“It’s here! It’s FINALLY here! The ANTM All-Star finale!” Did you, too, find yourself saying something similar today, less like a kid on Christmas morning, and more like a prisoner on parole morning?
Seeing that we’ve reached the end of this, Tyra Banks’s grand experiment in building an army of Marketing & Modeling Mini-Mes, it’s time to take stock. When the America’s Next Top Model: All-Stars cycle was announced, I literally couldn’t contain my excitement. (I screamed and spasmed and knocked several objects off my desk when I found out. So yes, literally.) But as the cycle went on, it quickly, painfully became clear that the show had no interest in deciding which all-star was “the best of the best” at anything except promoting herself. Things got gross, then grosser, then intolerable. By no longer pretending to care about fashion, modeling or genuine talent, Tyra finally sucked the last ounce of delusional humor out of her show, and that’s really all it had going for it in the first place.
There’s a new cycle already in the can, and this one’s reportedly all about Yanks versus Brits, so maybe the show can bounce back with a little dose of forced cultural rivalry. But as things stand now, I couldn’t be less compelled to ever watch this show again. Let’s not even get INTO the fact that this is Andre’s final episode, and that he’s been phoning it in all season anyway. Goodbye, glitter capes and “SALON!” pronouncements and porkpie hats. Goodbye, love. Goodbye, happiness.
Alright, I’ll stop feeling sorry for myself now, and get to feeling sorry for the finalists:
Each of the final three girls explains why she deserves the sympathy vote. Lisa overcame extreme mental, physical and sexual abuse as a child, and drug addiction as an adult. Angelea grew up poor and in the ghetto. Everyone thinks Allison is weird and her dad died.
So, you’ve all got “stuff,” the show says. Now forget the trials and sorrows of real life and look pretty for the camera.
Covergirl Print Ad and Commercial
Jay, joined by a nondescript Covergirl mouthpiece named Paige, ushers the girls into prep, where they have to memorize commercial lines while an army of assistants cakes layers of drag queen makeup all over them.
Lisa’s gold and green eyeshadow make her eyelids look like they’re covered in iguana skin, but Jay thinks she looks “absolutely breathtaking in the shadow blast.”
Easy, breezy, uhh…
Then it’s time for Lisa to read her lines. (FROM AN IPAD! Somebody make sure to add that to the “Legacy” section of Steve Jobs’ Wikipedia page, please.) The hardest part for her is the line “Oh, yeah!” She keeps saying it like the Kool-Aid Man. Probably because nobody has ever looked at a Covergirl product and exclaimed, “Oh, yeah!” Maybe if they’d written the line as “Well, OK,” she could have been more believable.
Allison is draped in blue and purple, and for what seems the fifth or 800th time this season, she can’t perform because her massive eyes — her not-at-all-secret weapon — are too sensitive to the light. When they try to zoom in and get a really juicy shot of her 80s prom-worthy eye makeup, she flutters her lids and immediately starts crying.
Tyra’s ego… it’s too bright… it burns…
ALLISON! Girl. PULL YOUR PUPILS TOGETHER. This game is Allison’s to win, but having functional eyes is sort of an important element. Jay compromises by filming her closeup like she’s Stevie Wonder. (Closed eyes; swaying happily.) But Allison redeems herself with her sweet, composed reading of the Covergirl script.
Angelea, dressed in blinding fuchsia, thinks she’d be the best Covergirl because she’s “real.” (What, and Lisa and Allison are cyborgs? Actually…) But when she reads her script, she exclaims parts of it indiscriminately (“it’s ready to wear … FAUR HOUARS!”) To her credit, she was so enthusiastic and manic that it actually came off as lovable. Like, This girl’s so crazy! I wanna hang out with her and see what she does next!
It’s too close to call. They’re all so good at some things and bad at other, probably more things!
Vogue Italia Photo Shoot
Then it’s time to pretend that this show cares about fashion, so the stylist bleaches Allison’s eyebrows, and immediately everyone’s like “OMG HIGH FASHION!” I guess that’s all it takes! (How to be High Fashion, Step 1: Be a skinny, beautiful model, Step 2: Bleach your eyebrows, Step 3: Done.) Each girl takes turns posing in a white bikini on a Greek beach while waves crash around her. Lisa screams something about her foot. It’s the usual. Moving on.
Later, a completely off-putting, scripted voiceover by Jay pretends to be attached to his human body and explains that now it’s time for the Michael Cinco runway show. It’s going to be very “THEATRICAL,” which Angelea correctly interprets as being a test of “everything they’ve learned so far.”
Each girl tries on her signature Cinco gown and loooOOOooooves it! They’re sort of high fashion bridal meets Disney witch. Lots of gold, glass and metal, sharp shoulders and long trains. The hair and makeup styling for the shoot appears to be Raccoons at a Masquerade Ball.
Angelea starts crying, but she’s wearing a mask and she’s already in full Taylor Momsen face, so it doesn’t matter.
The runway show is supposed to depict “the transformation from mortal to immortal,” and it’s actually less of a runway and more of an “American Gladiators” challenge course. Blinded by their masks, the girls (dressed as mere mortals) must first swim across a pool and then get sucked into a grey vaccuum hose of metamorphosis or something. Lisa can’t see when she’s swimming and runs into the side-wall. Stupid mortal.
After they enter the tube, they have to run away, while some other girl runs in and replaces them, dressed as a goddess. Then they run back out and get lifted up into the air by a harness? I don’t even know. The point is that it truly IS the pinnacle of this Top Model cycle: Needlessly over the top and complicated, with about 20% emphasis on “runway walk” and 80% emphasis on “other stuff.”
At least Miss J and Andre both look unimpressed and austere throughout. Miss J is also dressed as a full-on gladiator, armored helmet and all, and his nonchalance about this soothes me.
