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

And then there were three. If I was saddened and embittered by Dakota’s elimination last week then Courtenay’s departure left me completely dumbfounded. She definitely had a soft episode, but I’m starting to suspect some grand conspiracy to hustle Michaela to the finale. She has never at any point looked like the winner, whereas Courtenay had poise, a walk, a variety of different facial expressions… all that modelly stuff that those who make it to the finale tend to possess. For her to come crashing down because she can’t read a map seems rather cruel.

But life is cruel, and the designers were unremittingly cruel in their assessments of her. When she slipped up at World and “when I become a model” fell out of her pretty little mouth the writing was on the wall, and if you want metaphors for this episode’s performance you only had to watch her ask her driver to pull over on the motorway. Her campaign had been slick and well directed, but as soon as reality (or as close to that substance as you’ll get on this show) bit, in the form of actual clients and deadlines, she was done.

Aside from that the highs came from Ford. And by ‘highs’ I mean the kind of brain-meltingly stupid moments that makes this show so great. Like the super-dated, incredibly embarassing graffitti-d Fiestas for the mods to get around in. Or their marketing manager sounding exactly like David Brent at his most over-weaningly desperate-to-be-liked. Or the fact that never in the hsitory of brand-personality alliances has their been a less well-matched pairing than Ford and Danielle. Watching that one flame out will be a good time. Rankings:

1. (LW: 2) Danielle

Who else? Seriously, that might have been the single most dominant performance in one episode in the long and storied history of this fine program – eclipsing such classics as Hosanna vs America and Elza going to fashion school. Danielle got ticks for both runway and photo shoot from everyone bar the sportswear people. She had double the ticks of the opposition combined. It was truly devastating, and she’s gone from that-feral-hick-who-takes-great-pics to the unquestioned favourite for the title in a few short weeks. But it was her confidence that did it for me. “They love me,” she cackled delightedly at one point, and they really did. Every designer lavished praise on her, and seeing her unleashed, outside the artificial confines of the NZNTM-verse it all makes sense. She is the real deal, and those bookers can smell that stink a mile away. When she whipped open the curtain at World it was the mark of a woman with a flair for the dramatic, and she made even quirk-machine Elza look meek and mild by comparison. Plus she had the unmistakeable swagger of a champion, that give-me-the Goddamn-ball (© Andy Morton by way of Tom Hanks) attitude which spells DANGER for all concerned: “I’m home. Get this shit on me,” she said of the basketball shoot. Right now, baring a severe mishap, she is riding this thing home in two days time.

2. (LW: 3) Elza

I’m really, really sorry about the quality of the images this week. My sister-in-law house-sat for us and soiled herself very badly by deleting the crystal clear hi-def version from our MySky, leaving the shoddy On Demand version as my visual ref for this week. Aside from that, you’ll notice that even when dressed as Katy Perry Elza looks strange and mercurial. No mean feat, as when Katy Perry is dressed as Katy Perry she looks like a medium-sized plastic bag of syphillis flavoured M&Ms. But yeah, Elza disappointed a bit this week. I thought 27 Names would be jumping her bones, but they stood stony-faced and immune to her charms. World was similarly unmoved, damning her with the faint praise of a runway booking, while even Sable + Minx, whose gothy vibez seem custom built for an Elza-type, could only manage a shrug. I think two factors stand in her way. Firstly, when we see Elza, we imagine her with Nellie alongside and it’s fucking magic. The bookers (at least right now, with Nellie watching on teevee) don’t have that benefit. Secondly, we love her because of her funny, quasi-mystical ways and ridiculous positivity and politeness which somehow doesn’t grate or seem ingenuine. Whereas the bookers just see some happy, dippy redhead – they don’t have time to get familiar with the real Elza. So this episode played away from her strengths. The finale may not – she still takes some gorgeous pictures, and has the best screwed-on head of anyone in the comp’s history. She had an OK ep – heaps of people would have grown sick with bitterness after Michaela’s cheap trick to push in ahead of her, and basketball (feat CJ Bruton! and, um, Pauly Henare) definitely isn’t her strong suit – I thought she expressed it well in saying “I have the height, but I don’t necessarily have the coordination.” Next week we find out if she has the stomach to stand in front of a raging Danielle and turn this procession into a real dogfight. My gut says no, but with elements as mismatched and volatile as Danielle and Elza nothing is certain.

