The girls come home from last week's panel, where Seymone was eliminated
for being a whiner, and Alisha rightfully relishes her gorgeous Hello,
Kitty photo up on the Positive Reinforcement Screen. But of course, once
they're home, it doesn't take long for the drama to start. Now that
Kyle's gone, Laura needs a new girl to hate, and she's chosen Eboni,
whom everyone generally agrees is young, immature and vain. You'd think
Laura and Eboni might want to stick together, as the only two American
girls left ... but you'd be wrong. It's every girl for herself in this
fashion funhouse. Which is why it's seeming ever less likely that our
final two will be one Brit and one American, as so many of us originally
America's Next Top Model is available on Amazon Prime.
Nigel shows up at the girls' LA house with a bunch of Chinese takeout,
which SHOULD clue them in about the announcement that's about to come
their way, but they're too distracted by actually being ENCOURAGED to
eat to wonder what this is about. They sit down for a family-style
dinner, at the end of which Nigel hands out gigantic fortune cookies,
which contain cliched "fortunes" for each girl like, "Keep your friends
close and your enemies closer" (Catherine) and "You can talk the talk,
but can you walk the walk?" (Annaliese). Alisha's says, "It's a long
fall from the top," which seems a little too threatening, if you ask me.
Eboni's basically calls her immature. Even the Chinese are out to get
All of a sudden, Nigel pops HIS gigantic fortune cookie (ha, that sounds
dirty, doesn't it?), and it's the big announcement: They're going to
MACAU! Everyone starts screaming and jumping up and down, even though
I'm nearly positive none of them know what/where Macau is. That must be
what the Chinese food was for. So the girls could scream with
confidence, "WE'RE GOING TO ... ASIA?"
The girls arrive in Macau, and the change of scenery inspires a lot of
introspection among them. Alisha misses her family deeply. Laura
reminisces about how she never had a "settled" childhood. Eboni grew up
in her grandmother's attic and got a full ride to UW in Seattle, but put
it on hold to pursue "the whole modeling thing." All this focus on
Eboni makes me feel like she might not need to keep that scholarship on
hold much longer.
Accompanied by a random Macauan song and dance troupe, Jay Manuel
embarrassingly sputters out "Welcome to Macau" in Cantonese, and then
ushers the girls to "check out their digs." They're all wearing huge
showgirl-esque feathered headpieces for seemingly no reason. Cue another
round of screaming as they run through their fancy suite, which is
massive and resplendent. "Like ten people could shower in here!" one of
them yells when they see the bathroom. The CW must air those quotes to
give those rare male viewers false hope, as if such scenes would ever
make it to air.
As usual, the group happiness proves short-lived. Alisha goes on a
verbal rampage when Sophie "touches her stuff" and throws her dress on
the floor, or some such nonsense. I'm guessing it's gonna be an Alisha
vs. Eboni Bottom Two showdown this week.
I know this challenge is gonna be good when Miss J shows up in a
"Chinaman" outfit that would be offensive in the 1930s. I almost expect
him to greet them with a "ching chong wing wang." Seriously, this is not
LET'S! Get down! To business! To defeat! The HUNS!
With Miss J, doing his best Mulan impression, is a man named "Master Chen," who specializes in Chinese
astrology, which, like Captain Planet, is based around the five elements: Fire, Wood, Water, Earth
and Heart. Oh, I mean Metal. His students are here to sit cross-legged and solemnly survey the otherworldly transformations that are about to take place.
Each girl gets a reading to find out what "element" she is,
and what's missing from her life/face. So, a horoscope. Because that "fortune cookie" bit wasn't mystical enough, I guess.
Master Chen, who seems to be a mix between a psychic and a therapist and
has a troubling lack of any accent whatsoever, then takes a look at
each of the girls' lookbooks, interprets their personalities, and even gives
predictions for their futures that are a little too
good, and too tailored to incite drama. He reads that Alisha loves and misses her mom. He says that Sophie is "destined to be
famous, but at the price of jealousy" -- and, like MAGIC, the jealousy
instantly begins! He also calls out Eboni for her troubled childhood.
It's almost as if he was fed
by a group of producers who've been watching these girls for
two months and know exactly which buttons to push.
Miss J announces that their challenge
is to use their readings to come up with a new look, which will
apparently supplement their deep elemental deficiencies. Wow, who knew it was
so easy to fix your spiritual aura? Change your elemental makeup ...
by changing your actual
makeup! Change your aura ... by changing your
clothing! I don't know much about Chinese astrology, but I have to
believe it's a little more complicated and less shallow than that. It
would appear that Miss J's outfit is actually fitting for this
Each girl has a couple minutes to attend to herself at the Ancient Chinese Makeover Station, put on a color-coded sarong and
different makeup, and then explain her choices to Master Chen, The
(coming soon to Bravo). It's all very spiritual.
Master Chen picks Laura and her sexy,
black Lara Croft-esque get-up as the winner. She wins a free spa
treatment (AND ETERNAL COSMIC ALIGNMENT!). Because Laura only has one team member left, Eboni gets to go
with her to the spa. It's awkward. But still not as awkward as Miss J's outfit. God, I'm gonna miss him so much next season.
