'America's Next Top Model' finale recap: Easy, breezy, 'ugly pretty'

top-modelDo I have Stockholm Syndrome, or were these last two episodes kind of good? Sure, it lacked the intensity and lunacy that are supposed to be Top Model‘s calling card, but by the time we got to the runway show, I was legitimately wondering who was going to win. But first, we slogged through the outrageous concept of “ugly pretty.” Or as the sane world calls it, “nonsense.”

Krista was flying high after notching yet another win, so naturally Alexandra was feeling especially grumpy. I tried to like Alexandra all season, but it turns out her major contribution to my life will always be her epic wipeout, and no matter how she tries to zing Raina for “acting like a 12-year-old,” all I can hear is myself laughing at her for falling off the runway. Sorry, toots. Your Katherine Heigl-meets-Ali Larter looks just aren’t enough to endear you to any of us.

André swung by Chez Modelhaus: NZ to bring the girls all flowers (um, awww) and answer their obviously coached questions. I’m not going to bodysnark on the guy, but: If you’re large and in charge, and you wear some seriously flowy robes all the time, and you insist on lounging sideways, you run the risk of looking more than a little like Jabba the Hutt. It’s just a warning. He told everyone about being Andy Warhol’s intern and filled their heads with visions of sugar plums and international success. Just kidding, it was visions of having dinner with Karl Lagerfeld. The idea of Angelea and Karl chilling out back and relaxing all cool is both incredibly disturbing and somehow a perfect buddy comedy. Sheeee’s an awkward fish-out-of water who calls everyone a “bitch”. Heeee’s an eccentric fashion genius who speaks only in murmurs. They are both very thin! Coming to NBC!

Anyway. Also, if you haven’t seen The September Issue, allow this moment of André to be your nudge. He comes across as sort of silly, yes, but also kind of brilliant in his own affected, contrived way. It’s kind of charming.

The ladies boarded a flight to Queenstown only to discover that both Mr. and Ms. Jay were there to taunt them. Er, host a challenge. Everyone had to do a fun, personality-filled runway walk down the aisle of the plane! Is this worse than a crying baby on board? How about worse than a B.O.-emitting seatmate? I really hope this was a Top Model only flight, otherwise…sad trombone on the rest of those passengers. When I want emaciated lunatics waltzing up and down the aisle and stealing my sunglasses, I take Greyhound.

Alexandra was deemed overly flouncy, while Raina was too wooden, and Angelea didn’t seem to take it seriously. To the shock of no one, Krista won yet another challenge.

Let’s take a moment here to high five the New Zealand tourism bureau, because boy howdy was the landscape footage gorgeous. I’m not sure what I would do there necessarily — the number of people attempting to slather me in black lipstick and tie me up in a corset is pathetically low — but I want to go and run around and sigh and stuff. That’s what vacations are for, right? Sighing?

The theme to the shoot: “Ugly Pretty.” And also “bye bye, two of you.” Yes, it was double-elimination time, which sent the ladies positively reeling. What sent me reeling was how crazypants everyone looked. Black lipstick is tough, weird-ass Helena Bonham Carter hair is tough, corsets are tough, and 1776 costume castoffs as seen through a cloud of Peyote smoke, well, that’s tough too.

In any case, Krista did a good job, Alexandra looked sort of like Lauren Ambrose on crack, Raina pronounced “corset” strangely, and Angelea couldn’t follow Jay’s directions. It was pretty much business as usual, considering the business is doing ridiculous things and pretending it’s not absurd.

“I’m not here to have Angelea hang out with me,” Mr. Jay insisted. He was thisclose to uttering the reality catchphrase of the century, “I’m not here to make friends.” Oh well. That probably would have destabilized the entire universe if a non-contestant had said it.

Back at the house, Krista had like 19 different little jewelry boxes to open, and some of the other modeltestants noted that a few of the items were the same. It seemed like the nice thing to do would have been to share a little — how many weird silver feather necklaces does one person need? — but whatever, she won them fair and square.

Judging time! Everyone was all dressed up… except for Alexandra, who was wearing gold-buttoned sailor-front shorts. My eyes! Those shorts were not doing her any favors, but given André’s robes and Tyra’s jumpsuits this season, she hasn’t had a lot to learn from. It’s like in Nell, how the isolated twins learned to speak a weird distorted language with each other. This whole show is like Nell language, but with terrible clothes. Tay ina wiiin!