3 (LW: 4) Michaela

DeadBall’s resident statistician pointed out to me that this is the first time one model’s been on the bottom four weeks in a row*. That could indicate one of two things: either Michaela’s secretly amazing and I’ve been wrong the whole time, or there’s been a whole shipping container full of bad judging dropped on the show. After extensive research I have in fact determined that it’s bad, bad, awful, shithouse judging that’s the problem. She straight up shouldn’t be here. Tentative, emotionally stunted, cry-y,one face – you all know the reasons. Yet they give her best photo! The photo was pretty good, I suppose, but nothing to fill your pants about. I can picture right now every other photo from this week in my head, but Michaela’s is a blank. Fundamentally I just cannot for one moment buy into any argument which suggests that she has a chance on Friday. Which makes it a two horse race. A shame, because it needn’t have been, and they’ve seriously devalued the anticipation with having someone who barely scraped into the top eight make the final. Bloody MacIntyre system! This week’s performance was another perfunctory effort, lowlighted by that stunt she pulled on Elza. “I pushed in front of her and it was kinda rude. But oh well!” cue cutesy smile. NOT CUTE. Just a bit of a lame, immature, bullying thing to do. Very Michaelavellian, really (so sorry). Before the shoot she had the 38th breakdown of the season, and somehow pulled it together. Felt staged to me. Maybe I’m being too hard on her, but I just have felt NOTHING for Michaela for weeks now, and this episode did nothing to rescusitate my fandom. Next week – comeuppance. And a post-series wrap up of some description, mainly because once that’s done deadball will go back to being an unpopular sports blog again, and I’m just kinda delaying that moment.

– Duncan

* Fact not checked, because DeadBall doesn’t have a resident statistician. Obviously.

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17 Comments

Filed under Basketball, Reality TV

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

  1. Aaron Hawkins

    I loved how the photos look like a low rent Dave La Chapelle shoot, sadly without the behind-the-camera flamboyance or glistening camp.

  2. Leonie

    “plastic bag of syphillis flavoured M&Ms” may be my favourite sentence of all time.

  3. Duncan

    It’s been quoted back to me three times so far out of fifty people who’ve looked at it, which suggests it’s finding an audience.

  4. Admittedly not a fan of her in the first place, but that Katy Perry description is genius. Also like ‘Michaelavellian’…making up words is sometimes the only solution.

  5. LizLemon

    It was a pretty blah episode, however I did want to punch someone when I was watching it On Demand and they played the promo for next week’s ‘sode (showing the three finalists) part-way through, BEFORE Courtney’s elimination… ARGHHHHH! TV3 YOU ARE SO DUMB!

  6. Charlotte

    I am so over Danielle – it feels like she has totally been handed this on a plate… which of course, she has. I almost don’t want to watch the final – but I will because I’m tragically addicted, and because I am holding out in the slimmest of hopes that Elza ‘Real Redheads Unite’ will snatch the crown from under her at the last minute.

  7. Jane

    When it was down to the final two the camera cut to a shot of Elza and Courtney with Sara slightly in frame. At that moment you could see the pink background of Elza’s photo in Sara’s hands.

    After the slating they gave Courtney by that stage there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that she was about to be shipped out of the model house and that Elza would be handed the final photo, but I am appalled at the decision to use that shot in the final edit nonetheless.

