New Zealand's Next Top Model Power Rankings: Cycle Two / Episode Eight

Just knowing it was coming didn’t make it any easier to take. All week they’d been running a fantastic promo portending extreme emotion, as good as signing Nellie’s death warrant. But, like one of those fancy movies where they start with the ending (say Titanic, or The Butterfly Effect), once we were rid of the suspense of wondering how things would turn out we were free to soak in the plot, and decry the injustice of the whole thing at greater length.

Because Nellie did not deserve to miss out on a trip to Phuket (budget non-fashion destination it might be, but it’s the principle). Not when Mikaela took a disastrously empty photo, and Elza nearly hospitalised herself with a very high grade freakout.

In the end, though, it had to happen. You could argue for Nellie being top five, but not top four. So she was going to get kicked out anyway. And if you’re going to get got, it might as well be in the best episode of the cycle so far. Truly this was a near masterpiece of reality television, and one with so much visual appeal I put together a small, badly shot series of images at the bottom to commemorate its glory. Before then though, we have models to be ranked…

1. (LW: 2) Dakota

There will be readers who believe that Dakota is here purely as an irritant – that she is nothing more than a more deranged analogue to Holly. You readers are straight up wrong. Because while Dakota remains one of the fruitier characters reality TV has ever thrown up in New Zealand (excepting the entire cast of Sky’s early 2000s masterpiece The Player – need to write about that some day for sure), she also takes incredible photos most weeks. This time round we had her talking to herself in the mirror in a way most children have moved on from around the same time they tire of nappies, destroying Michaela in a classic mismatch of wits and facetiously declaring “he gives you the extra strength you need” – about the uh, Heavenly father. That is talking God the same way she talks cereal… basically she was Dakota all episode, and despite her unco-chic inability to, y’know, walk she had the judge’s fave photo of the day. You can hate all you want, but she has the comp on a string right now, and is feeding off all the attention.

2. (LW: 3) Courtenay

Second in the rankings, and the second model to have missed out on the chance to humiliate herself in Op Shop’s massive steaming pile of shit video to their massive steaming pile of shit new song (*****, NZ Herald, lest we forget)… Sensing a theme? Getting to be in an Op Shop* video is about as good for a model’s career prospects as stealing a dead baby’s identity is for your career in politics. Courtenay missed out, and in the process doesn’t have to explain to her grand kids what the f*** she was thinking. In other Courtenay related news, she totally nailed that very lovely Lonely Hearts lingerie shoot to the cross, and revealed that despite her oft-repeated desire to stay covered up the world is a far happier place when she lets it all hang out. The only negative this week was photographer Sisarich (so classic when he pretends to have a real job – the producers must just be psyched when he holds the camera pointing the right way), who remarked sadly that Courtenay “didn’t blow me”. No shit, check the tape. Keeping it from the Sis is not how you win Top Model, kids.

3. (LW: 6) Danielle

As far as dream looks for Danielle go, I reckon walking away from a burning car (quick aside – what’s wrong with this picture: “Think James Bond. Think fur and fire. Think Ford Fiesta”?) dressed as a sexy assassin is right up there. And all that incessant, wheedling praise from the judges has finally begun to pay off in her self-esteem/belief reaching normal model levels. Suffice it to say this very unfair advantage has resulted in her becoming a very dangerous competitor, especially for those who show weakness – witness her stunning strike at Elza (Elza!) “I just thought she had to pick up her bullshit and just get on with it” – which places the whole shoe-kicking incident in an entirely different light. And speaking of bullshit, that’s kind of a huge call coming from a woman who point-blank refused to answer questions in the classroom challenge all of a week ago. I’m starting to wonder if Dakota’s backstory would scrub up worse than hers if they’d decided to make it an issue – kicked out of home at 14, considering ‘adult entertainment, can barely walk… Regardless Danielle is surging right now, all the judges remain infatuated with her, so I’m starting to think she’s a top three cert.

