Tyra goes behind the camera for a shoot that plays like a joke, but it's all serious business when the field gets narrowed to the final two

By Margaret Lyons
November 18, 2010 at 04:56 AM EST
Ivano Grasso/The CW
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The final four, you guys! What an exciting-ish episode! I’m almost a little sad that this cycle is coming to a close. Is that possible? Or is that just the seasonal affective disorder kicking in? It’s probably the latter. I mean, it gets pitch black at like, 4 p.m. Who wouldn’t be bummed out?

Anyway, this isn’t America’s Next Top Unrelated Thought From Margaret, although good god I wish it were. (Next week: When did everyone get so into craft beer?!) It is instead the saga of our final four modeltestants. We opened on them luxuriating in the back of a minibus, each sort of bemoaning how tough the competition was getting. Chelsey did some steeling shizz talking, and Ann admitted that she needed to step up her game. Chelsey also bragged about how she had to save up money to buy her own issues of Vogue back in Idaho.

Back at the house, Kayla seemed a little too into her own winning photo, going so far as to sit across from it just to gaze at it. Winning is fun and all, but c’mon, dude. Also, her hair color is definitely different. I don’t know if this is the fire-engine just wearing out or what, but it looks about seven light years better.

Ann confessionalized that she’d always been shy — and not in the Carol Burnett/Once Upon a Mattress sense. (Teaser for yet another episode of America’s Next Top Unrelated Thought From Margaret: Who else loves musicals?! Meeeee!) We got another shot of Ann eating that sad bacon sandwich, so…drink, I guess! How many times are they going to show that photo?

Later, the modeltestants met up with Ms. Jay and his parasitic twin! Wait, no, that was just a hair pouf. WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THAT HAIR POUF? Why the blazer again? And the kabuki eyebrows? I am unwilling to accept the answer that we’ll just never know. The hair pouf and the runway coach attached to it were joined by an acting coach. I wish Ms. Jay had also brought a t-shirt coach, because that was one sad, droopy v-neck he had going on, and it could seriously use a half-time pep talk. You can do it, v-neck! Chase that sternum! No one saw you all season, and we all thought Ms. Jay was just wearing a blazer with nothing underneath! Now go out there and get ’em.

Instead, the woman tried to teach the models how to emote. Good luck, lady!

Then it was off what appeared to be the temporary offices of Vogue Italia. Anyone want to take a swing at why everything was just in piles, or rolled up in the corner? Fake office? Or is that just how Franca Sozzani rolls? Somehow, I really really doubt that that’s her real office.

I also really, really doubt that anyone can explain Andre‘s outfit. He was wearing a military-issued fez, a sequin robe that appeared to be from the Dumbledore’s Night Out collection, a shirt with a rhinestone-bedazzled NAACP seal in the middle, some kind of accessory cane, and shoes with pilgrim buckles. Let’s just all take a moment to try to think about that.

NEXT: The wisdom of Coco Chanel, channeled through Andre Leon Talley and peyote buttons.

I believe it was Coco Chanel who famously said: Before you leave the house, take off one thing, and then encrust that thing in glitter, and then put it back on, and then put on a diaphanous cloak so that you look like a judge in a Liza Minelli peyote fever dream. Actually, that might have been Karl Lagerfeld. Way to upstage the real star, Andre!

Franca met with the modeltestants, each of whom attempted to show off her personality. It was extremely awkward. Chelsey was bubbly, Kayla was blah, Jane was a little too forced, and Ann was still Ann. Franca was also ice cold, which made the whole endeavor more excruciating. She told Andre that Ann was the most interesting in photos, and that Jane was pretty, but not in the right way. Why was Andre standing so far away from Franca’s fake desk for this fake conversation? Maybe they were expecting Ms. Jay’s hair to pay them a visit, and they were saving it a seat. Like Elijah. How did this meeting become a seder? I mean, other than Andre’s traditional seder outfit?

The prize for winning the personality-off was a private viewing of “The Last Supper,” which…is actually pretty damn amazing, and a night at a seven-star hotel, which…is also kinda great. Some people like stuff, some people like experiences! It takes all kinds, you guys. Chelsey won, and she picked Kayla to go with her. Ann and Jane sadly rode the modelbus home all by themselves.