  8. Jane

    I’m done with Sergio, he treats me like a ragdoll

  9. I absolutely concur with your interpretation of the Michaela vs Courtney miscarriage of justice. Although this issue means absolutely nothing in the great scheme of things, compared to, say, Auckland’s public transport problem or the long wait for Paul Henry’s public hanging – I find myself filled with indignant rage whenever I ponder on such poor, perhaps cynical, judging. I’d picked Courtney at the end with Elza and Danielle, and I’ve always suspected that Danielle will win. At the start of the season Michaela did look promising in a pouty exotic Rhianna kind of way. But Courtney’s got a much more sophisticated but slightly freaky Twiggy-ish appeal that is quite rare in this country, and she’s been consistently praised by guests throughout. Whereas Michaela has steadily descended into ambivalent ordinariness that has consistently been criticised. Even Dakota’s accident scenes held more consistent promise. And I always thought Dakota’s long stay was a cynical programming decision, not genuine judgment. Now we have the opposite – as you say, a two horse race. The only surprise will come if one of the horses gets shot, Kubrick style.

  10. gabbygoose

    Models trying to read maps….??? it was always going to end badly

  11. Niki

    I thought when danielle said “I should have popped ass” or something like that about her photo and sara corrected her by saying “a nicer thing to say would have been more of an S Bend” or something like that it perfectly demonstrated how bloody BORING and BLAH she is. Imagine what Tyra would have said about that. And “you have a lovely future ahead of you” – LOVELY? what a sap.
    Duncan you don’t pull Sara up on her boringness enough – it’s because you don’t watch ANTM and see how awesome Tyra is. I think it’s a weakness.

  12. Natalie

    I’ve noticed that the judges have been a bit more critical of Danielle in the past couple of episodes to try and make her seem less of a favourite but it still looks like she is pretty much assured of winning. A more pressing question is, since she has already won a Ford Fiesta for a year and the winners prize includes a Ford Fiesta does she get 2 or does the winners one cancel out her last prize?.

  13. julia

    That is very true. I almost like Sara “cos she seems so nice” but TYRA WOULD BE HAVIN NONE OF IT. The only time Tyra is ever nice is but a thinly veiled excuse to relate things once again back to her, her early career, her struggles with being called “fat”, her Fierce-Pretty blah blah. Tyra is completely insane and Sara is just kind of like a nice boss. Speaking of insane, I got really worked up today explaining to someone about how Michaela “only has one face” and is apparently really mean. I think “disgusted” was the word I used to describe my feelings, like over and over again til I trailed off.

  14. I was amazed that Courtenay went last week as well – I had her picked for top two – even though personally I didn’t really “get” her look (too bug-eyed for my liking) and have always felt that Michaela is the most traditionally beautiful of all the models. Not that trad beauty is necessarily what you need, to be a model – Danielle has that indefinable something that money can’t buy, which is why I’m completely sure she’ll win this.

    But anyway, back to Courtenay vs Michaela. I think the judges were fully expecting Courtenay to make the final 2 with Danielle, and Michaela would probably have gone home last week if Courtenay’s go-sees hadn’t been such a disaster. If you can’t book jobs, you can’t be a model – period.

    As for the final 2 in the walk-off – I think it’ll be Dani vs Elza, and that Michaela will be kicked off beforehand (I’m also pretty sure that the latest promo actually shows Michaela’s commentary after she gets kicked off which, if so, is pretty stink of them to give that away.)

    Getting nervous on Danielle’s behalf for the dreaded commercial shoot meltdown scenes right now – and hoping the promos are just trying to put us off the scent of her inevitably being crowned the winner. Only half an hour to go! Woop! Woop!

  15. Mark

    Have you noticed that Colin is the spit of Nicole from Home and Away?

  16. Grant Head

    Does anyone know how to get hold of Dakota? Given the bleak future as a sex commodity she sees for herself, I wouldn’t mind being one of the first to buy me a piece of that (in fact I’d rather be the first!). I wonder if I could rent her by the week?

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