“Shut your mouth and say it ain’t so!” Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new PopWatch catchphrase (to go along with our new favorite adjective: “jank”), courtesy of the best America’s Next Top Model contestant ever: Danielle (at left). And it’s a catchphrase that expresses my pure joy that Danielle and Joanie (center) have somehow — I still can’t quite believe it — defied the typically dubious judgment of Tyra & Co. to survive to the final three, and most likely the final two. After all, is there any scenario in which the show’s producers would drain the suspense from the season finale by letting Jade (at right) — a woman who has been ridiculed for looking like a drag queen, mocked for her crimes against the English language, and consistently refers to herself in the third person (”The water and Jade, we mix”) — square off for all the marbles? Nah. Although credit where it’s due: Jade has managed to take one good photo after another despite one of the most hateful makeovers in Top Model history.

As for the two frontrunners, while I’d be perfectly happy with a Joanie victory — she’s culturually sensitive, funny, and takes a great photo — I’m hoping Tyra’s barely masked dislike of Danielle won’t prevent the Southern country gal’s richly deserved win. I mean, I understand Tyra’s concerns about Danielle’s speaking voice, but why not encourage her to, as my mother used to always yell at me, eeeeee-nunnn-seeee-ate, as opposed to demanding she obliterate her Arkansas accent? And how exactly did Danielle get DQ’d from her prize at the go-see challenge just for being a few minutes late? Feh! What’s worse, I didn’t understand the judges’ criticism of Danielle’s sexy swimsuit photo when Jade and Joanie’s weren’t exactly Elle Girl material either. I mean, you put a red-blooded woman in an outfit the size of a postage stamp and have her spend a couple hours interacting with Nigel Barker, and what kind of expressions do you think you’re gonna get? Regardless, next week’s season finale is guaranteed to produce a more charismatic winner than Nicole or Naima, and that’s something to be thankful for.

Oh, and one last thing, apologies for abandoing my Top Model duties during my vacation last week, and missing Furonda’s snap-tastically strutting exit: She may have looked like a really pretty insect, but the girl had spunk, unlike this week’s ejectee, Sara, who for the umptmillionth time trotted out her ”discovered in a mall” shtick. To paraphase Donald Trump: ”Sara, you’re tired!”

Episode Recaps

Trya Banks
America's Next Top Model

Tyra Banks searches for the next great supermodel

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