By admin|Thursday, December 8, 2005 | 1:27 pm | 81 Comments
Here we are with another season finale of America’s Next Top Model. Once again, we have three beautiful girls, and while there used to be a lot of dram going on in the house, the girls are all so focused on winning that none of that bullshit seemed to matter. Our remaining top model contenders each had parts of their game that they would have to improve upon to impress the judges. London is their last chance to show that they are top model royalty. Nicole is the natural beauty and the definition of youthful exuberance, but there are questions about her personality and her willingness to use more than her pretty face to strike a pose. Bre is the girl with the great personality that everybody wants to work with and has improved almost every week, but has she improved enough to go from being pretty to being a model? And then we have Nik. She has a gentle personality, but a slamming body that always turns fierce in front of the camera, but does she have the confidence to be a spokeswoman and handle all of the pressure? Who will be crowned queen? Let’s find out.While the final four is a big deal, the final three is really where it’s at. That wine really did help to patch things up between Nicole and Bre, because when they get back to their hotel suite, they start jumping on the beds in celebration, but honestly, who can blame them? They know in three or four days one of them will be America’s Next Top Model, and their lives will be forever changed. It’s enough to make any girls stand up and shout, except maybe Nik, who is probably doing something mature like reading. If she doesn’t make top model, we know she’ll do great as America’s Next Hot Librarian. It sounds like a stupid show or stupid fantasy, but that would be my contribution to literacy in America. Hooked on phonics worked for you? Try hooked on phine ass.
Bre was so excited because she set an America’s Next Top Model record by being in the bottom two four times and coming out on top each. We started with 13 girls and have had nine eliminations, which means Bre has been on the bubble half of the time. Not exactly the type of honor I would want to be associated with, but you have to admit, she did make it through each time, and she has been getting better each time. Maybe being in the bottom has helped her because it gives you a nothing to lose attitude, which means less time worrying about being nervous and more time just being yourself, and that is always a good thing. The judges have seen something special in her, and she’s beginning to see that herself.
Nicole and Bre have also been contemplating what it means to be in the final three and what it will take to win. Nik has slowly come along as we have inched closer to the end. I know a lot of people say it’s not fair to her because she really just being mature and professional, but it’s that attitude that sometimes means that you are tough enough to make it modeling, and Nik hasn’t show much attitude at all. Nicole has really been confident lately and she knows that the final three is one thing, but the only reason to be on the show is if you want to win, and she definitely wants to win.
Like last year, the photo shoot for the final three consists of a Cover Girl commercial and then a Cover Girl glamour shot. Cover Girl is obviously a big sponsor, and ANTM uses this shoot as a way of highlighting a new product. This year it is True Foundation something or other, and while that is important, the producers brought in Naima to talk about what it means to be in the shoot.
You might have guessed that a commercial requires learning lines, so you know that Nik had to be really nervous. Last time she had to learn lines, she completely blew it with the Secret shoot after her secret was stolen. You can tell she was worried about it, but before she had to learn any lines, the girls got together for a group commercial. I was really impressed because it looked like all of the girls had great on camera charisma, and they all looked really great. I felt something move when Jay told them they should have fun and be playful with each other (I also loved Bre’s dress), but I quickly regained my composure. It was going to be a long night! Here is the commercial for all of you to enjoy.
Click on the picture to play
When it came down to the speaking part, Bre came first, and she had a lot of trouble with her lines. She plugged on, but you could tell it wasn’t very good. Nik had looked like she was going to psych herself out of a good performance, but she ended up nailing the lines. Nicole, who was saw Bre flub and was expecting Nik to flub, thereby making it easier for her to impress, started getting nervous herself and placing lots of pressure on herself. When Nicole got up there to record her line, she completely blanked out. When they asked her if she could continue, she simply said that she couldn’t and that the lights were blinding her, you know, from the camera.
Never being a model myself, family Christmas card photos excluded, I can’t attest to how bad the lights were, but in the world of modeling, the lights are more important than she is. I would imagine it would be like wanting to be a chef and complaining about the knives in the kitchen or becoming Pamela Anderson’s assistant and saying you are afraid of infectious disease. It comes with the territory folks, and being able to handle these sorts of things is what makes you a model. Nicole is beautiful, but was she so much better than the other two that she could afford to complain like that? Not according to me. In order to finish the shoot, Jay read her lines and she would repeat them. Not the best way to start out the competition.
