America's Next Top Model recap: Gondola, Baby, Gondola
Italy! Land of romance! Bedrock of artistic culture! Place where you…sweat…profusely! You know, normal Italian stuff. This week’s Top Model was fundamentally unsurprising, and yet totally satisfying. Was it the fully telegraphed plotline? Chelsey’s accurate, yet oddly chilly, narration? Or was it that we’ve just done this 15 times before? Whatever the reason, I’m back to being in love with this cycle.
We opened with Liz insisting that she was going to be more “present” in the competition, which guaranteed that she’d be the one to get the boot. Seriously, show: We all know that the first modeltestant to state her case on any given episode is the one who’ll be sent packing at the end. The adios edit is both a thing of narrative perfection and an instance of head-slapping obviousness. Sort of like the series generally.
After some generic personal declarations — Chris thinks she has “oomph,” Ann thinks she’s shy and awkward — Ms. Jay showed up at the apartment. AGAIN IN THE CRAZY GARB. Why will no one explain this?! Why the penciled-on eyebrows? Why the ridiculous topknot? Why the no shirt? Why? Why everything? I’m Nancy Kerrigan clutching her leg wailing “whyyyyy” right now.
Anywho, Ms. Jay took the ladies on a helmet-less bike ride through Venice beach. Wear a damn helmet, you guys. Seriously. Instead of discussing catastrophic brain injury, though, he told the women they’d be headed to Italy, which according to Chelsey is “one of the biggest fashion capitols of the world.” They all rushed home to pack, and it became clear that Chris legitimately believes that tights are pants. Tights are not pants! Wear some pants, woman.
Once they arrived in Venice, Liz complained about the heat, because Liz likes to complain about stuff. Jane wanted to go get tourist pamphlets, because she’s a history major. Sure, that makes perfect sense. Ann made some jokes, and Kayla confessionalized that poor, sad, gawky Ann was finally opening up to everyone else.
The women headed to their swanky digs, and I couldn’t tell what was worse: Liz rolling her shirt up to be a faux crop top, or Chelsey’s grotesque foot abortion sandals. Sandals with suede ankle-warmers?! Must we act like these are legitimate? Fashion world, you have really deuced the bed on these sandals: they’re both hideously ugly, and pathetically nonsensical. Please make these go away as soon as possible. (Women of New York, I’m blaming you for keeping this trend alive.) I’m going to take the bird crapping on Liz as a sign that the universe is voting that crop tops are worse than cankle-exaggerating toe prisons.
NEXT: Blame it on the Cassanova
Photo time! Mr. Jay showed up in a gondola, because of course he did, and told the modeltestants that they’d be shooting in groups of three: Chris, Kayla, and Liz; and Jane, Chelsey, and Ann. Everyone was done up as some kind of Cassanova-wanting old-fashioned lady, which sounds kind of scuzzy, but was actually kind of pretty and rad. Kayla’s porcelain complexion and features played perfectly into the theme of the shoot, and she looked totally gorgeous and relaxed. Chris bemoaned the fact that Kayla “was getting her pose on,” while Chris and Liz struggled to find good angles. Liz looked a little like Jaslene, but minus the fierceness, while Chris just got worse and worse during the shoot. Kayla’s sort of flat voice in her confessionals made the line “Chris is not high fashion” way, way funnier than it should have been.
Switch! Ann, Chelsey, and Jane climbed into the gondola, but Ann’s shaky self-esteem reared its gangly head again, and she couldn’t figure out how to connect with the male model or with the shoot. She looked completely petrified, and Mr. Jay said that she was “losing her confidence.” Can we get this girl a beta blocker or something? Jane vamped it up, looking all windblown and pouty, because she’s a history major, which she believes is an advantage for this shoot. Again, sure. Chelsey did a solid, respectable job, but I still have a hard time being into her. Yeah, she produces solid work, but as a contestant, she’s just not very compelling. Maybe it’s that she’d edited in the confessionals do to a lot of trash talking….
After the shoot, Mr. Jay told the modeltestants they’d be leaving Venice and heading to Milan. Will no one recite the “you’re going to Milan!” rap? Oh, how I wish they would. I bet Liz wished they would, too, because Liz apparently had never heard of Milan. She said she knew about Mulan, so she immediately thought of “Japan and dragons.” That’s China, Liz. Mulan is set in China, Milan is a city in Italy, and you are going home.
The ladies arrived at their comparatively meager Milan apartment, and they all acted a bit disappointed. Kayla complained that it was like where a grandma might live, which means Kayla knows some freaking awesome grandmas. Then Tyra showed up to teach everyone an important lesson about what happens when your vagina tries to eat your pants. Seriously, those high-waisted pants were just too tight. That puckering of the fabric? Right in the cooch area, and across the fly? That means those pants don’t fit. Go up a size! Better yet, get other pants completely! When your fly reaches to your bra, you know the high-waisted thing has gone too far! Her message about unglamorous model living was totally overshadowed by her terrible sartorial choices.
NEXT: The models take a schvitz
At least I thought they were terrible. But then we saw Ms. Jay at Missoni, and we entered a new realm of “WTF???” for the show. I could forgive the pastel blazer, but that mushroom/bowl haircut is non-negotiable. Get rid of that hair right now, dude. We’ll all wait.
Angela and Margherita Missoni dressed the models in heavy winter clothes, so everyone just stood around sweating their asses off. I was getting grumpy just looking at the women. Somehow, neither Missoni seemed bothered by the rank BO that was no doubt contaminating the fancy schmancy knitwear, but hey: You don’t put your angora caftan in my armpit, and I won’t put my body’s natural responses on your fashion masterpieces.
I don’t understand why this wasn’t a challenge, or why the women had to wear the Missoni clothes to panel, or why there was no prize or anything, other than the satisfaction of having endured physical misery. Luckily, everyone was waiting in a room that looked like the inside of a blood clot, so it was extra-chillaxed. Gaaaah. Red room! Red room!
At panel, Tyra was again wearing something a size too small. We get it, Ty Ty. You have a very lovely body. But that dress was not the way to show it off! And that weird accent/affected speech thing she did all panel wasn’t doing anyone any favors, either. First up was Chelsey, whose shot looked great. (How fabulous was the makeup for this shoot? So, so pretty!) Ann managed to pull off a solid photo despite her increasingly severe confidence issues, and Jane looked fantastic.
Chris looked a little frightened and skanky, and Liz’s dominatrixy pose was deemed vulgar and “declasse.” Kayla’s shot, on the other hand, was serene but very sexy. Nigel thought her interior monologue was “I’ve had him and I’ll have him again,” and the way he purred that phrase was definitely the highlight of the episode. I want to make that my ringtone.
Deliberations! Guest judge Margherita Missoni liked Ann’s photo for its “decadence,” and Tyra said what we were all thinking: Margherita has an awesome voice.
This week’s winner: Kayla! Holy cats, she’s adorable. I’d be totally down for her as the winner of this season. She sort of reminds me of Nicole (Bloody Eyeball), with her subdued speech and fair complexion, but Kayla has a bit more energy. Runner up: Jane. Eh, Jane’s pretty, and I won’t be surprised if she wins, but she just doesn’t do it for me. They play up the Princeton angle a lot, but she hasn’t really said anything that smart.
Chelsey and Ann were both safe. Would Liz and Chris please step forward? Chris, learn how to scale it back. Liz, have fun back at home. We won’t really miss you or your constant complaining.
Next week, go-sees!
Are you glad the women are finally in Italy, Model Behaviorists? Do you think Jane is sneaking up on the competition? Or can Ann turn things around?
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Tyra Banks searches for the next great supermodel