'America's Next Top Model' recap: The not-amazing race

Helloooo, model behaviorists! I missed you guys last week, so I thought maybe the ANTM gods (demons) would reward me with a doubly-good episode, but, uh, guess not. Instead, we faced their wrath with the oddly dull, lifeless episode that was too busy product-placing itself to death to bother being interesting. I wanted to really learn — once and for all! — how to make a damn smokey eye. This and other unmet needs ahead!

I spent the first 10 minutes or so trying to figure out who Kara looks like or reminds me of, and it’s driving me insane. It’s not quite Paulina Porizkova (almost?) and it’s not quite Carrie Otis (though again… almost?). Does anyone have a suggestion? My googling of “square jaw 80s model” isn’t turning up what I had hoped.

The contestants met with makeup artist Sam Fine who allegedly taught them how to do a smokey eye (“put the brown here, that’s what makes it smokey”). The ever-upbeat Laura had the best non-Tyra line of the night when she sighed, “It was really enjoyment.” Oh, Laura! Can we get a full-on demo here, fella? Come on.

Later, Nigel and his wife Crissy met the girls at [Giant Store that sells ANTM clothes ] and made them run a race about product placement makeup. It was feral and a little demeaning, and bleachybrowed Erin played dirty. Not…that dirty? But she was pushing and grabbing in a way the other ladies weren’t, and boy oh boy did everyone resent her for it. Sundai, who is so adorable I want to put her in my pocket, won the race and the makeup application challenge at the end, and thus received a $1,000 gift certificate to [Giant Store], which she was insanely excited about.

The shorties continued to complain about Erin’s racing tactics, and Erin confessionalized that the others just didn’t understand how races worked. For a second I actually thought she was talking about race as in racial politics and not as in running fast, and I was momentarily stunned by the sudden depth and social importance the show was about to take on. Ha. Hahahaha. Ha. Anyway, the minor issue got resolved when the other girls give Erin a hard time, and Erin cried and lamely apologized. This now passes for “drama” on this show. I remember the days of throwing beer in people’s weaves and wearing onions on our belts, which was the style at the time. Sigh, back to wee models.

This week’s photographer? Tyra! Screaming screaming screaming! I’m always a little annoyed when they show shots from Tyra’s modeling days because it’s a brief reminder that she was seriously one of the best freakin’ models ever. Mediocre at best talk-show host, increasingly ego-maniacal reality host and producer, but man, the women kinda invented fierce-face.

First up was goofy Laura, who has something of a lazy bottom lip. Rather than say “pull in your bottom lip,” though, Tyra turned on a fan to create wind. Sure, okay. Next was Sundai, who I swear looks like a black Kristin Chenoweth, followed by Jennifer, who asked if she could scream (could she ever!), and Brittany, who is so, so skinny. Between being able to see every birdbone in her body and her relatively blah personality, I vote burger time for Ms. B. Next was the super-ripped Bianca, who worried Tyra. “I wonder is she’s the verb and not the noun,” Tyra said, meaning that she can model but isn’t a model. I would say the other way around, maybe? For someone who’s such a wordsmith*, you’d think Tyra would be able to describe Bianca’s hardness better, but she can’t, so we’re stuck with parts of speech.

Rae looked like a wood nymph from the forest where angels grow, Kara was on the express train to blah town, Erin modeled really well but was too cold for Tyra’s liking, and Nicole apparently had “Gollum hands.” Man, everyone really has seen LOTR. The winner of the shoot — which they decided on right then and there — was I-can-see-your-spine Brittany. She got to model with two dudes in guyliner. The…thrill…of…victory?

Our guest judge was China Chow, who got a decent amount of screen time, which makes me think maybe Chanel Iman and Lauren Conrad were just too boring to make the cut. Brittany’s photo is pretty, Erin’s is very pouty (“You look like almost an alien,” raved Chow), Kara had deadface, Ashley wore a terrible outfit (say no to minivests, people), and Laura — the endlessly pleasant and silly Laura — wore that bra/highwaisted bloomer outfit we saw in the premiere. Rae’s photo is amazing, Bloody Eyeball Nicole’s is really good, Sundai’s is solid, and paralyzed-face Jennifer had a good shot, too.

So good, in fact, that she came in second this week! Take that, ptosis! Rae (who wuz robbed), Nicole, Erin, Laura, Sundai, and Kara were safe. Will Ashley and Bianca please step forward? Tyra was torn between the girl who can model better and the girl she discovered and therefore owns in a secret special way. And in predictalbe Tyra fashion, she keeps the girl who makes her look the best: Ashley, a Tyra Banks Discovery TM. Zzzzz.

Adios, this season’s initial instigator! Bianca packs up her things as a bizarre, auto-tuned “Top Model” yodel song plays. This song is the highlight of the episode. Another proud day for Bankable Productions.

*Perhaps you noticed how many more catchphrases Tyra is trying to use this season? Smize [sic], the “h-2-t” nonsense? That’s because she filed for trademarks on those made-up terms. That’s… ugh. Product placement is one thing when it’s garish and annoying, like the race through the store on this episode, and I know that ad-supported media has to pay its bills. But I like to know when I’m being advertised to, and using these terms on the show as if they were simply part of the normal commentary — which they are not — just feels deceptive.

Anyway, PopWatchers, I think Rae is still my favorite, but Laura definitely wins Miss Congeniality. What’d you think?

