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'America's Next Top Model' recap: Back in the hobbit

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Image Credit: Martina Monica Tolot / The CWThis week’s Top Model was all about uncomfortable situations: Squeezing oneself into a “hobbit hole,” pretending like Tyra’s shadow photographs weren’t straight out of an eighth-grade visual arts appreciation project, acting like we were sad or surprised to see Jessica go. It was one thing after another! Let’s head to the shire…

Krista and Alexandra were flying high after last week’s panel, much to Angelea’s frustration. Yep, she called everyone “bitches” again, which continues to rankle me not just because I find it tacitly misogynistic but also because it’s starting to just be boring. At least Alexandra called everyone else “skinny tarts” (cut to her eating a sandwich; cut to me rolling my eyes infinity times).

Back at the house, Jessica was making tacos and accidentally set the toaster on fire while trying to warm the shells on top of it. I’ll be honest: This did not seem like the worst idea ever (you can put them in the toaster, after all), and I’m still not clear on how the girls actually put the fire out. Does no one watch Good Eats? The one unitasker you’re supposed to have is a fire extinguisher! Come on.

Krista and Alexandra made fun of Raina for being too perky and saying “oh, Mylanta.” At first I thought they were just being kind of catty and immature, but then Raina said it, oh, 20 times during the episode, and it was like living with Stephanie Tanner in a weird commercial time-warp. I hope she calls all their photo shoots “Kodak moments,”  occasionally wonders where in the world Carmen San Diego is, sings “I love what you do for me, Toyota,” and sings the “Honeycombs big, yeah yeah yeah!” jingle all the time. All of those are less irritating!

Then it was off to Hobbitown, where everyone seemed pretty excited. Except for Angelea. “So I don’t know what the hell a hobbit is,” she complained.

Why was Sarah McLeod there, instead of anyone else from the LotR movies, or someone connected to modeling? Not clear! But she introduced the challenge: Everyone would get five frames of posing in a little round hobbit doorway while wearing electroclash H&M clothes. I mean fancy clothes from New Zealand’s most avant garde designer.

Since we didn’t get to see any of the photos, this wasn’t a particularly exciting challenge, except that it served to reinforce that harem pants are not your friend. No matter what! Angelea said bitch again, Krista flipped out over winning $4,500 worth of I guess harem pants (does the extra crotch cost more?), and then everyone went home to sulk.

Krista and Alexandra next turned their mean girl attention to Angelea and began doing imitations of her bizarre club stroll from last week’s judging. I wasn’t bothered so much by them making fun of her — if you’re going to do something that weird, just embrace it and ignore the backlash — but I was a little surprised to see them physically imitating the walk over and over again, laughing themselves stupid, and standing on the beds. Is that how grown-ups joke about stuff? Or is that how seventh graders behave at the tail end of a Dorito-binge sleepover? If they had scampered off to play “light as a feather, stiff as a board” or watch Clueless again, it really would have sealed the deal.

Then it was off to the photoshoot at a vineyard, where Tyra (squeal!!!! [barf]) was serving as photographer. Tyra’s done some pretty craptastic shoots in the past — I remember you, bizarre not-exactly-blackface shoot from last season! — but she’s also done some pretty cool ones (those black and white shots from season one, the weird crying shots). These shadowy shots were definitely in the “never again” category. Why was everyone’s hair covered in clay? Why were some of the modeltestants in gowns, while Raina was just in panties? Why did all of these photos look so crappy? Why did Tyra stop doing her “talk to me about your problems” episode? Why was she wearing a denim jumpsuit? Why can’t we have nice things?

Alexandra did well, despite being stuck in an ill-fitting teddy (that was a teddy…right?), Jessica looked like the Corpse Bride, Raina was topless, Angelea didn’t do well until Tyra told her to play dead, and Krista was great.

At panel, Tyra was wearing yet another bra-revealing jumpsuit. As any bra-wearer can attest, sometimes your straps show — curse you, boatnecks! Occasionally I’ll see a woman whose top dips down in the back, and you can see the top part of the bra peeking out. These things happen. But the intentional “mah bra, let me show it to you” in the front is just plain trashy. And when it’s under a jumpsuit? My god, people. It’s worse than jeggings. (Just kidding, nothing is worse than jeggings.)

First up: Alexandra, with her best photo ever. André praised it as looking “ethnic,” like she’s “from Istanbul.” You know, where the ethnics live. I’m starting to wonder if he gets his ideas the same place he gets his outrageously massive cloaks. (A bespoke couture insanity boutique on Nonsense Road in Crazytown, just a little past the Is That Really A Word? Expressway. If you get to Paula Abdul Avenue, you went too far!)

Raina’s photo wasn’t great, but that was because it was just a bad photograph — too dark, with not enough contrast. Is it Raina’s fault that Tyra was unwilling to run a filter or something? Angelea’s photo was a whole lot of nothing for me, but of course André loved it. Jessica’s shot was total blah , but Krista’s was really striking.

This week’s winner: Krista! Runner up: Alexandra! Oy. These two are probably going to continue their reign of catty commentary, which might be a nice change of pace from the reign of being in a coma that already took up most of the season. Angelea was safe. Would Raina and Jessica please step forward?

Raina was obviously staying — just look at that gorgeous hair! — and Jessica seemed pretty chill about getting the boot.

What’s worse, PopWatchers: Jumpsuits or harem pants? Will Alexandra figure out how to pose better, or is Raina going to take this whole thing? Can Krista expand her range a bit, and can Angelea possibly pull this off? Will next week’s double elimination inject some excitement into the proceedings?

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