Crop-top Tyra’s next batch of 31 young hopefuls board the bus, but who will get off?
Let’s bitch it out…
Since last year’s controversial win for Tyson Beckford lookalike Keith (honestly it wasn’t that much of a surprise), I’ve been looking forward to the next cycle. Maybe this time there will be some decent competition. I’ve been following America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) from the beginning, and I’m always dissatisfied when there’s a clear winner by the third or fourth episode. It’s Boys v. Girls again, so we’ll be in for some crazy cat fights and bromances (at least I hope), but the show seems to have lost a bit of its focus with the addition of the male models back in cycle 20. And while I’m certainly not complaining about the introduction of man-candy, I must admit that the inevitable onslaught of 20-something raging hormones does get a bit tiring. Unfortunately, I have no expectation that this cycle will be any different.
From her opening monologue it seems like Tyra has adopted a no-nonsense attitude to match her shorn locks. Rocking a black pantsuit and half-jacket with “popped” notch lapel, Tyra seems to be channelling her MBA side, as opposed to the NFL superfan she portrayed last cycle (what was she covering with all those loose jerseys?). Add this to the white-collared pantsuit from the judging, and the yellow-banana-superhero styling of the pre-season promotional stills, and it looks like we’re in for more of her dominatrix diva persona than her girl-next-door BFF.
She’s invited back my two favourite judges, Kelly Cutrone and Ms. J (J. Alexander). I may not always agree with Kelly’s critiques, but she’s consistent with her opinions while still being able to adjust (if occasionally) for those few pictures that “work” but don’t fit her aesthetic. She eventually pigeonholes every model, though, at which point it is impossible to sway her. Ms. J, on the other hand, is often all over the place, but her aesthetic closely aligns with my own, so I usually agree with almost everything she says—it’s as though I’m controlling an avatar in the heart of the show.
I’m not so keen to see Yu Tsai back. I’ve never been able to get on board with his bi-polar attitude toward the models, and I still carry a bit of a grudge for his demeaning treatment of last year’s “queen-bitch” Chantelle. I know it’s part of the drama, but Ms. J was ambivalent too, and he some how managed to convey a sense of sincerity. Also, I’m not convinced that Yu Tsai is the right choice to be on-set trying to draw the best out of every shoot. We’ll see if he improves this season; I’m always hopeful.
Enough preamble, let’s get to the episode (what there is of one anyway). My unofficial title is “Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold.” Tyra’s bus-shoot and red-carpet runway at Hollywood and Highland may seem innocuous, but coupled with Tyra’s chest-thumping opening monologue, it’s clear that TyTy had only one person in mind when she conceived the premiere episode for this season: Janice Dickinson. “We are copied all the time, but never duplicated. They come and they go.” These words alone don’t point any fingers. But Tyra’s no slouch; she’s set up shop in front of where the Janice Dickinson Modelling Agency used to be (Dickinson’s reality show ended in 2008), and Tyra doesn’t stop there. Tyra then berates her former judge for “putting beauty in a little circle,” an act anathema to Tyra’s own Flawsome aesthetic, before going full-on Miss-Congeniality-question-round cray cray: “Don’t let anyone, EVER, get in the way of your dreams!”
We see so little of most of the models in this episode, it’s hard to tell who’s got the goods. The bus shoot does reveal a few front runners though: Mamé (I love her!!), Courtney (It’s all wrong, but the camera loves her), Nyle (Hi there), and Ashley (love the bone structure). We’ll see how the rest of the season shakes down, but for now the 22 models who make the first cut fall into three distinct categories:
Current Favs: Mamé, Courtney (Miss Flawsome, herself), Nyle (Hi again), Dustin, Justin, Stefano (despite the fact he’s a D-bag), and Ashley
Crazy Train (‘nough said): Devin, Mikey, Bello, Ava
Forgettable: Hadassah, Lacey (despite the amount of editing spend on her), Alexa (baggage-queen), Bryant (egomanic of the cycle), Miguel (token Gay), Dallas (see below), Maleesa, Delanie, and …apparently there are 3 other completely forgettable models.
- Bello (nobody can say his name) is CRAZY – clearly he’s this cycle’s Romeo
- I’m glad Mikey hasn’t gone to prison yet … if he stays the course, he’ll be a good candidate for “most improved.”
- I love Mamé, I don’t know why.
- Kelly: “Oh my god, just look at all those models just asking to go home”
- Kelly: “Please don’t make me talk about Dallas!”
- Lacey (about Tyra): “Her face is like a buttery canvas.”
- Tyra (about Mikey): “You just seem, like, you don’t pay bills.”
Your turn: We already know who makes the top 14, but who do you think will be the first out of the house? There are lots of candidates this season for attitude adjustment, who will be able to make the necessary changes to succeed: Bello, Mikey, or Stefano? Who will be this season’s central villain? Sound off below.
ANTM airs Wednesdays at 8pm EST on The CW.