America’s Next Top Model 19.09 “The Girls Go to Jamaica” Recap

top model the girls go to jamaicaAmerica’s Next Top Model left off last week with a decision that will have major implications for the rest of cycle 19. One of the eliminated contestants would get a chance to re-enter the competition and make another run at the title, which could go one of two ways. Either the girl that comes back will be on a roll, having won over the social media crowd, and challenge for the top spot, or she would go from being the big fish in a small pond to a guppy in a the Top Model ocean and not live up to the opportunity that she had been afforded. If the right girl managed to get plucked from a near-elimination and dropped back into the competition, there could be trouble for the current favorites.

Guess Who’s Back?
For quite a while this cycle on Top Model, Laura has been a major frontrunner, to the point that it became less about trying to predict the models in the final two and more about who she’d defeat in the finals to take the crown. A frontrunner can be a good thing for Top Model under certain circumstances, but it can also deflate the drama and energy out of a cycle and make it a bit less of a priority to watch. However, the show did itself a favor in that department, as Leila won a second chance to become America’s Next Top Model thanks to her social media score. She eked out about a half-point victory over Brittany, Jessie, Yvonne, Allyssa, Destiny, and Darian to become the first top model to ever be reinstated into the competition.

This scared the hell out of Laura and Kristin, both of whom might have gotten a bit too confident in the way they’ve been coasting through the competition. Leila represents a major threat due to her comfort in front of a camera and since there was already bad blood between the three at the time of her elimination, it makes her reappearance more uncomfortable. Per usual, Kristin talks a lot of trash about how Leila can only take a good photo and how she didn’t want her to come back, while Laura was much less toxic and much more nervous about seeing her one time “friend” again.

Dance, Dance
Before we could get to have our first argument as a result of the new dynamic, the girls headed off to Jamaica, where they were greeted by six good-looking male models in their bus. The men acted as tour guides of sort to the testosterone-starved hoard of models, with Kiara taking a liking to a model named Korey and immediately trying to show out on the ride to their villa. (Her thirst was cringeworthy.) At the villa, a pristine white palace overlooking the beach where Tyra shot her first swimsuit calendar, there was a dance party to be had, y’all. Drums, dancers, a band, some limbo, boys – it was a chance for the girls to let loose of any tension they had and take a moment to celebrate the fact that they made it to the international part of their Top Model journey. 

Later that evening at dinner, it was revealed that this is the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence from the United Kingdom, a noteworthy piece of history that might pop up again during their stay, while Tyra decided to talk about the difference between being a toocher and a smizer. Certain models (toochers) are better with their body language/positioning, while others (smizers) are better with their facial expression, though the elite models of the industry are as good at one as they were the other. Tyra “diagnoses” Victoria as a toocher who needed to bring more fire to her eyes and Kiara as a smizer that didn’t quite match the intensity of her face with her body.

The next day, the girls are greeted by Jonte, dancehall artist Konshens, and an impressive dance troupe that demonstrates how one might move to dancehall music. It’s all colors and flavor and attitude and it’s also the next challenge that they’ll be facing; the girls will be paired into teams of two and forced to come up with a dance routine that they’ll perform a short time later. The winning team will take home jewelry from Peace-is by Bianca, money in their scholarship bank, and a high challenge score, which might be the difference between going home and hanging on for another week. Immediately, Leila knows that she’ll be paired with Victoria due to the clique-y nature of the house, while Laura and Kristin team up, as do Kiara and Nastasia.

With the help of members from the dance troupe, each pair tries to learn the choreography, exude the proper attitude, and find a way to both appropriately tooch and smize during their performance. Laura and Kristin, who claimed they wanted to focus on the attitude, were completely out of synch and looked ridiculous; granted, Laura pretty well committed to the task, as gawky as she may have come off, but Kristin didn’t seem to care about the challenge and only half-assed it for fear of not looking “pretty” for once. Victoria and Leila brought the fun to their performance and looked pretty while doing so, but there was a bit too much awkwardness to their movement for it to be a true triumph. Kiara and Nastasia had the choreography down as well as the right swagger, but they didn’t seem to be having the fun that Leila and Victoria were. Regardless, they won the challenge and picked up 9 points each for their effort, Kiara winning her third challenge of the cycle in the process. Leila and Victoria got 8 points, while Laura and Kristin came out with 7 points, which pissed the latter off (shocker!).

