Sorry about the extraordinarily lame title for this latest episode of America’s Next Top Model. I have been starting a lot of recaps with apologies lately, so I figured that one more time ain’t going to hurt. I probably could have spent a few more minutes thinking of a better title, but “Extreme Makeover: Model Edition” hopefully puts one more nail into the coffin that is the “Extreme Makeover: [Insert Word Here] Edition” joke that is used way to often, and perhaps it will be enough to kill off the show as well)Extreme Makeover, not ANTM!), or at least help all of those lawsuits along. But back on topic, this week marks the time for the model makeovers, always one of the greatest episodes for ANTM. We may argue about a lot of the things that the judges think, but when it comes to makeovers, they know their stuff. The girls are given a look by the judges to varying degrees of success. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not, but the most important thing is to work it out. You know, do your thing, on the runway, like a Supermodel! Somebody should write a song about it.The first week brings about a lot of the quotes that we are used to seeing. Sarah is there, saying that being almost eliminated was shocking, but if she was shocked by her almost-elimination, she must not be looking in the mirror that often. A lot of others are saying they can’t believe Ashley isn’t there, like every single one of them wasn’t actually elated that she was kicked out early. Finally, Ebony chimed in saying that you can’t underestimate anybody, because, you know, it’s a competition. She says that if you let your guard down, they’ll flock to you like a pack of hyenas to a carcass. I will give her bonus points for actually being the first model to use “carcass” in a diary interview, but her analogy is too sophisticated for this town. HyenaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sounds like a martini bar in Fresno. She should have said that they would flock to you like Tara Reid on an open bar, or Lara Flynn Boyle to a pound of collagen. Now that’s something people can relate to in this town.
When the girls got their Tyra mail, everybody was really excited, even though some people didn’t think that they needed the makeover. OK, so everybody pretty much thought that they needed it, except for Cassandra, who said that she likes the way she looks and doesn’t think that she needs to change because of her natural beauty. This means, of course, that she will probably have the most dramatic change in the whole group. The girls head to Louis Licari, which is on Camden in Beverly Hills. I only mention this because there is a great little restaurant called The Grill just around the corner on Dayton. Best meatloaf in town, which doesn’t say that much in Beverly Hills, but they also have a great Arnold Palmer, and you can’t get any better than that combination.
Once inside, a lot of the girls start fretting about what might happen, but Jay Manuel is there to remind them that sometimes it takes a huge transformation for a model to go from ordinary to extraordinary, so to speak. He and Tyra then start breaking down exactly what they are going to do to each girl. Along with the appearance makeovers, Jay was going to speak with each girl and give them a style that they should emulate, which seems fair. Tyra and Jay are coordinating their makeovers for a certain look, so why not let them know what they were thinking when they created the look? It might even help some of them cope with their new styles a little bit better.
I do think that this was an attractive group, but there were quite a few people who really needed makeovers, including Coryn. Last time, I said that she reminded me of Sam the Eagle from Muppets fame, but this time with her hair pulled back she reminded me of David Blaine. I say this also because Coryn has been a master illusionist, because if you take off her pants, she can make her balls disappear. Shouldn’t there be a “tuck rule” in modeling as well as football? Coryn was going to get one of the most dramatic makeovers as they were going to dye her hair blonde and bring out a John Deere lawn tractor to trim her eyebrows down a little bit.
Most of the other girls got makeovers that weren’t exactly crazy. Kim was going to get red hair, Kyle would get brown hair, Nik was going to go lighter with even more curls, Bre was going to go straight; you get the idea. A couple of girls got extensions and a couple of people were to get their hair chopped. Sarah was one of those, but they were still going to stick shoulder length. The other person to get a major cut was going to be Cassandra, the beauty queen. Almost immediately when the words came out of Tyra’s mouth, Cassandra began to cry, and all of the rest of the girls were shocked. They said tried to tell her that she was too safe, so they wanted to give her a little Rosemary’s Baby haircut[image]. Nobody seemed to know just exactly what they were talking about except for Kim, who pumped her fist and said, “Yes!” under her breath, probably because she knows that Cassandra is going to freak out.
