Ladies and gentlemen – your 2010 New Zealand’s Next Top Model Champion – Danielle Hayes. Now that it’s over, I can appreciate her for what she is – the one thing which stood between boredom factory Michaela Steenkamp and the title. For that alone she deserves all the good stuff that’s coming to her.
Actually that’s not entirely fair – there’s more to her than just that-girl-which-stopped-Michaela-winning. She was accurately described by Chris Sisarich (I know! But it’s true!) as having a very global look. As if the entire world had sex with each other at the same time but only had one love child. In a good way, obviously. I genuinely feel like if anyone has a shot at being a real, bonafide working international model it’s Danielle. She just has that attitude, she’s tough and funny and cool, and it will play well overseas. When she was announced as the winner the 10 or so people at my house all shrieked like they’d been electrocuted. I don’t think it was because they’d been Danielle fans all season, but more because they felt like she was someone they could relate to, a real human rather than some weird TV droid. But, as pretty a picture as she takes, it’s hard to avoid the elephant in the room – that Danielle Hayes did not by any fair evaluation win New Zealand’s Next Top Model.You all know why. You all saw it. She completely f***ed out the finale. She was just this side of killing a man or setting fire to her hair in the don’t-give-me-the-prize stakes. It might have been the worst clutch performance of all time by a New Zealander. Including the All Blacks in the last five World Cups.The Cover Girl commercial alone was completely unfathomable.
Michaela pulls out the most jaw-dropping turn around in piece-to-camera skill you could ever imagine, going from a weird, discombobulated mess during the charity shoot to flirting outrageously a few weeks later (more on the potential source of that transformation later). Danielle, on the other hand, cannot even speak her lines without her voice quavering like a 16-year-old in a liquor store. She is surly and wooden to the camera, and if there were any justice she would have lost the comp there and then. As it was they dropped Elza after a perfectly reasonable performance because she ‘can’t take a good photo’.
That is a patently ludicrous suggestion which is in no way supported by the evidence. It also directly contradicts what the judges had been saying throughout the season. The only reason you’d trot out something so transparently false was that you had already made up your mind that Danielle was going to win. I think they’d sent Michaela to the finale as a patsy, someone who would lie down and make way for a grand clash between Elza and Danielle – two great models with different strengths and weaknesses. Woulda been a good fight, I reckon. But when Michaela turned out a pair of all time great performances they were in a bind – do we stay true to the nominal spirit of our competition, or do we just barrel on with the plan anyway?
They chose the latter, and while I’m pleased they did, it does put us in a bit of a quandary for next season. Because if you’ll allow someone to stutter and stumble through the finale (Danielle’s performance at the Wearable Arts thing resembled nothing so much as a dude halfway through a bag of solvents trying halfheartedly to remain upright) then… why have a finale in the first place?
Ultimately, they just decided that even though Michaela torched Danielle in every category through the finale, she couldn’t be allowed the win. How is that not a bigger story? two reasons, I guess. Firstly, this is reality tv, and there’s no real process. I get that, obviously. I guess the thing I’m surprised by is that we all, as a nation, wanted Danielle to win, and were so indifferent to Michaela, that we just let it slide.
As I say, I’m cool with it. Better decision for the franchise’s international rep, more fun and personality, and a wrinkle of controversy doesn’t hurt either. But I do think it’ll pose a real problem when cycle three comes round. Because, as much fun as this all was, there’s no real credibility when you’ll give Danielle a pass for her performance in the final.
A few other points before I sign off until next season:
– Paul Henry must’ve been pretty gutted by the final line up: a South African, a Maori, and a ginge. Where were the real New Zealanders? Need some more bald white dudes in this comp, stat.
– On a very slightly more serious note: where were the Aucklanders? When Holly (who I completely forgot even existed until I researched this – sad aye?) was booted out in episode seven she exited as the last remaining Aucklander. This is unacceptable, Auckland. As a supercity of 1.4m people we should be able to get someone into the nation’s top six hotties. Sort it out for next time, OK?
– Is it just me or did CMJ’s snide “ask Chris” feel a bit weird? It came up when the judges were discussing what had ‘come over’ Michaela to make her glow so in this episode (effectively making their jobs a bunch more difficult). Was he implying that Sisarich had impregnated her with his babies? I’m going to start reading the birth notices just in case there’s a Michristoper Steenarich listed in there somewhere.
– Did anyone else notice that Danielle has a normal wheelie fabric suitcasey thing? That just doesn’t seem right. I want there to be some spontaneous campaign to buy her something as weird as she is. Maybe a hollowed out raccoon (I’ll get Durv to ask the Ferndale taxidermy club to get onto the ‘case’), or a medium size vase from the Ming dynasty. She just shouldn’t use the same suitcase as the rest of us.
– One more thing on the farcical finale – didja notice how Michaela’s outfit was heavy and massive and obscured her batty, while Danielle’s was light and compact and gave her total freedom of movement? Just sayin’ – total orchestrated conspiracy.
– I think Niki raised a good point last week regarding my going easy on Sara. She is ferociously bland, and reminded me way too much of Suzanne Paul in the last ep – though more for her face than jazzy personality. I wouldn’t be surprised if they just gonged her for the next season. My suggestion would be to move CMJ up into the big chair. Think about it: he’s so damn Tyra it’s not funny – outrageous, tough-but-tender, really experienced, brown, crazy eyes… Then replace him with Francis Hooper, who was so odd and cantankerous that we’d have that mean, weird judge the girls would all be terrified of. Seriously TV3. Do it. You’ve probably only got one more cycle anyway, right – three’s all NZ Idol got through – why not go out with a big strange bang?
– OK. I think that’s me. This was fun – thanks for commenting and ‘like’-ing. Really felt like we had a good thing going. See you all next time.