After pimping the product of the week during NYC go-sees, the girls suffer through a bizarre, all-wet photo shoot

By EW Staff
April 03, 2008 at 11:25 PM EDT
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This week on America’s Next Top Model, the girls were swept away. By that I mean caught in a bad undertow, entangled in seaweed, and left gasping for a better photo op. Tyra summed up my feelings about the concept of this week’s shoot nicely: ”H2Oh-no you didn’t, gurrrrl.” Some glided through, others splashed and thrashed their way to safety, a few nearly drowned, and one model got flushed. Then again, they didn’t do too well on dry land either. (Also not doing too well right now: Your regular TV Watcher Mandi Bierly, who’s sick with the flu but hopes to be back next week.)

First, let’s address the very important matter of Fatima vs. America’s Next Top Psycho on the count of malicious coffee disposal. I’m referring, of course, to Fatima’s missing coffee, with Lauren as the prime suspect. Things really heated up when, at some point in the middle of a semi-rational discussion about the correct way to make coffee, Lauren absolutely, 100 percent lost her mind. The other models lurked nearby, holding their coffee cups protectively. ”Here’s your coffee, you [bleeping bleeper], you big baby!” growled Lauren, slamming a wine glass of watery brown muck in front of Fatima. ”Choke on it.” It’s nice to know that the girls are getting along swimmingly at the Château de Top Model, where the coffee is served in goblets and comes with a complimentary death threat.

The girls reluctantly put their differences aside, only to be told they’d be split into teams for a day of client go-sees. For those not fluent in model lingo and others with only half a brain, that means going to see clients. But that wasn’t even the real challenge. The real challenge was getting to the go-sees. Because — would you believe it? — they had to get there on FOOT. Their only directional resource? A brand-spanking-new Sprint GPS Navigation cell phone! This revelation struck a chord with one-note Claire, whose jaw dropped in a mixture of amusement and abject horror. Can you imagine if they got foldable maps instead? They might still be wandering the streets of NYC. ”Oh my GOSH, that is such an amazing phone! I need one of those ’cause I’m always getting lost!” gushed Stacy-Ann. Me too, Stacy-Ann. Consider me successfully brainwashed.

Group 1 modeled some skimpy swimwear, a fate I wouldn’t wish on anyone in the wintertime, even a model. Designer Shoshanna (and yes, she’s the same Shoshanna who was once Jerry Seinfeld’s underage girlfriend) noted that Lauren looked a little uncomfortable. Translation: Lauren looked like she wanted to lie down on the floor, curl up in her itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-yellow-frilly-unflattering bikini, and die. Fatima looked stunning, Anya had some trouble walking in a straight line, and Katarzyna somehow managed to be flawless but forgettable. Meanwhile, group 2 modeled gowns, and as Whitney and Dominique bitched and whined and talked behind each other’s backs, Stacy-Ann blew them both away. I know Whitney is a plus-size model, and it probably has a lot to do with editing, but I started to wonder if she was capable of talking about anything besides size. While I don’t feel bad that she’s a plus-size model, she does get my sympathy vote for having to wear that hideous lacy, partly sheer, and totally unbecoming dress. As for Lauren’s devastated confessional that she feels out of place because she doesn’t usually wear heels, I say: Suck it up. It’s America’s Next Top Model — would it kill you to lose the flannel and the bandanna around your neck?

Luckily for Lauren, the next shoot didn’t have high heels or high fashion. The girls entered ”some building” (thanks for clarifying, Dom!), where Mr. Jay, in a tailored suit, was stoically strutting on a gigantic treadmill. His expressionless expression was reminiscent of how I look right before I start a workout at the gym (right down to the whole ”Okay, I’ll do this for exactly 10 minutes, then I’ll get the hell out of here” stroll.) But then the treadmill speed kicked up, and the Jay-bot broke out in a sweatless sprint. Run, Top Jay-bot, run! A wall appeared. Now what, Top Jay-bot? He exploded through the obstruction! Granted, it was a wall constructed of cardboard boxes, and he didn’t so much ”explode” as he ”collapsed in an upright position” through piles of paper shreddings, but the whole stunt was pretty spectacular. And in case you didn’t think so, the models squealed and gasped and clapped appropriately. They must not have realized it was metaphor yet.

”You all are struggling, and you need to break through that wall, to get to the next level of the competition,” said Jay, spelling out the lesson like he was reading off that stupid Tyra Mail ticker. Anya nodded with enthusiasm, secretly befuddled by all the talk of walls and levels and metaphors. But the girls weren’t going to hit the treadmill. No, they were in for something far more, uh, splat-tacular.

Cue bodies falling from the ceiling and slamming into puddles on plastic shielding. (This time, the models screamed for real.)

NEXT PAGE: A former front-runner face-plants

The instructions for the shoot were vague: Get your face wet, make your body, uh, interesting, keep the water moving, don’t look like a dead fish. Claire interpreted this to mean, face-plant, body-slam, create a human tidal wave, and die. Success! I watched this ”stunt” a good 12 times, until I was laughing so hard I was crying, accumulating enough water to reenact Claire’s performance with the help of some plastic wrap. But instead of getting carted off to the hospital (hold your breath for next week’s obligatory Top Model ER emergency), Claire stuck it out for the remainder of the challenge, while Jay and photographers repeatedly reminded her to act alive (”Her legs look dead…she was very slow-moving”). It was hopeless. That little fishy was a floater.

Claire may have gotten the boot, but I can’t say anyone was a real stand-out last night. I guess lying in a puddle, wrapped in rags and pressed up against plastic isn’t an easy look to pull off. Fatima looked decent, and she said she practiced (where? Her bathtub?), but then ruined it with that impromptu spastic teapot pose. Stacy-Ann was criticized for her smushed mouth, which was followed by a tutorial from Tyra on how to hold your breath underwater. It’s amazing the things you learn watching this show. Tyra came thisclose to calling Dominique a slut, which would probably be one of the nicer words used to describe her, and the backhanded compliment of the night came from square-jawed-and-proud-of-it Paulina, who, upon seeing Katarzyna’s new ‘do, exclaimed, ”That weird Eastern European tackiness is now gone!” Ouch. I don’t know if Katarzyna was tacky, but Paulina’s proclamation was definitely tactless. Lauren and Claire were left circling the drain, and I was praying for a double elimination. The only thing that could have made Claire’s bizarre skip, twirl, and skitter out the door more unsettling would be Lauren doing a Frankenstein walk close behind.

So, should Claire have been spared for doing that daring free-flop? Should Lauren enroll in some anger management classes? Is there anyone in the world who loves Dominique more than Dominique? How many times did you watch Claire’s face-plant? Who was guilty in the great coffee caper? And tell me, really: Is looking like a ”full-figured fetus” supposed to be a compliment?

Tyra Banks searches for the next great supermodel
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