New Zealand's Next Top Model Finale Recap Thing

The moment of truth

The finale (read our scrappy liveblog here) was more of an elaborate coronation ceremony for Christobelle than any form of competition. It seemed pretty clear from very early on in the series that when it came to temperament, talent and The Look, Christobelle Grierson-Ryrie was what the judges wanted. She will now go down alongside NZ Idol winner Ben Lummis as our first champion in an odd local equivalent to an overseas reality tv phenom. Though it’s to be hoped she has a greater ceiling than the singer, who’s currently attempting a  second comeback with a single named Smooth Lady. Nice.

In another eerie parallel with our Idol debut, the people’s champ, and the most idenitifiably ‘New Zealand’ contestant came fourth. In an ideal world, Ruby would be introducing the first single from the third Luke Whaanga album on TV in 2010, but it seems entirely possible that she will fade from public view as swiftly as the beatboxin’ belter did – the word is now that the mooted presenter’s job on C4 is no longer likely. Which troubles me somewhat, as while the show was airing I was utterly convinced that her starpower was such that she would outshine the show. Now, with Christobelle being wheeled through various media outlets (or, occasionally, Laura being subbed in at the last minute, as happened to a bemused Charlotte Ryan on bFM this morning), Ruby’s future celebrity looks far less secure.

But the show itself has been a smash hit, and aside from Christobelle, the guaranteed stars of the piece are the three judges, who’ve all gone from relative obscurity to centre stage in a few short weeks. Which makes being able to publish these beautiful images all the more exciting. Because as, poised and stylish as they are now, it was hard road here, and all had to pass through the treacherous ’90s to get here, with none emerging unscathed…


Ladies and gentlemen, your NZNTM judges, circa 1993. Don’t ask me where I got those images, the Sara one is pretty famous, the latter two were reader tips, and are the more shameful I reckon. If nothing else, Colin’s hair has come a long, long way from the flailing braids seen above, while Sisarich’s denim waistcoat over bare skin might be from an ad, but still…

I’d give Chris and Sara cautious pass marks, they were both pretty abysmal at times, but it’s season one, and surely having seen themselves on screen they’ll pick up the meanness and maybe elevate their language. With the mighty mouth of CMJ alongside  they’ve ample example of exactly how to comport yourself in the judge’s chair. The guy swelled grotesquely as the series wore on, his gaze ever more piercing, his pronouncements spiralling off into surreality with no care for convention. If he maintains the same trajectory he’ll be at Bruno Tonioli level by season three.

Sara and Chris are effectively on notice. Chris Sisarich needs to realise this is TV and not his mate’s lounge or some Ponsonby bar. He’s not there to impress us with how handsome and blasé he is; we need him to bring us a moment each week which will fill our mundane lives with joy when we recall it. As of now he just seems like he’s trying to impress the girls, and it comes off as kinda creepy.

As much as he needs to improve, Sara’s in a bigger hole. The fact she gets the winning model for her agency almost feels like a conflict, and her comments seem a little too aware of the professional relationship she’ll need to have with these girls, particularly the winner, following the show’s closing. Or maybe she’s just a bit rubbish. As it is, Colin’s carrying them, and he’s a strong man, but we need more from his fellow judges, because in season one his incredible calls were dropped into the air and dissipated, because his fellow judges were too stunned or slow-witted to realise what had transpired. When the shock of the new is gone, and there’s no insane TL vs Hose rivalry to keep us hooked, we’re going to need a much bigger game from judges two and three.

So I guess this is it. We’ve had a pretty good run, the show and I, and as much as I had the same empty feeling upon the credits rolling Friday you all no doubt shared, it was leavened with hope for the future. Registrations are now open for season two, and I can only beg any DB readers who are even halfway eligible to throw their hat in the ring and report back to us what the process is like. Because this is reality TV there’s really no excuse for waiting too long in the off-season, no writers who need time to recuperate or actors needing to complete other projects. They will need to find another house, but hopefully there’ll be another egocentric internet millionaire around to facilitate that end of the bargain.

So it’s been fun, and the response to the Power Rankings has been such that we at DeadBall have decided to expand the remit of the site to make stuff like this less of the exception and more of the rule. We’ll still have sports coverage and all that carry on, but we’re also going to talk shit about TV here, because we all watch TV and tend to conceptualise it in sporting terms regardless of whether it was intended as such or not.

