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America's Next Top Model recap: Pinned and Needled

After wobbling on conveyor belts, the ladies step into the ring with some luchadors. Sure, that makes sense.

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Top Model Wrestler
Mathieu Young/The CW

America's Next Top Model

TV Show
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What a strange season of Top Model. I keep telling people that this cycle is good, but now I’m starting to wonder: Have I lost my mind? This week’s episode chugged along just fine, but scene-to-scene, nothing really made sense. Why are the women just getting to know each other? Why are there men at the challenge? Why is any of this happening? Why is Tyra toying with us, Model Behaviorists?

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves a little. We opened with Kacey complaining that it’s “hard to stand up by yourself against a group of bitches who clearly don’t like you,” so she decided she wanted to play a get-to-know-you game with everyone. Chris was skeptical, but acquiesced: “Play the reindeer games, Rudolph! Come on!” Line of the season nominee, folks. I find it suspicious that Kacey initiated this game, and I find the idea that all the women thought “well, okay” to be a little suspect as well. I shall file this complaint at the Reality Show Bogus Premises office.

The women talked about their backgrounds, and Liz said that when she was “pregnant, and alone, and in a homeless shelter,” she wanted to die. Yikes. This confession was awkwardly contrasted with Jane mentioning that her dad’s a “lung doctor,” and everyone ooohing and aaahing that Jane was rich. Take-home message? Tyra brings people together.

Challenge time! Ms. Jay was back in last week’s horror get-up, which again, no one mentioned. Perhaps they’d been coached not to mention the weird outfits, but surely one of them noticed that Ms. Jay doubled up, no? I mean, topknot, headband, drawn-on caterpillar brows, blazer, skirt, pants, pointy shoes? No one recognized this ensemble from rollercoaster day? (Also, yes, I cross-checked the ladies’ outfits — they did not appear to be wearing the same thing. And Rhianna wasn’t there. So… QED, it was not the same day.)

The challenge was this: The ladies had to wear swanky gowns and then walk on conveyor belts. Later, men also walked on the conveyor belts. Why were the men there? Why do we call certain dishes “salad,” when we really just mean “there’s mayonnaise in this”? (I’m looking at you, tuna and chicken.) Sometimes there is no why.

This challenge was basically a glammy version of Wipeout. All the women struggled to walk on the conveyor belts, though some struggled more mightily than others. (Liz cursed, which was awesome, Kendal’s shoe fell off, and Esther stumbled off the end.) What was strange was that one belt was operating treadmill style, meaning the women had to walk double-time to move forward, but the other was operating moving-sidewalk style, meaning the women could just stand still. Again, why? People need to fear and respect those conveyor belts.

Who won this bizarre and sadistic challenge? Uh, Kacey. Who then screamed the way a group of sixth grade girls scream when they see a bee: freakishly loudly, with extra annoyingness. Ugh, I’m siding with Lexie on this one. Kacey is grating.

NEXT: A super-hot nutritionist shows up! (Sort of.)