Model citizens, we are down to the top five. Shouldn’t that mean some action, some excitement, some drama? All we got this week was some mention of asthma — no attack or anything — and some low-level griping. Maybe I should be relieved that for once, Top Model isn’t creating fake problems or blowing minor disputes out of proportion, but instead, I’m just…oh, sorry, I drifted off there for a second. Let’s jump off a cliff! No, really, let’s.

In the car back from elimination, Erin’s pale hair and lack of eyebrows seriously made her look like the Crypt Keeper, but at least he makes puns and stuff. She just whines. The producers of the show obviously told Jennifer to be more energetic in her confessionals because her asides are increasingly insincere and hard to understand.

Back at the house, Sundai vaguely mentions that she grew up in foster care. “It definitely made me a better person than I am today,” she…garbled. I’d rib her for it, but then the camera cut to her sucking her thumb and nuzzling a blankie. Um, kind of heart-breaking! But enough about tough times — let’s not dwell on the absolute only remotely interesting thing we’ve learned about any of these remaining women!

It’s Laura’s birthday the following day, and Jennifer and Erin made her a (sabotage-ingly?) hearty breakfast of surprisingly well-plated grub. If ANTM doesn’t work out, one of them could be on a Top Chef cross-over.

The modeltestants headed to the beach, where Erin complained that it was deserted. Indeed, who would ever want to go to a deserted beach? Redeem yourself with a pun, Crypt Keeper! The women were greeted by one Marisa Miller, whom they all claimed to recognize. Marisa gave them some bikini-posing lessons, like “don’t tuck in your booty,” and use “Barbie toes,” which is known as “tiptoes” everywhere else in the English-speaking world. Then the ladies got all sandy and then took sensual model-y showers, which will serve as masturbation fodder for Internet-deprived teens all over the world. Work it, ladies! Model showers!

Next it’s time for the challenge, except everyone’s hair is dry. Even though they just took, as mentioned above, sensual model showers. Shenanigans, ANTM. It’s almost like this show is phony, you guys. Anyway, the ladies had to jump off a cliff, which they all did with almost no trepidation. Glad to know everyone is such a good swimmer! Nicole unsurprisingly wins because she is super beautiful. She gets the most frames at the photo shoot, and she picks Sundai to have the second-most, who picks Laura to have the third, who picks Jen, which leaves Erin with no extra frames at all. Wah-waaaah. As it turns out at the shoot, the issue isn’t really the number of frames, it’s getting feedback halfway through the shoot and getting to go all over again. But that’s too reasonable and helpful for Top Model, so instead, we press on despite not having any puns.

Again emphasizing how little conflict there is this season, the other ladies threw Laura a birthday party, complete with like, 11 cakes. There is so little to work with the producers even include one of the models saying she’s tired, so she’s going to bed. Wait, wait, start again because we, the moronic public at home, could not follow that Dadaist anti-narrative. She’s…tired? At night? And is going to bed, to the objection of absolutely no one? Ugh, the camera adds ten pounds of completely useless crap.

The next day, Jay did his best Ann Curry impression and wished the girls good morning 19 times before unveiling this week’s photo shoot: An underwater challenge! I liked this challenge better in Cycle 2 (my kingdom for another Shandi!), and on Make Me a Super Model, but here we go again. Laura confessionalized that she’s terrified of “drowning or suffocating,” which…we’re all afraid of, you poor sweet thing. “There’s not a lot of oceans in Kentucky,” she explained. True is true.

Everyone actually did decently, with surprisingly no complaints about how salt water stings when it gets in your eyes. Weirdly, all the girls who got to go twice had totally dry hair when they got their in-between-sets feedback, so this is shenanigan part deux. Consider this my official editing complaint that I am now filing with the Bureau of Reality Television Bullshizz That I So Noticed Dot Gov, Amen. Also, Erin’s hair looked outrageously ratty. Deep condition that action, blondie!

Marisa from the sexyposes was our guest judge this week, and she’s far too lucid and full of advice and information to be any fun. Luckily she gets more air time than any of the previous judges; sure, her advice is about stuff like pointing one’s toes and learning to put your face in the light — again, SLOW DOWN, I don’t understand — but it’s a career-defining dissertation compared to Miss Jay’s completely worthless “quips.”

Sundai’s picture was deemed just okay; her body looked good, but her face was totally hidden. Laura’s photo was pretty if “obvious,” Jennifer was “too erect” for Marissa, Nicole’s face was awesome but her body pose got mixed reviews (my review: is that a radioactive leg?), and Erin was too close to the surface for this underwater shot to be interesting.

This week’s winner: Jennifer! I’m starting to wonder if Madame Partial Facial Paralysis might take this whole thing — she’s much more charismatic than Nicole, lightyears more likable than Erin, and capable of abstract thought unlike poor, sweet Laura. Plus she’d be the first petite, partially paralyzed model, which is a three-P threat. Just saying.

The runner-up: Nicole, who Tyra said would have won if not for her terrifyingly lifeless foot. Laura was safe; would Sundai and Erin please step forward? And would Sundai please never wear those boots again, certainly not with shorts, because they make her look like Link from Zelda? Tragically, Sundai is sent packing, and Erin is safe, but “only by a hair,” according to TyTy. Presumably it’s a bleached eyebrow hair, but this means we’re stuck with Erin’s whining for a whole other week. If she mentions next week that she’s “only 18,” everybody drink.

Sundai’s montage of failure drove home that she only had one pose — smirky side-eyes — but I was still a little bummed to hear that autotune yodel play her off. Erin’s photo was marginally better, except she’s almost staggeringly unfun. Oh, well.

Did you dive in to this episode, PopWatchers, or did its waves of suckiness just wash over you?

Episode Recaps

Trya Banks
America's Next Top Model

Tyra Banks searches for the next great supermodel

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