There was a lot less complaining this year compared to last, but there is still plenty of pepole freaked about their new looks. Kim’s new red hairdo is a lot more feminine than her old style, and she said that it just wasn’t her. When she said that no boy had hair that color, and somebody reminded her that she was not a boy, Kim said, “Yeah, but it’s my thing.” Hmm, Wesleyan, lesbian, short hair, it’s her thing all right; she just shares it with a lot of people. Whatever she thought the outcome was, it gave her face a softer look and Jay told her that she wouldn’t have to change the femme boy look she came in with.
Overall, I would say that the changes were dramatic and for the better. You literally couldn’t tell the difference between some girls and their previous selves. Sarah’s new, shorter cut was perfect and she looked hot with her Ralph Lauren chic style. Coryn’s new look was sophisticated, and I guess I would agree that her makeover accomplished that, but it’s not like she regressed. Nik had a bohemian chic style that we will probably just call the “Stacie J” from now on. Ebony was given full-length braids that took thirteen hours to accomplish. I am not sure what the judges were going for, but it just screamed “Brandy” when you looked at it. Bre was confident when she saw that they really weren’t changing much, meaning that she must have already looked good, but just in case she was thinking of getting a little cocky, Jay made sure to let everybody know that she was still ghetto fabulous by telling the stylist to pay extra attention to the nose hairs.
But of all the changes, the most impressive change was still Cassandra. She looked like she was still not quite ready for the whole thing, and Jay reminded her of what she said in her casting video, specifically “I’m really easy to work with, I’ll do what you tell me.” The other girls were shocked to hear about her new look, but they were even more shocked to see that Cassandra apparently did have some emotion. Sarah also tries to comfort her a little bit. I think after she had a little taste of Kim, she takes any chance she can get to caress another woman. I’m starting to think she is really starting to think about making her girl-on-girl experiment a full-time thing. Anyway, the judges told her that she had a great look and they did it for more reasons than just to chop off her hair; they thought that her face had a look that not a lot of people have, and the reason for the cut was to bring it out more.
I liked a lot of the makeovers, and although I am sure it helps that all of their before pictures were using polaroids with like no makeup, there were some dramatic changes. Here are the ones I consider most striking. I literally gasped after seeing Lisa and Kyle. (Click on pictures for larger versions).
They were at the salon all day, so when they got home, they learned of their next challenge from Tyra Mail and began to do their own thing. Cassandra still was complaining about her short hair. Some people might have thought she wasn’t such a psychopath, with her newfound emotions, but she reminded us just how crazy she was by saying she wanted to sleep with her old ponytail, so she could wake up and be reminded of how her hair used to be. But why stop with just the hair, Cassandra, why not just go for the entire head? Jayla has hair just as long as yours used to be. Hell, why not just sleep with an entire body? I heard they just made a Tom Sizemore blowup doll, complete with special bonus threesome blow up “unknown commercial actress” doll.
For the first mission, the models make their way to the Luxe Hotel in Beverly Hills, where they come face to face with some crazy clown. At least it wasn’t a scary clown, unless you consider a large, bald, gay man prancing around Beverly Hills in a Tang-colored outfit frightening, that is. The man was James St. James, one of the original club kids, just in case you couldn’t tell that he was over 50 and unattractive, or if you had trouble imagining he did ecstasy and used to be half his current size. James told them that they would have $500 to try and emulate the style that Jay had given them. The girl he chose to be the winner would get to keep her outfit, and she would be the only one.
Now, they let everybody loose into the middle of Beverly Hills, so there was a LOT of things that they could have gone for. There are plenty of high-end places like Prada where they wouldn’t get a pair of socks for their money, but there were also a lot of places that you would think was made for what they were looking for. Nik is looking for Bohemian Chic, why not head to Anthropologie? Sarah was told Ralph Lauren, why not walk a few blocks in that direction? Banana Republic, Miss Sixty, Club Monaco, bebe, they were all there ripe for the picking.
