America’s Next Top Model Recap: The Sweet Smell of Third Place

America’s Next Top Model Recap: The Sweet Smell of Third Place

First off, let me apologize for missing last week’s recap. I didn’t see the episode until the weekend, and by that point it seemed a little pointless. Pity too, because last week, with its action movie stunts, hysterical heights-induced crying and shocking double elimination, might have been the most fun episode of the year, barring the obvious music video episode. It was certainly a lot more entertaining than this episode, which found the models going on their umpteenth go-see and awkwardly trying to convince the cameramen why the other girls don’t pose much of a threat to them. Annaliese (bless her) probably went the most overboard by telling us that Laura couldn’t possibly win because she’s driven purely by sex. In season 2 (I keep going back to season 2 – Nigel even brought up Mercedes last week, even though the last time I saw her was in a Chili’s commercial) we had a contestant cheating on her boyfriend with a male model in a hot tub, so Laura’s occasional declarations of enjoying sex hardly seem like a deal breaker. Then again, during this week’s perfume shoot, we kept hearing the judges talk exclusively about marketing to 18-year-olds, so maybe Tyra should just stop using “commercial” as a dirty word already.

I appreciate the fact that there have been so many go-sees this season because it seems like something an actual modeling show should be concerned with, but after three of these, any sense of tension has long been zapped. Sophie’s guaranteed to win, Annaliese will get by on her charm alone, and Laura will struggle with the same runway walk that absolutely no one is trying to help her with. Sophie books all four and wins 2,000 Hong Kongian (Tyra’s word, not mine) dollars, which ends up amounting to around $500, all of which – according to Annaliese’s blog at least – the producers make her spend in an hour on drinks. Producers clearly want Laura to sleep with the male model that accompanied her on the go-sees, but no one so much as has a hangover the next morning. I didn’t even mention that Kelly Cutrone meets the girls on a junkyard boat. I’m not questioning anything at this point. I wasn’t even entirely sure those harnesses last week would have passed union inspection.

It would actually be impossible to make a print ad more hideous for the official Top Model perfume (Dream Come True, named after Adrienne Curry) than the one with Lisa D’Amato from last cycle, but the show’s art directors certainly try by dressing the girls in frilly tutus and placing them in a giant perfume bottle that seems to be made out of repurposed plexiglass from a pee-wee hockey arena. None of the girls look very good with their leotarded (look Tyra! I can make up vaguely offensive words too!) breasts strapped down, but it’s Laura that really struggles with the shoot. I forget that Laura is pretty young still, so I guess it makes sense that she has so many issues about maintaining her (carefully constructed) identity because she melted Barbie heads, you guys. She is nobody’s princess, unless maybe Xena asked her out on a date.

All three girls look terrible at panel (Laura’s a pirate now? What?) and all three get criticized for not looking young enough in their photos. It’s kind of boring so I amused myself by imagining how much Eboni would have bombed this, despite being “30-Never.” Den-mother Tyra winces through the entire judging session for some reason and knocks me to the ground when she tells Annaliese that her photo is “Michelle Obama meets Venus Williams meets an ad for a catalogue captured in a bottle with a little Aladdin twist.” If it were up to me, Top Model would be one giant 42-minute long stream of adjectives. Kelly gets in a sorta-good one about Laura’s picture looking like an ad for a plastic surgeon’s office. This is basically all I’m here for now.

We’re all kidding ourselves if we though this season would end with anything other than a Brit vs. American final two, so there’s absolutely no suspense when it comes down to Annaliese and Laura at the end. Annaliese goes home but she seems okay with it because making Kelly Cutrone kind of like her is apparently worth more to her than winning. You almost had me there, Annaliese.

It’s a battle of the blondes next week and the last hour we’ll get to spend with Nigel Barker. Are you crying yet?

Marcus Michalik