'America's Next Top Model' recap: Devoting full-time to floating

top-model_lModel citizens, we are down to the top five. Shouldn’t that mean some action, some excitement, some drama? All we got this week was some mention of asthma — no attack or anything — and some low-level griping. Maybe I should be relieved that for once, Top Model isn’t creating fake problems or blowing minor disputes out of proportion, but instead, I’m just…oh, sorry, I drifted off there for a second. Let’s jump off a cliff! No, really, let’s.

In the car back from elimination, Erin’s pale hair and lack of eyebrows seriously made her look like the Crypt Keeper, but at least he makes puns and stuff. She just whines. The producers of the show obviously told Jennifer to be more energetic in her confessionals because her asides are increasingly insincere and hard to understand.

Back at the house, Sundai vaguely mentions that she grew up in foster care. “It definitely made me a better person than I am today,” she…garbled. I’d rib her for it, but then the camera cut to her sucking her thumb and nuzzling a blankie. Um, kind of heart-breaking! But enough about tough times — let’s not dwell on the absolute only remotely interesting thing we’ve learned about any of these remaining women!

It’s Laura’s birthday the following day, and Jennifer and Erin made her a (sabotage-ingly?) hearty breakfast of surprisingly well-plated grub. If ANTM doesn’t work out, one of them could be on a Top Chef cross-over.

The modeltestants headed to the beach, where Erin complained that it was deserted. Indeed, who would ever want to go to a deserted beach? Redeem yourself with a pun, Crypt Keeper! The women were greeted by one Marisa Miller, whom they all claimed to recognize. Marisa gave them some bikini-posing lessons, like “don’t tuck in your booty,” and use “Barbie toes,” which is known as “tiptoes” everywhere else in the English-speaking world. Then the ladies got all sandy and then took sensual model-y showers, which will serve as masturbation fodder for Internet-deprived teens all over the world. Work it, ladies! Model showers!

Next it’s time for the challenge, except everyone’s hair is dry. Even though they just took, as mentioned above, sensual model showers. Shenanigans, ANTM. It’s almost like this show is phony, you guys. Anyway, the ladies had to jump off a cliff, which they all did with almost no trepidation. Glad to know everyone is such a good swimmer! Nicole unsurprisingly wins because she is super beautiful. She gets the most frames at the photo shoot, and she picks Sundai to have the second-most, who picks Laura to have the third, who picks Jen, which leaves Erin with no extra frames at all. Wah-waaaah. As it turns out at the shoot, the issue isn’t really the number of frames, it’s getting feedback halfway through the shoot and getting to go all over again. But that’s too reasonable and helpful for Top Model, so instead, we press on despite not having any puns.

Again emphasizing how little conflict there is this season, the other ladies threw Laura a birthday party, complete with like, 11 cakes. There is so little to work with the producers even include one of the models saying she’s tired, so she’s going to bed. Wait, wait, start again because we, the moronic public at home, could not follow that Dadaist anti-narrative. She’s…tired? At night? And is going to bed, to the objection of absolutely no one? Ugh, the camera adds ten pounds of completely useless crap.

The next day, Jay did his best Ann Curry impression and wished the girls good morning 19 times before unveiling this week’s photo shoot: An underwater challenge! I liked this challenge better in Cycle 2 (my kingdom for another Shandi!), and on Make Me a Super Model, but here we go again. Laura confessionalized that she’s terrified of “drowning or suffocating,” which…we’re all afraid of, you poor sweet thing. “There’s not a lot of oceans in Kentucky,” she explained. True is true.

Everyone actually did decently, with surprisingly no complaints about how salt water stings when it gets in your eyes. Weirdly, all the girls who got to go twice had totally dry hair when they got their in-between-sets feedback, so this is shenanigan part deux. Consider this my official editing complaint that I am now filing with the Bureau of Reality Television Bullshizz That I So Noticed Dot Gov, Amen. Also, Erin’s hair looked outrageously ratty. Deep condition that action, blondie!

Marisa from the sexyposes was our guest judge this week, and she’s far too lucid and full of advice and information to be any fun. Luckily she gets more air time than any of the previous judges; sure, her advice is about stuff like pointing one’s toes and learning to put your face in the light — again, SLOW DOWN, I don’t understand — but it’s a career-defining dissertation compared to¬† Miss Jay’s completely worthless “quips.”

Sundai’s picture was deemed just okay; her body looked good, but her face was totally hidden. Laura’s photo was pretty if “obvious,” Jennifer was “too erect” for Marissa, Nicole’s face was awesome but her body pose got mixed reviews (my review: is that a radioactive leg?), and Erin was too close to the surface for this underwater shot to be interesting.

