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:
“I knew there was no constellation prize,” said Dakota after losing the charity challenge, and on her way to an inevitable, intense elimination. Her star had finally fallen, and even given the spectacular loathing for her that exists around the country, I think few could deny that the girl wanted it more than anyone else on the show. Compared to the emotion shown by previous evictees – which was more on the level of getting to McDonald’s drive thru at 10.35 when you wanted a McMuffin – Dakota was convinced that she had been thrown straight onto the human garbage heap, and high class hooker was her ceiling. I happen to think that with some of her wilder impulses toned down she could well become a Nightline reporter or children’s TV presenter. Sure, we’re talking a few years of humanity integration, but she can penetrate the camera and her enthusiasm, when channeled in the right direction, is very infectious. Either way, putting her and Elza, the co-winners of the first challenge, in the bottom two was really poor form, and I think the judges kicked her out at least a round too early from an entertainment perspective.
All that being said, it was a terrific episode, almost making up for the debacle in Phuket. Things didn’t start well, with that atrocious Nivea informercial chewing through the early minutes. You know you’re watching bad TV when the highlight is two pretty teenage girls complaining about stress pimples. But the charity thing was a genius concept, which a couple of the girls totally nailed, and the shoot was fun, though perhaps not the best way of showing their strengths as models to probably the most qualified judge we’re likely to see this cycle. Regardless, I had a fine old time on Friday, and if my fave reality TV villain of recent times had to go, at least she slung a few arrows and threatened to stab someone along the way. Rankings:
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: Continue reading
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… Continue reading
The episode opened with a sweet little letter from last week’s evictees, Eva and Lauren, read aloud to add poignance to their absence. Sample line from this week’s missive: “Danielle and Holly: I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you two – you have such interesting personalities.”
That might be one of the better backhanded compliments I’ve heard, at least in reality TV land, where back-handers tend to be very literal. And it turned out to be as portentous as the orange jacket incident from a couple of week’s back, with Holly taking her dead, Mako shark eyes home to her baby and (as she was so fond of telling us) ridiculously hot boyfriend. You could not argue with the result, and there was much cheering at DeadBall HQ when they finally cut her – but I for one feel a little hollow inside.
For better or worse she provided 60% of the drama on any given Friday. And while it had begun to feel rote and repetitious there was still a tension in the air whenever she was on screen. With one notable exception the girls remaining are so damned nice (exemplified by the twins deranged fawning over one another at the birthday dinner) that we might have to work hard to find much in the way of teeth going forward.
This will mean a heavier reliance upon two people: Dakota, who took her possessed mania to great heights without having the wax melt as in episodes prior; and Colin-Mathura-Jeffree who delivered what was probably his best all-around episode yet*. So maybe we’ll be alright after all.
The brutal axing of two of the strongest models in one week has shocked the Model-watching world from its slumber. Despite Lauren and Eva’s pre-show rankings of three and six respectively, they are now banished from the house, and must live once more amongst the humans in RL.
“It really makes you think,” said one observer. “If someone as pretty as Eva or with a haircut as appropriate for her face as Lauren can be eliminated, no one is safe. NO ONE!!!”
Crap quasi-news story intros aside, the decision to send the two youths home at once was probably quite guttering for all those who remained. Losing 20% of your colleagues at once would be traumatic for any workplace, and it has the effect of fast-forwarding us to business time – due to the strength of this cycle’s field all those still standing are either bonafide contenders or Holly.
The latter is clearly being carried now – she’s pure bitch appeal, and must on some level be aware of it – a minimum of four objectionable comments per episode to retain her place. As long as she keeps delivering the condescending, joyless lines she’ll keep getting plumb assignments like putting makeup on Courtenay’s eyes (to paraphrase CMJ, a blind person could’ve won with that draw), leading to cheap wins and evading the axe for another week.
Other than the extra shrinkage the main talking point* was the abysmal styling of the photo shoot. They took a bunch of bubbly adolescent girls and turn them into the most frightening kind of Howe Street hookers – truly the worst look of the franchise’s short history. Anyway, aside from the two eliminations there have been a number of big moves, so let’s rank them.
"In my life/ There's been heartache and pain..."
“Chinese go home,” said the man in the orange jacket*, and while at the time it just seemed like garden variety New Zealand racism, as events unfolded it took on the air of a premonition – albeit one which mistook Amelia’s ethnic origins. Actually it was pretty horrid, but I did quite like the way the judges drew a line between that kind of abuse (which sucks, but is part of life) and your friend dying in a car crash, the latest misfortune to be visited upon poor Danielle.
Amelia basically got told to harden up, and that’s something all the girls would do well to learn. Even by Top Model standards there were a lot of tears this episode, by my count at least five girls turned them on at one point or another. To be fair though, they all met Dave Gibson for the first time in this episode – which is an emotional experience for any human.
That anti-smoking thing was comedy gold, but between Dan Carter’s 4 Everyone water, the Herbal Essences conditioner and Not Our Future it was an episode which blended a little too comfortably into the ads. That being said, those scenarios did conjure up some pretty amazing moments – and violently re-shuffle the rankings – so maybe it’s not such a bad thing.