By admin|Thursday, March 17, 2005 | 12:33 am | 22 Comments
The early returns are in, and it looks like most people believe that this season of America’s Next Top Model features a cast that really can’t compare with last year’s. While I sort of agree with that statement, I didn’t get into the show until a number of girls were already eliminated. And although I think the judges got off to a bad start by eliminating Brita, perhaps the hottest member of this cast, I am starting to see the potential in this group. While they aren’t exactly blowing us away with their presence in person, I have to admit that many of them are taking great pictures.So, what to do with that presence thing? Well, you not only have to look good in person, but you have to have a walk. And if you haven’t figured out yet, the judges are thinking of one thing when they see people walk. Nothing less than fierce will do. Who do you call when you are trying to improve a walk. Why Ms. J. Alexander of course. The girls were called out to the Los Angeles Coliseum, home of the 1984 Olympics and home of the National Champion USC Trojans. Being in a rather ghetto part of Los Angeles, the girls wouldn’t feel like they were too far away from their loft.
Ms. J, who greeted them in a cheerleader’s outfit (and a male cheerleader’s outfit to boot), had not one, but two tasks for the girls to help them with their walk. The first was simple enough – put on some chunky platform shoes and walk back and forth down the yard line. Some of the girls have some good talent in this area already, including Keenyah, Rebecca, and Brandi. Then there are the girls who aren’t quite so natural, including Michelle ,who Ms. J said looked like she had spina bifida. It’s hard for me to speak ill of somebody named Sarah, but you know that something is wrong whenever the show plays clown music when you are trying to walk.
Once the functional parts of the walk were out of the way, it came time to work an accessory with some high heels. The twist was the high heels were placed in some random location in the stadium. They could be anywhere in the stands, and the girls had to find them before they could move on to the next task. EVERYBODY is learning from the Amazing Race these days.
The girls ran around the stadium for a little while before finding their shoes (all of them were in the same location), and got a change to take a look at their accessories. I am sure that some of them were thinking necklace, earrings, bracelets, hand bags. You know, the normal stuff. Instead the girls had to choose among things baseball bat, a golfing bag, a football, and a hockey stick. The key was that you have to take anything you are given, and make it look completely natural on you. Once again, Michelle and Sarah were the worst. Michelle looks really strange and awkward, but Sarah simply looked like she was miserable, and seemed to be oblivious to the fact that her walk lacked energy and took a long time to finish. If Sarah’s walk was a party, I would be off in the corner watching two turtles do the nasty in their tank (that actually happened to me in Santa Monica once).
Last year, team “Pink Positive” won a lot of hearts with their upbeat attitudes and happy to be here approach to the game. This year, everybody is being very friendly. Sarah was getting runway tips from Keenya, and everybody is together taking turns at throwing poses. What we need is some animosity to make things interesting.
The Tyra mail came and told the girls to be ready for the next challenge at 6:45 AM. For a town that doesn’t get anything done before 10 AM, this is a huge request. We sort of had an idea that it had something to do with runway because J. Alexander doesn’t just show up for nothing. We just didn’t know where the girls would be shipped off to and what the challenge would be. The destination turned out to be K-Mart, and the challenge was a runway battle, although it lacked much of the emotional depth and raw energy of that scene from Zoolander. To add a little more pressure, the girls would go head to head against each other to determine the Queen of the Strut.
Rebecca was determined to take this thing from the start. Although she doesn’t have the verbatim lookalike quality of Reese Witherspoon, she is fairly close. She’s sort of like Reese Witherspoon once removed. Besides the fee they received for the product placement of K-mart all over the place, there was a semi-practical reason for the whole mess. The girls had just learned how to walk with random things, and so they were at it again. They also got to meet their first guest judge. It came down to Rebecca and Naima, with Rebecca winning it in the end. Without Brita, Rebecca has to be seen as the front runner. She’s been taking good pictures and she does have that walk.
For her win, Rebecca got to pick five friends for a reward. The six girls got a chance to go shoe shopping at famous shoe designer Stuart Weitzman. To make it even better, the other girls weren’t just going to go back to the loft and complain about not winning or getting picked. They were going to complain and wait on the winners hand and foot (I’ll be here all week, don’t forget to tip your waiter). Right on cue, a simple act sure to cause jealousy and resentment throughout the loft.
Yes, the losers were forced to run to the storeroom and get the shoes that the winners picked out. They also had to serve the girls strawberries and spring water (come on Stu, couldn’t spring for some champagne?). A lot of the girls thought it sucked, but Michelle thought it *really* sucked. At the sight of the shoe racks, which were stacked in those movable library stacks that you roll together or apart with a nifty little turn of the crank, Michelle started crying and freaking out. Keenya, who is trying to play the nice one, but always ends up looking like the bitch decided to roll a couple of the racks together just a bit while Michelle was in the middle. Michelle completely freaked out and started crying; she had earlier said that it was a huge fear for her. I guess she was scared once she got into the closet, she would have a hard time getting out, especially if it crushed her in two.
The girls started wondering why she was so crazy. Apparently she is happy at one moment, and then the switch flips, and she is insane. Getting away from the closet, it was evident she was much happier to be on her knees between the other girls, helping them try on shoes. I can see why people think she is a little whacked, she is a professional wrestler, but if you know she has a fear, try to pull a prank on her about it, and she overreacts, don’t blame her.
Some of the girls were upset at Rebecca’s attitude. She was literally acting as if the losers didn’t deserve to walk on the same ground as her chosen people. She made a fuss when a strawberry leaf fell into her gourmet water, and a lot of people started knowing her attitude. While she was being a huge bitch, the great thing about ANTM is that you can be a bitch, but if you kick ass at challenges and photos, you are going to stick around.
