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'America's Next Top Model' recap: Finding their way

Getting around Amsterdam to make it to go-sees proves too difficult for Marjorie, and Tyra compares the contestants’ natural faces with their glam looks

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Russell James/The CW

America's Next Top Model

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‘America’s Next Top Model’ recap: Finding their way

After the makeover and Tyra-teaches-posing episodes, my favorite America’s Next Top Modelmoments are always those that involve go-sees and Tyra photographing the girls (while lying on the ground). But this episode turned out to be about as exciting as watching Elina wonder why everyone thinks she’s stiff.

As we all know by now, the go-sees are designed to test the girls’ abilities to book real jobs and, more importantly, their sense of direction. At first, I thought the show had gone soft on us, giving the girls boat taxis with drivers. (Analeigh’s was hot, too!) But the models still had to fend for themselves on the streets of Amsterdam, which proved nearly impossible for Marjorie. She got so flustered when she couldn’t find her first designer that she ended up crying to her boat boy. (Tip for Marjorie: You never pause after you say, “Excuse me.” You have to go right into asking for directions so people know that that’s all you’re after.) Mr. Jay doesn’t often say something worth remembering, but his assessment of the Hunchback of Notre Dame was spot on: “People don’t like frailty. They like vulnerability — they don’t like frailty.” Marjorie booked neither of her two go-sees. Her nerves were to blame, but also the fact that she forgot how to walk upright.

Meanwhile, Samantha received her usual critique — too commercial — but booked two out of four go-sees. Elina matched Sam’s efforts, but designers declined to work with her for multiple reasons: She has distracting tattoos, she sweated in a gown (“Never run!”), and she has no soul. Okay, I’m paraphrasing that last bit. Actually, the designer said something like “She’s playing a model, she isn’t a model.”

Analeigh won the challenge by booking all three of her go-sees (and by having great hair and changing right in front of that one guy). McKey would have taken the prize — $18,000 worth of wear from the participating designers — had she not been disqualified for returning to the agency five minutes late. She got too caught up sightseeing (“Yay! Sunshine!”) to remind her boat boy that they had to be back by 5 p.m. She blamed the tardiness on not having a watch. I blame it on whatever detour they must have taken so she could pick up that hint of a faux British accent I detected in this week’s confessionals. (Someone hung out too much with Sheena.) Four out of four designers wanted to work with McKey and her “gorgeous, special face.” I’d book her too, but I’d sit her down and tell her that the vacant personality she seems to affect in front of people in authority has got to go.

Moving on to the week’s real competition, photographer Tyra shot each of the girls twice: In one black-and-white shoot, they were “natural,” like in the Polaroids their agency would take to show their blank canvas. In the other, they were glam, with heavy makeup. The judges crowned Sam the best of the bunch. Nigel raved that her natural shot was a Calvin Klein campaign. (I was more taken with the photo of Sam in couture MC Hammer pants, myself.) I decided I could be a fan of Sam — if she wouldn’t speak. Or do the Running Man.

NEXT: Elina can’t let loose

McKey’s photos earned her second place at panel. Tyra praised her for using her teachings, when they decided that McKey’s signature pose would be an elongated neck and a laid-out back. I hereby dub it “the Gumby.” Paulina was right: It’s hard to believe how far McKey has come from her gloves-up posing days. She really is an interesting combination — that undeniably beautiful face, with features made all the more striking by her short dark hair, and those ugly-pretty poses.

Analeigh finished third this week, thanks to the best legs in the history of Top Model. The judges preferred her glam photo to her natural look, especially Paulina, who gave us one of her typical biting critiques: Analeigh is a dream, except for her big eyes, a “fairly substantial” nose, and a large mouth. This episode could’ve used more Paulina.

Marjorie and Elina stepped forward as the bottom two. Marjorie was sabotaged by nerves, Elina by control issues. Bored now. The judges did the right thing by cutting Elina loose: Her transformation would take longer. It’s fascinating that a young woman who resents her mother for making her repress her feelings would be so surprised that people think she’s stiff. It makes sense that Elina would be more comfortable expressing herself in a non-verbal way, such as tattoos, than screaming like a “fashion monster” to prove that she’s actually 18; that she would polish her poses at the last second because appearance is everything and she’s always aware of the image she’s projecting; that she would wear a white button-down shirt under a jacket that makes her look like, as Tyra said, a bad version of Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. (That comment was particularly funny to me because I’d been thinking that Elina’s natural shot reminded me a bit of Jolie as Lara Croft.) My point is, though she gave us a couple of lighthearted moments this episode — a playful twirl in a fuchsia frock, a giggly tumble climbing out of her boat — she isn’t going to “let herself go” anytime soon. (What happened to the girl who kissed Clark in the hot tub?) If she’s not sending energy out to the photographer, she won’t be getting anything back from him or her.

I was a little surprised that Tyra wasn’t excited to shoot Marjorie, considering Marjorie typically delivers great shots with intensity and high-fashion poses. But with all Marjorie’s energy focused on psyching herself out of the competition, she wasn’t inspiring Tyra either. Still, I feel like Marjorie — now with an even shorter Annie Lennox ‘do — is still a major contender. Next week, she kisses a male model — that’s letting yourself go — and the girl can pose. Shoot after shoot, she plays the beloved broken doll, but it always seems fresh. I predict it comes down to the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Gumby. If the Hunchback doesn’t get a backbone, Gumby takes it all.

And now, the parting questions for your consideration. Which was more disturbing this week: McKey’s Clockwork Orange eye makeup, or the red dress she wore to panel? (She looked like a child.) What was your reaction when Elina said she should’ve won the go-see challenge instead of Analeigh? (I typed “F U.”) And who else would love to see Frederick Koster, managing director of Touché Models, return? I enjoyed his melodramatic chastising of McKey almost as much as he did. (“I’m very disappointed. McKey. Five o’clock.” Shakes his head. Shakes his head again. “And you didn’t make it.”)