After so much anticipation for more ANTM in all our lives, after so much speculation about what the eff Tyra is going to do with a bunch of short models in her ranks, and after so much excitement for their stump-tastic critiques and midget-on-midget fighting, it’s finally here:
America’s Next Top Model Cycle 13: Battle of the Wee Ones.
America’s Next Top Mini-Model.
America’s Next Not–quite-to-the-Top Model.
Whatever you want to call it, it’s here!
And, thank God Tyra, this season looks to be just as full of crazies, criers, and princesses as it ever was! Sometimes, it seems, the shorter they are, the harder they fall… on the runway, I hope.
The first hour of the 2-hour, double-decker episode covers the final casting process, which narrows down 32 hopefuls to the final 14 skinny little ladies.
Of course, Tyra spends most of the first hour patting herself on the back for taking on the immense burden of making it all about her using her righteous axe of feminist justice to break beauty boundaries and open up the fashion world to so many young, beautiful, and tragically petite women of the world. I know being short and trying to model is tough, maybe even near impossible. (I don’t know from experience. I know because these contestants keep telling me so.) In the rigidly (and in a way, necessarily) superficial business of employing human clothes hangers, it’s just well known that the clothes look better on the taller hangers. It’s just science, people. But the way Tyra keeps going on about how revolutionary this season is, you’d think she had actual little people up there on the runway, dragging sagging ballgowns behind them like they were parachutes. Seriously, some of these girls are 5’7”. They’re all gorgeous and thin and have insanely model-y frames. So settle down, Mother Tyra. Set up America’s Next Top Midget, and then we’ll talk about that Nobel Prize for which you seem to be constantly applying.
Tyra should spend less time trying to break fashion standards and more time increasing her fake foreign accent standards. Seriously, her French accent during her requisite cheesy entrance to the 32 screechers was so, so bad this season. And there were no weird goddess costumes or cardboard boxes painted like cryogenic alien pods to distract us from it. First she storms out, yelling “How dare you! How dare you!” in her best booming King of England voice, kicking off stage the terrible actor/show producer she hired to act like a heightist… something. Modeling agent? I don’t know. Then she transitions into terrible half-French that sounds like this: “Thees world, the worl’ that weee leeve een, they try to save that boo-tee es en aye leetle BOX. Oui? But. We are breaking out de BOX. We are keecking da BOX.” Apparently “BOX” is the most important word to French people. They can’t say it without putting it in all caps. Right, French people? Americans hate you, but I bet not as much as you hate Tyra right now.
“Let zem eeeet NO cake, beecuz tha’ would make dem shor’ AND fat!”
But the models don’t care about the accent! They’re too distracted by how beee-autiful Tyra is! Or at least that’s what all the clips we see (every cycle) make us believe.
After being welcomed by Gerard Depardieu over here (that’s the only French guy I could think of, and Tyra’s accent is about as bulbous and gross as his face is), the 32 finalists get their measureMONTS (that’s how you say it in French, according to Tyra), practice their runway walks, and get polaroids taken of them by the Jays.
But now it’s time for the judging panel, where Tyra and her gang help us get to know the frontrunners and then force them to make awkward poses in their swimsuits. By this point we’ve learned a few names, but they’re still mostly a big mass of “Who dat?” Except for a couple initial standouts:
– Skinny Minney Amber, the Bible thumping manic who can’t go two seconds without talking about her loins’ burning sensation for Jesus
– Rae, a gorgeous blonde who’s already a doting mom at just 21 years old
– Short and spunky Sundai, the “from circumstances” contestant (she was abused as a kid and put into foster care) who’s got pluck, a goofy laugh, and one helluva big weave
– Bianca, who seems bent on being nicknamed Bitchanca, though she’s been through some abuse herself (a violent boyfriend, whose bad memory inspired her to start anew with a shaved head)
– Redhead Nicole, who breaks the ice with the others by telling them she likes eyeballs because her nickname used to be “bloody eyeball.” (It’s since been cured.)
But Nicole’s not the only freak in this 32-ring circus. There’s also this girl, who I’m pretty sure I’ve seen walking around Seattle recently (oh wait, that’s every hipster ever):
“They’re a metaphor for how full of sh*t I am! Get it? Hollow, silly, and impractical. Like my brain.”