The Photo Shoot: "Smooth Operators"
Jay explains that for their photo shoot this week, the girls will be
wearing silk gowns that will be accessorized with the "producers" of
that silk: Silkworms. Jay holds up a box of wriggling worms just to
show he's not bluffing. They look like dog turds that sat out in the sun too long and turned white. But, like ... alive.
hiiiiii i'm a silk worm and my element is feces
The girls erupts in a chorus of "ewwwwws!"
But no one seems too surprised, either. What would Top Model
an unnecessarily disgusting photo shoot or two? So the gross-out response doesn't last long. The girls get straight to
hair and makeup, and no one even questions it when a sorry assistant
sprinkles bugs all over their gorgeous gowns. And that makes me wonder:
Is this batch of models actually TOO low-key and professional? Or is
Tyra getting too soft with the surprises? I think it's a little of both.
Back in the day, she would have made them wear the silkworms on their
faces. And there would have been an Angelea-like character present to
throw a fit and say something like, "Bitch, the only worm I'm touching
is at the bottom of a tequila bottle!"
Anyway. It's time for the photo shoot. Annaliese starts off a little
rocky, but impresses the photographer with her sultry poses. Laura looks
amazing, and Jay asks her to embody her "best orgasm." Jay calls her
"awkward, bizarre, almost eating the silkworm" sexuality "genius," but
the other girls think she's too sexual. Especially with bugs involved.
Eboni's dress is baby pink ("of course ... 30 never," she sighs) and her
shoot seems generally unimpressive. Contrast that with Sophie, who
looks amazing and has a scared vulnerability in this shoot that is
Catherine ends up breaking down during her shoot, though it's hard to
understand why. Apparently even just accessing her sad thoughts for the
sake of the shoot causes Catherine to emotionally crumble. Jay isn't
happy with her "wooden, stiff" poses. He also has a problem with Alisha,
who can't seem to give a real emotion without getting too "posey."
Designer Barney Chang, who designed the girls' gowns in the shoots, is today's guest judge.
She "loves creepy crawly bugs" because she's a "pirate" (uhh?), so the worms weren't a problem.
Nigel loves her face in this shot. Tyra likes how she looks like she got
caught in the middle of a dance. Even Kelly calls the photo
"unbelievable." Barney gives the photo validation by calling it "very
Chinese" in its mood.
Kelly actually likes it, because it looks like a "WWII postcard."
Tyra, however, dislikes the lack of neck, and her lines aren't
balanced. She looks like she failed Modeling 101.
It's ... disappointing. Barney says that she "totally froze"
on set, and Catherine admits that she started sobbing on set because she
was trying to be sad, and then started fantasizing about someone close
to her dying. Nigel is like, "Maybe next time, think about a broken
heart ... not a death." The pose looks half-there, and her face is dark
and unsettling. I've now changed my mind. Catherine is Bottom Two-bound.
Barney likes the top half, but she's not selling the dress. "You
look like the girl who didn't get into the Supremes," says Kelly. "It's
about selling product," says Tyra, and Alisha didn't, so she's in
The judges are swooning. "Miss Commercial is turning out her
high fashion!" says Tyra. Annaliese explains that her inspiration was
walking in on her man with another woman, and her pose reads as, "How
DARE you not love me enough!" It's a good point, because I'm just loving
Annaliese more and more. Her hair during judging tonight looks AMAZING.
She's like Scary Spice without the bad-scary.
Nigel thinks the look in her eyes is "too extreme." Tyra thinks
the dress looks amazing, but Sophie isn't doing that. They're right. I
thought she looked great in action during the photo shoot, but this shot
is too extreme and in your face with its fear and weepiness.
In deliberation, Nigel tries to save Eboni from the chopping block by
saying how much he loves her body language. For once, Kelly makes a good
point that they keep pushing and hoping with Eboni, but the results
aren't coming back. Then Tyra takes a turn trying to save Catherine,
reminding everyone how magical her music video performance was. Even
though Annaliese's photo is great, Kelly still doesn't see her as a
model. Sophie looks "average," says Nigel -- she'll be safe, but the
judges' love affair with her is waning, unless she ups her game and
shows more range.
Best Photo of the Week goes to: LAURA
Bottom Two: ALISHA and CATHERINE
Aww. This is a Bottom Two that has no positive outcome, if you ask me.
Tyra says that Alisha didn't work hard enough to sell the dress, and
actually detracted from it. Catherine is "timeless and iridescent," but
her photo was weak. And the girl who gets a second chance is ... ALISHA.
Noooo! Queen Cath'reen just got the guillotine! But she leaves with her
head intact, and held high, saying that she's proud of herself and
learned a lot. A classy lady until the end.
Laura thinks a guy is cute, so obviously Eboni draws the conclusion that Laura's "sleeping her way to the top," and says so. Ooooh, girl. You may actually be "30 Never," 'cause you about to get murdered at 18.
(Images courtesy of the CW)