If ever an episode cried out to be spread thickly over two nights, so we could luxuriate in its gratuitous modelity it was our ‘ relocation to America. Every single second was outrageously good, so you’ve got to think we missed some incredible stuff in editing. But full credit to the sublime judge’s table machinations that put mortal enemies Teryl-Leigh and Hosanna in the bottom two, then sent home Teryl-Leigh – this was an act of outrageous cruelty in the service of great TV, and one for which we should all be forever grateful.
The episode was also notable for the frankness of the guests. They didn’t muck around in delivering their verdicts, with Alexis Borges of Next LA popping Ruby’s balloon, and allowing TL to drop another of her classics on us: “I’m really pleased with that, because obviously I can lose a couple of inches of weight. I can’t grow a couple of inches.” And while Hosanna may’ve got the last laugh (literally, see the instant NZ TV classic moment above), Barker and Borges assessments of her had a necessary brutality which provided a true reality check for the Hose, one she’s needed for weeks and never quite received in our friendly isles.
1. (Last Week: 3) Christobelle
As predicted in last week’s rankings, she turned it on for the US big dogs, but no one could have foreseen the force with which she took back the lead. She won all three challenges, the variety of which (styling/ TV ad/couture) should have proved impossible for any one competitor to take. This served to show her breadth at a critical time, and send a message to model-come-latelies Laura and Ruby that when she puts her mind to it, she can do anything. After indifferent work on the C4 audition a couple of weeks back few would have predicted her sunny confidence in the Cover Girl shoot, and the way she transfixed Barker (who’s seen some wannabes in his time) speaks volumes. There’s daylight between her and second place again, and with a month to go she’s picked the perfect time to make her run.
2, (LW: 2) Laura
Still in the pocket, though this week drafting off a different leader, Wellington’s It Girl was revealed as another of TL’s enemies on the flight over: “it was really exciting for me, even though I was sitting between two people I don’t really care for.” Laura’s willowy figure was picked out at Next LA as one to watch, and she offset the mediocrity of her form through the first challenges by nailing the Barker shoot. Something about the play of the dark sand on her skin really worked, and Barker was a big fan. Her tone in the cutaway interviews is getting more and more entitled though (despite a sweet burn on H regarding the latter’s tragic compulsion to compare herself with Kate Moss), and the further she strides from her early misfit/underdog situation the less likable she seems.
3. (LW: 1) Ruby
Hardly counts as bad week, but following her charismatic dominance of the last couple anything but supremacy looks like a step backwards. The turning point for her was when she nailed the Cover Girl piece to camera, but they went for Christobelle’s similarly first-rate performance. There was a fairly sniffy comment afterwards, a sharp contrast to her normally breezy disposition, and maybe the first signs that when she’s overlooked on the back of a strong performance it can eat at her like it would anyone else. Though, to be fair, she did drop a “whatevs” at the end of her little speech, as opposed to bursting into tears, so there are limits to how much it impacts her. She got pretty much panned at the judge’s table, but if you had to pick a time to have soft ep for the Hastings kid, this was it. In couple of weeks, when the deadwood’s gone, there’ll be no such room for half stepping.
4. (LW: 5) Victoria
This girl just gets weirder with each passing week. Seriously, she seems so disconnected and conservative during the Autozamm shoot, then goes on about how she wouldn’t mind getting her boobies out in response to TL’s concerns last week. And here she positively wallowed in the opportunity to sit in a hotel lobby fishtank for three hours. The girl’s an exhibitionist, it now seems clear, but also has huge physical intimacy issues. So outlandishly strange I’m starting to like her. This week she outed herself as dyslexic, though her reading of the Cover Girl lines was no worse than TL or Laura’s babbling, confused efforts, but her comparison of herself to Tom Cruise was revelatory. Piercing stare? Bizarre sexuality? Hailing from the 5th largest urban area in their state/island? Check, check and check. V was unable to buy an outfit for $75 in LA, which was kinda shameful, but not as bad as Teryl-(“this might be the richer part of town so there might not be any Warehouse or Number One Shoes or anything”-Leigh’s godawful Guess dress… That thing looked like it had been on sale since 1988, so it’s not so surprising she finaggled a discount outta the sales rep. Still though, Victoria’s was a pretty big fail, and while she had one of her better photos (and got a Barker twirl to prove it), she needs to get those disasters out of her game, because when Hose goes, she’s it.
5. (LW: 5) Hosanna
After weeks of shambling incompetence I’ve hit something of a hot streak, with two straight weeks of the bottom ranked getting fired, and I reckon Hosanna’s a mortal lock to go home this Friday. TL thinks so too “I know she’ll be going home next week anyway,” she said defiantly in her final address, and barring a major f*** up from V or R that is how it will go down. Why am I so sure? Because Hosanna’s mini-revival, which saw her frightening dedication to the craft trump some far more natually gifted models, is well and truly over. I think it died at the hands of the judges, who complimented her bizarre practise regime so many times she started to believe her own press and push it to the limit in front of the camera. Hence the crab poses and mad eyes she turned on for Barker. Her life-saving photo was, as he so portentously put it her ‘very. last. frame’, and you only need to look at her next to the remaining four to realise that her time’s up. But you’ve got to hand it to the girl for making the last five, and beating out her Otara nemesis. From her fall upon selection to publically stripping to her bra within hours of landing on US soil, she has been the show’s rock, a standby who never failed to turn on some zingers in every episode. If, as one of our commenters suggested, there’s to be a half-life for the gyals beyond the already-immortal first season of NZNTM in the likes of Celebrity Treasure Island etc, someone NEEDS to maroon Hose and TL together. There would be blood and tears, but the television would be fantastic.
PS – Here’s a few photos to remember TL, Hosanna and their beautiful friendship by.