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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!