It's makeover time! The remaining 11 contestants compete to see who looks least terrible after Tyra is through with them.

By Keith Staskiewicz
March 10, 2011 at 08:08 AM EST
Pamela Hanson/Pottle Productions Inc
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The makeover episode of America’s Next Top Model is hallowed ground, similar to the Restaurant Wars episode of Top Chef or the Venereal Disease Checkup episode of Jersey Shore. It comes but once a year, like Christmas, and, like Christmas, there’s excitement in the air at first but everyone pretty much ends up with something they don’t particularly want. Also like Christmas, you have to stand there and listen while a bunch of people criticize you for the choices you’ve made. Like I’ve told you a million times, Mom, writing about reality TV is a real job! I don’t know the first thing about real estate law! Aarrrgh!!

Wait, where were we? Right, makeovers. I know only three things about them:

(1) Like training for a spelling bee or raising money to save your camp from being taken over by snooty rich kids, they work best in montage form.

(2) They can’t perform miracles: Ugly ducklings usually just end up as ugly ducklings with hair extensions. Unless you’re already Rachael Leigh Cook in glasses, in which case, just take off the glasses.

(3) Ally Sheedy was totally more attractive before hers in The Breakfast Club.

Sadly, this cycle’s makeover episode was about as interesting as navel lint, and not even the cool kind. Barely anyone cried, the challenge was a yawner, and only Molly’s monstrous, probably child-devouring weave could be labeled a full-on disaster. The models had their first inkling that something was up when they returned to the house to see a tasseled rope hanging down with a sign that read “Pull Me.” Not being ones to ignore direct orders from inanimate objects, they didn’t waste a second tugging on it, which could have easily set off some elaborate Saw death trap involving brain drills and face-melting acid. But no, the girls weren’t going to get off that easy. Their fate was much, much worse. It was makeover time.

A banner unfurled, covered with a variety of phrases describing all the different styles of makeovers the contestants would be subjected to. Although I’m pretty sure they could have just as easily been the titles of new CW reality series the network was testing out. Dirty Blonde & BIG Waves, the sultry adventures of a sex-obsessed surfer girl. Extreme Angled Bob, the deeply emotional journey of Bob, a man born with a rare genetic disease that left all his limbs totally perpendicular to his body. Or Short Dutch Boy, about a midget paint salesman. I would watch any and all of those.

The models reacted to the prospect of a makeover with hysterical screams that were somewhere smack in the middle between girlish joy and abject fear, as if they had just spotted Joey McIntyre…coming at them with a kitchen knife.  And rightly so. Undergoing a Tyra-assigned overhaul is like playing Russian roulette with five chambers loaded: Sometimes you end up with a flattering haircut, but most of the time you look like someone just stapled a possum to your head. So everyone fretted and worried until the next day, when they went to the salon to meet their fate with steely resolve.

NEXT: Hair today, gone tomorrowMiss J was there, looking like he’d arrived at the salon an hour early and asked for the “Homeless Tim Burton” look. His wild and mangled hair was like a messenger sent from two hours in the future to desperately warn everyone about the terrifying coifs that awaited them there. But of course no one took heed, and all walked blindly and innocently into the weave.

Brittani was saddled with the Dutch boy, which she surprisingly managed to pull off, while Jaclyn’s natural curls were made bigger and more Southern-bellelike. Will someone please just hand her a parasol and complete the image? Sara’s rattail was unceremoniously shorn, as was much of the rest of her hair, leaving her looking more androgynous than ever, while Alexandria kept in character by berating the hairdressers. Jaclyn said she wanted to go yell at her for it, but it was a good thing she didn’t because that would have been like a puppy barking at a velociraptor.

Poor Freckles had her hair dyed an eye-gouging shade of crimson, but it was Molly who got the worst of the worst. Once they were finished with her, her head looked like Dee Snyder had stuck his finger in an electrical socket. The weave—a follicular abomination that I believe gained sentience about halfway through the episode—looked like it was trying to pry open Molly’s skull to get at the sweet brain meat inside. I’m sure she slept with one eye open that night just in case it tried to strangle her with its crimped tentacles.