4. (LW: 1) Elza

Massive drop, I know. But hear me out. Firstly, if Danielle’s been the number one recipient of the judge’s largesse, Elza’s easily been second in line. They’ve been petting her like a lapdog, and every mistake Nellie makes gets portrayed as evidence of her innate weakness, while Elza’s are swept away like so much pretty fringe. Secondly, now that Nellie’s been eliminated Elza has to live with being the most famous participant in that creepy waterworld Op Shop video. Shame, I think the word is. Thirdly she had a massive Grade A meltdown, one of the most violent since that dude with asthma on Stylista after a DyShaun tirade. You have to think that merited more screentime and discussion than it got. Anyway, the fact her photo was somehow totally amazing (though these shots looked incredibly re-touched to me – maybe that’s what CMJ’s immortal jibe “Sometimes things don’t work out for you. Like you Chris – your whole career.”) counters that a little. But my main issue is that we have no f***ing clue how she’ll behave in the post-Nellie era. Can she even speak, feed herself or ever smile again? It’s too big a wildcard – Nellie’s elimination could have as much impact on her chance of winning the title as being stripped of all the competition points did the Storm. Or she could be shiny happy Elza next week. All I’m saying is it’s such a big deal that you need to suspend betting on her until the effects of the last week become clear.

5. (LW: 7) Lara

At some point, you just have to down tools and admit that you might well’ve been digging a big-ass hole to nowhere productive. So it is with Lara today. I still don’t think she’s a winner, or even a finalist. I still think she’s gawky, and super weird emotionally. But man does she ever know how to survive, and shrug things off. She’s had any number of fat taunts – from the vanquished Holly, most notably. This episode Dakota had a crack at her ‘jiggling’ ass, while Danielle, who was on a serious bitchy streak noted she “definitely likes honking her own horn” – as if that wasn’t close to a pre-req for a model. The video director – who seemed extremely creepy, even by the elevated standards of music video directors – was entirely smitten with her, saying “she’s already a supermodel”, which as a statement has about as much a connection with reality as Sara’s current face does with Sara’s old face. With her two fellow competitors on either side in the rankings falling to pieces in more-or-less overt fashion Lara might well live to fight another day.

6. (LW: 4) Michaela

You can argue all you want about the merits of a 16-year-old wearing a massive pearl necklace on TV, but I guess what our resident artistic genius Sisarich wants, he gets – and when he’s instructing “you’ve gotta do something with your mouth”… You get the idea. All frankly horrible joking aside, Michaela took a bunch of backward steps this week. Stepping to Dakota was beyong foolish – that woman’s blood is up, and Michaela thoroughly deserved the smackdown she got for her absurd gall – “I don’t need a reality check from a 15-year-old”. Her prediction about the ‘alter of fashion’ being the mall made her sound younger still, and when you’re reduced to “you’re such a dick Dakota. No one likes you” it’s time to pack up your crap insults and head home for the day. Worst photo of the week (and probably the comp, as far as she’s concerned), plus her tearful “I let my grandma down, who’s watching me from heaven” was much funnier than it was affecting. I’ve got a feeling that Thailand will break her once-promising run for good.

– Duncan

* Congrats to Jane on correctly picking this one in last week’s comments, by the way. rare to see correct Top Model-related predictions on this site.



Filed under Power Rankings, Reality TV

7 responses to “New Zealand's Next Top Model Power Rankings: Cycle Two / Episode Eight

  1. But, but – if you believe there’s such a thing as a “winner’s edit”, then Dakota’s getting about as far away from that concept as it is possible to get. Danielle still seems to be the main recipient of the winner’s edit as far as I can tell (and I’m no expert), whereas Dakota’s edit is all about the drama, and the fighting, and the bad behaviour, and the being nice as pie in front of the judges and a completely different person when they’re not around.

    Considering the big old story they told last cycle with Hosanna (“see how far you can get if you really really try your very hardest, kids!”), if there’s even a smidge of that wish to tell a role model story this year, then there’s no way Dakota can win this unless they do a complete 180 on her edit, stat.