Luckily for Nicole, the next part of the competition was the Cover Girl glamour shot, and she seems made to do this cover. If you think of Cover Girl, you think of fun a playful and without a care, and Nicole has no trouble pulling that off. Nik went first, and since her big problem has always been that her face looks the same in her photos, she was really paying attention to how her face was looking during the shoot. Bre was next, and I thought she would also have an easy time at this shoot because she is a person that never seems to have trouble being herself, but it looked like she was trying a little too hard to pull off a smile. She said she was trying to think of something funny, but I mean, it’s a smile. It takes fewer muscles to smile than it takes to frown, or so my fourth grade teacher would say, so smiling shouldn’t be hard, you know, for a MODEL. Nicole was last, and she seemed really comfortable, but the photographer told her to watch her tongue, which of course Nicole complained because it’s the way she smiles and why should she change just for this photographer. It’s not like people were PAYING her to be there.
It was time for the first elimination of the night, and the only thing you were sure of was that Nik was going to be moving on. Nicole and Bre had messed up their commercials so much that it was going to be a tossup between the two of them. The guest judges for the evening were Vanya Strok and Nargess Gharani, and since the two finalists would be competing in a Gharani Strok fashion show, it seemed like that made a lot of sense. By the way, was anybody else FREAKED out by the shot of Tyra right before the judging? I usually love those photos, but this one made her look a little bit like a blow up doll herself.
As they entered the room, Tyra was proud of the little rainbow that she created, chocolate, vanilla, and caramel, and now that I think about it, that’s how it’s been for every ANTM that I have watched (I started Cycle 3). I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but if J. Edgar Hoover were around (and you KNOW he would watch Top Model), he’d probably have an investigation. The judges didn’t spend lots of time on the group commercial, saying only that the director singled out Nik for how well she did and how much she stood out. From there, the judges moved right on to their individual commercials and their pictures. Here are the pictures(click on each for larger version):
Bre fans (and I’m one of them) really had to cringe when they saw her photo. It wasn’t that she looked bad, because she still looked pretty, but her smile definitely didn’t give the pop the others two had. Nik and Nicole looked absolutely amazing. You could put either of their pictures in a room, and the rest of the world would revolve around it.
Before the judging, I was sure that Nik was a sure thing, but when they were giving their feedback, they said that there were not a lot of frames for them to choose from. For Bre, they had a lot of very pretty pictures to choose from, but they were having trouble finding one that was model-ly, and then there was the commercial. It looked really bad, but they liked that she was able to finish and sounded more natural than the others. And let’s not forget the voice, even Twiggy had to compliment her on the voice. There was no question in the brilliance of Nicole’s picture, but they let her hear it about the problem with the lights. She confessed that it wasn’t the lights that were bothering her; she just forgot her lines, which at least makes a little sense.
Despite the lack of a lot of quality shots and a personality the judges called wishy-washy, Nik was in fact called first. Her performance in both was too good to be overlooked, and anything else at this stage would have been a joke. That meant that it was down to Nicole and Bre. Tyra called it the battle between consistency and progress. In the end, it was the consistency that won and Bre was sent home. It was hard to argue with the decision. Nicole was often a brat, and she needed some punch (in the face, for an attitude adjustment), but she always looked like a model. Bre had come such a long way and was very natural, but she was always pretty, not always a model.
Bre was always proud of how often she made it out of the bottom two, but the fifth time was not the charm. When she heard that her name was not called, Bre was disappointed but it didn’t break her. She took off her stilettos, put her glasses back on, hugged the two finalists, and then left. Like most of the girls who were eliminated in London (except for Jayla, of course), Bre was happy to have made it as far as she did. She knew that you are going to be knocked down many times in your life, and the only thing you can do is pick yourself back up, and go on. Bre learned a lot about herself, and knew that the only place she could go was up. She was so happy to be the fourth baddest bitch; you know she was proud to be the third baddest. Even if she did become a slight bitch in London, she went out with class, and I think saved her reputation. Across 110th street America, I got one girl I’d like to you all to know about right now.
What we are left with are two girls who represent opposite sides of the spectrum. Nicole is the wacky girl who runs around the house wearing the Groucho Marx glasses, which would make Nik more of the Zeppo. The first part of their final challenge would be the Elle Girl photo shoot, shot by…..Gilles Bensimone! Finally we’ll get to see the dude that gets Tyra all wet when she says his name. It turns out that Gilles looks like an older, gayer version of Geoffrey Rush. We had been in England so long, I had almost forgotten that photographers could work without cargo vests and safari helmets. We know that Gilles is supposed to be a great photographer, but you would think he would have to open his eyes to be able to see what he was shooting. Tyra also let us know that Gilles was a big practical joker. He once called her the ugliest girl in the world, and then booked her for a shoot the next day. Oh, what a ham! Almost as good as when he did the submarine pinkout to their bottles of Evian or add his own teabag to their ginger tea.
