America's Next Top Model season finale recap: And the Winner Is...
Ann and Chelsey battle it out for top honors, but only one can take home the top prize
Well, well, well, Model Behaviorists. Here we are, at the end of a solid cycle that gave us a new reality heroine in the tragically awkward yet suddenly swan-like Ann, offered some truly magical outfits from André Leon Talley, but mostly just reminded us that just when you think Tyra’s gone impressively legit, she goes right back to being the queen empress of WTFtown. AKA, makes “motion editorials.” But I can’t complain. Like my all-time favorite subject of an episode of Intervention, I too am walking on sunshine.
We opened with Ann and Chelsey gushing about being in the top two and sizing each other up. “I’ve graduated from high school, but this is 20 times better than that,” said Ann, raving, reminding all of us how young she is. We saw brief photo montages of each contestant, though sadly (happily?) Ann’s famous bacon photo was not among them. Chelsey had a super unfortunate glamour shot with some gruesome ’90s bangs — but don’t we all?
Off to the Vogue Italia shoot! Here, wear this babydoll negligee and sit in a field. Perrrrrfect. Now get in a pond and look into the distance. Now stand in some bug-infested overgrown alley. Italy! Both Chelsey and Ann looked super pretty, and duh, this whole episode was edited to be suspenseful, but come the fart on. This was Ann’s to lose at this point, and she nailed the shoot — “she’s very high end,” said the photog. Chelsey “just works.” And then he bid them farewell with the famous couture sign off: “All right, girls, see you when I see you.”
Next up in this busy, busy episode was the traditional Cover Girl commercial, but thank holy heavens they didn’t do the usual “memorize these atrocious lines, which you will inevitably flub” shtick. (Maybe we got enough of that at the rollerskating debacle. I sure did!) Instead, the commercial was going to be vignettes with voice-overs, according to Mr. Jay. But Mr. Jay was wearing cargo shorts, so I had a hard time hearing him over my internal screams of “whaaaaaaaat?!” Come on, dude.
Of course, the commercial was still awkward and strange, but again, both the modeltestants looked lovely and as natural as you can look when you pretend to put on makeup at a waterfront cafe. Just normal stuff, you know. Who hasn’t crumpled up a map in frustration? Anyway, Jay said they did well.
Then, in order to seriously pluck our heartstrings, surprise! Chelsey’s parents, and Ann’s parents and brother were there! Aaaghhh! I really like this new Top Model tradition because it totally makes me well up. Chelsey’s mom’s scary non-eyebrows said that Chelsey was “living her dream,” and it was adorable.
In yet another sort-of-a-challenge, Ann and Chelsey met with the SVP of IMG, where of course Chelsey was more comfortable (how many times did they say “personality” this week?) and Ann was more nervous. They both seemed okay, though. Again, tension! (Again, not…that…much tension.)
Finally, it was off to the runway show, where they were joined by Liz, Chris, Jane, and Kayla. Gee, it’s almost like the six people who went to Italy were all still there. I wonder how that worked out! Also, last season’s winner Krista was there for moral support and to show off her walking skills. Jane said she was rooting for Ann, and Kayla said she was rooting for Chelsey.
NEXT: All together now: “Work it, girl!”
I, however, was rooting for Tyra’s insane rack. Why do your breasts need a belt at the top of the dress, Tyra? [Aside: I just spent way too much time trying to find that “aw-OOOO-guh!” sound effect. Does that have a name?] Why are you wearing opaque black tights when it’s apparently super hot? And what kind of shape-wear are you wearing, because holy cats, I need some.
Krista opened the show, but all eyes were on this season’s models. Ann didn’t seem to pick her feet up and just sort of shuffled down the runway with a look of abject terror in her saucer eyes. Chesley’s strides seemed uneven, but she seemed more in control on the runway. Tyra loudly cheered for them, because everyone knows you’re supposed to heckle at fashion shows. That’s why people get so jazzed about fashion week! It’s just a tent full of people shouting “work it, girl!” The models’ families beamed, everyone seemed happy,
Then it was panel time, where André was wearing his most formal of glitter cloaks. At first I thought it was just a glammed-up, non-functioning Potterverse invisibility cloak, but then I recognized the material: André’s robe was made from hundreds of Crystal Barbie dresses.
This week’s guest judge was Roberto Cavalli, who seemed to be phoning it in from his beach chair somewhere, and Mr. Jay, who was wearing a Zac Posen costume. Ann looked super gorgeous in her cobalt microminidress, and Chelsey looked nice enough too, I guess. I don’t love the dark eye makeup on her, but they schmobviously didn’t style themselves for panel, so I can’t really knock her.
Nigel said Chelsey’s walk was stiff, and Roberto said putting her hands on her hips was “old-fashioned.” Tyra said Ann’s walk was zombie-ish, and Roberto said she seemed scared. The Cover Girl commercial was kind of atrocious actually? (My notes here say “hambooooooone I just died.”) All the judges crapped on it, even though Mr. Jay was sitting right there. Roberto complained that it seemed more like a commercial for ice cream, which duh, who wouldn’t rather eat ice cream than put on makeup?
Chelsey’s Cover Girl photo was amazing — but it looked more like Heather Locklear than Chesley. Ann’s was a hauntingly beautiful shot, but it didn’t really seem like a makeup ad. Remember Eva’s ad from once upon a time? A classic. André liked the photo, but Tyra didn’t think it was Ann’s best. Cut to: Ann starting to cry.
The judges’ deliberations were again cut to make it seem like it was a tough decision. Chesley was more for American fashion, Ann more for Italian fashion, Roberto murmured. He didn’t seem particularly thrilled by either. André pushed for Ann, because he’s been obsessed with her all season, but Mr. Jay worried that she wouldn’t do well without the “training wheels” of the show. André called Ann “the new sexy” a bunch of times, which seemed a little strange, but sure. I mean, the man is wearing a fairy-wing coat. How many poor, innocent fairies had to have their wings plucked to weave a cloak like that? Presumably PETF will be staging a protest at some point in the near future.
Two beautiful girls stand before me. But only one can be America’s Next Top Model. And the winner is…drum roll…Ann! Oh hell yes! She was so so shocked, and I totally got choked up. Chelsey said she felt “cheated,” which sort of made me feel bad for her for a second, but then it was back to Ann’s celebration and I felt happy again. Yay, Ann!
So, Model Citizens, that’s the end of cycle 15. I declare it a success, and Ann’s win was richly deserved. What did you think? Sound off below!