Tonight, Tyra Banks will present her controversial and confusing 19th cycle
of America's Next Top Model
to the few of us who may still care, or at least want to see what all the fuss is over. ANTM
has, undoubtedly, become a cultural phenomenon during its nine years on-air, acquiring fans both stateside and abroad with adaptations in numerous countries that I will forgo attempting to spell correctly let alone pronounce.
So why change it all up now? Why kick beloved judges Nigel Barker, Jay Manuel and Miss J to the curb, making room for the opinionated Kelly Cutrone? Tyra has been around the block for years, so let's give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she must know what she's doing, right?
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Before we jump into business, let me just give thanks to Meghan Carlson
for her previous entertaining reviews, recaps and side-splitting anecdotes which will, without a doubt, be missed. Keeping her humor and attention to the stand-out in mind, I will be taking the reins and trolling forward with this dead ... let me rephrase, determined horse that is America's Next Top Model
. "It's Gotta be TOT-AMAZE!"
With all the questions and controversy, you know Tyra had to kick the show off with something that makes you say "WHAAAAAT?" A spa day with (insert guy's name) tosses around words like "smize" as they switch from having their nails done to laying poolside and realizing that Tyra has to go to college. That's how this whole season came about, right? Oh, I'm sorry! ANTM
goes to college. That's exactly what Tyra Banks had in mind as she walked across that Harvard School of Business stage for her diploma.
Fittingly, the casting call occurs at a college frat party complete with a catwalk laying across the pool. It looks like Girls Gone Wild: ANTM
Edition. Taryn Manning, DJ/actress announces Tyra who then announces this season's panel
, consisting of fashion publicist Kelly Cutrone, photographer Johnny Wujek and male model Rob Evans, Tyra's rumored boyfriend, who is definitely the number one reason more than half of these young women are in attendance. And There's One More Judge... YOU!
Tyra's girls take to the pool for a walk-off. Two by two the bikinis strut down the glass, flashes popping all around them. That last judge, you, has already sprung into action. Social media has taken ANTM
by storm and those Tweets are providing subtitles whether you want them there, or not. Unable to focus and form your own opinion for reading others'? Too bad!
From here, the girls are immediately whisked away to the side of the party for photo shoots with Johnny. I'm no fashion guru or anything, but how often are photo shoots held with distracting parties in the model's peripheral vision, as well as one of the hottest male models in the world gawking at you?
The photos are taken and selected. Now it's time to face the panel. All 30 girls enter the judging area, introducing themselves and doing whatever they possibly can to stand out from the rest. There's Laura, the daughter of a Dynasty
star, Brittany; a soon-to-be Disney college program attendee, Maria; a Harvard attendee who has just "come out of the closet to model," and then there's Victoria. Poor, poor Victoria. She looks sweet enough, yet something just isn't quite there.
Tyra reads off a comment seen on Facebook about Victoria's first photo. Her face is too boring, so Tyra suggests she address this comment head on. Victoria looks in that camera and starts off witty and strong, but soon trails off. Way off. "If you have a problem with my face well then ... you're a racist!" Victoria adds. No wonder the other girls talk about the girl behind her back.
Kristin, from Florida, is definitely the bad girl of the competition. She's been kicked out of high school a few times but swears she's changed. I think the question is, who will see through this facade first?
Surprise, surprise! The location of the initial casting call party is the model's home for the rest of this season.
Here are the chosen 13 models and their colleges/universities:
Kristin, Florida State College of Jacksonville
Nastasia, East Stroudsburg University
Laura, Paul Smith's College
Allyssa, Florida State University
Destiny, Aveda Institute of Columbus
Kiara, University of California-Irvine
Leila, University of Rhode Island
Darian, Louisiana State University
Maria, Harvard Divinity School
Jessie, University of Southern California Graduate School
Brittany, Chandler-Gilbert Community College/Disney College Program
Yvonne, University of Texas
"And that final girl is..." announces Tyra, "Victoria." (of Liberty University)For height info and to see which models have a job>>
These 13 girls race into the mansion and find their assigned rooms of different themes. There's the sports room, geek/nerd room and an overly-girly, pink room that Kristen just cannot wait to submerse herself in because we all know the world should revolve around her. Yeah, right. I give her until half of the season.
And with that, the comeback season of America's Next Top Model
is officially underway. Do you like this heavy installment of social media in every single waking moment of the show? While checking their Facebooks and keeping in touch with their families can be helpful in their performances as well as a reminder of why they are competing, the constant Tweets and mention of America's vote takes away from the competition.
Next Friday, it seems that the girls will be strutting their stuff for what appears to be a gentleman's club, at first glance. Let's hope no one posted their mobile photos to Facebook for their respective universities to find!
Jilliane JohnsonContributing Writer
(Image courtesy of Bravo)