Raina’s photo was fantastic, but she was sporting some intense side eyes, and she was scolded for being too pretty. (Not a thing. This dish is too delicious, please send it back to the kitchen.) Angelea’s photo was out of focus. Like, completely and totally out of focus, so the close-up of her face was blurry and strange. Luckily, no one mentioned it. How does that get ignored? Nigel is a photographer, and everyone has working eyeballs, yet no one felt the need to acknowledge that Angelea’s photo was a technical disaster. Krista, who had reattached her ponytail, had far and away the best photo, and Alexandra looked sort of off.

And then the judges engaged in the most meaningless conversation ever about “ugly pretty” not edging to “ugly ugly.” It was basically this, but not funny:

Blah blah blah, it went on forever. This week’s winner: Krista! She bugged out, predictably, and then made that familiar Top Model math mistake of claiming that she now had a 50/50 chance of winning. False! It’s only 50/50 if the winner is chosen at random! There are other factors at play here. Come on, people. A little math literacy is all I ask. (Well, it’s almost all I ask for. I also ask for Diet Cokes, as far as the eye can see.)

Which two were going to be sent a-packin’, and who was going to move on? By now, there wasn’t really any suspense: Alexandra had failed to deliver at any point in the competition, and Angelea had been slipping for weeks. Raina had the advantage of being really beautiful and good at modeling, so I wasn’t all that surprised when she made the cut. Farewell, Angelea, and thanks for squeezing in “bitch” just one more time. Also, nice leopard-print bra! (I lame the Nell factor again — Tyra’s bra, after all, has been showing at various points all season.) Bye, Alexandra! You were a non-entity!

Whew! That’s usually where I’d wrap up my recap. But we have a whole other episode to go. To my complete shock, this finale episode was solid, and it even contained emotions. Like a real show, almost.

“Holy schnike,” Raina said, because that is totally a saying. Back in the day, Tommy Boy fans, myself included, dropped a “holy schnikey” or two, but an abbreviation that rhymes with “hike”? Not allowed. Also, Raina’s only 22 — Tommy Boy-ish references this week, a Full House one last week… isn’t she a teeny bit young for those? Here’s hoping she busts out some Empty Nest references next.

Raina and Krista gushed about being in the top two, but I was pretty distracted by the flipped-over bed in the corner and what seemed to be writing on the sliding door. What the hell did they do to this apartment?

A helicopter ride and some sumptuous landscape porn later, Krista and Raina were in new, un-destroyed digs, where they were presented with the script for their Makeup Company commercial. It’s this point in every cycle where I wonder: Has no one on this show ever gone to middle school? I know rote memorization isn’t a particularly sophisticated pedagogical technique, but didn’t you guys have to take quizzes? I can still rattle off the first 10 elements on the periodic table, recite the first chunk of the Gettysburg Address, and get through most of the Greek alphabet (but only to the tune of “boomdeyadda“). No one else? How hard is memorizing what seems to be a one-minute monologue? Use the method of loci and pull yourselves together, modeltestants.

Last season’s winner, Bloody Eyeball Nicole, was on hand to coach the girls, but I was too distracted by her strangely ratty and too-orange hair. This made me a sad panda. Nicole’s hair was so perfect, even in humidity last season. She gave curly-haired ladies such as myself a shred of hope. Oh, well.

Raina’s glamor shot went well, but Krista froze during the commercial shoot. Duh. This happens every single cycle. Raina also flubbed her lines a few times, and Krista looked a little harsh in the still shots. Maybe it’s because her bedtime attire appeared to be a heavy-duty sleep mask, a scarf, and a gigantic velvet (?) blanket/hood over her face. I guess she really means business when she goes to sleep.

The Seventeen shoot was nondescript, even if they seemed to skip over the magazine’s primary purpose, which as I remember it was to tell tween girls that using tampons doesn’t mean you’re not a virgin. Apparently there’s also fashion stuff?

And then the whole season seemed to redeem itself (well, almost), when Tyra surprised Krista and Raina with a visit from their families. Krista’s mom and stepdad and Raina’s father were there, and they each did a family portrait photo shoot. I am not above admitting that I got a little choked up. It was very adorable! I just wish we had seen those photos at panel. Oh, well, again, times infinity.