Without NZNTM there’s no obvious immediate show for us to latch onto in the same way, though I’ve got a feeling I’ll be watching every minute of The Sharpest Knife from now on, but come back and see how the whole thing shakes out. Until then, thanks for reading and commenting, and here are my final, extremely personal rankings of the contestants, based on various algorhythms and complex theories that I don’t have the space or ability to articulate here. But were I a judge, this is how it would have shaken out.

1. Ruby

Cute, charismatic, completely unflappable – Ruby was a TV natural, and if this is all we ever have of her, she’ll remain a New Zealand classic, like the Ingham Twins and Anthony Dixon.

2. Christobelle

The only possible winner, and potentially an actual successful model. Cool, pretty and brimming with an understated self-confidence. We could have done a lot worse.

3. Tiffany

I was so enraged at her early ejection I nearly started a facebook group. She was never going to win (too cute, really), but she was striking and seemed cool, and we barely got to know her before she was gone.

4. Sarah

What’s not to love about an epileptic junkie mum who can’t really be bothered modeling? Plus she took incredible photos when she actually got in front of a lense.

5. Rhiannon

The country bumpkin never stood a chance with these tigresses, but that why you had to love her. Also, every so often, she’d take an outrageously good picture.

6. Ajoh

Best part was her inability to start a sentence without the phrase “in my culture/country”, and the way she became a young, insanely hot Grace Jones after the haircut.

7 =. Hosanna & Teryl-Leigh

I actually kinda hated them the whole time they were on screen, but the show would have been a limp husk without the unvarnished contempt these two shared. I fervently hope that we see regular televised reunions for the pair, because Christobelle or no, they were the reason the show really popped.

9. Olivia

Never really got into her look, but she had a nicely self-effacing sense of humour, and her aerobics class with Ruby was a definite high point of the season. Plus she is that chirpy despite having such an incredibly maudlin sister, which is no mean feat.

10. Laura

Once upon a time my fave model, after throwing down the chili and generally seeming entirely nonplussed by the antics of the first few rounds. But she had a touch of the Samsons with her hair, and the pressure of favouritism turned her tense and tedious.

11. Victoria

On one level just as dull as can be, and on another a total sexual freak exhibitionist… I feel like the duality of Victoria was left maddeningly unmolested by the judges/producers, hence her low ranking. But I feel like she might have extreme weirdness underneath the bland, conformist exterior.

12. Lucy

Her habit of breaking down in tears two or three times an episode got really grating, and the way she somehow maintained her spot while far more interesting girls and potential winners fell really short-circuited the show.

13. Rebecca-Rose

Actually a pretty amazing model, but that hardly mattered, because her smug references to her ‘experience’ were so irritating that every other feature was rendered irrelevant. Her elimination was the biggest Petrie fist-pump of the series for me.

… And we’re done. See you next season!

– Duncan



Filed under Announcements, Playoffs

11 responses to “New Zealand's Next Top Model Finale Recap Thing

  1. Henry


    1. CMJ surely was the biggest winner of the show. I think he had more star power than Ruby even. And he threw those lamingtons with such joy. As if he were drunkingly throwing them at his actual friends at 3am.

    2. Sara needs to do something before next ‘cycle’. It’s weird they call it a cycle, right? When a group of women talk about cycles it usually doesn’t mean a TV show.

    Anyway, I think that not only is she conflicted about her future professional relationship with at least one of these girls (any chance they’d sign one of the others just in case they got some good offers out of it? Or would that be too much of a conflict?), but that she is conflicted with on the one hand being the presenter and judge, on the other being a burgeoning celebrity in her own right and on the third and final hand, being the owner of the management company that will control her career. Like she’s automatically self-media trained every ounce of personality out of herself. Maybe she needs to drink more during taping. Or completely loose her mind like Tyra. SOMETHING.

    Also, who do the writer/s (there must be at least one) think they’re kidding with all this “mate” stuff. Unless that is actually Sara. “Go on, say goodbye to your mates”. I mean, what is this? Footrot Flats? Middle NZ knows they’re watching a show about ‘fashion’ with at least two gay men per show. “Mate” is not fooling anyone.

    Anyway, I am sure next season will be even better. Every Pizza Hut girl-next-door will be lining up for their shot at (Oh My God) a MEETING in New York.