So, as usual, the makeovers just ended up making everyone feel worse about themselves, like picking sides for dodgeball or playing Monopoly all the way to the end. Although it did lead Sara to say, “I feel like dirty Smeagol in the corner,” which automatically rocketed her into the top spot as my favorite modeltestant. I swear, if she makes even a single reference to Mrs. Doubtfire, I’m throwing all my chips in with her.

The elimination challenge was boring: double shots in haute couture. Yawn. You can’t throw bees and bubbles at us, Top Model, and then expect to get away with something as mundane as that. I want face paint! I want hot-dog costumes! I want the models to ride drunken ostriches through burning hoops of fire! At this point, “fancy clothes in a garden” isn’t even trying.

“A little John Galliano never hurt anybody,” remarked Lori Goldstein, making it the second week in a row someone made a comment as ironic as Galliano’s mustache. In a brilliant (and probably unintentional) move, Goldstein decided to distract from the models’ hair disasters by handing out as many ridiculous goon hats as possible. Kasia wore the top tier of a wedding cake on her head, while the exploded carcass of a crow helped cover Molly’s shame. Appropriately, the firm-handed Alexandria got a fuzzy pimp hat, but Brittani had to sport a pink Seussian monstrosity that I’ll call a whuzwizzle for lack of a better term.

The photographers thought it was a good idea to get Dalya, Jaclyn, and Freckles—the three ladies with the widest dresses—into a triple shot. Freckles was doomed from the beginning: She had no hat to cover her ruined hair, her dress looked like a collaboration between Queen Elizabeth I and Carmen Miranda, and she had an entire Discovery Channel Store’s worth of amethyst hanging from her neck. Plus, she couldn’t push her way into the shot and ended up playing the puffy-sleeved third wheel.

NEXT: Good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to freckled peopleBack at the house, the always ravenous Freckles tried to ease her pain by eating spoonfuls of Nutella straight from the jar, which she can do because her stomach is a portal to another dimension. Then a bit more nastiness from Alexandria, just to really underline the fact that she’s a mean girl. It’s only a matter of time before the Top Model sound editors start playing the Jaws theme every time she enters a room. Easily my favorite shot of the episode: Alexandria lying in bed, reading a book called God Calling with a glibly derisive look on her face, as if even the Judeo-Christian deity merited her scorn. Yahweh, please. I predict it will be only one more episode before they have her drowning kittens in a burlap sack while wearing an SS coat and punching Tom Hanks in the face.

At judging time, the panelists were their usual selves, although I’m pretty sure at this point that André Leon Talley’s hat-pouf is growing. By the end of the season there will be no more André Leon Talley, just an enormous feather duster that will bob up and down for “Yes” and side to side for “No.”  For the most part, Tyra kept her bonkers advice to a minimum, except when she told Mikaela to “smack that photographer upside the head through that lens with your eyes,” which sounds extremely painful for  everyone involved.

Evil Alexandria won—Boo! Hiss! Belch!—while Molly overcame the Weave Beast to be the runner-up. One by one, the models were given their photos and Tyra’s airline-stewardess congratulations, until all that was left were the season’s odd ducks, Freckles and Sara. Sara was told her problem was that she was thinking too much during the shoot, while Freckles was chastised for not thinking enough, so once again the judges’ advice was about as consistent and coherent as a schizophrenic’s diary. In the end, it was Freckles who had to pack up her face and leave. Farewell! We didn’t even have enough time to individually name your freckles!

Did you find this season’s makeover episode disappointing? When Alexandria finally murders one of her housemates, will the judges still feel the need to kick someone off that week? Finally, what is happening in this clip I found, and why does it make me feel like I’m watching the wrong Tyra show?

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Tyra Banks searches for the next great supermodel
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