Tyra decides who had a good -- or bad -- hair day, the girls get to be flowers, and Victoria is clipped

By Michael Slezak
Updated October 11, 2007 at 06:50 PM EDT
Credit: Jim DeYonker

”Top Model”: New looks, new problems

Pick up your pencils, everyone. It’s time for a pop quiz, Top Model-style!

1. Your name is Victoria, and you’re a history major at prestigious Yale University, but on a whim, you try out for America’s Next Top Model. The best strategy you can come up with is to:

A. Antagonize Twiggy, the contest’s most laid-back judge, by interrupting her whenever she tries to offer constructive criticism. (Sample barb: ”Can I get one thing straight? I don’t have a prickly disposition.”)

B. Make on-camera remarks dismissing the modeling profession as ”absolutely ridiculous,” and correctly using the plural of cactus — cacti! — to try and prove your intellectual superiority over the competition.

C. Scare America with your gnarly eyebrows.

D. All of the above.

2. You are Tyra Banks. (I know, I know…just work with me here for a second.) To ensure that at least one of your 11 Top Model hopefuls cries during the makeover-madness portion of the competition, you:

A. Hire a woman with a most peculiar job title — Weaveologist ”Take It Down” Salon — to violently detach Ebony’s glued-down weave from her head. (Sample taunt: ”Is this on your skin?Is this on your skin?”)

B. Arrive on the scene wearing a boxy green blouse — belted at the waist — and no pants.

C. As a last resort, pull a switcheroo and have Mr. Jay tell Bianca, the season’s most volatile chica, that (oopsy!) she’ll be getting a buzz cut instead of those flowing blonde locks you promised. But not to worry, she can use a ”medical” wig during her photo shoots. (Medical!)

D. All of the above.

3. All of the following statements are true, except:

A. It’s entirely possible that half a dozen Muppets were killed and scalped to create Jenah’s ”ethereal” blonde weave.

B. Sarah was totally justified in worrying she’d look mom-ish once her hair was cut short.

C. By the time Ambreal arrived at panel, her sleek new ‘do looked like it was on loan from a 15-year-old boy with an aversion to grooming.

D. Heather wasn’t completely adorable when she declared, ”I like going like this!” — then proceeded to throw her unscathed locks back with her hands and grin broadly.

4. The minute Saleisha started yapping about how she would never, ever wind up in the bottom two, she ensured all of the following, except that:

A. Her face would be slathered in a freakish pink foundation for her ”what kind of flower are you?” photo shoot.

B. Tyra would pick the most dead-eyed shot from her entire roll of film to show to the panel.

C. Under no circumstance would she be voted ”Cover Girl of the Week” during the month of October.

D. Miss J. would dig deep and find a fresh, funny way to put her in her place during evaluations.

5. The episode’s most glamorous quote was:

A. ”You were not the best baby’s breath you could be.” — Victoria, helping Chantal express her angst and agita following the latter’s meltdown in the ”flower” shoot.

B. “Shhhh!” — Miss J., attempting to silence Bianca’s wig as Tyra told the bald-headed contestant how great she looked without hair.

C. ”I could’ve done a really good job on this shoot if they would’ve just shut up for two seconds.” — Chantal, indirectly admitting she’s unable to follow instructions from more than one person at any given moment.

D. ”The winged eye — it was a big gamble to do a winged eye!” — Crissy ”Wife of Nigel” Barker, congratulating Sarah for winning the nonsensical ”dramatic eye”/”glossy, nude lip” Cover Girl challenge.

6. Which of the following factoids about celebrity hairstylist Ken Paves was conveniently buried last night:

A. He’s done couture shows for Valentino.

B. He’s done couture shows for Versace.

C. He enjoys seeing/making models cry.

D. He created a line of clip-on extensions and wigs called ”Hair U Wear” with Jessica Simpson.

NEXT: Beatle juice

7. Last night’s cruelest insult — and yes, by ”cruelest” I mean ”most enjoyable” — was:

A. Mr. Jay describing the positioning of Chantal’s fingers as ”dead-meat hand.”

B. Tyra telling Victoria her personality was ”not very appetizing” — right before giving her the boot.

C. Saleisha noting her new hairstyle made her look like ”a Beatle.”

D. Mr. Jay, gesturing toward Ambreal’s face, and declaring, ”This is gonna be your weakness!”

Okay, pens down. If you answered ”D” to all of the above, then your feelings about the most recent hour ofTop Model‘s ninth cycle are completely in sync with mine. If you answered ”D” fewer than three times, then you’re sentenced to watch three hours of Tyra’s daytime talk show between now and Thanksgiving.

Of course, the final question of our quiz is more of an essay than a multiple choice, and it goes a little something like this: Which four ladies benefited most from their Top Model makeovers? For my money, I’d have to start with Heather and lemon-face Ebony — arguably the two most socially awkward women still in the running toward becoming America’s Next Top Model — who each ended up with long, dark curtains of hair they can hide behind when the going gets too rough.

On the opposite end of the hair-length spectrum, I also loved the new looks for Janet and Bianca — well, Bianca when she sets down that wack wig Tyra gave her. Considering all the gay men who serve as Tyra’s little helpers on this show, you mean to tell me there’s not one decent drag queen who could be executive wigmaster?

Seriously, though, Bianca may be struggling with being a neophyte baldy, but it’s a look that suits her, especially when you compare it with the busted red bangs she’s been rocking the last three weeks. If she can actually learn to transfer her regal beauty to film, she might have a shot at the final four. And while I doubt Janet — whose look really does read more ”men’s magazine” than Vogue — will go that far, her raven-colored pixie cut at least gives her a newfound level of sophistication. Is this the same girl who gave Tyra a simulated bikini wax during the season premiere?

The contestant whose makeover worries me most is my onetime favorite (and fellow Jersey City, N.J., resident) Lisa, who described her new ‘do as ”little poodle” but probably would’ve been more on target calling it ”wet poodle with early-stage alopecia.” I’ve loved Lisa’s photos every week — especially her rigid, angular ”bamboo” snap — but I can’t shake the feeling she’s this season’s contestant most likely to be deemed ”too old” and ”too hard” by the panel. A close second in the “yikes!” department is Jenah, who managed to turn herself into a gorgeous embodiment of moss, despite a felony-grade assault of cut and color.

But before I fret too much, Tyra (while not admitting an actual mistake — nevah!), acknowledged that Lisa might need her hair straightened, and that Jena’s weave needs ”balancing.” Who knows, with a little Hair U Wear and TLC, these two consistently solid competitors could spring up like flowers — right alongside likable weed Heather. And that’s a final three that would get more than a passing grade from this Top Model junkie.

What did you think of this week’s show? Which contestants were helped (or hurt) the most by the makeovers? And who are you predicting will go home next week?

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America's Next Top Model

Tyra Banks searches for the next great supermodel

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