On ''America's Next Top Model,'' things turn ugly when the girls criticize themselves and each other

By Allyssa Lee
January 17, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

”America’s Next Top Model”: Flaws and claws

After the simple pleasures of meeting all of the girls, watching them weep for joy after being selected and weep in pain after receiving drastic makeovers, and seeing the fantastic train wreck that is runway, we’re now in the bland middle section of the ANTM season, that painful but necessary tweezing period where they start to separate the Evas and Naimas from the rest of the wannabe pack. (Your regular Top Model correspondent, Michael Slezak, wisely chose this time to go on vacation.)

Last night’s episode started out promisingly enough: After Kim expressed remorse that she was the one to stay while crush Sarah was eliminated from the House of Top Model, the remaining ladies engaged in a scene straight out of Girls Gone Wild: Someone uncovered a camera in the house, and the girls immediately shed bras to pose for some giggly topless candids. But before they inevitably moved on to pillow fights and make-out sessions, a shadow was cast: Plus-sized Diane chose not to participate, saying that she would much prefer to take the pictures instead and thus revealing that she’s just not as confident about her figure as the rest of her sticklike housemates.

So this is the episode where the contestants confront their ”flaws,” supposedly to learn to embrace both their shortcomings and themselves. (Frankly, I’d take Kim’s ”untoned ass and love handles” anyday.) Unfortunately, the constructive criticism led to a gaggle of insecurity issues instead, and the girls collapsed like a house of 95-pound cards.

ANTM‘s own Gina Gershon, Lisa, had no problem with pointing out the others’ shortcomings. In fact, she did it to staggeringly annoying effect, even before it became an assignment. And whereas the critiques were eye-roll-inducing after she had slung back a few, they were even more so when she was given free license to do it, further incensing monotone Coryn (though to be fair, Coryn does look very muscular). But of course, the girl with the most biting comments (and, apparently, a drinking problem) turned out to be also the one who can’t take them when they’re directed to her. Lisa said that the other girls’ seeming alliance with Coryn was ”messed up” and broke out into tears when guest shutterbabe Janice Dickinson (welcome back!) immediately singled out her attitude and cattiness. (Janice should have called foul when Lisa said, ”I rocked the house hizzle-fizzle today.”)

And what better way to have the girls be ”real” and embrace their flaws (as Miss J. Alexander put it, ”Don’t blame the photographer; blame your parents for bad DNA”) than with a photo shoot revolving around the surgical methods by which you can get rid of those flaws? Perhaps it was a way for Tyra to slyly remind us that her boobs are, in fact, real, but to these impressionable girls, it really seemed to send a mixed message. Nigel Barker said about Lisa, ”The fact that she was picked for the face-lift, doesn’t that say something?” And later, for the first time, she expressed some doubt in her abilities to make it to the next round, which was, of course, a sure sign that she would.

Instead, it was Diane who got the boot from the judges for being crippled by her insecurities and not exposing more of her big personality. (She should be real, but not so real that she can’t fake it when she’s feeling insecure.) Oddly, Janice was absent from the judges’ panel. Apparently, there can’t be two world’s first supermodels at the same table. It’s too bad — while Twiggy is a doll and has that cute accent, the panel could have used some crazy-sharp Botox-injected barbs.

Overall, it was a downer ep: The brewing conflict between Coryn and drunk Lisa lacked bite (though I can’t wait till next episode, when Coryn will strap on cojones and call Lisa an ”alcoholic bitch”), and even lovely Bre, who earned a fierce snap from Tyra for her champion-show-horse gait last week, was a wilting wisp of her former self. While she claimed her ”goal in life is to become a legend,” this erstwhile front-runner shriveled like a scared schoolgirl in front of the panel. Still, I have faith that she’ll step it back up (maybe if everyone will stop yammering about her buck teeth!) and will make it to the final five, along with Nik, Nicole, Kyle, and Jayla.

”Man, I’m ready for the week to be over,” said Kim. ”I’m sick of talking about my flaw.” You and me both.

What do you think? Who got off easy in the critiques? Was there too much Lisa? And did you want more Janice?

Tyra Banks searches for the next great supermodel
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