Half the season’s cast got to walk in the Anna Sui fashion show along with the two finalists, but the show itself didn’t seem nearly chaotic enough, based on previous cycles, Project Runway, and the jillions of behind-the-scenes fashion TV shows and movies I’ve apparently watched. Where were the bare breasts? The too small shoes? The Polaroid wall? The panicky intern with a headset? This hardly seemed like a real fashion show at all! What’s that? It wasn’t? Oh.

Raina’s walk was slow and sort of stampy, while Krista’s was more graceful, but it was tough to see either through the bizarre and worthless filter the show used for this part. I’m glad a music video from the early ’90s was so inspiring for everyone, but it was seriously distracting as a viewer.

Backstage, Tyra tried to trick Raina and Krista into saying things that were personal and meaningful, as if she gave a rat’s ass. Once upon a time, Tyra used to go to the models’ house and talk to all of them about, oh, body issues and girl fights and stuff, and then everyone had one-on-one sessions where they bonded with Tyra and often cried. Nowadays, we get two measly, poorly thought-out questions backstage after a fashion show. Thumbs down.

Time for judging, again! Tyra’s jumpsuit this time appeared to be an avant garde architectural interpretation of a Grimace costume. Raina’s feathery skirt had a bustle/tail, and Krista’s shoes were ridiculous pouf balls. It was…a lot of look.

Raina’s beauty shot was gorgeous, but André said she didn’t glow enough. Krista’s close-up was my least favorite photo of her all cycle — it was harsh and sort of flat. The commercial was atrocious (that was a given, right?), and neither woman really distinguished herself with her on-camera style: Raina was squinting, but Krista looked a bit pained and sweaty.

So who would it be? Krista or Raina? Chalk or cheese, per Nigel’s description? No eyebrows or serious eyebrows? America’s next top model is…


I was a tiny bit sad for Raina, but her sunny disposition seemed to be fully intact, and it’s tough to argue with a winner as gorgeous and consistent as Krista. Are most “real” models pretty much retired by the time they’re 25? Sure. Does reality affect this show in any way? Obviously not.

So, there you have it, Model Citizens. Another cycle down. Despite a pretty good finale, this season was a dud at best, rock bottom at worst. Krista deserved to win, but does the show deserve to go on? How would you save it? And what was Tyra’s worst jumpsuit of the season?

Comments (222 total) Add your comment
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  • Roland

    Great finale’ as both finalists deserved to be there. Kudos to Raina, who was gracious and congratulated Krista on winning. Raina’s positive attitude will definitely take her places!

    • Tlynn

      Raina was so sweet in defeat. When she stated she wanted but was “too happy”, I actually said it in unison with her.

    • PK

      I adored ALT this year on Model. I hope he comes back next season. He brings the show to an almost legitimate level.

      • Bibi

        This guy was a total tool.

      • jj


    • jenny

      Krista is uuuugly. Another epic fail on Tyra’s part. It was a black girl year. Next year will be a white girl year. Yawn.

      • Chris

        Actually this was not supposed to be a black girl year. That is next year. Tyra tried to surprise us.

      • Elaine

        I agree, should of picked the white girl……..not saying that black girls are ugly, but we know why she was picked!

      • Nick T

        This was a black girl year because none of the top four from last cycle were black. Raina was better, I’m black myself, oh well.

  • Bibi

    Have only read the recaps for the past few weeks. Saved from the inanity of the show. It’s been obvious who the winner was since day one. Worst season ever. Won’t be watching again.

    • starbbycat

      so agree with you – horrible show – how could they see those collarbones as cool – to me it showed how unhealthily thin Krista is. It was also obvious when she started crying about the dark-skinned girls she was ‘in’ & Tyra would be all over that. That Vogue dude was offensive from the get go – I dont care how high up the fashion chain he was – yikes is all I can say. Did y’all notice how Krista sucked up to him with her question about ‘dreck’ – at least we can all agree the girl isnt stupid.

    • Gina

      Not only was the winner obvious – but EW totally screwed up in the mag this weekend. In the what to watch section they listed the 2nd hour of the show and discussed the 2 finalists. I know this show is complete stupid and cheeseball but I it makes me laugh – and EW ruined the first hour for me.

