Tyra Banks, unrepentant sadist? Who knew? Not me, at least not until last night’s eeee-vil Vivienne Westwood footwear runway challenge, during which the contestants had to walk the plank wearing the most twisted platform heels I’ve ever seen, all under the hawk-like eyes of the judging panel. For a second, I was expecting Joe Rogan to pop onto the set and tell me I was watching a special, skinny-girls edition of Fear Factor. Which, of course, isn’t to say I didn’t get a sadistic thrill watching Bratz doll Kari, with her unfortunate soccer-mom hair, start things off by tumbling once, twice, then thrice, during the competition. But by the time my favorite contestant, gizzorgeous, hilarious Danielle (pictured) went splat and sprained her little toe (forcing her to end the episode on crutches!), I was heated! All right, Tyra, Twiggy, and Miss J, let’s see you ladies negotiate such hellacious terrain. Well?

That wasn’t the only Mean Girls moment, either. How ’bout the Jared Gold runway show, during which the model wannabes had to strut their stuff while adorned with giant, living Madagascar hissing cockroaches (encrusted with crystals, natch)? Or that moment when Nigel Barker told Kari she needed to ”tone it up” — minutes before eliminating her from the show? At least the kid got in a memorable quote about the garish styling she endured during the Gold event: ”Our makeup is black eyes, rosy cheeks — almost like a hooker from back in, you know, old hooker times.”

Even this week’s photo shoot, which featured the ladies dressed as fairy-tale heroines and falling off daises, looked fairly painful — but at least it separated the pretenders from the contenders. Nnenna didn’t rock as hard as the last two shoots, but she proved she absorbs constructive criticism the way Special K absorbs milk. (Sorry, had to work in this week’s product placement.) And quiet Joanie proved she’s got ferocity to spare on the runway and in front of the camera. Still, when it comes to flawless photos and memorable soundbites, Danielle is this season’s clear front-runner. The way she kept her neck and head perpendicular to the ground while hurling herself onto a mattress was almost as winning as her observation about staying in character: ”I felt like Snow White or, sorry, Snow Black.”

I know who’s getting my vote for Cover Girl of the week. How about you?

Episode Recaps

Trya Banks
America's Next Top Model

Tyra Banks searches for the next great supermodel

  • TV Show
  • 16
stream service