It’s the day of mothers on The CW’s America’s Next Top Model, but this family affair produces a questionable outcome that makes us cry uncle.
Let’s bitch it out…
Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in an abusive relationship with ANTM. Each week I complain about how Ty Ty and company are manipulating the show in obvious and offensive ways, but every Friday I sit down on my couch, power up the PVR (Canadian DVR to you US folks) and settle in for the sad contestant backstories and head shake-worthy judging panel. Inevitably I walk away with (emotional) bruises and impotent rage.
Let’s begin – as we always seem to – at the end. After weeks of coasting on his long luxurious beach locks, Mikey finally – finally – ends up in the bottom two and on the verge of elimination. Lacey, too. In fact she’s fallen so much in the last few weeks that the editing team deems her spiral worthy of a black and white montage of identical photo shoot looks (toss that bob and pout those lips, Lacey!) Immediately it looks like Tyra is following through on the groundwork ANTM has been laying for the last two episodes, which have pretty clearly predicted Lacey’s swan-song. And then, as we watch the rapid-fire flicker of the scores like a ticker tape, the panel numbers come up as a tie. Tyra calmly announces that in the event of a tie, which she assures us later never happens, the judges will make the final decision (which kind of makes no sense considering they were the ones who created the tie in the first place). So it seems inevitable: Lacey will be sent home because Mikey’s “brand” is so wonderful, even though he’s coasted on a single look far longer than anyone else in Cycle 22.
And then, the heavens part and Tyra announces that Lacey has survived.
Angels sing. Kittens meow. Babies stop crying and giggle. Could this be the dawn of a new day?!
Ha ha demon Tyra laughs. No, of course not. This has all been a big fake-out. Mikey isn’t going anywhere. Instead we’ve been duped, mistakenly led to believe that there would be an elimination this week and a top three heading into next week’s finale. Instead the entire episode is revealed to be a complete waste of time and energy. Instead of rewarding the best contestants with a chance to “be on top”, Tyra and crew have arbitrarily changed the rules. Mikey and Lacey are still in the competition and instead of a top three, there is now some wonky gender division bullshit so that the final season comes down to an arbitrary boy vs girl finale. This means that instead of the two most deserving contestants duking it out, Mikey and Nyle will go head to head and Lacey will take on Mamé. The development is predictably infuriating and simultaneously tired, which are both adjectives that are highly applicable to this aged series. Time to put this series out of its (and our) misery.
- Don’t even get me started on how Mamé manages to snag top spot. Despite throwing down the lowest challenge score for her uninspiring Nylon cover, the “precious” pageant girl somehow manages to pull off high scores for her photoshoot. Credit should really go to her mom for a surprisingly uninhibited Donna Summers-inspired performance.
- Here’s my real issue with Mamé getting the top spot: all of the other contestants are instrumental in helping to coach and position their moms. Contrast this with Mamé, whose mother only ends up rocking that jubilant look thanks to Tyra’s extensive coaching. Why reward Mamé for being unhelpful and spending most of the photoshoot looking like she wants to murder her shy mother for underperforming?
- I don’t understand how Mamé’s simply OK pictures win out over Nyle’s amazing photos. He and his mother are so in synch and his eyes…man they are piercing. It’s no wonder that Kelly Cutrone basically wets her seat gushing over them.
- Also: considering how much more heartbreaking Mamé’s story about being shipped away from her parents at an early age is, why did I tear up over Nyle’s panel break-down but not hers? While I detest Mikey and his predilection for flirting with anyone with a vagina, Mamé’s presence in the final four is legitimately baffling.
- With Tyra’s mom Carolyn London filling in as primary photographer, Yu Tsai is downgraded solely to the Nylon challenge. Considering how unhelpful he’s been for most of the season, this turns out to be a good thing. A little Yu Tsai goes a long way.
- Love how the challenge is basically determined by a pool of approximately twenty randos on the street. Shouldn’t the sample size have been a bit bigger?
- Big cheers around my couch when Skinny Margaret Cho from Nylon tells Mikey to stop relying on his hair. Thank god someone finally tells him how it is.
- Finally, while it sounds like I’m being super c*nty and mean, the mom photoshoot challenge is actually a lot of fun and does a good job of bringing some humanity and emotion to the proceedings. Sure it’s ripped straight from the Survivor playbook of reality TV production, but damn if it doesn’t work.
- Chrissy Teigen (to Mikey): “You look like Kid Rock.” That is…not a compliment. Also: why are you here?
- Random lady on the street (about Nyle’s Nylon cover): “The eyes? They make beautiful babies.”
- Mikey (proving he lacks the book smarts): “I love my mother more than anything in the world. She’s the most beautiful-est woman in the world.”
- Miss J (when Mikey suggests he’ll put the picture of him and his mom in his bedroom): “<record scratch> Oh no don’t put it in your bedroom.”
Your turn: what do you think of the arbitrary reveal that the final two is a boy vs girl pairing? Should Mikey have gotten the boot? Any ideas how Mamé managed to snag top spot? Did you love Nyle’s pictures? Is Lacey in trouble? And who will end up “on top” in next week’s finale? Sound off below.
ANTM airs Fridays at 9pm EST on The CW.