      • jknyc

        I thought the same thing!

      • vrlaura

        I thought the same thing! Totally ruined it for me!

      • La

        Tivo only taped the first hour of the finale for me. I went to hula.com to watch the second part this morning, but it directed me to cwtv, which was running a huge banner saying congratulations, Krista, America’s Next Top Model. Thanks for nothing.

      • Kwright

        I saw that too and was bummed. Not that it was hard to guess who the 2 finalists would be.

      • Kathy

        I was peeved about the What to Watch spoiler, too. Enough so that I wrote EW a scathing letter about the writer’s lack of professionalism. But, of course, no response. I didn’t enjoy most of this season, but that didn’t mean I wanted to know the outcome in advance.

      • Natalie

        Lack of professionalism? Are you on drugs? It was a mistake. Breathe.

      • lovesurvivor

        totally agree. I was irritated that EW ruined who the top 2 were, then really really really irritated when I went to watch hour 2 at cwtv.com and saw the winner posted. Can anyone keep a secret any more?

    • jj

      i second the motion!

  • dawn


  • Liz

    I hate Tyra’s wierd ever changing criteria. Krista looked old through the whole season but other seasons the older contestants who still looked younger than her get the boot. I knew Krista was going to win but she looks exactly like Teyona rom two seasons ago

    • Jen

      Krista looked more like a model than Teyonna. Allison should’ve won that season.

      • Dana

        Teyonna deserved to win. Allison had the exact same facial expression for every photo. She had absolutely no range. The only thing she had going for her were her ginormous eyes. That’s it.
        Teyonna was at least able to bring two facial expressions to her photos! ;-)

    • Kellan

      Almost every “older” model on past seasons has eventually been eliminated because the judges needed an excuse to send her home. They always pick about how “old” she looks, and eventually they cut her for it (even though THEY picked her to be in the Top 12). Not Krista though, which was one of the 100 other reasons her winning this season was obvious from the beginning.

      I’m not hating on Krista winning because I knew it was coming, but it’s funny how Tyra changes what she wants from season to season, and thinks viewers don’t notice.

      • Tlynn

        Krista was older (24) but she never looked old. Angelea did at times but Krista never!

      • ATA

        Um, Krista did look old. There was nothing appealing about her.

    • John K.

      And remember from the Teyona season, the really tall blond who was 25 was told over and over again how old she was. And yet, no one mentioned it about or to Krista.

      This show is so rigged.

  • Jessica

    Well done Krist. This season was so short. Finally an episode with less banal drama. and more style.

    • Tlynn

      I thought it was a great finale. I was sure Krista was going to win up until the end.

      Did anyone notice that Tyra called Krista’s walk “cheesy?” Tyra is the epitome of CHEESY.

  • Tad

    Krista looks like Cicely Tyson, she is already too old to be a model but then again it isn’t about who wins it is about a vehicle to showcase Tyra.

    • starbbycat

      It’s all about Tyyyyyyyyyyra! Such a BS show.

    • John K.

      And what the heck was up with the jumpsuits this season? She’s sitting next to the crazy fat fashion man who was cloaked in robes yet no one said anything?!

      Poor Nigel. Leave while you’re still credible!

      • Kathy

        Did y’all see the photos of Nigel in no clothing (photographed with his wife)? HOT, HOT, HOT!! Hairy chest, nice pecs, beautiful smile!! It was for UK Cosmopolitan magazine and he was with Jesse Metcalfe, Stephen Baldwin and some other guys. WHOA!!!!! I had the link off of the Huffington Post website. Check it out!!

  • bored with ANTM

    I found Andre to be a big fat pompous racist–please don’t bring him back

    • RJP

      Agreed…..don’t bring back ALT

    • ugh

      agreed!!! Very ugly inside is own racist biased fat head.

    • A J

      I still miss Twiggy. grins. Really.

    • James

      You three are retarded

    • Yeah!

      Thank you for pointing out the fact that he is racist. None of the white girls could do anything correctly, but the black girls could show their *sses and be deemed great!

      • Tlynn

        That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard yet. ALT loved Raina.

