With the number of competitors dwindling on America’s Next Top Model, there is more time for personal drama and conflict. And, there is no shortage this week. The models are spared the stress of a challenge in exchange for a chance to soak up the local culture. A fledgling showmance really begins to blossom. Chris H. feels alienated.
Talking With Tyra
The models return from panel and are surprised by a visit from Tyra. Her first task is to comfort a despondent Marvin who was in the bottom two. He tells her he’s just a janitor’s son, and he feels he’s wasting this chance that he’s been given. Tyra replies that the judges obviously believe in him, so he can’t be so self defeatist. It’s a good thing someone is around to provide some TLC because Renee views a crying man to be as much of an anomaly as a unicorn.
Quality time with Tyra cheers Marvin up, and he joins the rest of the group. Tyra has one of her infamous heart-to-heart conversations with the contestants. She tells them that Bali holds a special place in her heart. She had a kind of an eat, pray, love experience there when she was younger. She took time off from a stressful and hectic modeling schedule and spent two months chillin’ out.
Cory has heard that Bali is a good place to get in touch with one’s spiritual self. He says he’s on a spiritual journey, and he wants to grow and improve. It looks like Cory and the other models will all get their chance to make special memories. Tyra says she has a lot of great activities planned for them while they are there.
She asks Renee how she feels she’s doing in the competition. Renee confesses she’s frustrated with herself in general. Renee is flattered that the judges think she’s beautiful in person but says she would prefer to hear it about her photos.
Jourdan says that before the competition, she had no self-esteem because of her ex-husband. Apparently, this guy was a verbally abusive D-bag. Jourdan says having all these amazing opportunities that she is beautiful and has what it takes. That is one area where Jourdan is most definitely not lacking, confidence.
Next up in this unplanned game of true confessions is Cory. Tyra questions how he feels about being the only gay male in the competition. He says he definitely feels like the black sheep, although I haven’t seen any evidence to support that. That could possibly be a knee jerk reaction on his part. Cory says people passed judgement on him before getting to know who he really was, and as a result, he found himself doing the same thing to others. Then he does some serious puckering up to Tyra’s behind and tells her how much of an influence she has been. He says it extends beyond himself to the entire gay community.
It’s obvious we’re going to be forced to sit through more of these types of pointless exercises because with so few models left, the show’s got some time to kill.
Jeremy says that, in terms of his photos, he’s getting better every week. Tyra tells him he has a high-fashion face, but he’s got to learn to work his body.
She tells Nina the more she figures out how to work her awkwardness and turn it is better, because she has a handle on it. Whatever that means.
Chris claims to be jealous of the friendships that everybody else seems to have. This hurts Nina who has been a pretty loyal friend to him and not received the same in return. She tells Tyra that “He’s my guy.” Nina finally voices the fact that she reaches out to him and often doesn’t get anything back. He tells her he loves her and that he relates the most to her out of anyone there, but brings up an argument that took place week seven. I wish I could say for sure which blow-up that was, but I’m drawing a blank. Anyway, he complains that she was watching over him as a mother, something he didn’t want. Chris just wanted Nina to be a friend. Given what he’s revealed about his mother, that’s probably understandable.
Renee thinks he’s being a selfish jerk, and Nina looks devastated. This is why we should focus on modeling and not getting in touch with our feelings. Even after Tyra vacates the premises, we’re stuck listening to the fallout. Renee thinks Chris made Nina look bad. Jourdan says he has two sides. She says he’s fake in front of people he wants to impress, but acts like a horrible human being the rest of the time. Renee tells Nina that Chris is not her friend, and she needs to start defending herself when it comes to him. But, this sweet little nymph admits she puts so much faith into people. All Nina wants is for Chris to understand that she loves him as a friend. Such a dull little melodrama, I can’t believe I’ve had to devote this much space to it all.
Canoodling and Clashing
Two other situations that I could care even less about are the love/hate relationship between Renee and Marvin. Last week, they had a mini throwdown at the photo shoot and now they’re snuggle buddies. The other is a conflict between Chris and Jeremy that is based on a miniscule incident regarding where they stood when they first got to Bali. Chris thinks Jeremy should be more humble since he left and got to come back while everyone else has been there the whole time. Jeremy determines he’s no longer going to speak to Chris unless under duress.
I experienced some technical difficulties, so I missed the usual photo shoot intro by Johnny. It looks like a pretty standard shoot, and it takes place in a rice field. Marvin is feeling rejuvenated which he attributes to several factors primarily his pep talk from Tyra. Perhaps it’s’ also he’s one half of the power couple known as “Marnee.”
There’s the usual backstage drama. Marvin says Chris is killing it at the modeling but he’d rather be isolated to try and get attention. I thought it was just because nobody really liked him and vice versa. He also brings his surly attitude in front of the camera when he complains about feeling “constrained” by what he’s wearing. Johnny says coming into a shoot with a bummed out mood is not a good idea.
Once again, Nina tries to nurture Chris. She warns him not to let his negativity get the better of him, especially in front of the judges at panel. She even admits she keeps giving the love and getting nothing in return. Cory feels bad for Nina because she’s trying to baby Chris through the competition, and she focusing too much energy on other people and not herself.
Two surprises await the models once the shoot is over. They wasted so much time yammering about inconsequential crap, that they’ll be no challenge. Also, they are going straight from the shoot to a colony called Ubud. It’s where they are supposed to experience their “Bali chooses you” moment. Mainly, they play with monkeys. The models spend the night at an elephant safari park where Chris continues to harsh everybody else’s vibe. He puts himself in solitary confinement and then complains that he’s all alone.
Marvin has gotten his groove back. Kelly calls him smoldering. Rob tells him he looks like a Balinese prince. The fans love his face and his body.
Too bad Kelly doesn’t feel the same love for his girl Renee. Kelly says she just looks like a sad little girl. She says the photo is boring and not fashion. Rob sticks up for Renee and calls the shot beautiful. Tyra thinks Renee can do better. Marvin might be sleeping alone from now on.
Kelly and Rob can stop bickering over what qualifies as modeling or not modeling. He feels Jourdan’s pose isn’t organic to the surroundings, while Kelly thinks the pic is a supermodel shot. Tyra likes the “model-y” look. She’s also a fan favorite, stealing some of Nina’s thunder.
Rob thinks Cory is too high fashion, but Kelly loves his body proportion.
Kelly calls Nina’s face in her shot “a crazy ass carnival.” Tyra says that Nina took her breath away in the styling room with her poses, but this isn’t what Tyra sees in the pic. Luckily, social media is rooting for her.
Kelly tells Chris he looks like a cross dresser. She says she can’t get behind the photo as a great example of modeling. Tyra agrees with Rob that his more natural pose looks good.
Rob says every time he sees Jeremy’s picture he sees commercial. Tyra suggests that he slim his body down a bit, it wouldn’t be in such conflict with the interesting beauty of his face.
It’s a double elimination night. Jourdan doesn’t need to worry because she’s back on top. Marvin is the runner-up. The bottom three are Nina, Chris and Jeremy. Nina is eliminated. Chris says if he’s not eliminate, he’ll win the competition for her. Looks like he’ll get the chance because Jeremy finally gets sent home for good.
America’s Next Top Model airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on the CW.
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(Image courtesy of the CW)