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'America's Next Top Model: All-Stars' premiere: André Leon Talley's new hat and Nigel's new hair are my favorite contestants

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Top Model 17
Chris Frawley/The CW

I’ve long considered the possibility that Top Model is just a schizophrenic fever dream taking place entirely in Tyra Banks’ head, as her multiple personalities battle each other for dominance until they’re winnowed down to one, just like that movie with John Cusack. The opening sequence of the season premiere did nothing to dissuade me of that notion, showing Tyra in bed being haunted by nightmarish visions of herself dressed as contestants of previous cycles demanding to be allowed to compete once more. She wakes up sobbing and terrified, agreeing to do an All-Star season just to make the voices stop and allow her to get some sleep. Of course, little does she know, she’s still dreaming. BWAAAANNNH!

So the fight for Tyra’s sanity continues, and modeltestants we all know and love/hate/lovetohate (like Isis, Camille, and J-horror extra Allison) have been given another chance to be judged, humiliated, made-over, and potentially eaten by crocodiles, snakes, or André Leon Talley, all in the hopes of becoming America’s Next Top Model. And while that competition is all well and good and I’m sure it will be dramatically ridiculous and ridiculously dramatic in weeks to come, for me this episode was all about an entirely different competition: the silent but compelling one between André Leon Talley’s pork pie hat and Nigel’s magically appearing hair for the title of America’s Next Top Head Adornment.

Stolen off the crowns of Buster Keaton and Jon Hamm respectively, the hat and the hair are worthy opponents. After last cycle’s amazing feather-duster fedora, I’m really hoping André Leon Talley keeps the pork pie for a while, or at least until a gust of wind blows it off his head and into a tree while a piano rag plays and a title card reads “An all-the-sudden gust gives our hero the high hat!” But as much as I like the hat, it’s expected and unsurprising. The hair on the other hand stormed in and quickly took command of the whole show, and it’s always nice to see a new talent walk in out of the blue and say, “Look at me, world! I’m hair!” Who even knew that Nigel had the capacity to grow anything up there? It’s almost unnerving, like when they stick a wig on Bruce Willis. I was awed and transfixed, so I have to say this week’s winner was the hair. However, it’s still to be seen whether or not it will be able to hang on to its lead. At this point it’s really any headpiece’s game.

Oh, also Nicki Minaj showed up and Brittany of Cycle 4 got eliminated, but I’m sure you don’t care about that.

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