At the house following the challenge, she told Laura that Kiara danced like a slut and that she hoped for a more commercial photo shoot that would help to get rid of Leila for a second time.

A River Runs Through It
At the photo shoot, Rob (in an all-white outfit, including an open shirt) and Johnny made their entrance on a river raft, which would be the sight of the action for the day. The concept of the shoot is that there’s a love triangle going on between the model, Rob, and the river raft guide, to be played by one of the men that the girls had hung out with earlier. With the girls able to pick their co-star, Kiara gravitates right toward Korey and hopes that their chemistry off camera will be able to translate on camera.

Victoria’s latest character, an affluent woman torn between the man who her parents want her to be with (Rob) and the local bad boy who works at the river (the other male model), came off a bit flat, while Laura looked a bit stiff in her standing shot, perhaps feeling a bit of nerves from having Leila back in the competition. Meanwhile, Nastasia gave a graceful, sensual performance that impressed Johnny, Leila looked pretty but unspectacular in her return to the Top Model stage, and Kristin again gave no effort in terms of creating angles or working her body, to the consternation of Johnny, who mentioned in an interview that he’s surprised she made it this far. For her part, Kiara seems to be more stuck on being between two good-looking men in Jamaica than present in terms of creating a character or modeling the clothes.

And you guessed it, Laura and Kristin talk about how they haven’t liked a single photo that Kiara’s done all cycle and that they think she should go home next.

The upper tier of the week were Nastasia and Laura, with the judges showering praise on both for their performance at the shoot. The former had a shot that brought a regal elegance and tooched her way to some nice angles, though Tyra felt it was a hoochie tooch, while the latter more literally translated the theme of the shoot, embracing her “boyfriend” while leaning toward her “lover” in a lovely standing shot. Rob was most taken with Nastasia’s photo, giving out the only 10 of the night, while Tyra took to Laura’s more, claiming that she’d buy pretty much everything in the shot due to how good she modeled the outfit.

The middle tier consisted of Leila and Kristin, neither of whom garnered much praise, though they didn’t fall to the depths of the bottom two. Leila failed to push through in her shot, looking pretty but not looking like a high fashion model; Tyra even described it as a catalog shot. For my money, Kristin had the worst shot of the bunch – her body was scrunched, awkward, and looked a little lap dance-y, her face was painfully vacant, and there wasn’t enough interaction with the guys around her to make it feel like a complete shot. Rob thinks that Kristin doesn’t want it badly enough and is afraid to make herself look bad, challenging her to act a fool right in front of him in order to prove herself. Kristin does a half-hearted skip around the room and makes some noise, but that’s not enough for the judges, who claim that that’d get her tossed from an audition immediately.

Tyra then does perhaps the most awesome thing in her 19 cycles and referencing her infamous dressing down of Tiffany from cycle 4 as a way to demonstrate acting a fool.

The bottom two were Kiara and Victoria, the two mortal enemies of the cycle that failed to break out in their first international shoot. Kiara had very little interaction with the guys and had no power to speak of, particularly in a lethargic facial expression, whereas Victoria had a decent idea but failed to execute it, her photo turning out flat and uninspiring. (Or, as Kelly called it, an ad for a Celine Dion show in Vegas.) By a little over a point, Victoria was eliminated from the competition, ironic since she earlier admitted to her mother on the phone that she felt better health-wise than she had been. In her closing remarks, Victoria cries and expresses hope that she could be a role model for all the quirky girls out there.

I guess one last Kiara insult was too much to ask?

America’s Next Top Model Weekly Leaderboard
1. Nastasia – 39.3
2. Laura – 38.9
3. Leila – 34.9
4. Kristin – 33.3
5. Kiara – 32.5
6. Victoria – 31.3

Additional thoughts and observations:
-The fact that Kiara and Kristin felt bullied by Victoria is beyond insulting. Like, what?
-Tyra looked especially beautiful all episode, I thought. The colorful dress when the girls arrived, the tan dress at panel – very becoming.
-There’s an arrest warrant out for Rob, who allegedly committed an assault in March at a modeling agency.
-I don’t think that Victoria is the worst model there, nor did she have the worst week of the final six, so I’m a little annoyed by the elimination. The comment-score discrepancy on Kristin was especially fishy.
-Next week on America’ s Next Top Model: The models are transformed into warrior princesses for a photo shoot with Tyra at Dunn’s River Falls, with the top photo going up in Tyra’s salon. Meanwhile, the girls have to model bikinis while rising out of the ocean on a dolphin.

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