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''Next Top Model'': 3... 2... 1! We have a winner!

After all the shouting — and life coaching, and sobbing, and dress ripping, and, last but not least, the judging — America’s Next Top Model is CariDee

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CariDee: De Yonker/The CW

America's Next Top Model

TV Show
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”Next Top Model”: 3… 2… 1! We have a winner!

Well, I suppose I wouldn’t have it any other way: The craziest cycle in ANTM history just wrapped up with the craziest winner in ANTM history… and yes, that includes Adrianne. In fact, this episode was so bizarre, my friend Josh has suggested I forgo tonight’s recap in favor of the following:

list all the ridiculous things that could have happened on tonight’s finale. then put a checkmark next to each and every one of them. now thank your higher power of choice that you won’t need to watch the show for another year.

Kid has a point. But I wouldn’t do that to you, niblets (I know you’ve already made plenty of checkmarks on your walls there at home), so here we go, for one last time. Hike up your crazy-skirts! Do it for Monique!

We opened with the finalists shooting their Cover Girl ads, and in a refreshing break from tradition, all three pulled off a pleasantly articulate lip gloss commercial. So this left lots of time at panel to focus on other things, like, what is a ”feesta”? And what in god’s name was Melrose wearing? Most important of all: Why did the judges so vastly prefer CariDee’s Cover Girl spread to Mel’s? Personally, I thought Cari sort of looked like a praying mantis in her picture, all cheekboney and weird, but —

What? Oh, her. Yes, this was when Eugena went home, even though she turned in her best photo yet (”So you have got a personality!” gasped Twiggy). Can’t say she seemed all that sad to lose; in fact, when Tyra called Mel’s name, Ol’ Fish Eyes shot her pal CariDee a pretty composed look of exasperation. I like to think that maybe in that last moment — as she hugged CariDee goodbye and felt Melrose’s pathetic attempt to get in on the action — Eugena finally awoke to the fact that this was indeed a competition, and she should have, like, tried. Ah, too late. All she could do now was leave an inspirational note in the house for CariDee, part of which read, ”Walk your ass off on that runway, cause a natural blonde needs to win.”

Which brings us to…




[Yes, many of you niblets predicted the BotB, thanks to the Great AABC (Alleged ANTM Blonde Conspiracy), a tragic phenomenon that allegedly felled the lovely Joanie in Cycle 6, Cycle 4’s Kahlen, and most likely contributed in some way to Brooke getting her ass sent home back in October. I’m proud to say that I called this final two way back in Week 7, but not because I’m some big conspiracy theory buff — I just figured CariDee and Melrose were the only girls who didn’t reek of personal incompetence.]


First: A Seventeen cover shoot, where the gals were subjected to the criticism of the always tough-but-fair-because-she’s-being-paid-to-come-across-that-way editrix in chief Atoosa ”Jigsaw” Rubenstein. It was here that CariDee suddenly brought up her psoriasis for the first time in like six weeks, referring to it as ”my skin disease”; I wrote down, ”oh yeah, that skin disease.” Next up was the psych screening, in which they met with Tyra’s life coach to talk about their personal journeys, and here again, CariDee reminded us about her skin disease. This was when I started wondering if we should organize some sort of telethon. (Dear ANTM producers: For future reference, I’d use the suicide attempt for drama before I used the rash, k? It’s not like CariDee overcame polio to get here. Does Cover Girl make anything in a hydrocortisone?)

Finally, the ladies portrayed ”ghostly brides” in a runway show, and because there’s no way I can do this train wreck of an event justice here, I’ll just hope you kids DVR’d it, and pray for a YouTube link sometime later today. I can say that onstage, Melrose was the picture of poise and professionalism, while CariDee… well, at no point did CariDee appear to be in control of her own face. Offstage, the roles were reversed: Melrose started sobbing over her ripped dress, while CariDee remained almost eerily stoic despite the fact that she ripped the dress herself. Meanwhile, the judges were in what appeared to be an isolation chamber performing one final flamenco, Miss J. auditioned for Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Tyra stood up in the middle of the show to coach last season’s winner, Dani, on how to walk, I guess for old times’ sake.

And then… blackout. It was over.

I’d like to say there was suspense at the final panel, but, well, that would be a lie. Things started off strong for Melrose — everyone admitted she rocked the runway — but the instant the judges groaned over her old ”supermodel stereotypes” photo, I knew she was a goner. Meanwhile, CariDee won! Because she is a total psych… uh, she is unpredictable! Apparently, being a ”loose cannon” with a tendency to behave like a drunken sailor is super-edgy and exactly what the big fashion houses are looking for! Hooray!

Look, I know it sounds like I’m unhappy with this result, but the judges’ decision really does make sense, if you think about it. I mean, they’ve praised Melrose all season long, right? She’s smart, cunning, and knows the fashion business. She takes lovely pictures under the most ridiculous circumstances. She makes people crazy with jealousy. She works twice as hard as everyone else and wants it three times more, and may have driven herself nuts by demanding such high standards from herself for so long. She is possibly the most dominant competitor this show has ever seen, and thus, it is so obvious that she must slink away a loser, wondering what on earth she could have done better, when the answer, quite honestly, is NOTHING. Sure, there’s a chance she will now have a slight nervous breakdown, but they invented klonopin for that very reason. So godspeed, Gramps! Don’t let the door hit you in your ancient ass on the way out! And if the klonopin don’t work, come back — we loves the crazies here on ANTM!

And godspeed to you as well, niblets. I wish I had some sort of witty parting remark for you at this juncture, but to tell the truth, it’s after 2 a.m. and I am wiped out from sitting in this chair and trying to parse this nonsense for more than five hours, with limited success. Therefore you will simply have to make do with a heartfelt hasta la feesta, and be on your merry way. I shall see you back here for Cycle 8 and, in the meantime, pray for sanity, niblets. Pray for peace. Oh, and a quick, fair resolution to that damn writers’ strike, huh?

Now, it’s your turn: Did CariDee deserve to win? Did Melrose deserve better? What do you think happens to them in their careers from here? Was that runway walk a scream, or what? Can you wait for season 8? Share your thoughts below.

(To see what CariDee had to say to us after last night’s episode aired, click here.)