The reason a lot of them didn’t go to different stores was that they were shopping in groups so everybody could help each other out. Cassandra, who was told to be mod, had absolutely no clue what she was doing, as was the case for Jayla, at least if you were listening to what Kim told her. When Jayla picked up a pair of stonewashed jeans with a pattern on them and wondered why those jeans could have been her style, Kim came back by saying, “because it’s ugly.” She was stating the obvious, but at least somebody told her.
After their hour, they returned to James. St. James. BTW, do you think he ever goes around and yells “I’M SAINT JAMES, bitch!”? A lot of people were fairly disastrous, including Ebony, who was supposed to be rocking an edgy sophisticated look, but she looked horrible. Then again, if you need your friends to tell you if a $52 tank top is going to be worth the price of admission, maybe you deserve to lose. It was all no bother as Lisa won the event, and as an added bonus to winning this challenge, she got a chance to take home three articles of clothing that any of the rest of the girls were wearing. ANTM being the charitable enterprise that it is, Lisa also got a chance to pick two people to each take one article of clothing, so Kim and Ebony got on the confiscation freeway themselves.
Since the moment she was picked as a finalist, Lisa has been quite the object of confidence. She is a buyer, and she really eats, drinks and sleeps fashion. Everybody else is starting to become really annoyed with what she has to say, since she is giving everybody advice on how they could do better, what poses they should go with, and how they should work their styles, even if they had never asked her for help to begin with. Lisa is definitely a know it all, but so far she hasn’t been that far off in what she’s actually saying. It probably didn’t help matters much when she was drunk whenever she was dishing out her advice, as they started doing impressions of her as soon as she left the room.
I don’t know about you, but I think it would be great if more people wrote advice columns while they were drunk. I happen to dispense some of the best advice when I am on the verge of blackout. As for Lisa, sure it must suck for those girls to hear her advice, but she does seem to know what she was talking about. During the semifinals when the judges heard she was a buyer, they asked her questions about top designers and she knew what she was talking about. One of the criteria the judges use to determine a top model is their fashion sense and knowledge of the industry. Lisa is clearly ahead of everybody else in this regard, but she also seems more than eager to dispense advice, so why not take advantage of it?
For this week’s photo shoot, Jay brought out a random photographer that looked like a Brett Rattner crossed with Matt LeBlanc. He told the girls that they should split into pairs, with each pair modeling the same outfit, creating a competition within the competition. Jay didn’t tell the models that they would be competing with each other beforehand, so it made some of the pairings quite interesting. For instance, the girls had to wear the same dress, which became difficult when you go from size 0 Nicole to size 14 Diane. Speaking of Diane, she got a makeover, but it just made her look like a lot like Gabby Reece, if you could imagine Gabby Reece filmed the documentary Super Size Me. Jay tied to get Diane to do one of those action shots by saying she should jump in the air before her pose, but after she fell and cut her knee, they gave up on that idea. The bigger they are, Jay….
The most interesting competition was between Nik and Bre, who were modeling a couture look on a log. I know, I know, it doesn’t exactly blow you away from the description, but it was great to see these two. I am really not that hot on Nik’s new look, but the camera is loving her early on. Perhaps she has been practicing like Lisa and just hasn’t been telling everybody else about it, but it looks like she is trying her hardest to make good on her promise during the first episode when she said that SHE was the competition.
In another battle that I call Man Hands vs. Man Glands, Sarah and Coryn took pictures next to a horse. Now, depending on which model you like you are saying, “Well, she’s not hot, but I wouldn’t call her a horse,” but I am talking the four-legged variety. Maybe it was the animal that made the pictures look good, but you could tell that their makeovers worked. I still think Coryn’s jaw is a little too, umm, formidable, and would make even Jennifer Garner and her homo habilis-like mandible laugh (IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been trying to work homo habilis into a recap for years, btw), but maybe she just needs to stop eating for a week to get rid of some muscle tone. Since there was no walking involved, Sarah seemed at ease, even when the horse (no, not Coryn, the other one) sneezed on her dress. I also really liked her new look.
Cassandra was still bugging out about her hair, but quite honestly, it is really striking. If she ever gets over the shock, and learns some model attitude to cover up that pageant passiveness that makes her so docile, I think the look really works for her. She said she was happy to go against Jayla because she thought Jayla was weak, but after Cassandra’s frames were finished, Jay said that she would need a miracle.
