show, you might try and practice. It’s like any other reality show. You learn to read a map for Amazing Race, you learn to read a map for Survivor, and you learn how to get drunk for Real World. Still, I did feel bad for her because NOBODY would help. She practically had to beg for assistance. Even her own roommate, Ashley, who was hugging her and saying how she just knew they would be friends earlier in the episode, didn’t lift a finger. Finally, Ebony had some pity on her and helped her out, but it goes to show you what the competition is like when it starts to matter.
When I said the stars came out, I have to mention that we got our first shot of Nigel Barker, who had to decide between going to the runway show and watching the premiere of “Wallace and Gromit: the Curse of the Were Rabbit.” While I am not positive that those characters are molded after Nigel’s head, I am pretty sure and so we call him Chicken Run. No celebrity runway show would be complete without a celebrity MC, so Nate Dogg was there to do the honors. I had spent about thirty minutes writing some lyrics to the tune of “Regulate” that I thought were really funny, but alas, I didn’t save it somehow. I am a jerk. What I do remember is that I started it with “Model-lators…Mount up!” Eh, just pretend it was funny.
To summarize, they have their first real challenge, they have to do their own makeup, and there are celebrities present. Anything else that we can think of to complicate things? Why yes, they made the runway criss cross. While that’s not like it was under water like the Cycle 4 finale, it was reminiscent of the Cycle 3 finale in Japan with the difficult crazy runway box. If people forgot where to go, they might bump into each other. This is high-level stuff for newbies to the runway. Milan wasn’t built in a day, folks!
There really wasn’t anything that remarkable to this show. We were supposed to have each model represent a different mood or attitude like edgy, trendy, regal, etc. and the girls were told to take their cues from the way that Nate Dogg was reading as they walked out. The problem with that genius plan is that Nate Dogg read everything in monotone voice and so the girls responded with about as much excitement as the fashion shows I was forced to give whenever my grandmother gave me a new sweater. Walk in, walk out, repeat, don’t cry. Nobody had room to practice their walks in the back, so the results under the lights were horrible.
The whole time you are watching this thing, the only thing you can think of is, “Will Sarah fall again?!?!” Sure enough, she takes one step off, and does a little stumble. She sort of recovers, but the only way she can walk in high heels is decidedly unsexy. A lot of girls were just as bad and didn’t know what they were doing, so it kind of took some of the pressure off Sarah. I think Kim has a unique look and there is just something oddly seductive and yet innocent about her face, but they really picked an awful dress for her. She doesn’t have curves, but just didn’t know how to wear the dress, and she made it worse by trying to vamp it with a sultry look that wasn’t her. But she was saved by Sarah, who fell AGAIN. Again, if you are going to audition for a modeling show, why not buy some stilettos and practice walking around a little bit?
With that disaster in the books, Jay labels it the worst fashion show he has ever done, and sends the girls on their way. Perhaps the producers were trying not to show a lot of drunkenness this year, but there was no party scene between Jay sending them home and when they got back to their limo. We had a mention of how they took the party on the road, but we were wondering when they had a chance to party because I don’t think they were drinking during the show, although they were at Mood, so I am not surprised that they would all be blitzed when they left.
In what was perhaps the best scene of the night, things really started to get a little crazy on the ride back in the limo. Sarah was really stressed out over her performance and probably knew that she was going home. So hey, she’s got nothing to lose. She sort of half-joked about making out with Kim earlier, and she decided that she would go through with it. I am not one to spooge just because two girls are kissing, but this was pretty hot. Sarah just dove in and went at it, and although Kim had said she wouldn’t make out with anybody while she was away from her girlfriend, there was nothing she could do but respond. Drunk, wet, and sloppy, like all good make out sessions should be. Pleased with her performance, Kim shouted “One down! Eleven to go!” Oh yes, Kim. Oh yes.
Sarah’s surprising behavior got everybody to talking, and Lisa and Ebony were talking about how multilayered everybody’s personalities were. Some were multilayered, and some were just scary. I really donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to bash Cassandra at every change possible, but she just makes it too easy. The girls were asking her why she didn’t show emotion. I can understand where this was coming from, as I am on the surface an emotion-free type of guy; people think I am pissed off and angry all the time, which I assure you I am not. I like to call it stoic. Cassandra is more than just stoic, she is crazy. When asked about her apparent lack of feeling, she gave an example. You know how sociopaths don’t feel emotions? She said she was exactly like that except she hasn’t killed anybody. I forget who her roommates are, but I hope they sleep with one eye open, gripping their pillow tight.
The next day we had our first photo shoot. Once again, the judges piled on the difficulty right away. First they throw them at the runway, and now they are going to have them suspended in they air for their photo shoots. Part of taking a good picture, from a model’s standpoint, is the way that the understand the camera, the angles, the eyes, and how everything is going to look if you move your neck this way or you flex your leg that way. Our possible top models don’t know about any of this is if they were sitting still. Now they were going to be in a harness, hoisted into the air, and sliding down a guide wire, all while trying to pose. That’s pretty brutal, but maybe the judges wanted to see what natural talent people had before they were coached.
