It’s episode three of the 12th cycle of "America’s Next Top Model"! Lost yet? See here, contestant Teyona: It’s episode three, and you STILL have a skanky, slimy looking weave. Tyra promised to take care of it. Let’s just hope Tyra doesn’t waste any more time, because the vision of old-school modeling pioneer Beverly Peele is not occurring.
Here’s another early revelation: Tahlia, who is a burn victim and is covered with scars, doesn’t have self-confidence. I am shocked, just utterly shocked. Just give me a minute here.
[Full recap after the break...]
The first Tyra mail arrives. “Mind your Ps and Qs,” it says. We’re obviously facing some sort of etiquette class. Natalie immediately proclaims that she has some edge on the other girls because she has been with other modeling agencies. But she also comes off cocky. Which, well, doesn’t mean anything, other than amusing television; Tyra has no idea what goes on at the Top Model house. Either that, or she simply doesn’t care.
The girls are transported in the plaid pink ANTM fabu-mobile to an old building, where Miss J. declares that “charm school” is in session. The girls change into khakis and are ordered to walk with poise. J just sips tea and watches everyone walk.
“Allison needs a lot of work,” Miss J. declares. “Her walks says ‘Help me’."
So does this entire episode. Where’s the entertainment?
Natalie, it is declared by someone-it-doesn’t-matter, has the best walk of the bunch.
Oh, hello. Bianca and Chantal emerge. We haven’t seen them since they were contestants on Cycle 9. They advise everyone to be natural and to not overthink one’s walk. Thank you, ladies. You may return to obscurity now.
Back at the house, the contestants play Truth or Dare. Natalie is asked to tell the truth: Who had the worst picture last week? Natalie chooses Tahlia. Oh, dear. Tahlia goes back to her room and tears up. Tahlia, honey, if no one else will tell you this, I will: Lose some weight.
For the first challenge, designer Jill Stuart meets the girls at some obscure building. Ann Shoket of Seventeen magazine is also there to add the pressure. The contestants will walk a runway, while -- hold on to your wigs and keys for this one -- holding ... bags! They must remember the rules they learned in charm school: walk, and don’t think.
Celia, of course, rocks it, just like she rocked her last shoot. Natalie also makes her previous experience evident with strong, confident walk. She turns too early on the runway, but so what?
London the Street Preacher seems quite at home. I’ll just say it again: Praise Jesus! Nijah thinks she made an impression, but, given Miss J’s face, it isn’t the right impression.
Then comes Allison of the Anchovy Eyes. She walks way too fast, yet, somehow, is still charming and high-fashion. Favorite freckly Fo, meanwhile, looks divine.
In the end, Celia and Fo get mad praise from designer client Stuart. Allison gets a “cute and quirky” label. Overconfident Natalie also gets a ton of praise, simultaneously getting a wrist slap nailed for turning when she should not turn.
Tahlia’s biggest weakness, once again, is her lack of confidence. Yes, yes, show editors, we get it, you’re setting us up for an elimination that isn’t going to happen.
In the end, Natalie, despite her egregious turn, wins the challenge narrowly over Celia.
Back at the house, Tahlia fields a call from her sister. Tahlia confesses she feels like she can’t be herself. OK, now I am beginning to wonder: Will she be going home?
The next morning, the girls are introduced to a sightseeing bus. This will be the backdrop and mode of transport for their shoot. Wherever the girls stop in Manhattan, they must embody that neighborhood in their body language.
Aminat and Fo are brought to Wall Street. They banter back and forth during their shoot, and Mr. Jay Manuel loves it. In Soho, Kortnie and Nijah are given a chance to shine as hippie artists. But they falter while trying to channel the painter scene.
Sandra and Celia somehow have to be nannies in platform shoes. Don’t ask.
But Sandra, in a blond wig, embraces her role and becomes a chameleon. Mr. J seems placated.
Allison and London are asked to channel socialites while cavorting on Fifth Ave.
“Act a scene,” Mr. Jay encourages, “Don’t pose.”
The encouragement sort of works. London plays quite the convincing bitch, but Allison, despite her big, expressive eyes, doesn't.
The struggling Tahlia is up next, paired with the confident Natalie and wind-in-her-face Teyona. They are plopped in Times Square. Tahlia, surprisingly, proves to be the leader.
“You others need to feed off of her energy,” Mr. Jay says. Natalie, meanwhile, does not give off a model vibe on set. Could SHE be going home, even though she is the challenge winner?
And ... ZOMG, is it panel time already? Jeevus. OK, Tyra, fine.
Kortnie and Nijah are ripped apart by the judges for utterly failing to embody Soho and the artistry therein. Nijah gets the worst critique of all: She is boring, just a pretty face. Fo and Aminat, however, do fabulously, peering viciously like they do over a laptop on Wall Street. The judges love it.
Celia and African Queen Sandra are up for judging next. They -- particularly Sandra --also do fine with their “editorial” body language. Sandra clearly outshines Celia. Even in profile and buried in a wig, she dominates.
The trio led by Natalie does just OK. Natalie comes across as the least convincing. But Tahlia, having let herself forget her flaws for a moment, does wonderfully in her faux touristy photo. She looks natural and fresh.
Allison and London. I sigh at you. You could have done so much better in portraying frenemy snobs. What a flop, and the judges agree. All of that talent, and none of it comes through in their shot.
“Its a wah-wah-wah-wah,” Tyra says.
The bottom two? Guess who? Allison and Nijah. Allison gets knocked for a “depressing” shoot. Nijah is reminded that she is merely boring.
Nijah and her boringness are sent home. To be honest, she doesn’t seem to really care. “It hurts to say goodbye,” she says. But there are no tears.
I guarantee that by next week, we won’t even remember her name.
Nijah? Nijah who? Did the right person go home?
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