America’s Next Top Model 16.01 “Erin Wasson” Review

I love the smell of an invisible wind machine in the morning.

Top Model is back, you guys! TV just got a little crazier and I could not be happier. The premiere of the 16th cycle of the show was as frenetic and weird as we’ve come to expect, thanks to a few eye opening twists and another Wipeout-esque challenge that wasn’t as inherently dangerous as past debacles.

I felt a little bad about the ultimate fake out Tyra gave the girls in the fast forwarded (for us) ‘casting special’; I know that the lesson was there (in modeling, you have to get used to rejection), but taking the rug out from the ‘other’girls was a little mean and seemed to have been done only to produce a raucous reaction from the top 14. In a way, I’m glad that the contestants that got cut weren’t shown finding out the news, but the masochist inside me wanted to see everyone find out at the same time. Schadenfreude, I know.

I did miss having a real casting special, though. I know, it’s usually pretty predictable, but you have more of a chance to form a bond with/opinion of somebody before the show actually starts. I’m still not 100% sold on anybody yet, but the hour did give us the Top Model project (Sarah, the androgynous ’19 year old boy in make-up’with a rattail and nose piercing), the mean know-it-all (Alexandria, whose look didn’t jive with me and whose attitude reminds me of Lisa from cycle 5), the too sexy sexpot (Monique, managing to avoid the inevitable ‘sexy for men vs. sexy for women’debate), the girl with a ton of personality but still too raw (Jaclyn, an adorable southern fried Minnie Mouse with mounds of beautiful curly hair), and the underwhelming plus sized girl (Kasia, who has the most experience there but didn’t show it whatsoever tonight).

The night was dominated, though, by Brittani, one of ‘those’girls who quits school/their job in order to audition for a reality show. While the first image of her was more crying (ugh), she was aces on the aquatic hamster runway challenge and her photo was unique and stood out amongst a fairly decent crowd. She didn’t set my world on fire or anything, but she’s talented, seems to be sweet enough, and the judges are already liking her.

Except for, well, her look at panel. Now, I understand that this show has had 15 previous cycles and if you’ve not picked up on some tips by now (Jeans! T shirt! No jewelry! Hair down and/or pulled back!), you’re pretty much a lost cause, but how do Tyra and Andre get to criticize another person’s fashion when they’ve both rocked some hideous ensembles in their day? Granted, Tyra was well put together tonight and I like that she was very casual at panel, but Andre’s 4th Musketeer-ish hat and Judge Judy robe were definite no-nos in my book.

I liked that we had a runway challenge right off the bat. In the past couple of cycles, it has felt like Miss J’s role in the show has diminished, so even though the girls were walking around in zorbs filled with confetti on a foot wide runway in the pool (no doubt filled with the tears of those who were told that they weren’t going to be on the show), it was fantastic to see the girls out there (although they were dressed in beige curtains by Alexander Wang). Granted, nobody was that great besides Brittani, but Miss J can hopefully get enough time to fill in the cracks with some spackle, weave glue, and fabulousness to make these girls presentable for real life. The photo shoot wasn’t as in your face as past cycles, as it was merely a backstage shoot as the models got ready for their runway show (points for realism), and it didn’t produce any truly breathtaking photos, but the girls showed enough raw potential that there could be a real diamond in this rough.

In the end, though, it was Angelia (not to be confused with Angelea) and her Princess Jasmine eyes that got the boot. Her photo was very Myspace-circa-2007 with her face hidden by her hair (again, if you watch the show, you never do this! Show your neck, ladies!) and My Chemical Romance song playing softly in the background. I always hate the opening episodes of a reality show because the people eliminated first never really got a shot to grow/show what they can do, but as Tyra would say, rejection is a part of modeling. Deal with it.

Grade: B+
Call Out Order: Molly, Brittani, Alexandria, Mikaela, Dalya, Hannah, Ondrei, Monique, Nicole, Kasia, Jaclyn, Sarah
Bottom Two: Dominique and Angelia
Eliminated: Angelia
Favorite Things: Tyra’s shirt with Andre’s face on it, Erin Wasson (she was one of the best guest judges that they’ve had in recent memory), Miss J in a suit (despite the Michael Jackson circa 1984 bling), “What if I’m stuck in that bubble for the rest of my life?!”, Tyra’s Ashton Kutcher impression, the house is covered in pictures of Tyra from when she was 16, “I think I had got like a defective bubble or somethin'”
Least Favorite Things: “I have natural swag” (ugh, shut up), no Tyra Mail freakouts, panel hypocrisy, poor clothes on the runway, another LA cycle
Quote of the Night: “I’m not a cookie cutter; I cut the cookies. And I’ll cut you.”
Next Week: Acting and a beauty shot involving bees.

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