And we’re down to the Final Four-slash-Finale of "America's Next Top Model" Cycle 14! Krista doesn’t want to go back to being a store manager! Alexandra knows she has to step it up! Angelea is silly as sullen and bitter as ever! Nobody likes Raina! She’s just too happy!
Bring. On. The. Dreckitude.
[Full recap of Wednesday's (May 12) "ANTM" finale after the break...]
Andre Leon Talley arrives bearing his standard tent robe and real flowers. (“I bet these flowers cost a lot of money,” Angelea remarks. He gives the country-by-country rundown of how to survive as a model. (Hint: In Japan, you have to be really, REALLY polite.) He also reveals how he got into the business. He used to lick, um, stamps for Andy Warhol. That really speaks to Angelea, who adores talking about how ghetto her ghetto Buffalo background is.
“Do not give up the dream,” Talley intones unto the girls. “Be strong.”
Raina is so way happy about all this.
The girls are told via TyraMail to back an overnight for “a different kind of runway,” or something. Overnight bags are dutifully packed. Everybody boards a plane to Queensland. Miss J emerges from the cockpit to announce that the challenge will occur right there, in the cabin.
“A top model always has to be prepared,” Mr. Jay explains, in case we, you know, don’t get it. The winner gets to walk in New Zealand Fashion Week, and some jewelry.
Alexandra, ever prepared, whips out her high heels. Angelea is half prepared. She managed to dig up one heel.
Alexandra works it, using little flight attendant cues. Krista is second. She is ordered to be “playful.” That equates a big smile and working her little jacket.
One-shoed Angelea can’t manage to give much more than jazz hands. “She looks like she just came off the street,” Krista snarks. But Raina commits the ultimate sin: She’s boring, and lacking in grace.
Krista wins; the poor passengers applaud. “Right on your tail was Alexandra,” Mr. J warns. But that’s poor comfort for our full-figured champ.
They arrive in Queensland, and, girl, if you thought the rest of New Zealand was Lord of the Rings, Queensland is LORD of Lord of the Rings. The challenge: become master of the Ugly-Pretty. The shocker: Two of the four girls will be going home, and the remaining duo will go on to the finals.
The girls go into hair and makeup and promptly lose their eyebrows under 8 pounds of concealer. The photog is a fairly decent seeming man named Monte. Krista, who comes first, has clearly mastered her body, but her eyes still need work, Mr. Jay says. In the end, she delivers her trademark variety and gets decent praise. Angelea emerges in a serious corset to match her shrunken maturity level. So does Alexandra, who declares she feels “Sweeney Toddey.” Bonus points for Broadway references. It takes Alexandra a while to shed the pretty part of her talent and give pure fashion ugly.
Oh wow, Raina has a corset on too. Let’s all wear corsets. She never leaps out of her pretty-pretty comfort zone and enters the dark world of ugly pretty. Still, she takes direction well, according to Mr. Jay.
Last comes Angelea, who walks in determined not to overthink it. That goal, unfortunately for banshee Octomom, translates into blank dreckitude. To her credit, she does the best she can do.
The girls go back to their penthouse. Krista gets her prize jewelry, which includes, as Raina points out, includes “several doubles.” Krista -- according to the edit we see, anyway -- declines to share.
Panel time! I mean Panel No. 1! Of 2! OMG! Tyra announces that the two finalists will walk in a -- seriously? -- Anna Sui fashion show. Wow. ANTM grows up.
Raina is up first. She does OK, but does she do ugly pretty? Debatable. Angelea’s best photo makes her just look constipated. Andre likes it, of course, because he’s Andre, and Tyra offers some faint praise, but Nigel and Mr. Jay? Not so much.
Contender Krista’s photo is so good that Andre almost loses it at panel. Universal fabitude. Nigel likes Alexandra’s best shot, as does Tyra. But her scoring doesn’t come close to the reception that do-no-wrong Krista just earned.
The callout? Krista -- of course. And who?
Raina. It’s a bit of a surprise, given how beautiful and talented Alexandra is. Then again, Raina does have the strongest face and the sweetest personality in the business.
So. Onward to the Anna Sui show! And the crowing of Krista! Because, come on. But OK, let’s play along. Gee? Who will become America’s Next Top Model?
“Being in the final two with Raina is nerve wracking for me because she does everything over the top,” Krista says of Raina.
“Krista, I don’t think likes me,” Raina says of Krista.
The two finalists are whisked onto a helicopter, where they are treated to an air tour of the entire island. They touch down outside a lovely hotel, where they are handed a glass of champagne. But the girls are not allowed to relax; Miss Jay arrives to announce that they will be shooting their Cover Girl commercial there tomorrow.
Then the girls try to eat but Mr. Jay shows up to talk at them some more. Apparently the shoot will be for both print and video, and the winning girl will be featured in a big ol’ national campaign.
Raina impresses the still photographer. But over on the video set, Krista freezes up. She can’t remember a single line and whines for Mr. Jay to help her. He points out the obvious, which is that he can’t do the commercial for her. She admits defeat and goes for the cue cards. Then again, this is Can-Do-No-Wrong Krista we’re talking about. She laughs off her flaws -- and Mr. Jay just loves it.
The two switch. Raina arrives on set and seems to screw up left and right.
“This isn’t terrible,” Mr. Jay says, “but I’m not 100 percent” sold. In the end, Raina is judged as someone who can’t deliver a line. But can she possibly be any worse than Krista?
At the Seventeen cover shoot the next day, both girls do equally well. So far the editors are doing a great job of making this look like an even contest. Tyra awaits the poor tired girls back at the house. Another shoot awaits, but at least this one involves the finalists’ families. Krista poses with mom and stepdad; Krista’s Dad shows up for her. It’s all kinds of sentimental and adorable.
All too soon, it’s time for the finalist runway show. Oh, snap! Four of the eliminated girls will be doing the show too, including Jessica, Octomom, Alexandra and Alasia. Nicole, the winner from last season, is there too. Raina seems more natural and approachable than Krista, but Krista has a stronger walk. The contrast is even more striking when the two finalists must walk in tandem.
Tyra comes around backstage to do the requisite interviews that are supposed to make the contestants cry. Krista obliges.
Panel time! The final one! Promise!
The judges mostly like Krista’s walk, though she needs to learn her hard edge. Raina apparently has a horse stomp, but so does Claudia Schiffer, so, whatever. In the realm of Cover Girl still shoot, Krista indeed gets stomped by fresher, funner Raina.
Lastly, the commercial. Raina seems to be squinting and frowning throughout, and, oddly, Krista’s hardness melts away. And Nigel loves the light on Krista’s face.
So who is America’s Next Top Model? Have we really let the editing for the last half hour fool us? It’s the slightly more seasoned and boundlessly talented Krista, of course.
“When I was younger,” Krista says, “I always wanted to see somebody who was just like me that went somewhere or did something from a small town, I didn’t see that in my generation, and I just want to be that person.”
Did the right model win? How did this season stack up for you?