Working on their poses didn?t keep the women from finding drama in the house and in front of the judges
America's Next Top Model
Credit: Jim De Yonker

‘America’s Next Top Model’ recap: Harmonious balance

I’m not sure how an episode of America’s Next Top Model that had a race debate, a hormone shot, a confession of fake breasts, a hot-tub game of truth or dare, and Benny Ninja ended up underwhelming, but this one did.

Let’s start with Benny and his extreme-posing exercise in red “fabric tubes.” It definitely was an interesting way to get the girls to learn to shift their weight and try moves they wouldn’t normally think of, but it also was a little Celebrity Circus. There were high notes, of course: Naturally flexible Sheena looked perfectly hoochless when enveloped in yards of material. And low points: Nikeysha fumbled around like she was a baby descending the birth canal. (We do, however, give her props for saying “click” back to Benny and thereby proving that just because you say “click” doesn’t mean you’ve struck a fierce pose. Those ones Benny “click”ed in her face were lame, weren’t they not? Maybe he was under the weather when they filmed that tutorial…)

Sheena’s hooch-free moment lasted for approximately 60 seconds. After the posing lesson, the girls did something we’ve never seen on a reality show — hit the hot tub! Sheena, probably afraid that someone would ask her if her boobs were real, opted for the lamest dare ever: dance for us. Kudos to the editor who decided to lay the sound bite of her saying she doesn’t see herself as hooch on top of the footage of her sticking her butt out and pumping. I guess we were supposed to think that Clark being dared to kiss Elina was also hot, but honestly, the fact that Elina saw stars when she smooched Clark is a turnoff. Can’t she crush on someone else?

As for Hot Tub Hannahgate, I think she would’ve been in her rights to place her hands gently on Isis’ — or anyone’s — back to stop her from dancing into her (which Lauren Brie did); that little push, however, was a teensy bit aggressive. I want to believe that Hannah isn’t evil and that she’s just encountering diversity for the first time in her life and needs time to go from being tolerant to being comfortable — but then she went and referred to Elina, Sheena, and Isis as “characters,” in that way that has an inferior connotation. Here’s what I believe: 1. Hannah is judgmental when it comes to sexuality, not race. Not that that’s less of an offense, but get your charges correct. 2. Sheena and Brittany were right when they said Hannah needs to realize that if you describe yourself as the “stereotypical white girl” who would never walk into a room and go “Heeeyyy,” people might think you believe all black woman are Nikeysha. (Can you imagine what they would have said if they heard her compare the Joslyn-led ambush to gang rape and gang violence?) 3. Sheena and Brittany need to cut Hannah some slack because she is on a reality show that casts “characters” who, we can all agree, fulfill the stereotypes of reality TV contestants. 4. Hannah ended her conversation with Sheena and Brittany in tears (which made Brittany smile — cruel!), so they should’ve known that an ambush was the wrong way to handle any lingering doubts they had about her. They should’ve sat down again with her privately. 5. Analeigh was right: This situation escalated because in a house where TV isn’t allowed, people need something to talk about.

NEXT: Posing questions

Now back to the competition….Lauren Brie was correct: This week’s challenge did involve “some kind of posing.” (Why must she speak?) The girls had to model jewelry and handbags designed by Tarina Tarantino. Nikeysha’s mouth got her in trouble once again when she announced that she might pee on herself because she had to go to the bathroom. That confession could be almost charming if you’ve known someone for years. But on a job interview? Never. Sheena whipped her one leg behind her head and placed a handbag in front of her vajayjay. Triple hooch. From what we saw, Elina clearly deserved the win. Though her hands were shaking (like those of many other girls), she seemed confident and tasteful with her poses.

Angelina Jolie-Lite Elina also rocked the ladder photo shoot and, along with Lauren Brie, who produced what Tyra dubbed one of the top 5 photos in Top Model history, almost gave Beta Jay an orgasm. It was good to see Jay that excited about contestants this early in the competition. Sheena sent the man into hysterics with her booty-driven idea of “effortless”: “If you can hold on to the rungs without your arms or legs, there’s a problem.” He should’ve saved a few words for the girl’s stylist. Shouldn’t that person have known not to put Sheena in a gown that showed side cleavage and prompted Paulina to ask Sheena if her breasts are fake? (The judges all praised Sheena — some more convincingly than others — for telling the truth after initially denying it, but I’m guessing that wasn’t the first time the question had been raised….) Also, if everyone knows that shiny fabric isn’t a woman’s friend because it will make anyone look plus-size, why would the stylist put Samantha in that red number?

Seeing the final photos wasn’t as exciting as it usually is, was it? Perhaps it was because the hot air balloon had to be added digitally to the photo. That would have been awesome to see the girls swinging 20 feet side to side while trying not to lose their faces, or show their panties, or plummet to the earth.) My girl Paulina only had one good zinger this week at panel (other than the fake boob question). It wasn’t her description of too-skinny Nikeysha: “You look like a paper bag with pipe cleaners coming out of it.” Huh? Rather, it was her critique of red-haired, green-gowned McKey — “Love child of Poison Ivy and the Joker.” So true. I agreed with Nigel when he said McKey’s face, particularly the lips, took the photograph to a cartoon level. Still, if McKey learns to slow down and master her face, she could make it far.

The biggest mystery to me remains how, in cycle 11, girls are still showing up to panel poorly dressed. You wear a black shirt, jeans, heels, and very little makeup; you have your hair in a pony tail. We all know this. Kill the short-shorts (Sheena). Kill the bronzer (Clark). Kill, well, everything you had on last night (Isis). I’m tempted to say Isis should get her Patch Adams pal Analeigh to give her fashion advice, but I wasn’t fond of her panel outfit either — though at least she was in the proper color palette.

So, how long will Isis, who graced the bottom two this week, remain in the competition? Do you think Lauren Brie’s photo was top 5? Is she smart enough to compete with Marjorie, Elina, Samantha, and Joslyn for the title? Did ousted Nikeysha really talk too much, or was the problem that Top Model contestants aren’t supposed to talk at all unless they’re in their house or a confessional? (Okay, she talked a lot.) And, who’s excited for makeovers!?! (Squeeeeee!)

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