Comments (91 total) Add your comment
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  • Abby

    I think Sundai looks like Kristen Chenoweth too, particularly from the first season of Pushing Daisies! Laura and Nicole are still my favorites, but I’ve dropped Ashley as a fave. She’s beautiful and poised but very mean. Laura is always a ray of sunshine and Nicole is quirky and kind, and both of them model well.

    • GB

      I agree re: Sundai and KC and now that someone said it, it seems so obvious!! Its been driving me nuts since the show started.

      • Q

        Thank you, thank you, thank you! I could not place it either but Sundai and KC do look very similar.

    • Mary Q. Contrary

      I was so disgusted with all the product placement this episode. I mean, so much time was dedicated to showing off wal-mart and cover girl. It was ridiculous. This show has become such a joke, which is a shame. It’s also really nice to know I’m not the only one who is irritated with Tyra’s use of these retarded made up “catchphrases”. The first couple episodes, I was scratching my head, trying to remember whether she had used these terms on seasons before, as I couldn’t remember her doing so, but she’s using them so much now I figured surely I was just not paying attention before. No. Tyra is just an egomaniac. I hate the way she behaves when she’s doing a “character” on this show. I hate how cheesy everything has become. If you watch one of, say, the first 5 seasons, you’ll see a very different show. Which is a shame. It was such a pleasure of mine. But I’m not sure if I’ll be able to stick around any longer. It’s such a silly show now, and Tyra has obviously gone off the deep end. I miss when Tyra wasn’t the main brain behind this show. She has obviously run it into the ground.

  • Kathy

    I love Laura, but I think her photo this week was not her strongest (but definitely very Renaissance painting, as was mentioned. This season has been quite dull, but for some reason I keep watching. Can’t stand Erin and those icky white brows. Why does Tyra think that’s a good look????

    • Nya

      Erin reminds me of Mena Suvari. The makeover makes her look like an albino.

      • Moniqua

        I totally agree & she (Erin) looked a lot better with brown hair.

  • Em

    Kara reminds me of Kelly LeBrock from the movie Weird Science.

    • Josie

      that’s it!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Sabrina

      I think she’s a dead ringer for Kelly Bensimon from Real Housewives of New York…

      • Bethany


    • Mary Q. Contrary

      I think she looks like Dominique, the tranny-looking girl from cycle 10. The cycle that the plus-size girl won.

    • David

      Kara actually looks very similar to Sandra Bernhard

  • Lindsay

    Kara totally looks like crazy Kelly Bensimmon from Real Housewives NYC! Just picture her running through the streets on cutting off taxis–you’ll see what I mean.

    • KJ

      OMG Lindsay…you read my mind! I was thinking the exact same thing from episode 1 this season-she could totally be Kelly’s daughter or younger sister!

    • Melanie

      YES!! Kara looks exactly like Kelly Bensimmon!!

    • M

      Yes, she looks like a cross between the two of them.

  • Liz

    I wish they would do a male top model. I think that would be way more interesting.

    • hen

      god, if only…trying to make the show fresh with short models is just not working (because the girls will never work!)
      bring on the boys!

    • Jade, UK


  • Vonda

    Holy crap, I said the same exact thing, word for word, about Sundai being a black Kristin Chenoweth to my roommate! Glad it’s not just me. :-)

  • Josie

    I love Laura….her innocence(Imma gonna b in 17 magazine…look, thats me!) and efervescent hickey-ness is refreshing–not to mention she takes fabulous pics. I was oh so glad to see Bianca go–miss attitude who comes up with the Jesus crap and looks like a man–she couldn’t get that harsh Imma gonna kick ur ass look offa her face. As for Tyra, I love to see her work with the girls, tho she could direct them more instead of complaning.As for the product placment, well, someone hasta pay the bills ;) I sure hope kara is next–she reminds me of those Krizia models from the 80’s who I thought wer so ugly but they wore the clothes well, and taht was about it…

  • CanCan

    A male top model!!!! I’m all for that! It would be a nice change. I can’t stand that “smize” crap. I think there is something about Nicole. She might eb a little weird but I love her look.
    Anyone notice the gazillion commercials in this episode. Maybe it’s my imagination but it seemed every time I turned back the commercials were still going.

  • welshgirl

    way to shout out the simpsons! LOL. i love laura. i think she’s adorable. i’m kind of over ANTM, but nothing else on at the time.

  • Nard-Dog

    I think Erin is stunning. I like her eyebrows. Kara is growing on me. I am glad Bianca is gone, i thought she was fug.

  • seurope

    Kara looks like Lori Singer from Footloose

  • Tommy

    The whole concept has run its course! How about A.N.T.Midget?

    • Mary Q. Contrary

      I agree. If they could have stuck with the same formula, and kept it mature, it would be okay. But their target audience is now 12-year-olds. Seriously.

  • Dolly

    Kara reminds me of Jean Shrimpton!

  • CanCan

    Liz had it right…A.N.T.Male

  • Sandreu

    In my opinion, Kara looks like Tawny Kitaen- the chick from that Blacksnake video. I’m also voting for Rae, and I love Laura – she’s just so bubbly, how could you not?

    • bud

      whitesnake video

    • Shervivor

      It was WHITEsnake :-). Though, I think you just invented a cool name for a new band!

    • Mary Q. Contrary

      She does kind a look like Tawny Kitaen.

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