This week’s winner: Jennifer! I’m starting to wonder if Madame Partial Facial Paralysis might take this whole thing — she’s much more charismatic than Nicole, lightyears more likable than Erin, and capable of abstract thought unlike poor, sweet Laura. Plus she’d be the first petite, partially paralyzed model, which is a three-P threat. Just saying.

The runner-up: Nicole, who Tyra said would have won if not for her terrifyingly lifeless foot. Laura was safe; would Sundai and Erin please step forward? And would Sundai please never wear those boots again, certainly not with shorts, because they make her look like Link from Zelda? Tragically, Sundai is sent packing, and Erin is safe, but “only by a hair,” according to TyTy. Presumably it’s a bleached eyebrow hair, but this means we’re stuck with Erin’s whining for a whole other week. If she mentions next week that she’s “only 18,” everybody drink.

Sundai’s montage of failure drove home that she only had one pose — smirky side-eyes — but I was still a little bummed to hear that autotune yodel play her off. Erin’s photo was marginally better, except she’s almost staggeringly unfun. Oh, well.

Did you dive in to this episode, PopWatchers, or did its waves of suckiness just wash over you?

Comments (82 total) Add your comment
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  • Rachel K

    Margaret, you’re so angry and I love it!

  • Sarah

    I was a bit surprised that Erin stayed over Sundai, but I don’t know that Erin will be around much longer. My bet is that Nicole will take it, but I do love Laura.

  • Reese

    Love the Ann Curry reference! Too funny!!

    • Becca

      That and the Three-P Threat – that got me laughing.. Yes, the season is a bit of a snooze fest, but I am enjoying it.. HOWEVER, I want to blow my brians out every time I hear that piece of CRAP Top Model “SONG” after elimination.. BARF!

      • A J

        Yup! LMBO!!

      • Albertkitten

        yeah… couldn’t they just play “so you had a bad day” like on american idol?!

  • mels

    Yeah! When they showed Nicole going to bed, I was thinking she’d wake up with all her designer clothes missing or dirty pictures drawn on her body. Instead, she just… went to bed! And I do love her, but what an utter disappointment. No drama in this cycle.

  • Diggity

    I noticed the dry hair between takes, but I figured it’s becuase Mr. Jay had to go load and go through all the film before he could give the critiques. Other girls were probably taking thier turns while this was happening. Plus, salt water hair dries pretty fast.

  • Sara

    Boo :( I liked Sundai. I’m a certified diver, and I have asthma, so I was trying to psychically tell her it’s no big deal. Although, at my first (in-pool) diving class, breathing from the respirator was tough and I had a big asthma attack. And they didn’t even get trained as far as we saw!

  • tonig

    I am so over Erin, it’s time for her to go. Last 2 should be Laura and Nicole. Love them both.

    • Yoja

      I am in complete agreement with you. Laura is just the girl next door, and I find her very charming. Nicole is the girl you want living on the other side of town, but I love her, too. She has really come in to her own personality since the beginning of the season. She was soooooo completely off the wall at the start, but I think as she opens herself up she becomes more relatable. I will be thrilled with either of these two winning. As long as it isn’t Erin!

      • AnonymooseBlog

        Erin is awesome! stop picking on her! Laura is the sweetest thing since sliced bread! Get rid of Nicole! She has the personality of my big toe!

      • Khristina

        Well, that big toe has TONS more personality than Erin. I don’t know why Tyra is being completely dumb this season. THREE times in the bottom two? Please, get rid of the no talent 18 year old.

  • val

    Marisa was coherent, helpful, and offered a dissenting opinion to Tyra at panel. I hope she was sabotaging herself on purpose, because TyTy is never inviting her again.

    • Leo

      I was thinking the same thing!

    • A J

      Caught that.

      Agree. Marisa is toast.

  • Stephanie

    Given all her frames, Nicole had to get one shot with great face and feet. I can’t help but think the selected best photos allowed Jennifer to get #1, thus creating some tension regarding Nicole’s waltz to the final win. I, for one, don’t miss the cat fights at all.

    • Varris

      I’ve always wondered about the “here’s your best shot” shot…
      Ok, Tyra is a photographer and head judge, but I don’t really trust her on this matter. I kind of wish they’d show each contestants top three shots or if all the judges got to see the film beforehand and then choose their own personal ‘best shot’ to present at panel?
      This show has been on so long now, it really could use some shaking up…
      I also wish Mr. Jay was one of the judges again because a) he has better things to say than Miss Jay and b) very often in the past, he’d give the girls one set of directions and then the judges would say something totally different.

    • Q

      I agree. I’ve never really trusted that some of the photos selected were the “best shot”. Tyra picks photos to suit her whim of whom she wants on top or bottom that particular week.

