It was my birthday on Sunday. If you want to know what it was like for me, cast your mind back to the twins’ birthday a few weeks ago, with me making the emotional speeches and Nellie’s part being played by a mirror. The whole day I was looking forward to the ep of NZNTM I had stashed away on the MySky, both because when you’re in your thirties that’s pretty much all there is left, and because it was the overseas ep.
Remember last year’s trip to LA? That was one of my favourite TV hours ever. By heaps. Teryl-Leigh complaining about the absence of Number 1 Shoes from Rodeo Drive? Hosanna comparing herself to Kate Moss being trumped by Victoria comparing herself to Tom Cruise? NIGEL BARKER flirting with Christobelle?! Some shit hot television.
But this week was flat as. Two quarter pound patties of Sisarich-as-beefcake with only a thin sliver of CMJ’s processed cheese between (his regal fan-waving was my fave part) was part of it, but I think the main issue was simply the location. Phuket (were I Paul Henry I’d be shitting my pants at that hilarious name right now) just isn’t LA. It isn’t even on any fashion radar that I’m aware of. It’s just a nice place to go and have a lie down. The lack of a sense of glamour or history-spurring-action severely impacted on the episode, and as a result I was empathising with the elephant by the end, in being entirely “tired of posing with girls from New Zealand.” (thanks Kane for the quote). Rankings:
1. (LW: 3) Danielle
OK, I’m buying in. Stunning photo, real grittiness, and the judge’s are still feeding her a break here and there. That’s kinda all you need to win. It was like she woke up on the first morning, looked out at the very pretty spot she’d landed in and realised that she could not have come there from Kawerau without having some kind of talent. It always felt like the battle with Danielle was getting her to be engaged enough that she didn’t do anything mental and get herself kicked off. And while she’s had a number of sullen, surly moments, they’ve never been any worse than her comrades’, and she’s always had strong photos. So… winner? Why not. She also was the main fun of the episode, dropping a couple of Kawerau Klassics, my fave of which was On Pufferfish: “Kinda freaky how he voms out water and it all comes out weird holes.” Yes it was. Though On Elephants wasn’t bad either: “It’s definitely more fun to pose with an elephant than Dakota.” My gut says she’ll be posing with neither come the final.
2. (LW: 2) Courtenay
Court’s going steady, but I grow less and less sure of her fortunes by the hour. Well by the day. I wish I was paid to just sit around and consider Courtenay’s prospects in this cycle as a 9-5. That would be a truly rich and intellectually satisfying life. But anyway, each day I think her chances of winning grow slenderer and slenderer. Where once they were like Lara’s arse, now they’re more like Danielle’s. Which basically means they’ve gone from slim to none, in my mind, because by no earthly standards did poor Lara deserve all Dakota’s venomous taunting. Returning to Courtenay, the reason I think she’s no shot to actually win the thing (while near-certain to make the final) is because she so resembles last year’s winner. Normally resemblance to the previous champion is no issue at all – all those Derrick Rose comparison’s worked for Tyreke Evans, right? But in this instance othe judges would not only have to put up with all manner of shit for going with the cute, conventional white girl twice in a row, but with the very palpable sense that as a model, Christobelle’s been a bit of a disaster. She pretty much only does those Nivea spots, right? And they are, well, quite rubbish. Maybe some lady deodorant too? The fact I just can’t think of them says enough. Courtenay, then, might be the prettiest, coolest girl on the show, the first to reprimand Dakota (though not the best – Danielle: “You annoy the shit out of me Dakota… maybe you should shut the fuck up” beats her there)… But she ain’t gonna win.
3. (LW: 4) Elza
I have to admit that I was a little disappointed at how breezily Elza handled be torn from her identical twin sister. I was hoping she’d be dressed in black, morose, doing some intense, brooding frames in tribute to the magnitude of the moment. Instead she was all game face and focus, doing brilliantly reclining shots with the elephant (who she seemed to get extremely attached to by the end, which was a nice reminder of her ability to engage with animals as comfortably as humans) and not letting a lack of 10 years of Tae Kwon Do prevent her from turning in a good round of Muay Thai. I think her and Danielle are the only models who can win, and while it was disconcerting and a little deflating to see her as just another model (rather than part of some mad freak appeal double vision duo), she still has a number of big factors in her favour. Namely being totally profesh (so she’ll handle the inevitable late round curveballs comfortably) and actually long, lean and striking, like, uh, models tend to be.
4. (LW: 1) Dakota
The dream run is over. Not many will fondly recall this period, but that little window, when Dakota was pretty much directing the show single-handedly, was a watershed reality TV moment for us. Every line was promo-worthy, she gazed lovingly at the camera the way her fellow models look at the mirror, and was the most gloriously aggravating presence in a season which hasn’t had quite the personality malfunctions of the first cycle. This week, though, they got under her skin, finally. The way she exploded at poor, innocent Lara lost her the audience and the judges, and while she was ushered through at the latter’s expense, it was a transparently ratings/drama driven move by a set of judges who were happy to make a blatant legal error to massage her through. As Jane pointed out, if you offer an extra twenty frames as a prize, you sure as hell can’t then penalise (let alone eliminate) a competitor for making use of that prize. Lara could easily have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Reality TV in the Hague had she wanted to – but she’s too sweet and odd. It’s history now, but Dakota’s fate was sealed with that one outburst, and despite her sickeningly false apology (after swearing she wouldn’t earlier) at the judge’s table there will be no one in our fair islands who isn’t rooting for her to fall. It’ll come this week or the next, with only variable being when the girl below finally gets the boot…
5. (LW: 6) Michaela
Two straight weeks propping up the bottom and she’s refusing to leave. Normally when the judges say a gyal’s got only one look I’m all like ‘that’s rich coming from Sisarich/Tetro’, but in this case they’re entirely correct. Michaela just does the sad-eyed lady thing time and again. She never even tries to change it up. And while she put her smoking bod into all kinds of grand shapes this week there was nothing going on up top. Worse than that, though, she’s adding nothing to the show from a dramatic or humourous perspective. She’s just a vat of nerves and missed opportunities, and there is nothing to be gained from her progressing further. The promos have been talking about a fan favourite saying her emotional goodbyes – I just can’t see how that could possibly be Michaela. She does have her fans (Isaac’s all about her), but she’s so gloopy and dull of late that you couldn’t possibly build up her elimination like that? Could you? Due to this going up a full six days after the episode aired, we find out tomorrow. Profuse apologies dudes, I’ll be better next week, promise.