The competition proper began in cycle 11, and already one of the Britneys has gone to a less insane place. Re-dubbed Sharaun because having more than one person with the same name made Tyrabot’s brain malfunction, the former Brittney B’s wide-eyed proclaimation “I am America’s Next Top Model” looked extra sad and desperate after her elimation. The comments she got (a fave: “you love to spread your legs!”) were pretty classic, and the way she assuredly declared of Isis “America’s next top model is not gonna be a dude” helped ease her out the door pretty painlessly.
Elsewhere in the episode we were treated to an overt testament to just how old this cycle is, with all the talk of an upcoming election, and Nigel joined the show via a magician’s box, which was nice.
In the contestants’ new home there was a walk of fame for models of yesteryear, and they soon descended on Isis, to get the skinny on the first man to join the party. What with the political theme, there were plenty of opportunities to reveal cheery ignorance/indifference, so let’s get to the rankings.
1. Isis (Ranked on show: 2)
They ranked her second, but that was clearly an over-compensation to avoid accusations of tokenism. Her prior experience as a model lead to her monstering the photo session, and a maybe too curious Nigel Barker seemed particularly taken by her (admittedly enthralling) backstory. She was given the subject ‘privacy’, and given her special situation, it was a doozy. Still she dominated the shoot, and in so doing created a wall of enemies who were ultra-pissed at coming second to a set of testicles. It’s a scenario they’re going to have to get used to in the coming weeks, because Isis is the total package.
2. Marjorie (RoS: 1)
She got immigration, and draped herself prettily over a barbed wire gate. She looked a little lost, but also very striking, and with the competition (with one very prominent exception) generally filling out American archetypes, Marjorie’s strange, detatched beauty looks a good bet for the title. I normally hate all French people and things, but this girl lacks the customary sleazy confidence they display, and hasn’t worn berets or strings of garlic once, so she gets a better than pass mark for the week.
3. Alina (RoS: 5)
Not just because she’s a vegan bisexual with her sights set on the most conservative vegetable in the patch, but because she legitimately nailed the photo. Foreign Policy is a pretty amorphous, centreless subject, but against the backdrop she looked very Miss World, not really like a model, but super hot. Kinda like those ’40s girls they used to have performing for sailors about to go and die for their country so they’d be able to dream of a better world as the torpedoes hit.
4. Joslyn (RoS: 4)
Her subject: Unemployment “somethin’ that I am. Un-em-ployed!”. “Well you look like you about to get some work,” said Miss J, drily, and it was tough to argue with hookery designation. She does have a strong crack-addict look on TV, but sloughs it off in photos, where she somehow flips it and becomes pretty stunning. There’s just something about her good humour and general attitude which is very infectious, particularly against the conservatism and self-obsession of many of her companions, which makes you think she’ll survive a while. Plus her shots utilise her gangly limbs to great effect.
5. McKay (RoS: 3)
She’s one of the five most irritating models, what with the totally forced Mixed Martial Arts angle they’re pushing (seriously, that faux fight she had in ep 1 with Jay Manuel was retarded), but she did turn in a fine photo. She got the Enivironment, and predictably used a boxing stance, which works a little I guess, like, she’s fighting to protect it or some such nonsense. But she also looks extremely gormless in the pic, and when they make her do something other than her one lame trick we’ll see what she’s got left in the holster.
6. Sheena (RoS: 8)
“She’s big, black and lovin’ it!” Sheena has no idea she’s Asian. it’s very cute. I thought her Harlem schtick would get tiresome, but actually it’s catching. Pretty sure “I thought it was gonna be too hooch or somethin’!” is going to become a new catch-phrase of mine, and the way she’s shot through with adrenalin just to be on the show is awesome. Not sure if she’s actually good looking, and she definitely isn’t a model of any description, but she’s too much fun to get kicked off early.
7. Samantha (RoS: 6)
She’s an all-American blonde, and looked 100% stunned and for most her time on screen. She was given the economy, one of the most ridiculously executed of all the conceits, and sorta threw a shape out in front of it, which was fine, but nonsensical too. She has a cool ’70s Playboy vibe, which we haven’t seen in a model in a while, and while she’s not perfect for the role the fact they’ve cast her in it suggests they’ll make it work.
8. Annaleigh (RoS: 9)
Cute as a button, but very FHM in her healthcare pose. Her and Hannah are filling the girl-next-door/American-as-apple-pie slots, and she just edged out her Alaskan counterpart this week. Ultimately, what she did had nothing to do with healthcare (it was more sexy_nurse.avi), but she has this distance and aloofness which suggests maybe she can parlay cutesie into something more substantial.
9. Lauren-Brie (RoS: 11)
Was just arbitrarily posing for education, which shoulda been a no-brainer, and had a very quiet episode. But she has a definite now look, and they’ll teach her a few rudimentary facts of (modeling) life that’ll have her utilising that big ol’ forehead of hers and tan waifiness far better than she did this week.
10. Brittany (RoS: 7)
They obviously have raps on this gyal because only she of the Britney 3 got to keep her name, and she was given the military, which is easily the best assignment of the lot, except maybe bureaucracy (there’s a catch there though, which is coming). The judges loved her, and she has a pretty smile, but given the material there was precious little on show, and she seems fairly uncertain of herself, like she’ll crack under the pressure you know is coming. I’m not at all sold that her exotic looks will amount to anything much when the blowtorch comes on.
11. Nikeysha (RoS: 13)
She talked back to the judges, so got in big trouble for trying to defend herself, in a typical scapegoatin’ style. But the shot was fine. Great even, from the waist up. Sure there were some strange things going on with the mirror and the legs, but there were far worse errors committed, and I think the reason she ended up in the bottom two was more accurately that the judges need a whipping girl, like Ruby was in NZNTM. And Nikeysha, with her scrawny arms and exaggerated features, is every inch a model. Watch for her makeover to change the game, and her to persist a good while in this comp.
12. Hannah (RoS: 12)
Palin’s daughter got nukes, which shoulda been the cue for some dangerous poise and scarcely contained firepower. Instead we got a regular angular pose and no sense of anything. She claims to “not know how [she] feels about them,” which is fine, but this wasn’t a test ban treaty, it was a photo shoot, and her abdication of sentiment cost her dearly. She’s also overplaying bumpkin card entirely, and chumming up with raw sewage (see below), so the jury is still out on this particularly missile.
13. Clark (RoS: 10)
She’s just the worst kind of American, strong opinions (“if she walked around like that in a small town she’d be shot. And not because they’re smallminded, it’s just tradition.”) allied to soul-deadening witlessness. So she’s gonna be sicc-ed on Isis in the weeks ahead, and unless some of hese girls have spines as well as moony eyes it could get real ugly. The banal thing about Clark is she really doesn’t have the looks to try and get away with it.That long straight nose gives her a bit of a Richard Dean Anderson vibe, which ordinarily I’d love, but when she’s confusing bureaucracy for communism (SERIOUSLY! How stoked must the producers have been to hear that pearl drip from her tongue?) and looking horsily confused in her shoot it’s hard to think there’s much going on beyond reactionary homophobia. Unfortunately (or fortunately, for good TV’s sake) she’ll be here a while yet, but she took a shit photo when there was every chance to get tangled up in sexy red tape. So Clark’s our resident evil. Have fun with her while she lasts, because this troll ain’t winning.