America's Next Top Model, Cycle 8 Episode 2 "The Girls Go to Prom" Recap

Originally aired on Wednesday, 03/7/2007

Episode Rating: *** (3 stars out of 5)

Episode Overview: Tensions are running high as the competition gets more difficult and the girls continue to rub each other the wrong way.

Episode Highlights:

  • Jaslene is feeling great after her successful photo last week, but per usual: no one on ANTM stay happy for long.
  • Natasha's language barrier creates some challenges…at least for those trying to communicate with her.
  • Renee continues to live up to her audition promise of being catty.


Jaslene Gonzalez is flying high after her success last week, and she talks to her mom on the phone about how happy she is feeling.  This means, of course, that something very bad is about to happen.  It's ANTM Instant Karma.

Young Samantha Francis, on the other hand, isn't feeling so happy.  She misses her family and feels like she, as a self-described country girl, is out of her element here with this wild bunch.

As usual, though, the girls are not left much time for reflection, as Tyra mail arrives to alert them to a new challenge: learning to walk.

They are humvee-limo'ed out to a high school stadium, where Miss J. Alexander makes a grandest of grand entrance leading a high school marching band, decked out in matching uniform.  He tells them they are going to see how precise their walks are.  After giving them all an individual critique, he matches them up in trios and gives them a relatively complicated little runway choreography.  Most of the girls are a little awkward, and Jaslene, or as Renee Alway calls her, "Cha Cha Diva," is still on a success high.  She feels a little smug, thinking her walk is solid.  Again: red flag.  The unseen hand of Tyra is twitching, itching for an over-inflated ego smack-down.

The girls now head into the gymnasium, where they meet with Roy Campbell, event producer.  He lets the girls know their new trio choreography is about to be put to the test in a prom fashion show in front of high school students.  They will be showcasing three different looks: modern prom, eighties prom, and "ghetto fabulous."

Backstage, there are some tensions between the girls as they prepare for the show, and when it comes time to hit the runway, it looks more like a bumper car ride as the girls bobble across the stage and into one another.  During the ghetto fabulous section, Sarah Vonderhaar has a wardrobe malfunction and winds up flashing all the students and – gulp – their parents.  Let's hope there aren't any litigious families in the audience.

After the show, Roy delivers his assessment.  He tells Jaslene that she made the most mistakes and she is shocked.  And there you have it: the ANTM Smack-Down.  Little quiet Brittney Carrigher is announced to be the winner, and she, too, is shocked.  She is awarded with a giant trophy.  And by giant, I mean "ridonkulous," as Sarah put it. 

Back at the house after the competition, Jaslene has the emotional breakdown that accompanies the ANTM Smack-Down, and cries on the phone to her mom.  Renee watches her through the window and is so unabashedly gleeful about Jaslene's pain that it's really actually quite gross. 

Tyra mail arrives to send the girls to their photo shoot, and they are going back to high school yet again.  The shoot this week will be "high school clichés," and they are each portraying a different cliché during their shoot.

  • Jael Strauss is dressed as a nerd, but manages to pull off a fairly strong fashion shot despite the geeky outfit.

  • Sarah is the class flirt.  Jay tells her she needs to stop overthinking, and just go with her first instincts as her instincts are generally correct.

  • Dionne Alexander is the "bad girl," and she manages to do a decent job even though she feels this is out of character.

  • Cassandra Watson is the cheerleader.  She tried to do a character of the snotty bored cheerleader, but this doesn't seem to be reading well to Jay.

  • Aaaand, Renee, Ms. Malcontent.  What are we going to do with her? She is just one big ball of angry dissatisfaction.  She's angry that she has to be the class clown, wondering, why couldn't she get a cliché that she would be good at?  She's angry that some of the other girls sit in on her shoot. She's angry that Jael gives her feedback during the shoot…she's angry.  Jay doesn't much care about how she feels, he just wishes she had a better range of expressions.