Why this Glasses Magoo was allowed so far into casting, and why the Jays didn’t steal the empty plastic frames and do a Mexican hat dance all over them, I will never know. But I will also not care for very much longer, because what’s her name is not going any further here.
We also meet:
– Jennifer, an Asian beauty who got into a fight with a Jersey hussy who kissed her then-boyfriend
– Cropped cut Courtney, the currently crippled cheerleader (she’s on crutches with a broken foot) with no boobs to speak of, but lots of determination
– Amanda who lives in a pop-up trailer without plumbing and walks like a trucker
– Blonde Brittany, who has been doing math since she was 3 and seems to think winning ANTM would make her the ultimate nerd babe… or something.
– Pretty Erin, who much prefers reading and learning to lipgloss-applying and shopping
– Masculine-featured Kara, who’s a “free spirit, go wherever the wind takes me” (because I can afford to thanks to my rich parents) sort of gal
– Lulu, who’s preciously buck-toothed, has been out as a lesbian for 2 years and has a tattoo of her girlfriend’s name on her chest
– Lovely Latina Lisa, who is intensely praised her perfectly threaded eyebrows, but is otherwise forgettable
– Ashley, a no-fuss beauty and dance coach, who says she was approached at The Tyra Show to be on ANTM (Brilliant move to get butts in the Tyra Show seats!)
– Laura, who with her long, curly blonde locks and thick Kentucky accent is adorably country, complete with stories about castrating cows
– Rachel, this season’s anime-in-the-flesh (though her features’ quirks pale in comparison to the real Creepy Chan), whose big Bambi eyes cause Tyra to deem her a “special face”
In panel, Nicole-atrix Lestrange doesn’t exactly impress the judges with her energy. Miss J says she looks like she took 5 downers before she showed up. It turns out Nicole just really, really weird. She admits that she was a miserable loner in high school. She wakes up every day at 3 or 4 AM. She brings a large, rusty wheelbarrow to school instead of a backpack. So yeah. But she seems naturally odd, unlike the annoying affected Amber, who’s still busy grinding and burning for Jesus. Nicole is also gorgeous and kind of sweet, when you get past her monotone (verbally and emotionally) personality. After panel, Nicole worries that she killed her chances by being a downer, but Amber and others assure her that she is beautiful, though she will need to speak up to stay in the game. Rae the hot mom, on the other hand, impresses the judges with her strength, as she tells the tale of a horrific sexual assault, which she says she has dealt with and wants to turn around to serve a better purpose.
Other half-note-getters include Ciara, who accidentally aspires to be a car model with her too-sexy poses, and Raven, a suspenders-wearing tumbler on speed who seems to think she’s applying to be in the circus:
That’s SOOOO Raven! (When “Raven” = obnoxious.)
After panel, it’s another Elimination time, when they will narrow from 32 to 20. Each girl has a garment bag. If it’s empty, she’s out. From each girl’s amount of air time, we know who’s going to find a gown and survive to walk the runway, but it’s still sad to see the no-name contestants sob as they open the barren bags.
The remaining 20 put on their assigned garments and, after doing their own hair and makeup, do a runway challenge in which they need to hit four poses at the end of the catwalk. Oddballs like Kentucky Laura and Lord-loving Amber surprise the others with their natural modeling talent. Who knew?
Tyra meets up with the Jays to go over the footage from the runway, and deliberate before the final cut from 20 to 14. A series of overtly sexual poses from some of the girls make Tyra worry that shorter girls seek the male gaze more than they should. Guess we know what Tyra’s pet project is going to be this season (besides helping the short from looking too short, of course).
14 girls are cast on America’s Next Top Model, and they are… Jennifer, Erin, Rachel, Kara, Lulu, Rae, Ashley, Brittany, Bianca, Courtney, Nicole (who is so surprised that she doesn’t even react for a minute), Amber, Laura, and Sundai.
Tyra comforts the rejected girls by telling them, yes, they are too short to be real models, but they can still do commercials and face modeling! And she then… inspires? the final 14 by telling them they need to be better than the naturally tall, model-y girls at looking tall and model-y. Good luck with that!
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-Meghan Carlson, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Images courtesy of the CW