As if this whole affair needed to be more confusing, when each finalist walks the runway, her “POT LEDOM” THEME SONG plays. So Lisa, dressed as a Greek goddess, jams down the runway while her Ke$ha-esque lyrics scream, “I be like whooooa.” It’s an unsettling mixture, but the audience seems to enjoy it. Angelea dances and waves her arms in self-celebration as she stomps down the runway to the song that she wrote. Anyone still want to say that this girl lacks confidence? The only song that actually sounds halfway normal on the runway is Allison’s, but she almost gets literally blown away, the little waif.
After the runway show, Angelea looks sad.
Or maybe she’s just tired from doing that TRIATHLON?
Who knows what the reason was then, but we learn one very good reason now…
EMERGENCY JUDGING PANEL
It’s hard to believe, but then things get REALLY whack. We cut to a meeting of the judges at an indeterminate time in the future, and Nigel has some news that is bound to please the court: Angelea has retroactively disqualified herself from the competition. RECORD SCRATCH.
So now, in light of her unidentified infraction, they have to pick a winner all over again. UHHHH, GUH, WHAAA, NAH?
The scuttlebutt on the World Wide Webernet seems to be that Angelea got DQ’ed for “not keeping the final 3 a secret” on Facebook or something. Accidental social media suicide. “Dislike.”
This story sounds stupid and believable enough to be true, but it’s still just gossip, and nobody here, in power, on this TV program, will tell us jack. The judges DO, however, make sure to falsely wish Angelea well in her future endeavors. This is nonsense dipped in hogwash wrapped in bullcrap, judges. You’re keeping something huge from us, and you’ve subjected us to TOO MUCH GARBAGE this cycle to start being all close-lipped and secretive now. JUST TELL ME WHAT SHE DID SO I CAN DECIDE IF I CARE OR NOT!
But Tyra never hears me, no matter how loud I scream, so it’s time to move on to judging. “In the interest of fairness,” the judges thought it best to reshoot the entire final judging panel without Angelea. Which begs the question: Is that… because… Angelea… originally… won? SOMEBODY TELL ME WHAT’S GOING ON.
The judges bring in the girls, I take a Xanax, and we continue:
Allison’s Runway Critique: Nigel says she looked lovely under the water, but her walk was still her weak point. “I definitely wish it could have been more graceful,” says Allison.
Lisa’s Runway Critique: Lisa was a “mess” in the water, says Nigel, but she “worked it” on the runway, says Andre. The audience loved her performance.
Allison’s Covergirl Commercial Critique: Nigel says she’s “really beautiful,” and even though her eyes are closed, he can hear her “talking through her eyes.” Andre wishes her articulation had been more “snappy.” Tyra gives a demonstration in on-camera “exaggeration,” as if she doesn’t do that every minute of her life.
Lisa’s Covergirl Commercial Critique: She didn’t seem like Lisa, say the panel. “I feel like you were 50% of Lisa. Where’s Lisa? Where’s daring?” wonders Tyra.
Allison’s Covergirl Print Ad Critique: They don’t like her “vacant” expression and don’t know what she’s selling. I disagree with all of this, but what else is new?
Lisa’s Covergirl Print Ad Critique: Only one of her eyes is showing, but “all you need is one eye,” says Nigel. She looks fun and edgy and alluring, “like a fortune teller,” says Tyra.
For the BAJILLIONTH time tonight, we compare and contrast Lisa and Allison:
Lisa is tall, loud, crazy, in your face and vibrant. She’s a triple threat, a brand, and she “owns” the runway. But she’s also cocky. Yet she’s also a survivor. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Allison is strange, alluring and beautiful. She’s surprising, she’s a muse, and her eyes are stunning. Tyra then gives a speech about how a model’s power is her eyes, and Allison has gorgeous eyes, yet she can’t look into the light, and so the light “MAY BE HER UNDOING.” Spare me, spare me, spare me.
FINALLY, IT’S TIME TO LEARN WHO AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL IS…
…By watching the final leg of the stupid Modelland motion editorial. This is the ANTM equivalent of when a website tells you to “get a free laptop!” … but first you have to fill out a 20 page survey. (Oh, and the laptop isn’t real anyway.)
Tyra, you ARE human spam.
At the end of the video, Allison and Lisa each hold up their masks (what is with this show and masks?), and the girl who removes her mask is … LISA. And boy, she’s never looked more beautiful:
America’s Next Top Dystopian Chimney Sweep?
That means she won, right? Even the girls seem confused, and the general lack of excitement is palpable. It’s almost like they filmed this whole scene months after neither of them cared anymore, and a producer prepped each of them for who would win before it happened. (“Almost” = “definitely”)
It’s hard to tell if Allison is sad, relieved or bored. She doesn’t want to hug Lisa, THAT’S for sure, but it happens anyway. She says that she appreciates all the people who rooted for her. I’m gonna go with “bored.”
As for the winner: “My confidence comes from a very vulnerable place,” Lisa tells us. “I feel like the universe finally came around for me! And I’m not gonna let anybody down.” She runs screaming down the runway, then laughs, and then cries. I can’t wait to see her Extra! guest correspondent pieces on the red carpet. I hope they follow the same pattern.
I feel like I should be infuriated that Allison lost (AGAIN!), but I’m too curious about Angelea’s mysterious disappearance and too disappointed in this cycle in general. So, congratulations Lisa. You earned it? I guess?
Have a question for Allison and Lisa? Leave your question in the comments, and I’ll try to ask it when I talk to each of them tomorrow. No Angelea interview, I guess because she’s been Burn Noticed.
Thanks for joining me on this strange ride this cycle, folks. The nightmare is finally over, and we all get to go home. Hallelujah, Merry Christmas, ANTMEN.
(Images courtesy of the CW)