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America's Next Top Model recap: Whack Job

The models put on body armor and take up wooden swords — yes, Roman catfighting! — then ”Mama Tyra” shoots her ”babies”

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America's Next Top Model

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This was a good America’s Next Top Modelepisode: Dominique was in rare (read: her usual) form, Tyra was on the floor photographing her ”babies” (and now even knows how to pronounce all their names!), and we got gladiators. Everything is better with gladiators.

This week’s challenge called for the five remaining models to learn how to kick some faux ass from a fight instructor at the Gladiator School of Rome. I imagine that the school’s applications will now double, because that man was awesome: ”The first move I’m gonna teach you is the very graceful way of taking someone’s head off.” Sign. Me. Up. As the girls held what I feared were baguettes but am now thinking were wooden sticks, they were taught a five-strike attack: Go for the head, neck, legs, neck, and stomach. Even though it was easy — I mastered it on my way to the kitchen during a commercial — Fatima got confused. Seriously, how hard is it to learn five steps? Granted, as Katarzyna pointed out, it would be difficult to remain ”modelesque” while doing ”gladiator combat,” but they weren’t being photographed yet. So focus on the damn steps!

Then the girls were paired up for one-on-one practice, and fast-talkin’ Dominique had her crazy eyes on someone: ”I’m like, good, we get to fight. I hope me and Whitney team up, so I can whup some ass….I’m just jokin’. I have nothing against her.” (Very convincing.) Unfortunately, the producers definitely have something against Dominique, but they paired her with Fatima, who was hopeless. Fatima said she was happy to get her aggression out through her sword — ”Like, go home, bitch!…Now!” — but she wielded said weapon with the power of a 2-year-old. It was like the physical equivalent of that classic debate scene — ”And in conclusion, may I please remind you that it does not say RSVP on the Statue of Liberty” — in Clueless: ”If she doesn’t do the assignment, I can’t do mine.” Following ”the teach,” the models changed into gladiator costumes and were met by Mr. Jay and Miss J. (or, Jay-J., as I like to call them) and told that they’d have five frames to pose opposite a beastly gladiator who we’ll call Fernando, because I think that’s what his name was.

Jay-J. told the girls to note where the camera was, make sure their bodies were always open toward it, and please remember to give a pretty-but-fierce face. Anya did great, as usual, actually striking poses she was instructed to use. Katarzyna’s stance, Jay said, looked too weak and her sword overpowered her. Whitney, as a surprisingly complimentary Dominique pointed out, looked like Xena’s boobilicious sidekick, but was comfortable in her own skin and rocked. She had no problem opening her bare midriff up to the camera. (The stylists sure are working overtime to make up for coFvering Whitney’s plus size during that Elle Macpherson lingerie shoot, huh?) Dominique decided she wanted to be different from the other girls, doing a few one-legged poses that, while somewhat ridiculous, were at least interesting to look at. And Fatima…well, she was scared of the fake gladiator man and basically did the same hunched-over pose five times, which peeved Jay because he point-blank told her to change her closed-to-camera stance. Whitney won the challenge and took Anya with her on a spending spree that was about as boring as Katarzyna’s personality.

NEXT: Renaissance nights