  • Little Samantha is also not loving her cliché.  She's the "girl with the bad reputation" but she doesn't feel comfortable getting her freak on and feels a little scandalized when Jay suggests she should look like she is masturbating.  (Aside: Renee cries about Samantha's cliché because "it's easy to be sexy!")

  • Brittney is the class valedictorian and Jay is pleased with how she nails it, saying she looks like a model.

  • Whitney Cunningham is the "mean girl," and while she gives a good arched eyebrow, she doesn't bring enough to the shoot.

  • Diana Zalewski is the student body president, and manages to convey haughtiness successfully.

  • Felicia is the "jock girl," and her experience as a dancer helps her to create "dynamic body shapes" that Jay loves.

  • Jaslene redeems herself from the runway mess, and as the class "weirdo," she manages to both convey the cliché while looking totally fierce.  (Renee cries some more about how Jaslene has gotten another easy photo shoot.)

  • Natasha Galkina…oh Natasha.  She has a lot of trouble with her cliché: "teacher's pet" as she isn't familiar with this particular English phrase.  Jay makes a valiant attempt to get her to understand the concept, but eventually gives up and just tells her: "Imitate what you see in a magazine." 

Back at the house, Renee complains some more.  I am torn.  On the one hand, she has taken the Catty Modelette role to a whole new level.  A whole new, totally obnoxious and abrasive level.  On the other, there is something very sad about her.  No truly happy person could possibly want to stir up so much misery. 

To eliminations!

Roy joins Tyra, Nigel Barker, Miss J and Twiggy to judge.  The girls all get their individual evaluation, and overall, it was a pretty ho-hum week.  Jael is thrilled that Tyra likes her photo.  Brittney again pleases them with both her natural beauty and her presence.  Samantha looks like a deer in headlights and the judges think so too.  Jaslene completely wows the panel once again, which causes her to break down in tears, saying some girls in the house are already out to get her.  As she speaks, Renee in the background looks about fit to burst with rage.  She calms down, though, when it's her turn.  Although the judges aren't in love with her photo, she doesn't receive the bad feedback she had been anticipating and you can see her whole body relax. 

When Natasha takes her turn, Tyra tells her that Jay said her shoot was the single most difficult shoot in the history of ANTM, even worse than Cycle Three with Ann Markley.  Natasha doesn't miss a beat and says that Ann was very beautiful.  The judges are astounded at how she turns a negative into a positive so quickly, and it's true!  Earlier, when Miss J had critiqued her walk, he said she was "marching."  She seemed to think he said "Martian" and seemed to think this was a good thing. 

In the private judges' conversation, they all agree that Jaslene's photo is stunning, although they also think in person, she's not any near as strong.  The other judges aren't sold on Jael, but Tyra defends her.  Samantha, they worry, isn't ready for the competition, and Tyra thinks she needs some sort of "pre-ANTM" program. 

The girls are brought back in and Tyra delivers the verdict.  Jaslene is selected as safe first, and this is a double-whammy for Tyra.  First, Jaslene WAS actually one of the stronger photos of the week.  Second, Jaslene's success and ego-high have already made her a target for the other girls, and by singling her out for praise two weeks in a row, it's like Tyra has taken the target she painted on Jaslene last week and outlined it in dayglo paint. 

After Jaslene, it's Felicia, Diana, Renee, Brittney, Cassandra, Dionne, Jael, Whitney, and Sarah called as safe, leaving Samantha and Natasha.  Samantha, for the fact that she seems fifteen, and maybe needs to come back in three years.  Natasha, for her crappy photos despite her beautiful face.

But Natasha is safe again, and Samantha is dispatched with a pep talk from Tyra, who tells her, she just needs a little more time.

Between the powder keg of emotionally volatile Renee, and Jaslene's wild vacillations of confidence, this season is shaping up to be pretty interesting!  Come right back here to BuddyTV on Thursday to chime in with your thoughts on the Best and Worst Photos of the week!

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

(Images Courtesy of CW)

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