America's Next Top Model: Episode 9.1, "The Girls Go Cruisin" Live Thoughts
It never gets old and it's time for a new cycle of America's Next Top Model.  Since I live with all men (my son and my husband), I force them to sit and watch this with me.  This makes up for countless hours of Spongebob Squarepants and ESPN.  I'm sure my fellow ladies will understand where I'm coming from.  Sometimes, you just need a little girl time.  There's no better show for that than Top Model.  Tonight, the girls will be whittled down from 33 to just 13 finalists.  Let's get started!

The show kicks off showing past models from previous cycles asking the question: What makes a beautiful model?  Footage is show of Tyra calling the semi-finalists herself to tell them they've advanced in the competition.  The girls will head to the Caribbean to finish the casting.

The girls are greeted by J. Alexander who shows them their new home for h the time being, a luxurious cruise ship.  He has the girls, of course, show off their runway walk.  Some are fierce and some leave much to be desired.  Ok wow, just when you think you've seen it all from Tyra, she comes out in a showgirl costume singing(?) with some backup dancers as the models scream their heads off. 

The semi-finalists get a chance to speak to Jay Manuel, J. Alexander, and Tyra so that they can get to know each other a little better.  Ambreal comes off a little too fake for Jay, Chantal shows off her fashion knowledge, and Heather, who is awkward but for a reason since she struggles with Asperger Syndrome.  Saleisha has history with Tyra, having attended her T-Zone camp as a teenager.  The girls chat with the judges and then model swimsuits while showing off their runway walks.

The girls socialize on the cruise ship but it doesn't take long for the claws to come out.  Ebony instigates an argument, trying to figure out who has an eating disorder.  Some people have a strange sense of humor.  Back to the judging room.  One contestant, Marvita, comes with a tragic story.  She's been abused and passed around from family member to family member but she swears she has the strength to make it far.  Mila's hyper, happy personality is slightly off putting.  Jenah's arrogance is disappointing, I wanted to like her.  Maybe she'll win me over later on.

Sarah did a strange magic trick where she pulled a long straw wrapper out of her nose.  Why ... WHY would you do that?  Lisa is hesitant to admit it but she's an exotic dancer.  Ooh, Jaslene's first My Life as a Cover Girl commercial.  She could've come across a little more natural but hey, she already won!

The girls talk smack about Ebony but she doesn't let it phase her when Tyra clues her in.  Usually, when someone has such a tough exterior, it's because they're hurting, and Ebony is no exception.  Her mother was a drug addict and she was raised by her grandmother, who has passed away.

The girls head to the beach for a photo shoot and get the opportunity to catch up with Jaslene, last season's winner.  Before the film can even be developed, 13 girls are cut and sent back home.  The ones who didn't make it take it hard and understandably so since they'll just be left on the island and head back to the states.  Sylvia and Sabrina are among those cut while the remaining 20 models head back on the cruise ship to continue on.

Before Tyra makes her final decision, she gathers the remaining 20 girls together to ask them why they deserve to make the top 13.  After going through the photos, Tyra and company come to a decision.  Mila is called first, followed by Bianca, Jenah, Chantal, and Ambreal.  After that, Victoria, Sarah, Saleisha, Kimberly, and Ebony are called.  Finally, Janet, Heather, and Lisa are called to join the finalists.

There you go, the 13 finalists of America's Next Top Model.  You never know with the seven who got cut.  Any one of them could return next year and take the whole thing.  Jaslene, anyone?

On next week's America's Next Top Model,  the girls move into their L.A. mansion.  Heather has a hard time fitting in.  Bianca and Lisa face off.

- Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer

(Image courtesy of CW)