The theme was a model superhero, with photographer Michael Ruiz. Everybody had their makeup on, and then they were strapped in and flew through the air. A lot of people had difficulty controlling their body. Jay would give them a pose and while some would get it, some would sort of jerk around like they were hit with a caddle prod.
Kim once again had a difficult time. Again, she has a great look, but is going to need to learn how to be a model quickly. She was discouraged with her performance and said she really sucked. Her best friend Ashley didn’t really encourage her as much as she agreed with her like she wanted Kim to go home. Shit, with friends like these, who needs straight men?
The only person with a real problem over the harness was Coryn, who was scared of heights. One thing I do like so far about this season is that, at least early on, there are not a huge amount of whiners like we had last season. OK, maybe it was mainly Brandy who was bitching, but all of the models tried really hard to get the job done and were at least trying to work with the photographer
At the end of the shoot, Jay was really happy with the results, at least compared to the fashion show the day before. There were still some problem spots, but at least there was a hint of potential. It is too early to name my favorites, as none has captivated me early on like Naima (sighhhh), but here are my favorite pics from this week. Kyle, Nik, Jayla, and Cassandra:
It’s time for our first elimination and there is really a huge change this year. How many people out there are like me and sing along as Tyra describes the prizes. Well, in the middle of my little Tyra karaoke, we learned that there was a new prize. Not only would there be a photo shoot Mr. Ben-Simone himself, but there would be a cover of elle girl magazine. Maybe all of the other winners made it onto the cover, and I never noticed, but I think this was the first time it was announced, or at least announced this early.
Other big changes on the judging panel were the disappearance of NolÃƒÂ© Merron and Janice Dickinson, both of whom are great personalities and really worked on the show. Janice was always great at being really cruel and telling it like it is. NolÃƒÂ© wasn’t always as mean but he was just as blunt. Then again, half of the pleasure of watching NolÃƒÂ© was seeing his dog, and the dog hasn’t made an appearance in a while, so I guess there could be a change. In place of the others we had Jay Alexander, who is very funny and can be mean, but doesn’t carry the authority that his predecessors had. He did have a huge corsage of flowers. One flower for each girl, and one flower would fall off each week. Jay Alexander LOVES symbolic metaphors. The big addition was that of Twiggy, who will likely go down in history as much more influential than Janice Dickinson and has also managed to age gracefully. Sure she’s had some surgery, but it’s not the complete bolt job that Janice has all over the place.
The judges proceeded to critique each girl in front of the others, first with their runway work and then with their pictures. On the runway, the judges had a lot of good to say about Lisa and Cassandra, but nobody really blew them away. There were a lot of people who were really off. Bre stomped in a way that Twiggy called a horse trot. I hope she can do better than that, because I am sure Janice would have had something great. We’ll give her time. Like I said earlier, Kim had a bad walk. The judges told her that she can’t try to be feminine because it is not her. She was there because of the masculinity and she has to try and work with what comes natural and have the confidence that it is OK. The same thing goes for Sarah and her falls. They weren’t upset so much with the trips as the fact she made everybody in the room notice how much it bothered her.
Overall, there was really not that many antics for the judges. Twiggy and Jay got into it a little bit when she dared say that there was more than one man (Nigel Barker) at the table. Tyra did a good job mocking Nik and her headbob down the runway and Jay was OK describing Jayla scratching herself all over like she wanted to bathe in Gold Bond, but overall pretty tame.
The judging came down to Sarah and Ashley. Waa? Ashley you say? She didn’t mess up, she wasn’t really busted. Why would she be there? Sarah we undertstand, but why Ashley? Ashley was up there because of her attitude. When she first came before the judges, she said that her family has a pretty gene, and from that point on she acted as if it was a pretty face that was all she was needed. Her runway was alright, her photo wasn’t bad, but was she just a pretty face?
Since I have been going in depth about all the debate surrounding Ashley, you probably have already figured out that Ashley was the one that was going home. I would have to say that it was quite a surprise. The judges did say that they were looking for palettes that they could work with, and not somebody who thought they knew it all, but even though Sarah was modest, she has a lot of things to fix. It wasn’t necessarily her face, because the camera liked her lips and her eyes, but her presence and just about everything else is still a work in progress.
Sarah was not the only one who showed up better in pictures than one would expect, as Lisa’s picture was much better than I would have ever imagined. The camera loves her angles. Give me another week before I name my favorites, but I think Jayla, Kyle, and Bre are going to go far. Next week is the makeover episode, and from the previews, Cassandra is going to get her head chopped – well, at least her hair will be chopped, but we can always hope.
Did Ashley deserve to go home? Who do you think will last? Who needs a makeover pronto?