  2. Can’t believe this is the end. Got a good feeling that cycle 2 will step it up the way Aus Big Brother 2 did (Sara-Marie, her ‘bum dance’, her ‘bum dance’ ALBUM, dick tricks…) though. Sophomore seasons tend to be pretty ‘optimum’ in terms of the balance between producers knowing what they’re doing / contestants still resembling actual people. Seem to remember Treasure Island – the benchmark for NZ reality TV – having a pretty good second series too…

  3. Great writeups Duncan.

    For those of us needing our Ruby fix:

    It’s only 2 pics, but it should take the edge off. For the first time I can actually see some of her Maori heritage in her face.

    I will totally be back for Season 2.

  4. Why is poor old Sara getting the stick so much? Agree that Sisarich needs a boot up the arse, but I love how ST came across as the coal-hearted money genius she no doubt is.
    Maybe TV3 could fall to their knees, apologise on behalf of all New Zealanders and beg Charlotte Dawson to come back, but I’d be worried about the old trout giving Col too much competition in the bitch queen stakes. Half the problem with the American version is that there’s just too many NPD suffering freaks vying for attention on the judging panel.

    With Sisarich contractually obliged to amp up the sleaze in season 2, the adjudicating triumvirate would be just perfect, IMHO.

  5. Duncan

    @Henry: OK I agree wholeheartedly re: CMJ being the breakout star of the show. I’ve heard he has a bronze bust of himself at his house. The guy is a wizard, a shining star and I’m so glad he’s been given this platform. The lamingtons were crazy, and doubtless entirely his idea. Like can’t you imagine him waking up a camera crew, and speeding through the city streets toward the NZNTM house, cackling with witchy glee the whole way?
    I also feel stink for continually referring to ‘seasons’ rather than ‘cycles’, poor form.
    And the ‘mate’ thing is totally insane, you’re right. particularly as there was precious little mateship throughout the show – put teenage girls in a house together in direct competition, and much as my schoolboy mind imagines otherwise, they’re going to loathe each other.
    @Warney: Treasure Island was incredibly good, I think they need to do a crossover show stat. But does anyone remember that Sky TV reality show where ten young dudes basically fought for the chance to have a sly root with Nicky Watson? It was INSANE. The winner bought her a bottle of Bernadino and porno at one point to “get her in the mood”. They need to rescreen that filth asap.
    @Alex: It looks like Ruby and Victoria have been signed to 62, so Sara is clearly getting first dibs on the pool, which again is pretty rough. How gold would an auction of the remainders be, proceeds going to charity or whatever, with all other nZ agencies/wealthy internet egomaniacs able to buy their very own Top Model? I have to say that the producers, despite largely nailing the fiurst cycle, really missed out on opportunities to do extra stuff outside of the show.
    @Carrie: Yeah I guess I’m sorta raining on her. But I felt like she held back too much, like just seemed to look at the models and see herself, young and insecure and trying to find her way in the world (hence cheerleading). Which is just not her role. I never liked Dawson much. I kinda think Karen Walker, bitch that she is, might nail it. I would also like to see Margaret from St Kevin’s Arcade guest judging, swilling sherry, chainsmoking and babbling incoherently. Would teach Sisarich a thing or two, if nothing else.

  6. Laura and The Hose have also been signed to 62:

    It doesn’t feel quite right that most of them got signed anyway. I know Christobelle gets the other prizes, but if Sydney and New York don’t go anywhere for her, she’s just as well off as the others and it takes the gloss off the title.

  7. They should have a Top Model draft at the end of the series. Right before the reunion show (why are they not having one of those. They’re the cheapest hour of TV you could possibly make) they could have the agencies sign up, have a lottery and then take their picks. I’d watch that.

  8. friday’s finale left me feeling a bit unsatisfied – pretty boring really compared to the rest of the show
    apparently all our girls are signed to 62 now
    so um there’s a bif hole in my TV week now but luckily Flavor of Love season 3 has started on c4 – the first two were fabulous
    thanks for a great blog!

  9. Duncan

    It screams for a draft huh? Because all you would have to go off is their looks, so you’d get all sort of weird attempts to divine character from facial features etc. I think we need to pitch to the TV execs.
    Am planning on gettting in touch w/ Flavour of Love now. And trying to figure out when Top Chef season 6 starts. That and, um, the all blacks…

  10. Henry

    It’s also weird to see their NZNTM photos as their portfolio. I mean, obviously that’s what they were there for but the farm league thing still feels a little off.

  11. just wondering…are many models in nz able a living from modelling? or do they need other income?

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