  • Shelly

    There was something about Sundai’s cut that just tore at my heart, and my heart stopped for AMTM YEARS ago. That devastation coupled with that little girl look….She wasn’t giving TyTy no help in throwing her off. Ty Ty gave her no motivational speeches about reaching for her dreams. Just the old standby of pointing out how blessed she is to have come from foster cate to ANTM. Sundai’s fate was doomed shen she told the gilrs she would reveal all if she made it to top four. I knew she was a goner.

    • Sarah

      Totally. The minute I heard that, I said out loud “Buh Bye.” I did wonder if it would be Laura because it would just suck to get eliminated on your birthday, but the Sundai thing was just too much foreshadowing.

    • Marie

      Actually, Sundai was a goner earlier in the episode. The second the started yammering about wanting Erin gone, she was done and done.

    • carole

      totally agree…the way she just stood there crying was one of the most heartbreaking things on ANTM. sorry she had to go

      • AnonymooseBlog

        So sad! She didn’t even say anything, she just stood their shaking! It was heartbreaking!

  • Dana

    Nicole should have been handed the win already. I also bet she had much better pics then the one Tyra picked. I agree with Marisa, Jennifer was too erect in her photo, no shape to her body at all. I don’t see what the big deal with her is, she looks like a lot of woman I know, minus the eye thing, and I think her photos are bland most of the time.

    • niki

      As Miss J would say, you can never be “too erect.” ::shiver::

    • Ali

      I think they may be setting her up for a “first Asian winner” kind of thing. I remember they made a big deal about that in Cycle 6 with Gina. This is by no means to be taken as a racist comment. I think she is beautiful and definitely has taken better pics than Erin. But Nicole and Laura usually take better pics than Jennifer.

      • Marie

        Whenever there’s an Asian in ANTM, the whole “they are setting it up for an Asian to win.” This happened in Cycle 11 too with Sheena. Just stop it – it’s tiring!

      • WD

        considering that Tyra is running the show, i wouldnt be surprised. she always has a “story angle”, and its rarely just about modeling.

      • Diggity

        She set Whitney up to be the first Plus Size winner. She set Jasline up to be the first Latina winner. Why do you put it past her to set up the first Asian winner?

    • AnonymooseBlog

      But Nicole has no personality. That does not go over well if you want to be a spokes person or something and be a real top model. Not that any of the people who have won have become top models, but Nicole still does not fit the criteria!

  • Leo

    I liked Sundai, saw her as a petite Beverly Johnson, and hope she can make a decent living as a petite model!
    Just need to vent about something: Sundai said that being in the foster care system and being adopted were positive things in her life so why did Tyra have to keep harping on this as a negative? And why did they have to show her vulnerability when she was sleeping and sucking her thumb? That was a private moment and way too intimate/real for ANTM to show.
    Sundai’s past BEFORE foster care was the sad and dangerous part, not IN foster care. Tyra implies that it was even harder for Sundai to make anything of her life because of being in foster care. Its the way alot of people view it but it can be a very postitive part of a child’s life. Sundai had the chance to heal and be a part of a family who took good care of her and who are still very much a part of her life and future. I’m happy about that, for her.

    • Cate

      It really depends with foster care, though. There are some great, loving foster families out there and there are some foster families who exploit the system, abuse their foster kids, and use children as income.

      Like me, she could have been shuffled around to a lot of difficult homes before she got to a safe one.

    • Greg

      I agree 100% regarding filming Sundai sucking her thumb. Who knows what is in her past, but sucking her thumb harms no one, probably is relaxing for her, and is certainly a better coping mechanism than, say, chain smoking or binge eating.

      • AD

        You’re kidding right? Sucking her thumb harms her physically (her teeth can get displaced). Also, why should there be any oral fixation for a coping mechanism; comparing it to smoking and binge eating seemed like comparing hitting your head against the wall as opposed to sticking a pin in your eye.

      • Julie

        I didn’t think that bit was totally real…

  • Greg

    Sundai was funny and had such personality. Maybe she wasn’t going to win it all but she was my favorite one left and I was sad to see her go. At 5’3″ she was really the only legitimate “petite” one there. Plus, her story seemed both heartbreaking but very positive at the same time.

  • Kim

    I love the way you recapped this episode. You’re so funny and honest! I also enjoyed that Legend of Zelda reference! I thought the same thing when I saw those boots.

  • Rita

    I am so tired of Erin I really wanted her to go home last night but I knew she was not. I am surprised that next week two girls will go home instead of one all I know is that one of those girls better be Erin or I will not be tuning in for the Finale..lol (well I actually will be but I will be angry the whole time)

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