  2. gabbygoose

    Danielle still at the top of my ratings table, maybe she’s had a little preferential treatment along the way, but perhaps they don’t want to see such unique talent go to waste. Dakota’s immaturity and rather schitzo personality are blocking any chance of a placing for her. And Chris The Sleaze’s James Bond shoot (with a teeny bit of help from Mr Photo Shop) were the best shots of the show I thought, 100% up on the “Mud in Yer Face” Rotorua shots or the “Hollywood Mumsy Glamour” Wellington shots a couple of shows back. Give that man a job I say.

  3. Jane

    Thanks for the sweet props. Naturally I’m a bit ashamed that I was able to recognise Kerro’s silhouette so easily, but it was worth it to get a footnote.

    As long as I’m on a prediction roll (not really a roll when you’ve only nailed one prediction, but anyway) I’m gunning for a final two of Danielle and Elza.

  4. Dakota is a classic example of ‘Omarosa Syndrome’. She will get to the top 5. But then the producers will realise that as much as people enjoy watching a stupid person who is also a bitch, they don’t want that person to win an exclusive spot in 68 Models or whatever and a blue car.

    The only way this type of ‘character’ can possibly make it to the top is if they’re genuinely the best (‘J.D. Fortune syndrome’). Dakota may somehow manage an alright photo (this week she was smashed by Danielle and Elza though), she can’t walk down a runway. She’s like some ferel cat with one leg and a tail-crutch.

    Top three: Danielle (who is a clear winner unless she headbutts an elephant next ween and is further flattened), Elza (who has triumphed in spite of an awkward and horsey face (and an even awkwarder name)), and Courtney (hot as/awkwardly Christian).

    I imagine they only brought Dakota to Thailand in the hopes she’s get involved in some sort of prostitution ring and they’ll get some terrifying/enthralling Requiem for a Dream type footage.

    Really wish you devoted more of this weeks post to the music video director. The guy/his pony/the pronunciation of his name were unbelievable. Easily the most terrifying person I’ve ever seen. Kept thinking about him and ‘Big Sis’ getting massages from immigrants.

    Also: My fave part of the episode was the guy from Lonely Hearts in the elimination chamber. So tense. When the camera was on Sara but you could still see him. Real good. He looked to me like the female Lonely Heart was supposed to do it and had to pull out at the last minute a la Best in Show. Tense.

  5. nick

    Like Joseph, i was hoping for some deadball time on Ivan “Lara is already a supermodel -the film maker, what a shocker!
    Michaela, oh boy, what an eat arse…Courtenay seems to be no1 fav with the panel…so her number 1, Danielle number 2 id say is how it will pan out.

  6. Brooke

    Can’t really say much more than has already been noted about the awfulness of the music video director and some of the ‘high stress’ scenarios being developed. Props to the models/editors and CMJ for the passive aggressive digs at Chris, I’m hoping this could be a theme.

    Also the Auckland explodes as they escape the Ford Fiesta Bond style (confusing concept anyone?) shoot was one of the stranger shoots and maybe photoshop skills have improved but the outcome still seems pretty dire. The styling was disappointing and I’m surprised no one had a problem with the fur outfits. ( faux or naux? ) Courtenay really bummed me out when she gushed over her outfit. Wasn’t into it.

    Actually there were so many strange moments that went unexplained, like shooting half the judging outside (?). Also as someone who usually watches online in varying states of intoxication I was really confused about Nellie going home since I lacked forewarning. Dire showing for Michaela, sending Nellie home seemed very er, budget conscious. I’m picking Courtenay and Daniella as final two for some reason, just a feeling, Courtenay might be a bit too similar to last years Nivea ‘ambassador’ though. Expecting Lara to hang on another week through all the weirdness.

  7. Gerald

    Dakota can’t walk a runway and has little understanding of her body when it moves. Eventually she will get caught out and it will be before the top 3. However I do like the odd Dakota quip. The comment on the coming up next week section was a zinger!

    ‘I’m gonna take it to a dark place and you don’t want to go to that dark place.’

    Should really have waited until next week to post this as it is technically next week’s show but what the hey.

    I wonder if Dakota has seen this?

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