In this episode of America’s Next Top Model, titled “Beauty is a Comeback,” what was old is new again, as the models compete in fan-favorite photo shoots and challenges from previous seasons, eliminated contestants return to steal a spot from the final four and the competition ends a friendship.

It’s down to the final four, and all of the girls (with the exception of Rio )are glad that Jeana has been eliminated. Jeana left a goodbye letter to her bestie in the house, and even though Rio will miss her pal, she thinks her shot at winning is better with the bald beauty gone.

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Throwback ANTM

The girls get Tyra mail, informing them that this time they’ll be celebrating how America’s Next Top Model has changed the definition of beauty over the past 15 years (#ThrowbackWeek). Fans have voted for their favorite all-time challenge, which the women will recreate.

The women arrive on set and find Ashley, Drew and Law waiting for them. They notice a runway plopped in the middle of a ball pit. Ashley reveals that they will be doing a “fierce throwback” to cycle 16’s bubble runway. Cue a video clip of models walking down a runway while encased in huge plastic bubbles. Shanice worries that this could be the end of the competition for her since her regular runway walk is so weak. 

There’s another surprise awaiting the final four. Law reveals that you can’t have a runway show with just four models, so previous cycle 24 contestants are returning to strut their stuff: Maggie, Ivana, Cora, Rhiyan, Liberty, Christina, Sandra, Erin and Jeana. By the end of the week, one of the returning competitors will replace one of the existing final four. 

Rio and Jeana may be close, but the gloves are off. Rio’s fine with Jeana taking a spot, just not hers (#ThrowbackComeback). Jeana may be happy to see Rio, but Rio gives Jeana the cold shoulder, which upsets Jeana, who knows that this is a competition but doesn’t think there needs to be animosity. 

The designer for the show is Kaiman, who announces that the theme will be “Future of Fashion.” Her collection is “extravagant,” so she expects to see some powerful walks. Based on their performances in the show, four of the eliminated contestants will move temporarily back into the house. By the end of the week, one will be back for good. 

Stacey McKenzie is on hand to direct the girls backstage. Many of the girls are wobbly and move slowly in an effort to avoid a fall. Christina, Jeana, Kyla and Erin all kill it. 

After the show, Ashley announces that the woman who really owned the runway was Erin. How can we not be happy to see the 42-year-old grandma come back and kick ass? As the winner of the challenge, Erin secures her place in the house. Liberty, Christina and Jeana round out the four.

Rio is super salty. She feels that herself, Shanice, Khrystyana and Kyla busted their asses to earn their spots, and they shouldn’t be pushed out. She promises that if she gets sent home, she’s going to raise some serious hell.

The women get another Tyra mail and learn that their photo shoot will be a throwback as well. TyTy warns them, “Don’t let fear kill your dreams.” 

Rio gets angrier and angrier. She decides to flee the room she shared with Jeana and bunk down with Khrystyana instead. Some friend she’s turned out to be.

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Several Familiar Faces Return for a Creepy-Crawly Photo Shoot

At the photo shoot, Drew and Law announce that the women will be dripping in millions of dollars worth of diamonds. They’re also going to be wearing a tarantula. It’s hard to forget this cycle 3 moment and, continuing the throwback tradition, cycle 3 winner ” Eva the Diva” Marcille will be posing with with the women. She recalls how terrified she was when she did this shoot and encourages the other girls to just breathe and get through it. 

The girls will be posing with Eva in pairs, one girl in the competition along with one who’s fighting to come back. The teams are: Khrystyana and Erin, Kyla and Liberty, Shanice and Christina, and Rio and Jeana. The best surprise is that the photographer for this shoot is former judge Nigel Barker. And, yes, he’s still as hot as ever. 

Erin can’t overcome her fear of spiders to get a good shot. This frustrates Khrystyana, who feels she nailed it from the jump. Nigel and Law warn Erin that she’s got to pull it together. Tarantulas aren’t poisonous, so Erin should be more concerned about the venomous feedback she’s getting. But Erin pulls it together and realizes that her best way to win back over Nigel and the judges is to volunteer to have the tarantula placed on her face. Sometimes, terror works; it’s just got to be editorial.

Jeana’s biggest fear is spiders, but she gets some words of encouragement from Eva. This pisses off Rio, who in the course of a few days now finds Jeana fake and thinks she’s putting a show on for Eva. 

Rio’s stress level and anxiety are off the charts, and it shows in her pictures. Drew lets her know that she needs to own the photo because she’s losing out to Jeana. 

Getting eliminated hasn’t humbled Christina. She’s convinced that the judges made a big mistake in letting her go. She hasn’t forgotten that the last time she and Shanice posed together, Shanice called her lazy at panel. Christina thinks Shanice isn’t a strong model and should be worried about going home because she doesn’t belong in the competition. Eva agrees that “Sha-nasty” is in danger of going bye-bye. While Christina shuts down her critics, Shanice can’t produce one pretty picture, according to Drew.

Judges’ Panel

Up first are Christina and Shanice. Christina kisses some ass by claiming she’s happy to be back and open to any critiques the judges have to offer. Ashley loves Christina’s body language and praises her for really selling the diamonds, but the judge can tell that Shanice was afraid of the spider. Shanice claims she tried to overcome her fear, but she just hated it. Ashley advises Shanice that she needs to learn to fake it until she makes it. Law, who has had a tough time with Christina’s attitude in the past, sees a positive change in her. By slapping that spider on her face, she blew him away. Law is really disappointed that Shanice couldn’t push through, and he would have sent her home from the shoot if he could have.

Asley sees royalty and a supermodel in Jeana in the photo. Law has noticed that Jeana has brought her A-game since she’s come back and calls her a “savage.” Tyra feels Jeana is pulling the energy towards her, which isn’t good news for Rio. Drew continues to believe that Rio has nothing new to offer; she’s just plateaued.

Tyra doesn’t see a model in Liberty. She is, however, hypnotized by Kyla’s eyes.

Tyra isn’t crazy about Khrystyana’s lips, which the judge feels looks too tense, but Tyra thinks the shot still works because of the intensity in Khrystyana’s eyes. Drew finds Khrystyana’s look to be too catalog. He wants more because delivering lackluster pictures this far in the competition isn’t going to get her to the finish line. Ashley doesn’t think Erin redeemed herself with the photo shoot but does praise Erin’s bubble runway walk. Tyra’s happy that Erin agreed to put the spider on her face. it’s not a great shot, but at least Erin pushed herself. 

Kyla and Khrystyana get called first. The judges decide that Shanice will stay in the competiton, and Rio is eliminated. That leaves one more open slot, and it’s down to the comeback queens. Jeana prevails. So the new final four consists of: Kyla, Khyrystyana, Shanice and Jeana. 

Was it fair to bring back the former contestants? Do you think the judges regretted eliminating Jeana in the first place? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. 

America’s Next Top Model cycle 24 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on VH1. Want more news? Like our America’s Next Top Model Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of VH1)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.