Why, oh why, is “America’s Next Top Model” so compelling? Is it because the modeling industry is really so glorious that we’re thrilled by the idea of a normal girl getting a shot at it? Or is it that we just like to see pretty girls pushed to their breaking point via having their head shaved, being harnessed high in the air, or having to walk the runway with a roach? I’m not exacted sure, but since there have been 16 cycles of the show, with about 12 episodes a piece, I have invested roughly 192 hours into this conceit over the years. And that doesn’t count reruns, which I won’t lie, happens anytime a marathons is on. All this is to say, you better believe I will be glued to my seat for cycle 17, the “All-Stars” season. The show premiered last night and it was as good as I’d hoped. After the jump, the good, the bad, and the WTF moments of the episode. The Good:
- New prizes. Since lots of these lovely ladies have already been signed with agencies, the show opted for new rewards—an Express ad campaign and a gig as an “Extra” correspondent. Fun.
- Kayla’s reaction to being told the list of guest judges this season. After hearing names like Nicki Minaj and Kim Kardshian, Kayla asked “What, is Obama coming?”
- Laura is kicking butt. She is one of my all-time faves, so I’m thrilled that she got signed. And she looks so freaking stylish in that blue top and metallic necklace. Also, cute bangs!
- Isis had her gender reassignment surgery. She will no longer have to worry about taping down a peen while posing in bathing suits.
- Shannon is back. I adored her on the very first season, so am glad they brought her back even though it was a long time ago and she’s probably one of the show’s more obscure characters.
- Bianca looks stunning. She’s one of the few girls I see in campaigns ever now and then. She looks amazing, and I love all the micro-mini puff skirts she’s rocking.
- Bré and Bianca have become besties. The two apparently met after their respective seasons. They live together and say they are like sisters. Cute.
- The ladies are thrown into their first shoot instantly. It’s in the backyard of the “Top Model” house, so they don’t even have to go anywhere.
- This season’s judging sessions will be in front of an audience. This show can be so formulaic that I appreciate any attempts to shake things up.
- Tyra’s new catch phrase. “One of you will be going home … again.”
- Sheena’s awesome purple jumpsuit. Amazing.
- Andre Leon Talley is as obsessed with Allison’s style as we are. “It’s brilliant,” he said. “A Little Bo Peep statement.” I’m glad Allison is the fan favorite, I always adored her for her oddness.
- Andre Leon Talley’s face when Brittany comes in saying, “It’s Brittany, b***h.” It was priceless.
- Tyra’s acting. That opening segment where she did impressions of four former “Top Model” girls was tragic.
- Bré didn’t tell Bianca she was on the show, even though they are roommates. I predict drama between these two.
- Sheena’s drag makeup. Dial it down a little, girl.
- Kayla is no longer a redhead. Still love her, but she needs to dye it back to its old color immediately.
- Allison claiming she’s doing an “art internship and creative directing.” She may well be, but she’s also waitressing at a bar near where I live.
- Mean girls Camille and Alexandria are back. Sigh.
- The first shoot is kind of boring. The girls are supposed to be an exaggerated version of who they were on the show the first time around. Snooze.
- Shannon is a pain about posing in a pair of underwear. You are a model girl. That is in the job description.
- Everyone boos Alexandria at the live judging. I don’t like her either, but that’s mean.
- The stakes seem sort of low, no? I couldn’t help but notice that, by the time it came to judging, I didn’t feel very invested. Maybe it’s because of the live judging, which made it hard to pay attention to the photos. Or maybe it’s the fact that for these girls, being on the show isn’t dire. They’ve already done it and reaped the rewards of being semi famous.
- In the end, Brittany gets voted off. No! I like her. I wish it was Camille or Alexandria who ended up getting the boot.
- Wine-loving Lisa recorded an album? I’m gonna guess that it’s a train wreck.
- Nigel with hair. Enough said.
- The episode promo photos. As I mentioned before, last night, we saw the girls shoot photos outdoors in the backyard of their house. So, why for the promos, are all the backgrounds gone and replaced with a grey studio? Confusing.