The models rampage (on set, of course) but their photos still leave a lot to be desired

‘America’s Next Top Model’ recap: Unnatural disasters

At 8:28 p.m. ET last night, I received an email from Slezak with the subject “Marjorie.” Inside he wrote: “is like the dullest girl in your college dorm who, after 6 weeks of dullness, makes up an ‘issue’ to be interesting. But she’s still dull.”

I have to respectfully disagree. At first, I, too, laughed at the idea that her pessimism was a cultural difference, a byproduct of her Frenchness. (Or maybe, I was just chuckling at the way she described it: “Seeing all these girls with positive mantras is very foreign to me. I’m not used to it at all.”) But when Paulina backed Marjorie up — you know, after Marjorie broke down at the challenge because she hadn’t thought to pin her baggy pant legs like winner McKey — I started to take her seriously. Why? Because (1) Paulina has that kind of power over me; and (2) I actually understood what she meant when she told Sheena it wasn’t a self-esteem issue. There’s a difference between thinking you suck, and knowing that you’re good but wondering if you’re the best. The girls, particularly Sam(“Welcome to America, this is how it is”)antha, think Marjorie’s insecurities are the former when really, they’re the latter. It’s not that she doesn’t think she deserves to win this season’s ANTM, it’s that she knows others deserve it as well, so she’s preparing herself for the rejection. Marjorie referred to it as a “mild form of realism,” and I understood that concept as well. (Must be my German ancestry.) But like Paulina said, you’ve got to fake the confidence if you wanna be on top (and make it hot) in America. So the girl’s gotta woman up.

Let’s pick up the action at the challenge, shall we? Paulina told the girls that if they’re lucky enough to make it as models, they’ll spend 90 percent of their time on catalog shoots being forced to wear ill-fitting, ugly clothes. Apparently, they’ll spend the other 10 percent packing their purses with shoulder pads, Duct tape, clothespins, and empty soda and water bottles that they can use to make such clothing look good. Paulina gave them five minutes to put on their pre-packaged outfits and make themselves photo-ready with the goodies that they found in their hot pink tool belts and around the construction site. McKey, as previously mentioned, dazzled Paulina with her ability to employ clips, shoulder pads (to fill out the bust line), and a soda can (placed in the small of her back to tighten the waistline) to win 50 extra frames at the photo shoot. Sam, on the other hand, got reprimanded for altering the neckline of her shirt and the length of her shorts — which would naturally piss off a catalog customer whose purchases wouldn’t match what she saw on the page.

Moving on to this week’s photo shoot, the girls had to represent “destructive giants” causing various L.A. natural disasters. Why, when the girls simply dressed in ’60s mod fashions, Mr. Jay felt the need to make his entrance as a cross between an Orc and the Predator, I will never understand. But he did show them what total commitment is. Between this performance, and his role as Prince Couture, I do believe he’s established that he’s a far better actor than Tyra.

NEXT: Monster mash

Though I thought this was a fun idea for a photo shoot, I was rather underwhelmed by the pictures. Perhaps that was because most of the girls have the acting chops of Darryl Hannah in Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman. Elina’s hellaweak earthquake registered as a 1 on my Richter scale. Lauren Brie’s snowstorm was, as Paulina described it, “cheese on ice.” (I preferred to think of it as “Brigitte Nielsen in Rocky IV.”) Joslyn’s rockslide had no movement or emotion, which rightly earned her a spot in the bottom two. Marjorie’s (lame) traffic jam had to be directed by traffic cop Mr. Jay — who suddenly decided that broken Barbie doll arms weren’t something that would make Miss J. wet himself. (I decided that Marjorie reminded me of Julia Roberts, wearing her blond hooker wig in Pretty Woman.) Clark’s blackout had less energy than Britney Spears’ 2007 VMA performance. I was glad to see her go home. This was the second shoot that she didn’t engage in (see also: the bureaucracy photo for which she didn’t tangle herself in red tape). Paulina put it best: “You just look like you are way more into your legs than you are into pulling down the power lines. It doesn’t say to me blackout.” Clark just doesn’t think — that’s her problem. She could have gone “balls to the wall,” literally, and been standing up against one of the buildings, shielding its windows with her black dress representing the darkness people inside saw when they looked out. (Come on, that’s good.)

There were two photos that the judges loved that I really didn’t. Sheena appeared to rock her sandstorm shoot on set — she has a lyrical flow to her posing that the other girls lack — but the shot Tyra picked was boring and a bit Velveeta to me. I wanted more motion in the picture, but it made Nigel downright giddy as is, which leads me to believe that he, or someone else on that panel, made a saucy comment about Sheena’s shot that was edited out. I also loved watching Analeigh on set — the girl is really working the angles with her legs now — but she lost me when they gave her a hairdryer to hold. I don’t think she needed a hairdryer to represent the Santa Ana winds. That’s a whole cheese tray, people.

Despite her most awkward utterance of “Is it hot in here? I was a heat wave,” McKey was my (and Mr. Jay’s) favorite to watch this week. I think her athletic background gave her an edge when it came to interacting with the set — climbing the skyline, hovering between two buildings, etc. I guess Tyra was right: A lot of her most striking poses wouldn’t have told the story of a heat wave, but I’d rather see what she did than an overly dramatic melting pose like Tyra mimed at judging.

The best photo of the week was, hands down, Samantha’s stunning tidal wave. Mr. Jay acted like it was a stroke of genius to think of, wait for it, MOVING in the water to create a mini wave. I’m pretty sure anyone, other than Clark, would have thought of that. But to Sam’s credit, she did do it in a very model-like fashion: crouching and swinging one long, gorgeous straight leg.

So, now we’re at the point of the TV Watch where I list a bunch of questions that none of you can/will actually answer: Why were Lauren Brie and Clark sharing a bed? How exhausting is Elina becoming? Can Joslyn return to her former bubbly glory in a photo shoot (as opposed to just when she’s talking about Marjorie’s nerves)? Do you buy that Marjorie’s attitude is a cultural difference? Why is everyone now wearing their princess tiaras when they do their exit interviews? (At least we weren’t subjected to offensively large earrings this week.) Weren’t you surprised that Analeigh finished second after Paulina said her face was too small? And why didn’t one of the girls tell Sheena that wearing a baby doll top to panel is the worst idea she’s had since her boob job?

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