Gilles Bensimone models the latest from Punisher’s WeHo collection
This Elle Girl shoot was a big deal not only because it will be the cover in February 2006, but because it would be their first shoot without Jay around to coach them. The training wheels were coming off! In reality, the photo shoot wasn’t going to be that unfamiliar because Tyra was going to be taking the photo with them, which would either make them very excited or very nervous, or very nervited or excervous. We have yet to see Gilles Bensimone’s work, but we are assured it will be marvelous. That prankster Gilles really had those girls worrying. He said that Nicole would be the winner while Nik was looking on, and that Nik will be the winner when Nicole was looking on. The girls were each quite worried about this until Tyra broke poor Gilles’ heart and told him that nobody got to determine the winners except the judges.
It was tough getting away from Gilles, but the girls had to get to their runway show. Eva from Cycle 3 and Naima from Cycle 4 would also be in the show, and they told the girls that this is their one big chance. There would be other girls but it is your job to “kick everybody off the stage with your presence”. Most importantly, they were told that this is not the time to have any regrets and you must leave it all out on the runway. Work. It. Out. After their makeup and right before the show, they each got to have a little one on one with Tyra. I thought this was an odd time to talk with Tyra since there was a good chance they would cry and ruin their makeup, and that’s exactly what they did, but I guess that just adds some degree of difficulty so the East German judge can’t complain. Both girls told Tyra practically the same thing, which is that they wanted to win very badly, and modeling was something that would help them feel proud about themselves.
I think a lot of us were very happy for this episode to come because there really wasn’t a lot of runway work this year. We had all of that stuff early, but the girls were so horrible at the time, it would be interesting to see what they were all working with now. Last year, the runway was submerged underwater for that extra Jesus effect, but the runway this year was much more traditional. While they walked, video monitors would project them saying lines from various Shakespeare plays and sonnets. That was interesting, but what I was looking forward to was some attitude. Jay told them that the walk would be fast, which meant that the stomp would be on.
One thing that was lackluster about Cycle 3 was the final runway show. The runway show is the final for these girls, and they have so much emotion and so much adrenaline going through them that it seemed like a waste to have them strut slowly. This year was not the case because it was f-i-e-r-c-e FIERCE. The girls let the energy take them over and pound that runway. Rise or fall, this is where they were going to make their name. Both of the girls looked great, and either of them could have been top models. Nicole looked like she had been possessed by a badass runway bitch, and let’s just say that there was holding Nik down. In fact, the judges said that her walk might be a little too jiggly. Well, no shit. Nik’s got way more bounce for the ounce, what do you think:
Click on the picture to play
For the final panel, the judges take into account the entire portfolio the girls have accumulated until that point, and this was going to be very difficult because they both have been taking some of the best pictures each and every week. Looking at what set them apart, the decision was going to come down to a few factors. They both looked liked model but what set Nik apart was that oh so lovely body of hers, and she took very consistent pictures. Nik’s only problem was that sick body only seemed to hold one face, while Nicole was much more of a chameleon. Then there was the attitude. Nicole was whiny and had an attitude, but the judges wondered if she would be more able to handle the pressure of the modeling world because of that attitude.
When the judges finally decided who would be the face of ANTM for the world, it turned out to be Nicole. when her name was called and her picture displayed on the screen, she could hardly believe it. She was in such shock that Nik had to egg her on to be congratulated, where Nigel was of course very happy to be the first one to give her a hug. He really is one randy bastard, isn’t he?
What was the difference maker? I can’t be positive, but I think it was the runway show. Nik brought the same thing she brings every time, a very professional performance (plus that jiggle). The judges wanted the girls to show something a little more, and that is what Nicole did. Throughout the show, she has been labeled as the girl that is young, cute, fun, and cheeky, but what she showed on the runway is that she could be sultry and sexy as well. Twiggy said that when Nicole first came out, she could hardly recognize her. She had this strong look that said, come and get me…if you dare. Nik is fine, and she didn’t lose the competition, it was just that Nicole saw the win and took it with her performance. That’s not to say that Nik is not going to have a career, because the pictures speak for themselves, she just wasn’t right for this show.
I have kind of mixed feelings about the outcome. This is the first time that my favorite didn’t make it out on top, so I feel a teen bit of disappointment, but at the same time, I am not going to hate on what Nicole did. Nicole’s success will be determined by her attitude. If she displays the same kind of theatrics she did during the Cover Girl shoot with the lights, nobody will hire her. Until then, we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and congratulate Nicole on her win. Always energetic and full of spunk, this girl next door is now America’s Next Top Model.
America’s Next Top Model: Nicole
What do you think of the results? Did the right girl win?