Thursday, September 21, 2006


Now that the dust has settled on the two-hour premiere of America's Next Top Model: Cycle 7, I can honestly say that I have no clue who will come out on top yet; I have definite opinions on who will not, but as of right now I'm stymied by the thought of having to choose a possible frontrunner. Predictions can come later though, because right now I'm just basking in the post-premiere afterglow.

This cycle is going to be all about Tyra, that's for sure: from the "Tyra magazine" theme (can she be any more obviously pitching herself as the new Oprah?) to her cringeworthy, jaw-droppingly poor "model diva" performance at the outset of the second half's photoshoot, we're being treated to a higher percentage of Tyra screentime per episode than last cycle -- and hooray for that, because this cycle's models seem to be pretty bland so far.

And as for the other judges: thanks be to Miss J and J. Manuel for giving it another go (like they really would have anything better to do). Miss J's scene-stealing turn as a stewardess picking the models up at LAX was one of the highlights of hour one, and subtley ethnically-ambiguous J. Manuel directed the photoshoots with his signature mixture of panache, condescension and flamboyance. Our own little resident "Director Of The Esthetic" is no Tim Gunn, but with pecs like that honey, who needs brains -- that's what I'm talkin about. Twiggy still bores me and Nigel will only really become interesting once he gets behind the camera at a photoshoot and gets his swerve on with the models.

They took some risks this year by pulling out some of the big guns right away: the A-swirl Twins were out and a-swirling and a-twirling within the first five minutes, and they separated the women from the morally righteous prude girly-girls by breaking out the nudity for the very first photoshoot. During the initial interviews, Tyra's "I can see straight through the fake" declaration was a top contender for most quotable line of b.s., while the "homeless to homecoming queen" story made for an excellent heartstring pull. First castaway Christian's comment that "touching [Tyra] was like touching my dream" comment takes the prize for the most brilliantly stupid confession.

This cycle's "model house" was pretty impressive, but it didn't take very long for the inevitable house-trashing to begin: sure enough, by the end of the first mealtime everything suddenly turned into a badly-played game of The Sims (as Anonymous A put it).

But back to those bland-ass models...the stereotypes are out in full force: Megg is the Adrianne-esque rocker chick; Monique is the Jade-esque bitch; Anchal is the Nnenna-like doomed "ringer." And what about those twins? Amanda and Michelle have so far proven to be incredibly dull, but they both took good pictures in the "controversial" anorexia and bulimia photoshoots. It's too bad they have no personality and look like living, breathing rejects from a Tim Burton cartoon...the twin thing had such promise, I hope they start to act all crazy or something pretty soon.

As for the week's challenge -- Those Elmer Avenue guys were absolute FREAKS. Miss Jay looked about as outrageous as a soccer mom standing next to them. Like the twins, they too looked straight outta The Nightmare Before Christmas 2: Tom Skellington's Runway Adventures, although the fat one with the untrimmed beard could have easily pass for perennially imprisoned Survivor: Season 1 winner Richard Hatch. It was unfortunate that all the bible-thumping contestants seemed to have been eliminated by the nude photoshoot, because I would have loved to witness the hypocrisy of them eagerly removing the clothes of those rockin' male models. Again, BLAND is the keyword so far: there's barely any conflict yet. Bring back the writers!!

Anyway, the only predictions I can come up with so far:

Melrose will overcompensate for her initial frontrunner-inspired diva attitude by falling into a spiral of Gina-like self-doubt that will lead to her early elimination.

Anchal's hair gets chopped off during the makeover and she leaves within five weeks because, like Nnenna, she does nothing to improve herself.

Megan's "pig-nose" and "odd proportions" get her voted off within three weeks. Twiggy will try -- and fail -- to convince the rest of the judges they're making a terrible mistake.

Jaeda will become increasingly defensive as the comments about her masculinity escalate; she might even threaten to settle things outside with Nigel.

A CW Observation

By the way, what was up with that whole "CWH" mini-show-within-a-show advertising thing for Herbal Essences? I'd read that The CW was going to be experimenting with "new types of alternative advertising" but this was ridiculous. Who is Rachel Perry and why was she wearing a pirate shirt? Who is Ashley Javier and why could he not look at the camera while putting the moves on the audience to buy Herbal Essences? Could he not bear the thought that he has sold his soul to pimp hair care products?


Anonymous "A" said...

I was annoyed by the harping on how "controversial" the photo shoot was. I mean, it was their "most controversial photo shoot ever"! According to ANTM! Before it even aired! (ummm...)

Ooo, yeah, everyone's talking about it. Oh, wait, no they're not.

I think I need a Tyra hug.

11:26 AM  

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