Returning home from the shoe store, Noelle decided to confront Michelle about the way she was acting so distant from the rest of the housemates. Michelle broke down again, saying that she has been hiding something her whole life, and she doesn’t want to tell anybody for feat that they would look at her differently. “Uh, oh, here comes another eating disorder” I thought to myself. Perhaps another girl who was a stripper back home, they seem to be popular on this show.
It turned out to be neither, and something that wasn’t entirely too surprising. We find out that Michelle is gay, although I think they dubbed over it and said “bi” for the broadcast. That admission just blew me out of the water. A female wrestler that might have a thing for other girls, why is this such a shock? I genuinely feel bad that she had to hold it in so long, and was happy she was comfortable around her roommates to tell them, but what other surprises are in store for these girls? Not to stereotype, but I wonder what was on Michelle’s resume “Occupation: Wrestler, Activities: Golf, Accomplishments: All-state field hockey and softball. Leadership: Started Indigo Girls fan club.” It also explains why Michelle hated closets, but was happy on her knees in front of girls with short skirts. You can learn so much about life in the irony of celebrity shopping segments.
Once Michelle got everything off her chest, she seemed very happy, and very relieved that nobody seemed to think any differently of her – they still considered her the ugliest one there. Even Brandi and Tiffany, who were listening to the last part of the conversation Michelle had with Noelle, and were giggling when they heard “gay” turned out to be compassionate. Although Brandi did make a few enlightened comments like “you aren’t going to fantasize about me”, she told her that it was better to let it out instead of holding it in, and really did help ease her fears of acceptance. The gay rights movement is really moving along, we have now established it is better to be gay than OCD. No wonder J. Edgar Hoover and Howard Hughes hated each other so much!
With our “Heal the World” moment over, we got to get back to the game. Tyra mail came up, and the girls learned they would be competing with ten other bitches. Even somebody with no punny bone could have caught that one a mile away. When they got to their shoot on Griffith Park, they learned they were going to work with dogs. See, bitches is another name for a female dog! Degree of difficulty: male model and flowers in the same picture.
It’s the fashion shoots that really make or break a lot of these models, and the girls made it very hard on the judges. There were a few girls that had some problems working with the dogs, or looking excited, but the hair and makeup people should get special props. For the first time, I could actually imagine Michelle as a high fashion model. Rebecca, as expected, was also gorgeous and remarked at how many girls were at her photo shoot. Uh, yeah, there were twelve of them, and since you were near the end, people weren’t in a trailer getting their hair done. This girls is slightly full of herself.
After the shoot, we get the wonderful judging portion of the show. As a final challenge, the girls had to show their runway style once again, this time with only a burlap sack. They were supposed to make it look sexy, make it sell, but they really failed. Everybody sort of did their normal walks, but with a bag instead of a micro-mini and tube top. The judges were thoroughly unimpressed, especially with Michelle and Sarah once again. Tiffany’s walk actually elicited a bunch of laughter, as she looked like she was scared of falling down the stairs. Keenya actually did slip, but recovered without making a fuss, which the judges complimented her on later. Brandi walked like she was about to mug you. It was Lluvy who actually used a little style with her burlap sack. Not that surprising, since I am sure she has been brown bagged many times, and I am not talking about lunches folks.
After the judges brought the girls back in, the first to come up for comments was Rebecca. Those hair extensions worked, and she is looking hot. The judges agreed, with only a little bit of constructive criticism. Then she just fell over.
Whoa! I knew it was coming, but you thought it was going to be some girl who was emotionally unstable, not somebody who had been perfect until then. Her eyes rolled back into her head, she went stiff, and then just fell back. I had a cousin who had seizures when she was younger, so I am not completely insensitive, but I did laugh pretty hard when Rebecca fell over. She didn’t just flop down, she literally went straight back and the only thing you hear is this huge thud. That, compared with the reactions of all of the girls and the judges (Call a paramedic! Call the police!) just had me laughing my ass off. For your enjoyment (or curiosity) here is the video:
Click on Nolé, to see the SHOCKING video
It turns out that Rebecca has had these type of seizures since whe was young. She had told Noelle that it hadn’t happened in seven year, which has to be the worst seizure timing ever. I also wonder why everybody is opening up to Noelle? Michelle told her she was gay, and Rebecca told her about the seizures. Does Noelle read Tarot in Reno or something? Who knows.
Rebecca made it to the hospital, was cleared, and then came back to the competition, trading her burlap sack for a no less flattering hospital gown. Tyra sat her down, and told her some words that momma Banks couldn’t have said any better. Basically, if you ever feel like, you can’ control your body, please just have a seat. Well Tyra, it’s not like she is about to sneeze or fart and can hold it. Seizures just kind of happen. I wonder if the insurance company is going to force Tyra to keep Rebecca in a wheelchair until she is done with the competition as a precaution. I am sure Brandi would find something wrong with that special treatment.
The judges went through the rest of their evaluations, and there were a number of great pictures. Here are a few of what I consider the best including Michelle, easily the most improved over last week:
As Tyra started calling names, it came down to Sarah and Brittany. Sarah simply couldn’t walk, and didn’t have great life in her photo. Brittany, on the other hand, has one problem. Every photo she takes look like a scene from a Hustler magazine. She came to the judges with foundation Tyra could see a mile away, and quickly washed it off after that. My dear Sarah wound up getting cut, with her old fashioned good looks (the judges’ words, not mine) losing out over XXX Brittany. I have to admit, they probably made the good choice this week.