  • Becca

    Stged, staged, staged to get another black model for their quota! Krista is boney and not remotely attractive!! I got so sick of her winning challenges, and her attitude sucked!!!

    • James

      Yes, Becca, Black models are the worst! (rolling my eyes)

    • jenny

      Alasia was much much prettier than Krista. Sorry! Its the truth.

  • Becca

    Staged, staged, staged to get another black model for their quota! Krista is boney and not remotely attractive!! I got so sick of her winning challenges, and her attitude sucked!!!

    • ginger vitis

      Yeah, because Lord knows there are not enough WHITE models to go around. Raina looks like Brooke Shields and the Joker got together and had a “special needs” child!

      • UsualSuspects

        Even though Tyra said that Raina looks like Brooke Shields, she reminds me far more of Denise Richards. She’s a beautiful, young woman who seemed to have a sweet disposition so I don’t know why you have such a problem with her, ginger vitis?

    • Sue Bee

      Tyra sucks, so of course she picks a winner who also sucks (e.g., is nasty and has a horrible attitude).

  • JenR

    My favorite thing about the finale show was the awesome laugh of the photographer who shot the “ugly pretty” photos. It was sort of a “mmmmuuhahaha” like an evil laugh, but done out of joy.

  • Here & There

    This show is so predictable. In the real world, Krista would have been cut early. But in Tyra’s world…. End this show now, please.

  • hobokendave

    Krista was a bitch throughout the entire run. If there was audience voting she would have lost by a landslide.

    • Tlynn

      Krista was not more “bitchy” than anyone else in the house. She was a very deserving winner.

      • Clint

        1) Yes she was
        2) No she was not

      • mikki

        Yes she was.

      • Bob B

        Wow, Tlynn, you must really have a thing for Krista! Wait, is this actually Krista?

  • jack home

    i enjoyed the episode as someone who grew up with “dark skin black women” (some with low soft esteem issues) because they were judged ugly by their light bright peers, etc.. this was a REAL BOOST for them. Sorry, folks if the standard of beauty .. blond, and white was NOT the winner last nite. Don’t judge these girls unless you walked in their shoes. Please limit the haterade today, there are BIGGER issues than ANTM

    • Jennifer

      I have no problem with a dark-skinned winner. An attractive one. But Krista is way too old to start a modeling career, and given that Tyra has cut other girls for not looking fresh, giving the win to Krista is a joke. Oh, wait a minute, this show already is a joke – never mind.

      • uh

        Krista looked younger than some of the contestants and she photographs very very well. Raina is beautiful but Krista knows how to use pose

      • margo

        Yeah Jennifer, a joke….just like your comment!

      • James

        Not to mention the fact that Raina’s shaped like Spongebob Squarepants

      • Robin

        All the complaining about the show being a joke, just don’t watch it.

      • Jerald

        But you watch it anyway…

    • Tyra Sucks

      People of all shapes, sizes and colors have self-esteem issues. It’s not just dark-skinned women. And you want to talk about hatred…. I don’t think anything that came out of Krista’s mouth was nice.

      • Renee

        None of those heifers were nice except for Ms fakealoo holy schneikes.

      • Kellan

        I think Krista got the “bltch” edit in the beginning, but then they stopped showing her really catty comments (like Angelea & Alasia). I think Eva the Diva was the only winner to have all of her nasty comments make the show. The eventual winner generally gets a soft edit. Krista wasn’t very nice to or about the other girls, but they stopped showing so much of that after the first few episodes. Yet another clue she was the winner.

    • kelly

      To complain about ANTM here is not making light of the bigger issues of the world. This is a blog on Entertainment Weekly about ANTM. This isn’t a blog on Time about Africa. People are free to say what they want here.

    • Suz

      I think Krista is beautiful. Her skin glows. Please note I’m blond w/blue-green eyes.

  • Tyra Nosaurus

    There was no question Krista was going to win, what with this being the season for a “woman of color” winner. But what was up with her going on and on about being like the first dark-skinned model? Seriously. No. Although I didn’t particularly like Krista at first – there’s something weird about her face, maybe the lack of eyebrows – she started to grow on me. But it’s been clear for weeks that she was going to win, what with ALT’s endless praise. Ho hum.

  • Tyra Nosaurus

    Oh, yeah, and it’s Queenstown, not Queensland.

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