'America's Next Top Model' Cycle 11: Finale Predictions
There they are, folks, your America's Next Top Model Cycle 11 final three. Figure skating Analeigh, mixed-martial-arts fightin' McKey and bubbly goofball Samantha have emerged as the last modelettes standing in this competition.

On Wednesday of this week, we'll learn which girl comes out on top. Over the next few days, Gina Scarpa will make the case for each model in turn, but for today, I'm going to go out on a limb and pick the final two and ultimate winner. But first, a look back on first impressions for this cycle of America's Next Top Model.

*NEW* Samantha Photos
*NEW* Analeigh Photos
*NEW* McKey Photos

Each cycle, I do the “Judging by Appearances” column, in which I try to guess a model's ability based only on the promo photos of each released by the CW. Here's what I said about each of the final three:

For Analeigh, I thought you couldn't see her potential because she was styled too plainly in that shot. I thought that didn't necessarily put her out of the running, saying, “If you've been reading my articles over the past few cycles, you might know that I am a fan of the odd girl, the girl who can seem ordinary or awkward in some angles, but can come to life under the right circumstances. Analeigh could be that kind of girl if she gets the right haircut and some edgy shoots.”

It turned out Analeigh could turn on the body language and really perform in some high-fashion shots. But what those shoots revealed to me and at least one judge, though (Paulina Porizkova) was that her face might not be able to always live up to the edginess of the photo.

As to McKey, I got her completely wrong, thinking her haughty expression in her first photo indicated “She could be our Miss Sassy Pants (a la last cycle's Allison Kuehn) this cycle.” Uh, nope. She's the opposite of Miss Sassy Pants. She's Miss Invisible Pants because other than her natural beauty, her interesting outfits at judging, and her martial arts passion, I don't really know anything about her personality.

What is interesting about my reaction to the shot was that there was something spot on about how I would feel later. I wrote, “There is something about her that makes me want to see more of what she can do, which is the mark of a potentially good model.” I still feel like I want to see more of what she can do, still feel like despite her beauty and physicality, she hasn't broken through to make an emotional connection with the camera. If she could do that, she would be my favorite hands-down.

Here was what I said about Samantha's chest-stuck-out first shot, and I was right on about her in some ways: “Samantha, Samantha, Samantha, have you NEVER watched America's Next Top Model?! Okay, BuddyTV readers and diehard ANTM fans, quick quiz: if you're a larger-chested girl, what is your primary posing position? I bet most of you at home just stuck your hands on your hips, turned your shoulders in and rolled your torso back. She's a cute girl, but with the boobage and her legs (which are gorgeous in normal human terms, but a little short in model terms), she's going to have to work extra hard to convince the judges she can do high fashion. This pose is not a good start.”

Samantha admitted early on that she really didn't know about high fashion, so it turns out I guessed right there. What I didn't know is that she would be able to very quickly tap into some kind of innate modeling knowledge and pull off some very striking and edgy shots.

So that's where we've been. Where will we go on Wednesday?

McKey has been so completely under the radar, and has gotten so little feedback from the judges other than praise for her good photos. This might be crazy, but I feel like despite her photos, she just can't make it to the final two, because from a reality television perspective, where's the drama there? We really haven't been given any sense of her as a person, and that seems telling to me. Additionally, she's performed well in the shoots, but her commercial was a surprising flop. We have another one coming up; failure there might be the judges' excuse for eliminating her.

So that would leave scrappy Samantha up against Analeigh. Analeigh seems to have a little more poise and fashion savvy than Samantha has. She also did very well in her commercial and go-sees. Her photographs have not been as convincing, and sometimes she can come across as a little trying-too-hard. On the other hand, Samantha's pulled off, I think, more photographs with a “wow” factor. She's been a little bit of a mess at judging sometimes, and seems to miss the mark when it comes to “getting” the fashion world. Then again, despite her goofy, fun-loving persona, she seems to be clever and creative and she might just finally get it together. If she could channel her charm into a good commercial, and then nail a great runway, she could possibly pull off an upset.

Otherwise, I think this might be Analeigh's season. We'll find out on the finale on Wednesday!

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Images courtesy of CWTV)