As we open on this finale episode of "America's Next Top Model" Cycle 16, let us engage in a moment of silence for Hannah. She of the weeping eyes and high-flying winged eyeliner will not be backcombing her hair into a Dee Snyder hawk’s nest and walking in a Vivienne Westwood fashion show for the finale. No! That honor is reserved for Molly and Brittani, one of whom will score a spread in Italian Vogue, a Cover Girl contract, representation with IMG, and the cover of Vogue Something or Other But Definitely Not Italian Vogue.
[Full recap of Wednesday's (May 18) "ANTM" finale after the break...]
But first the sad stuff: Brittani’s single mom has panic and anxiety disorder and they were once on welfare. Molly has abandonment issues and went into rehab. She also never realized, like, how high her cheekbones were “until I came here.”
A TyraMail arrives. It has foreign words on it. The conclusion: The Cover Girl commercial must come next. Molly realizes she’s going to have to pretend she has a different personality.
Ivan Bart meets the girls at a country club to grill the girls instead. When Brittani sits down with Bart, he asks her how she would feel about, say, having move to Milan for six months for work. Instead of the smart response (e.g. “Are you kidding me? I would swim there! Right now!”) she indicates that she would be “OK with that.” Bart seems to like Brittani just fine anyway.
Only after that grilling do the girls get to shoot their commercial. A photographer named Pierpalo Ferrari will be shooting their still photos later; but for the video, they will be shot from three different angles at once, so, as Mr. Jay puts it, “you need to deliver from every angle.”
“Every time I speak in front of a camera it’s just not good,” Brittani notes.
Indeed, almost as soon as she arrives, she starts to cry. Molly does not. But she doesn’t smile on camera either. She cannot decide what to do with her hands.
“I think I got in my own way a little bit,” Molly says later. “I felt like an idiot out there.”
Mr. Jay concludes that she “lost her charm.”
Enter Brittani. More tears. But in the end, she delivers a more charming, natural, even quirky performance. Molly has definitely been trounced into a pouty stupor.
Molly nails her still beauty photo with Ferrari, but the photographer also appreciates Brittani’s retro look.
No rest for the wicked! Stylist Valentina Serra and Ferrari meet the girls at a mansion for their Beauty In Vogue spread shoot. Brittani is praised for her professionalism and enthusiasm for her work. Molly, now officially cranky thanks to her bomb of a video shoot, looks sad at her shoot.
“Donna loosa dee energy,” Serra orders.
Surprise! Molly’s folks are there to greet her back at the house. But poor Brittani; her mom has had back surgery and couldn’t make it. Brittani indicates that this is a habit with her mother, and it’s genuinely sad.
“I am so used to looking for somebody and there is never anybody there, but I know this isn’t her fault,” Brittani says through tears.
But then comes another surprise: Brittani gets to speak to her mom via video chat. The talk boosts Brittani’s confidence somewhat. That’s the good news for her. The bad news: Molly’s mood is cheerier now that her folks have visited.
Fashion show time! Runner-ups Kasia, Alexandria, Hannah and Cycle 15 winner Ann Ward will join the girls in walking the Westwood show salon-style. That means the models walk from room to room, not up and down on a runway.
The runway is Brittani’s strength, and Molly knows it. Indeed, Molly’s walk has rhythm, but Brittani’s walk kills.
“That girl’s got somethin’,” Tyra raves.
Indeed, Brittani does got somethin’: two left feet. Just as she’s about to strut triumphantly backstage, she slips on a rose petal, crashing to the elegantly tiled floor and injuring her ankle. She also has cut her wrist.
Tears, of course, ensue. And the fashion show isn’t even done. Brittani has to man up and walk on that ankle if she hopes to win this competition. If not, as she has been so eager to point out, she will have to go back to the trailer park, unlike Molly, whose parents have volunteered to help finance her bid for a modeling career post-ANTM.
The finale arrives. Brittani does not fall again. But there is a new surprise: Tyra wants to make over the girls again before panel. Both girls reveal even shorter hair for the elimination. Molly has a bowl cut, but, you know, in a marketable way.
At panel, Brittani’s strut is praised for its confidence, but she gets points taken off for losing character every once in a while. Molly’s runway walk has a cheapness to it.
“The bounce was too much of a bounce,” Andre Leon Talley notes.
As for the commercial, “you didn’t let anything bother you,” Mr. Jay praises Brittani. But, poor Molly; she just looks mean.
“It just isn’t Cover Girl,” Nigel says.
Brittani’s still photo is pretty good, though Andre points out that one of her hands is so-so. But Molly wins this round: Andre declares that it belongs in la salon, the highest praise a contestant can get.
The debate among the judges is fierce, darling. Molly has amazing photos. Brittani has amazing photos. Both have beauty, too.
But America’s Next Top Model is Brittani. Poor Molly got that bowl cut for nothing, but then again, she also has the money to pursue modeling without the crown. Brittani, for lack of a better term, needs this win more. And the win is hers.
Did the right girl win?