Tyra teaches the girls how to pretend they're in pain; Anya wins a naked photo shoot with Nigel; everyone plays a genre of music; and an alarming fight breaks out

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America's Next Top Model

For weeks I’ve been asking to see footage ofsomeone on this show teaching the girlssomething about modeling. And last night my prayers were answered with four little words: ”Think pain, but beauty.” Tyra’s tutorial on posing with pain is, by far, my favorite segment in America’s Next Top Model history. (To quote EW.com’s Top Doll blog contestantExplorita, ”It’s true, y’all.”)

After Tyra and her uniformly dressed army of ”ladies in red” invaded a dance studio, they first practiced the three-second rule of runway. Let me try to break this down for you: When you get to the end of the runway, you pause for three seconds. Photographers can snap photos of the clothing, and you can ”work your fierceness.” (I pity the first coworker I spy walking down the hallway today, because I will be yelling, ”Fierceness! Fierceness!” in his or her direction.)

Once the girls mastered the art of pausing, Tyra walked them across the floor and faked an ankle injury, which, of course, resulted in some light moaning. Her awesomely bad acting skills, however, had a purpose — she was revealing the supermodel’s greatest secret: When in doubt, pose with pain. If you don’t know what to do with yourself in front of the camera, ”Think pain, but beauty.” As the girls stood in a straight line and mimicked her (if you still have it on your DVR, just press pause at random moments and enjoy), she broke the pain poses down further:

The Headache Put one palm on your forehead and one palm on the back of your skull. And moan.

The I Just Can’t Take You Anymore Place one palm on each temple. Screaming is optional. (But I totally did when I actually spent a minute of my life rewinding to determine the difference between this pose and the Headache.)

The Heartache Hunch your shoulders inward and put a hand on your chest. If you’re Fatima, look like you lost your puppy.

The Menstrual Pain Hunch your shoulders inward and place both hands on your uterus or one on each ovary. (As Tyra noted, the girls excelled at this one.)

The Ah, I Sprained My Ankle This appears to give the model the most freedom. You can stand, sit, or flail on the floor as long as you have at last one hand touching an ankle.

Once the girls had practiced these poses, Tyra tested them one by one. Anya had to model shoulder pain. Stacy-Ann had burning inner thighs. Whitney had windburned lips. Aimee had fingers slammed in a door (though frankly, I was seeing more of a My Twistie Is Pulling Too Tightly on My Ponytail face). Fatima’s weave tracks were killing her. Dominique’s calves were aching from a run. Claire was an actress whose neck was throbbing because she’d just shot a scene in which she’d been strangled. Katarzyna’s quads were weak because she’d been doing stripper squats. And Lauren, in what was Tyra’s most inspired pain scenario, had sore palms from playing patty-cake with kids all day. What? I’m not sure anyone could’ve pulled that off, but Lauren’s pose, said Tyra, looked like an addict begging for money.

Anya won this pose-off challenge, and her prize was a timeless nude photo shoot with noted fashion photographer (and judge) Nigel Barker. Did anyone else think this, too, was going to be a lesson? Like, maybe you shouldn’t trust a photographer who says everything will be covered up? Please. The CW needed to blur some part of her body in nearly every frame, and I’m pretty sure the TV camera was capturing whatever Nigel’s did. It was like we were watching Christina Aguilera pose for Playboy.

The legitimate photo shoot this week took all nine girls to Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, where each one had to embody a different genre of music. I think we can all agree with the judges that Whitney’s grunge photo was the best — she really does have the most expressive face, even if this week I totally wanted to slap it (more on that later). But I refuse to believe that Lauren’s photo said ”pop.” Just because she was wearing a Xenafied, skirted version of Britney Spears’ ”Oops!…I Did It Again” red jumpsuit doesn’t mean she embodied Britty. Her eyes needed to be seductive but flirty, not so serious. (And I don’t care how punk you think you are, Lauren, you’ve heard a Britney Spears song somewhere.)

NEXT: My little pony

In other news: Katarzyna’s chin-length wig at her emo shoot was such a hit that she’ll have a new haircut next week. I’m all for that — it will bring out her eyes. Fatima was surprisingly game for her metal persona. For the first time, her presence filled the lens — and Miss J. saw something in her that he liked (broken-down marionette legs, natch). Anya’s punk and Stacy-Ann’s house shoots were predictable. Mr. Jay found a new way to give folksy Dominique a backhanded compliment: ”I am not mad at you, Dominique, at all….I’m really surprised.” And the bottom two were Aimee and Claire. Aimee wasn’t dramatic enough as an R&B diva, and Claire couldn’t lighten up enough to be a country artist, even though — hello! — she totally had on an early Dolly Parton wig. In the end, Aimee went bye-bye (a pity since we didn’t even get to see her confront the eventual nude shoot), and Claire got to act like the 12-year-old she’s become and scream, ”Yes-s-s!” when her name was called.

Let’s talk about Miss Claire. She rode my nerves like a pony this week. (That’s right: I just quoted a contestant from The Bachelor.) I get how frustrating it must be that Dominique doesn’t know how to set her alarm clock properly and doesn’t care that she wakes people up an hour early. (I shared a room with a girl in college who insisted on hitting the snooze button at least six times every morning, which meant that I was woken up every five minutes for half an hour. That’s torture!) I also believe that it wouldn’t occur to Dominique to apologize for anything that falls short of her causing you physical injury. But I don’t understand what made Claire, Whitney, and Lauren snap and become Mean Girls. The fight at the table was ridiculous enough: How proud did Claire feel watching her own ”At least I have a husband, okay” comeback; how kind did Whitney think she was when she saw herself tell someone they belong in the trash; how sane must Lauren have considered herself, standing on a chair and screaming at Dominique that she’s crazy. (Hi, Kettle. You’re black.) All that said, the bedroom standoff was more brutal to watch. When did Dominique become so infuriating that Claire would feel human saying, ”I’d rather pretend that you’re not there. That’s why I’m talking about you, and you’re right here.” We never saw Dominique tell the Mean Girls that she was feeling ill and wanted them to leave the room so she could sleep it off, but if shedid, and they still refused to go hate on her elsewhere, they are even meaner than I imagine.

So, do you think Dominique deserved the full wrath of the Mean Girls? (And I feel comfortable calling them that because they are now acting with malicious intent, as opposed to Dominique, who’s insensitive without even knowing it.) Do you think Claire will be voted CoverGirl of the Week after this episode? Did you need to hear about how her breast milk is drying up? (Sorry.) Did you catch which brand of phone the girls use to make their calls, or will you need yet another close-up? And how skeevy is that ”want ad” commercial for The CW’s upcoming reality show Farmer Wants a Wife? — ”a girl who’s smart, beautiful, and ready for some serious plowing”?

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Trya Banks

America's Next Top Model

Tyra Banks searches for the next great supermodel

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