At the monastery, Chelsey and Kayla were in the same outfits from before, but Andre was now in a pith helmet and a pewter-colored satiny kimono. Back at the house, Jane and Ann doodled themselves a picture of the last supper, and ate Chinese food and drank vodka. Uh, I have never liked these two more! Why can’t all Tyra Mail be read by this drunken duo?

The fancy hotel just made me think of Elyse and Adrienne’s night of luxury from the first season of ANTM, and then I felt sad.

The next day, it was off to the photo shoot. But wait! It wasn’t a photo shoot! Tyra was going to direct them in a “motion editorial.” What is that? Nothing! It’s not a thing. It’s a .gif factory, I suppose, and it’d go great in a picture frame at Hogwarts, but it’s definitely not a thing. Tyra did look very pretty, however, even if she was wearing one necklace too many.

“I was so excited to play dress-up with Tyra,” Kayla gushed. I kind of wish they’d call the show that from here on out.

First up was Chelsey, who had a hard time finding the right energy for this farkakte project. Tyra really had to coach her into it, and all I could think of was Aziz Ansari’s Tom Haverford “directing” the photo shoot on Parks and Recreation. “Make your face better!” She worked it out, though. Ann did really well, as did Jane, and Kayla’s dress was paper-clipped to her, so you knew it was really high class.

NEXT: An actual LOL moment during the ridiculous challenge.

Then every modeltestant had to whip her hair back and forth, pretend to be Jennifer Beals on the chair in Flashdance, pretend to be Shelley Duvall running through the maze at the end of The Shining, and then hilariously whisper her own name. I can’t remember the last time I actually laughed out loud at a moment of unintentional humor on this show — it sort of broke my inner meter for that kind of thing — but I really and truly let out a chuckle with this one. Chellllseeeeeey. Good grief. I laughed even harder when the bumper teased “stay tuned for my directorial debut!” And, spoiler, I laughed even harder at that directorial debut, because oh my god, what was that.

Panel! Ann was wearing a weird corset, but I guess after Andre set that example, nothing could really seem that sartorially strange.

So, here’s a question: Were these “motion editorials” a joke? I mean, duh, yes, they’re a joke, but were they meant to be a joke? I don’t think they were, which I find deeply troubling.

Either way, everyone did a pretty good job, even if these little short films played like amateur horror movies or spoofs of perfume commercials. (Narcissism, by Tyra Banks? Just a thought.) The judges deliberated, but it was pretty clear who the top two were going to be.

Number one? Ann! Of course. Even though she’s awkward, even though she can’t walk right, even though she mumbles, and even though her drawing of the last supper had only eight people in it, we all knew she was going to make it to the finals. Yay, Ann! I haven’t rooted for a modeltestant this much since Shandi! Also making the cut? Chesley! I guess that earns a yay from some of you, but honestly, I have simply never warmed to her — but I am glad she’s a finalist, because Ann can totally beat her.

Going into this episode, I would have guessed Kayla was in the top two, but she sort of lost steam this week — and the judges totally turned on her, which was weird and unfortunate. Jane the robot also seemed like a contender there for a while, but you can’t turn on the juice this late. Adios, you two!

And then, “Model Madness.” The overwrought score makes me think that Tyra was in on the joke with how terrible this is, because seriously, somewhere a 10th grade “Intro to Film” class at an arts magnet high school is missing its schlockiest clove-smoking auteur.

Are you happy with the final two, Model Behaviorists? Who do you think will win? And are you as annoyed as I am that there’s an em-effing clip show next week?

EVER WISH EW.COM HAD A RADIO STATION? Quit living in the past, man or lady! In this week’s TV Insiders podcast, Annie Barrett, Dalton Ross, and Michael Slezak grade the first week of Conan, pick the funniest Modern Family character, and discuss the trouble with the Survivor: Nicaragua cast and Bristol Palin’s improbable run on Dancing With the Stars. Click here to download the TV Insiders podcast to your MP3 player, or listen to an embedded version below!

Tyra Banks searches for the next great supermodel
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