The other pairs were Lisa and Ebony, who was described as looking like a dead carcass, not exactly the praise one is looking for, and Kyle and Kim. Kim was worried about how she would compete against Kyle, but they were wearing a pantsuit, and Kim, failing to impress people in a pantsuit is a like a fat person failing to impress you with their cooking. Anyway, here are my favorite shots from this week. (Click an image for a larger version)
It was time for judging and wouldn’t you know it, Nigel was wearing one of his striped shirts, AGAIN. A lot of people think he’s hot, but I look at him and see a slightly retarded Jake Gyllenhall, or slightly more retarded Jake Gyllenhall, depending on what you think of him. James St. James is the guest judge for this week.
Two by two, they brought the girls up and critiqued them. The panel has not been particularly hard this year without Janice and NolÃƒÂ©, and nobody is really interested in telling the girls how horrible they looked when they are in front of them. About the nastiest it got was when Jay Alexander told Ebony that a hair in the face photo is for ugly girls, but then I believe Tyra told her that her face was pretty, so that wasn’t even an insult. Jay also told Coryn she had a fashion violation, and Tyra told Kyle that she is “trying too hard” even though she has everything she needs. God, I hope they have some really mean people guest judge later, because this is a little too tame.
When it came time to name the winners, Coryn beat out Sarah, even though James St. James said that Coryn was going for Beyonce but was more Rupaul, which is a PERFECT description of Coryn at this moment, i.e. not top model material. Kim beat Kyle, which surprised her, but looking at their picture, there was no life in Kyle’s face, and on a second glance, she is looking dowdy after her makeover. Lisa beat Ebony, and the judges were floored by her pose. She told them that she has been practicing since she was seven and knows every pose in the book. I am sure the other girls wanted to roll their eyes, but considering the high praise Lisa garners each time, they should start practicing in front of the mirror until some of the moves come more naturally to them as well.
In my favorite comparison, Nik beat out Bre and Diane lost out to Nicole. I think Nicole had a good picture, but the judges called it the best of the group. James St. James said her look made him want to do naughty things, like perhaps see a porno movie, with women! Maybe I was expecting a little more couture or something more dramatic with the makeup, but I wasn’t blown away. What do you think?
Cassandra, for all of her worrying, beat out Jayla. When she first came before the judges, Nigel tried to pump her up by saying that her look is dramatic, and she just has to work with it. Tyra then took a shot at her confidence by telling her that she didn’t like the hair, because it wasn’t what she had requested, which was specifically Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby. She said if Cassandra made it to next week, with an emphasis on IF, they would redo her hair. They also decided that they liked Jayla with shorter hair as well. Cassandra needs all the confidence she can get, because she has clearly been brainwashed with all of her beauty competitions. She literally said she wanted to go away from modeling because it was more of a career, and pageants help you develop more as a woman. Somebody buy her The Feminine Mystique, STAT!
After all of the winners were separated, the rest of the girls that made it this week were called until we were left with Ebony and Diane. Both of these girls had the same problem, which is that they had a lot much energy going into the competition, but it’s not showing in any of the pictures. Ebony was confident and obsessed with modeling, but it seemed like she lost her confidence, and started wilting under Lisa’s glow. Diane came in with a lot of spunk, but the beauty in her face and body were just not coming across in the photos.
Personally, I thought there was no chance that they were going to choose Diane, but that is exactly what happened. It’s not that Diane isn’t good looking, but she seems like she is not enjoying herself anymore, although the same could be said for Ebony. Perhaps the judges thought that since Ebony was so young, she would have plenty of chances, and it would give her a chance to mature before she took another stab at the business. I can’t really say that I am that crushed, because neither girl really did it for me.
So, after the makeovers, I have to say that my favorites are Lisa, Bre, and Sarah. I also like Nik, but wasn’t so hot on the makeover. I think Kyle and Kim will also go far. Who are your favorites? Did the right girl get sent home? Who had the best makeover? Who had the worst?