America’s Next Top Model Cycle 18: British Invasion Premiere Recap: Pocahontas and Elton John?
Pot Ledom is back — or is it Pot Limey this time? It’s possible Cycle 18 won’t deliverAmerica’s Next Top Modelat all since the “British Invasion” is pitting seven Britain’s Next Top Model veterans vs. seven American newbies. Will they really let a Brit take the U.S. title? More importantly, will they really let Laura — a “true bisexual” who gets her best orgasms from women — keep that crazy crimped hair? Cue the makeovers, stat!
In lieu of a traditional recap, we’ll be ranking the girls (and judges — we see you, too!) based on their charisma, uniqueness, likability, quotes and all-around fascination level. Check out our ANTM Power Play below, starting with our Top Model loser.
Our Ranking: 20, Jay Manuel Rank on the show: Director of photo shoots (un-ranked) During the culture clash photo shoot, the modeltestants had to impersonate icons from their countries. Poor UK contestant Alisha White not only got Elton John, she was forced to wear a hideous wig and horrible Vegas cheese-fest outfit. Not recognizing this obstacle, Jay complained, "She kept spoofing Elton John as opposed to giving me a fashion interpretation of Elton." A fashion interpretation of a guy best interpreted by Austin Powers? Elton is not chic. That was the real problem. When US modeltant Mariah and Jasmia Robinson were asked to portray Pocahontas and John Lennon together, Jay asked them to interact “in a fashion way.” In what world would Pocahontas and John Lennon interact at all, never mind “in a fashion way,” whatever that means? Jay did have a nice moment with Scottish Ashley Brown, saying it was “a little disheartening” to see her choke as Princess Diana since she just needed to believe in herself.
Ranking: 19, J. Alexander Rank on the show: Runway coach (un-ranked) Miss J. rocked a hot little kilt before the “fierce parade” and runway pose-off, but we missed him for the rest of the show. More J!
Ranking: 18, Kelly Cutrone Rank on the show: New judge (un-ranked) In the battle of the Kellys, guest judge Kelly Osbourne actually ended up with better soundbites. Kelly C. has a reputation for being brutal but she was actually the judge who liked the worst photos, even UK contestant Louise Watts’ anemic Amy Winehouse shot — although she admitted there’s more to modeling than being pretty. (Dang right. There’s ugly-pretty!). Every few minutes she reminded us that she’s in PR and does marketing. She took Laura to task for warning everyone that her Madonna shot was crap — saying that’s bad image representation — but then said she liked the shot anyway. She probably liked it more because Laura led her to believe it was bad. For some reason, she didn’t like British contestant Catherine Thomas’ great Queen Elizabeth photo, even though Nigel Barker said he really “believed” her. (Team Nigel!) Kelly C. said Jasmia Robinson’s John Lennon clothes were wearing her as opposed to the other way around and that may have helped send Jasmia home. She also twisted the knife on Scot Ashley, trashing her Princess Di photo with “I feel bad for anybody from the UK who sees this picture." Burn!
Ranking: 17, Jasmia Robinson (UK) Rank on the show: Eliminated The dating coach made a kinda-catty-but-not-dramalicious-catty first impression when she flung her coat in US model AzMarie's face during the runway pose-off. She was one of the unlucky ones in the public figures shoot in that she had to embody John Lennon. Getting a guy is tough enough, but someone like Andy Warhol would’ve been easier than Lennon. She was pretty much set up to fail and the judges really added salt to the wound when they told Ashley she was sticking around not because her photo was better than Jasmia’s — it wasn’t — but because they liked her personality more. So you suck as John Lennon and you’re boring as yourself. Awesome. Thanks.
Ranking: 16, Mariah (US) Rank on the show: Safe Right now, Mariah’s entire personality is being packed under “Native American.” She’s from reservations in North Dakota and Oregon. For some reason, both Nigel and Kelly O. thought, because she was Native American, it should’ve been “easy” for her to portray Pocahontas. Why? Should it have been easy for Seymone to portray Michelle Obama because they are both African American? That said, Mariah’s photo was blank with no commitment (according to Nigel) and no light in her eyes. She needs to wake up and get in the game.
Ranking: 15, Eboni (US) Rank on show: Safe Everyone agreed, there wasn’t even a hint of Jackie Kennedy in Eboni’s pose. "Work those angles," Nigel said. Jackie was like royalty and Kelly C. said her shot looked more like a BCBG campaign rather than American aristocracy. Eboni hasn’t shown much personality yet, other than to talk about how she’s a college student and that comes first. There’s always one modeltestant who deals with school vs. modeling. Is that going to come up for her?
Ranking: 14, Candace (US) Rank on show: Safe Who is Candace? It remains to be seen. During the runway pose-off, she upset Ashley by shouting “Bring it, trick!” Ashley, who has kids, was offended by being compared to a prostitute. (Don’t take it so literally, Scottish girl!) Nigel didn’t care for Candace’s limited energy as Janet Jackson. Kelly O. compared her to a backup singer rather than a lead singer. Tyra Banks said she didn’t see Janet at all; Candace just looked like she was riding a horse.
Ranking: 13, Catherine (UK) Rank on show: Safe Catherine took a great shot as Queen Elizabeth, even though not all the judges appreciated it (come on, Kelly C.!). However, Catherine also hasn’t shown much personality yet. Before the runway walk, she said she was worried about being booed by the American crowd. She would’ve been better to show wit and confidence like cheesy standout Annaliese Dayes, who had a lesser photo but a much better introduction.
