Another cycle of America's Next Top Model has come to an end, and again I am left feeling disappointed. I'm used to my favorite not winning America's Next Top Model, you'd have to go back many many cycle's to find a winner I was really rooting for. (Cycle 7, when I was cheering for the victorious CariDee English, to be exact.) And it's not that I'm a sore loser, I'm not, I swear. It's the fact that the judges personal favorites and the will of the brand name sponsors have so clearly become the rulers of America's Next Top Model.
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How else can you explain Teyona's victory over Allison last night? From
the very first episode the judges made it clear they were completely
enamored with Teyona for reasons that seemed invisible to the viewers
at home. During the first week, Teyona took a photo that would have
guaranteed most girls a round trip ticket home, yet Teyona was called
third. Week after week the judges praised Teyona for her flawless
photos, never once commenting on the fact that all but one or two of
her photos were the same 3/4 pose. Considering the fact the judges sent
Sandra home for the very same reason, it seems extremely hypocritical
of them to have never noticed that Teyona used the same pose photo
after photo. And while Teyona was called first or second all cycle for
basically the same pose, Allison was repeatedly chided and threatened
with elimination for having "one look."
Before we even get in to just how amazing that one look is, let's talk about the fact that with hindsight and fresh eyes, the judges seemed to prefer Allison's photos over Teyona's. During last night's finale, when the judges reviewed both girls portfolios, it seemed like every photo they looked at they said they preferred Allison's, even though more often then not Teyona had 'won' that photo challenge. Sure, it could have been editing, to tease us into thinking there was a chance that the teacher's pet wasn't going to walk off with the prize, but last night during panel it seemed the judges were realizing just how good of a model Allison had been all along.
And let's talk about that "one look" criticism of Allison. While it's not a totally off base critique; Allison did do a lot of wide-eyed, parted lip, over the shoulder poses, yet we've already established Teyona only did 3/4 profile poses herself. So we're basically talking about two one look models battling each other for the finale. That being the case, the performance in the Cover Girl commercial should have been even more heavily weighted. On both of these fronts: the strength of her single look and the Cover Girl performance, Allison is the clear winner. When describing Allison's look, even Teyona's biggest fan Miss J said that Allison had a look that would be more successful in "editorial international fashion circles." And let's be frank, editorial international fashion is where true top models live, not Cover Girl or Seventeen magazine. Editorial international fashion is the ultimate goal for a model, and yet the girl who is better suited for a cheap cosmetic brand is declared the winner? It makes no sense.
Well, it makes no sense until you realize just how important and influential CoverGirl and Seventeen have become in choosing the winners of America's Next Top Model. This cycle's win smacks of Whitney Thompson's win over the much more high fashion Anya Kop in Cycle 10. Though neither Teyona or Allison are as obviously Cover Girl as Whitney is, the judges and brands once again chose to go with the safer more accessible model. You'd think Tyra and Co. would rather see a winner end up in Vogue than have a single Seventeen cover, but time and time again Tyra, or whoever controls the ANTM purse strings, shows their preference for the later. It's funny how things have changed. Back in the beginning of America's Next Top Model, when there weren't big name sponsors like Cover Girl and Seventeen magazine, Tyra often critiqued girls for being too commercial or catalog. Tyra proclaims they're looking for a high fashion model, but her final choices aren't reflective of the aesthetic she claims to crave.
In truth and through my disappointment, I'm glad that Allison wasn't crowned America's Next Top Model. I just wish that it wasn't so clear that she deserved to win after the finale. If only Allison had been as atrocious on the runway as we all expected or she'd horribly flubbed her Cover Girl commercial. Then, when Teyona won, we could feel like she'd at least sort of earned it and it wasn't just about playing favorites. We could then skip along our merry way and forget that Teyona existed in a couple of cycle's, while we relished Allison's great success as a working high fashion model. Instead, it was Teyona who underperformed on the runway and had a train wreck of a Cover Girl commercial. With this finale, it's become painfully clear that America's Next Top Model is more interested in finding a one time Seventeen cover girl than a true top model and that they'd rather reward personal favorites over potential.
--Abbey Simmons, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image Courtesy of CW)