America's Next Top Model: British Invasion: Top 9 Power Rankings
Believe it or not, we're already down five girls in the search for America's Next Top Model-slash-Actress-slash-Reality-Footnote. It's been a weird cycle thus far, in that it's an improvement over cycle 17 yet there's still a lot of head scratching decisions being made, both on and off the catwalk. However, the farther we head into Tyra's Black Hole of Fierceness, the more we're seeing that there may be some models with actual potential vying for the title, as opposed to the regular girl realness that was being served at the cycle's beginning. Now that we've had a week with no new episode, it's time to fix your weave, smize with all you've got, and try to figure out who in the world could become the 18th winner of this mess.
Let's start in the bottom three, or the girls that could be eliminated in Wednesday's episode and I wouldn't be the least bit shocked.
9. I have Alisha in the number nine spot in my power rankings, only because she's yet to produce a photo that the judges love (or even firmly like). There may be heaps of potential there, but Alisha's average call out has been 6.8, the lowest of any of the other eight girls remaining. Translation? She's treading on very thin ice and if she doesn't perform in a way that gets the judges gagging for more, I have a feeling we'll be saying goodbye to yet another member of Team UK. Hopefully she learns how to regularly smize in her photos and brings the personality we see in her talking heads to panel/challenges before it's too late.
Call Out Average: 6.8
8. Annaliese may have gotten some positive notes from the judges, but generally, she gets complimented on her personality moreso than her modeling. Top Model may be focusing more on marketing and whatnot this time around, but would they reward a good model with a great personality over a great model with a good/fair personality? With all the personality remarks, Anna's presenter-ish Modelland name (Excite-to-Buy), and the recent dismissal of Ashley on similar grounds, I don't see her making it much further unless she can make her modeling stand out as much as her other strengths.
Call Out Average: 6.0
7. Seymone is an interesting case, in that there seems to be two of her. One Seymone is confident and fairly talented; the other Seymone is stiff, nervous, and clearly not ready for primetime. It's a question of which one you'll get on a given day and that inconsistency can't be soothing to the judges. She gave a good photo last week, which I think will buy her another couple of weeks, but Top Model needs a girl ready to go conquer the world right now, not in a couple of years. Considering the number of bottom two appearances she's had, the next slip up will result in her dismissal, so there's no room for error at this point.
Call Out Average: 6.6
First Call Outs: 1 (Week One)
Bottom Two Appearances: 2 (Week Two, Week Four)
The middle tier is a little more flexible and based more on how each model is trending than anything.
6. Catherine was pretty solidly in the upper tier for the first four weeks of the competition, but last week, she fumbled, not booking any runway at Fashion Week and seemingly very frazzled at panel. On a cycle where public persona and first impressions are key, you can't be a mess, girl. Tyra loves her face, though, and her ability to turn it out in a photo, so I don't think Catherine is in trouble quite yet. I do think that, unless she becomes a little more polished over the next few weeks, her stay on Top Model will be shorter than I initially expected it to be.
Call Out Average: 5.6
Bottom Two Appearances: 1 (Week Five)
5. I firmly expected Eboni to be gone by now, honestly. I didn't think her rebellion against being 30-Never would work in her favor, particularly considering how green she came across in the early stages of the competition. But Miss Eboni gave a great photo last week and booked a good amount of jobs in Toronto, so maybe she'll be the late bloomer that makes a good run this cycle. Maybe all the girl needed was a little time to grow into herself and now that she's got it (at least) sort of figured out, she could do a little damage. I don't think she has a shot to win, but with her personality charming four major designers and fusing sexuality with the purity demanded from the judges, she could make it a good ways into this thing.
Call Out Average: 6.2
First Call Outs: 1 (Week Five)
4. Sophie is a weird girl to try and understand, as she's always gotten good marks but never anything truly great. I do think she's got the talent to break into the top, but it's all a matter of putting everything together in a single week. The main advantage that she has being the top Brit in the competition is that it increases her chances of going deep into the cycle. Top Model wouldn't make such a huge deal about the UK/America "rivalry" all cycle long if it didn't culminate in a final two of one Brit and one American. If the top two or three are all Americans, they've more or less wasted their time (and ours) being the concept into the ground, so I think that Sophie can make it to the top 2-3, at least, as long as she continues to set the pace for the Brits. That type of cushion could make her work harder to produce excellent as opposed to very good, or it could make her rest on her laurels and get an unexpected boot. It all depends on how much she wants it.
Call Out Average: 4.8
And now, the top three (of the moment) from America's Next Top Model: British Invasion. Get into it.
3. Although I may not see the appeal of Kyle, it's obvious how much fawning her look has inspired in the judges and each collaborator brought onto the cycle thus far. The key thing about Kyle is the reaction her commercial got; even bumbling over her lines and coming off as an awkward mess, she got great reviews for her presence. Top Model is all about branding and likability this time around, so even if her photos were marginally received, she bought herself extra time through her performance there. But her photos have been getting raves, too, with typically harsh Kelly comparing her to Barbara Eden-meets-Barbarella and gushing about her in-panel look. Kyle's All-American sweetness wrapped in a pretty, non-offensive package, so I could see her making a run for the top two. But her lack of a first call out and truly standout week makes me hesitant to put her much higher than third.
Call Out Average: 4.2
2. Laura has a lot working for her. Her spitfire-y personality and energetic modeling have gotten her the highest call out average of the remaining girls, never slipping below fifth in a given week. But the focus on her personal tragedy makes me wonder if Top Model is planning a backdoor exit for Zagilicious. While having a "story" can help you on other reality shows, it's not necessarily an asset on Top Model; it can be neutralized by performing well and keeping the grief/insecurity out of your weekly duties. (Cycle 4's eventual runner-up channeled her grief into a gorgeous photo depicting wrath, for example.) Laura placed fifth last week in the first episode that really focused on the death of her friend, so she still managed to get it together and perform. I just worry that, on an off week, they'll pick at that being the reason for her distraction and boot her off for not being able to compartmentalize.
Call Out Average: 3.0
First Call Outs: 1 (Week Two)
1. And my number one...AzMarie. I didn't think she would have this high of a position at the beginning of the competition, but the improvement she's shown has been really fun to watch. Az is a unique beauty that has finally gotten confident in her beauty, following two weeks of overly tentative modeling that put her on the fast track to early elimination. But her rebound has made her the only model with two first call outs and it's obvious that this type of improvement has gotten the judges in her back pocket from here on out. There's never been an androgynous Top Model before, which works in Az's favor, and I think that Tyra would love to use her ascent to the title as a positive message to non-traditional models and little girls everywhere. For all the talk about Top Model embracing every type of model and every type of look, this could be the perfect way to actually show that to the viewer at home. It doesn't hurt that Az is talented, personable, and coming into her own rather quickly into the competition.
Call Out Average: 4.6
First Call Outs: 2 (Week Three, Week Four)
As much as I hate to admit it, Team Amurrica has been performing well, at least when it comes to the judges. I could be persuaded to move Kyle down on the list, but Laura and Az are clearly running in the top 2 right now and it'll take one of the other girls raising their game to break that up. Of the Brits, I think Catherine and Sophie have the best chance of doing so, particularly if Tyra and company pick off a couple of Americans to even things out and provide some competitive balance. America's Next Top Model: British Invasion has been a touch inconsistent, but it's doing some things right and if it can course correct a little bit, I think we could be in for a goofy good time going forward.
America's Next Top Model airs Wednesdays at 9:00 on The CW.