(You’re right, that headline is misleading. We all know Tyra’s been mad for ages. But keep reading anyway, because I think she’s getting worse!)

After cycle 16, Tyra Banks promised (threatened?) that there would be no more “normal” cycles of America’s Next Top Model, which is certainly true of the current crazy-bananas marketing-focused All-Star cycle 17.

And now it sounds as though Tyra is determined keep that promise — essentially, that ANTM would become its own spin-off through a series of outlandish themed seasons until it gets canceled or Tyra gets airlifted back to her home planet — and her rumored cycle 18 theme is even more outlandish than I could have imagined: “US vs. UK.”

That is, seven American models will compete against seven British models for the title of … America’s … The English-Speaking World’s Next Top Model?

No, they’re not changing the name of the show. As far as I know, anyway. But the way the cycle 18 concept so clearly contradicts the name of the show (sort of like how this cycle keeps telling us that it isn’t about modeling) shows that we are in for another cycle of unabashed, balls to the wall not-making-sense.

(It occurs to me, with cycle 17 contradicting the “Model” and cycle 18 defying the “America’s,” that maybe Tyra is just going through every word in the title of her show and coming up with crazy themes that way. What’s next? A cycle about the best model … from the past? Or our nation’s up-and-coming worst model? Then again, maybe Tyra just wanted a full-season excuse to speak in her terrible British accent. The machinations of that woman’s mind will always be a mystery.)

Of course, I’m just poking fun, and it’s not much of a stretch to figure out how a Yanks vs. Brits cycle would work, especially on a show that has already established that accurately depicting the fashion industry is not its top priority. Throw together a few country-cliche-based photo shoots and challenges (Baseball vs. soccer! Tea vs. Redbull! WHO REALLY OWNS HUGH LAURIE?), encourage the American girls to mock the British girls’ teeth and the British girls to call the American girls lazy, and you’ve got yourself a full season of Old World/New World reality TV gold. The fun part is going to be watching Tyra and her minions try to convince us, and the models, that this farce holds any lasting lessons about the actual modeling world.

To that end, these notes from an “insider” show that cycle 18’s top secret opening “Fierce Parade and Fashion Show” was appropriately patriotic and preposterous, while still pretending to be all about modeling:

“According to the insider, attendees of the event were encouraged to wear red, white and blue or stars and stripes to the show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Los Angeles. The stage in the venue formed a V with two runways jutting out from the stage to a center point. At the sides were two large floats; One with the Statue of Liberty and the other with Big Ben.

“Nigel Barker rolled up in a Mini Cooper convertible that was painted as a Union Jack.red and gold Ford Mustang.

“Next came the float with Big Ben carrying seven British models, followed by the float with the Statue of Liberty, the American models and a bunch of shirtless guys with American flags and white flags that said Miss J. pulled up in a America’s Next Top Model.”

“The UK girls were wearing red with gold, blue, silver accents and the US girls wore blue in different pseudo-patriotic colors. After the reveal, Michael Buffer (the “Let’s get ready to rumble!” guy) announced the girls by name, height and the city they come from like they were entering a boxing match. Each girl was encouraged to taunt the other “team” with antagonizing statements. Then they faced off in a runway “fight” taking turns making passes down the runway and fighting for a spotlight at the end.”

Nevermind that Britain’s Next Top Model has been around for seven seasons. Or that lots of international girls have competed on ANTM over the years. Or that when your main job is to stay quiet and look pretty, it doesn’t really matter what your accent sounds like. Because the important thing is that cycle 18 will finally answer a series of questions that no one asked (because they are stupid): What if the Revolutionary War was fought by young lithe women instead of young sturdy men? And instead of independence, they were fighting over who was the prettiest? And instead of shooting guns, they shot steely glares at each other?

I guess we’ll find out when cycle 18 airs next year. And I, for one, will find out, because there’s no way I’m missing this international catastrophe. But, my fellow Americans, don’t get your hopes too high that history will repeat itself. Even though we won that old war, our anonymous fashion show “insider” sends troubling news from the front: “The British girls were much more impressive than their American counterparts.”


(Source: A Blog About Things; Image courtesy of the CW)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.