'Top Model': The three true contenders

162113__joanie_lSo with only nine women remaining on Cycle 6 of America’s Next Top Model, it’s becoming pretty clear that there’s only three true contenders in the bunch — based on the four criteria that really count: beauty, runway strut, and quotablity.

Not surprisingly, Danielle remains the front-runner. Her rock-star photo shoot was so sizzling, she might want to reconsider giving up her childhood singing dreams. After all, who says you need to carry a tune to hit today’s charts? And, as she’s proven every week, the girl gives hella good sound bite. ”I would home-school my child before they went to Jade’s class,” Danielle snapped after discovering her surly rival had aspirations to become a kindergarten teacher (gah!). Equally amusing was Danielle’s response upon discovering that this week’s photo shoot involved five shirtless male models: ”I’ve been cooped up in the house with these women who are nagging, PMS-ing, fighting. So to see these men walk in, I’m like, ‘Thank you, Jesus.”’

That said, both Nnenna and Joanie (pictured) stepped up their games this week. I’ve always suspected there was some hidden sass in Nnenna to balance out her sweetness, and sure enough, it arrived this week in a single sound: Click. As in Nnenna hanging up the phone on her clingy, jealous boyfriend. Mind you, I didn’t adore her photo this week, but the fact that Miss J isn’t able to see the chemistry major’s model potential tells me that someone should stick with runway coaching and leave the judging to the badly missed Janice Dickinson. The original supermodel’s cameo appearance teaching a posing class was a bizarre highlight this week, especially since it offered a thoughtful take-home message — ”Rule No. 1: We never rat out our bitches!”

As for Joanie, she reminds me a little bit of Cycle 4’s Kahlen, only with enough inner fire to have a shot at the top spot. Not only was Joanie the only girl this week who completely captured the character she was asked to portray (the hot housewife), but she also proved she’s got a sense of humor, observing that the male model in Nnenna’s shoot ”totally pitched a tent while they were in Africa — and not the kind that you camp in, either.” The fact that Joanie provided the episode’s funniest moment — despite unintentional comedy from Tyra (who wants to ”raise strong women”) and male model Lawrence Zarian (who apparently doesn’t appreciate the irony of Blue Steel in a post-Zoolander world) — speaks volumes.

As for the remaining six women, maybe one or two can break through next week — especially now that we won’t have to focus on the embarrassingly vacuous Gina — but honestly, they’re running out of time. Who do you think is most likely to become America’s next top model? And who’s likeliest to get the axe next week?

addCredit(“America’s Next Top Model: Thomas Klementsson”)

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  • Dru

    “based on the four criteria that really count: beauty, runway strut, and quotablity”
    That’s only three.

  • djm

    I’m leaning towards Nnenna and Danielle to go all the way. I also love Sara and Leslie (I think that’s their names – the 6′ tall blond and the latino/asian looking girl). As long as it aint Jade – she may be fierce but I just can’t stand her.

  • Temi

    Touche Dru… My money has always been on Nnena… As a hot, Nigerian woman dating a white guy I loved Nnena even more after this episode but I’ve always said that either Joanie or Molly Sue are the “dark horses”. Danielle is hilarious but if Joanie is reminiscent of Kahlen then Danielle is reminiscent of Tiffany and her ghetto roots will eventually bite her in the ass. I cant wait for the inevitable Tyra outburst.

  • Meredith

    Earlier in the week EW had cage fighting between American Idol stars. Who would win the Battle of the Snaggle-Toothed Reality Blondes? Joanie of Top Model or Kellie Pickler of American Idol?

  • Gretchen Weiners

    I think Mollie is a sleeper (I refuse to add the Sue). I’m totally captivated by her look. Michael, what say you of Joanie’s snaggletooth?

  • dmac

    Danielle All The Way!

  • Ariel

    I think Leslie is going to move to the front of the pack.

  • tubby

    My faves: Danielle, Nnena, Mollie Sue, Leslie, and as a dark horse, Joanie. I had no idea who she was until last week when she strutted her stuff on the catwalk. Hopefully it will come down to those five. But just to irk me, the judges will probably choose Furonda over one of the others. And Temi…Furonda is more like Tiffany than Danielle.

  • NB

    I’m rooting for Danielle, Nenna and Mollie Sue to go all the way…

  • mon

    i don’t get to watch the show, but from their portfolios online, i’d say i find Danielle and Leslie the most striking each week. They give great pic.

  • Fatima

    The fact that the judges hardly payed any attention to Leslie’s outstanding photo this week shows how unfair this show can be. Tyra and Co. have already pigeon-holed her into the Maxim mold, and no matter how good she does in the future, Tyra’s already made up her mind.
    I’m rooting for Danielle, Nnenna, Leslie and Joanie now.
    Anyone but Mollie Sue.

  • sal

    I just can’t WAIT for the inevitable episode where Jade gets her comeuppance. Gonna be sooooo sweet. Pride goeth before a fall, as they say.

  • Scott

    I am glad that somone brought up Leslie’s photo because it was absolutely stunning. But she won’t have a chance if the judges have already decided they don’t like her. As far as photos have gone, Danielle and Joannie are my favorites, but, Nnena has shown surprising versatility and her antics this week really showed off her cheeky personality.

  • Z

    I know Brooke faltered a little this week, but she has been very strong in the past( the Ice photo) and the judges seem to like her. Also this weeks photo of her wasn’t bad, she just didn’t have a lot of pictures to choose from.

  • t3hdow

    To reference a Seinfeld quote:
    “Gina is like a spider in a toilet, struggling to escape. You know she won’t make it, but you just can’t help but root for her.”
    I had faith in her to hopefully improve and I was sad to see her go, but she looked so lost, unconfident and embarassing, it was painful to watch, let alone hard to defend for her. At least she stood up to Jade before she left, so she it wasn’t all bad before she left…

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