Ranking: 12, Louise Watts (UK) Rank on show: Safe Louise is an energetic plus-size model who isn’t above trash-talking with very British expressions like “Love, wind your neck in." More of that, please! She said she doesn’t think fellow plus-size model Seymone knows how to work her curves yet. Well, personality aside, her Amy Winehouse photo was pretty bad. Disappointing, considering her confidence and energy. She definitely did not use her angles well. She was so relieved to be called safe, though, that she ran to Tyra. That was cute.
Ranking: 11, Kyle (US) Rank on show: Called second Kyle wanted us all to know she’s from Texas and had never been to California before. She seems to be all for the US vs. UK clash that is probably going to get old fast. What else can she do? Her Andy Warhol photo was genuinely great, but if you had to get a male icon he was a good one to get. Everyone thought she was "brilliant" as Andy and had his body language right — feminine but still Andy. It’ll be interesting to see what else she can do.
Ranking: 10, Tyra Banks Rank on the show: Host/creator/diva (un-ranked) Kudos to Tyra for recognizing that the really “easy” pose of the week was Laura’s Madonna. True! Pocahontas is not easy. Madge is. (In every way.) Tyra loved Seymone's ballet move as Michelle Obama and said the plus-size model was a "shock" for her. Why, though, since Tyra always loves the fiercely real girls? Tyra said Jasmia’s John Lennon was more Lenny Kravitz than Lennon, which actually sounded like a compliment. Who wouldn’t want to look like Lenny Kravitz?
Ranking: 9, The Sexy Nigel Barker Rank on show: Judge and noted fashion photographer (un-ranked) Nigel is the voice of reason on the panel and his words seemed to hold the most weight. When he declared Seymone’s photo to be his favorite, that was pretty much the lock that she would win. But it’s annoying that he thought being Pocahontas should’ve been easy for Mariah because she’s Native American. Come on, man. Don’t be so obviously pro Brit. (Kidding! Sort of.)
Ranking: 8, Kelly Osbourne Rank on the show: Guest judge (un-ranked) Her name was the episode’s title, which is cool, and she wasn’t intimidated about jumping in with great comments, the way some guest judges seem to be. She had some really insightful assessments, like comparing Brit model Sophie Sumner to a blank canvas that photographers will love because you can change her into anything. And — best comment of the night — she said Elton John exudes joy, not toughness, unlike Alisha’s photo: "That, to me, just looks like she's a pissed off Aladdin." Ha!
Ranking: 7, AzMarie (US) Rank on the show: Safe It’s a good sign for AzMarie that so many people talked about her as strong competition, even if her first photo was universally acknowledged as weak. The other girls think she is striking, although some wonder if her androgynous look will be feminine enough. Tyra seems to have an eye on her. And Laura wants to get in her pants. AzMarie said she’s a lesbian who is happy to flirt to the other women, but she should probably be wary of crazy Laura. AzMarie had to portray George Washington and Tyra wanted more “oomph.” Nigel and the Kellys didn’t like the shot either. It wasn’t a great shot but, to be fair, is there a good shot to be had of George Washington? We cannot tell a lie. There is not.
Ranking: 6, Alisha (UK) Rank on the show: Safe Alisha seems like she’s going to be the cycle’s disapproving prude, which could be fun to watch. Alisha said she grew up in what we’d call the "ghetto" and got into modeling as a way out. After the runway walk-off, Alisha snapped to the cameras that the American girls need to turn it down a bit. "It's like football is behind us. God!" When they first got the house, Alisha said she thought they were going to sit down and get to know each other, but instead the American girls went skinny dipping. "These American girls are horny as hell." She thinks she's the only one taking this seriously. She's there to be America's Next Top Model not America's Next Top Sex Bomb. (Great new show title!) Unfortunately, she had a mini meltdown after Jay questioned her Elton John pose. She is the poster girl for the Brits feeling the pressure of the culture clash and the expectations that they will be more impressive than the less experienced Americans.
Ranking: 5, Laura (US) Rank on show: Safe Laura lucked out by getting Madonna. Her shot wasn’t great and she almost shot herself in the foot by getting emotional abut how much it sucked — before the judges even saw the shot and actually liked it. (Oops.) But Laura sounds like she’s going to be a character and that’s always vital for reality TV. She and her crimped hair overshared a lot on the premiere. She announced that she's a Leo and “a true bisexual” who finds AzMarie to be “so sexy.” She also revealed that “women definitely give me more orgasms” and — in case you’re near the liquor cabinet — “when I get drunk I take off all my clothes." Did she hit the sauce before going skinny dipping?
Ranking: 4, Seymone (US) Ranking on show: Called first Seymone is a plus-sized model and "military brat" and announced that if modeling doesn’t work out she’ll have to do dental assisting. So congrats to her for a strong start in a non-dental field! Nigel loved her Michelle Obama and thought it was the strongest photo of the group. The second he said that it was pretty much understood that she would win. Maybe he just liked that her panties were showing under the dress as it flipped up in the air — which Michelle would probably not have loved. (Did she really watch the show last night?)
Ranking: 3, Annaliese Dayes (UK) Rank on show: Safe A good portion of the show was brought to viewers courtesy of Annaliese’s charming commentary. She has a great face for TV and a nice voice for radio, which fits since she’s a radio and TV presenter. She said people remember her even if they don’t like her, but at this point it’s hard not to like her. Even her trashing of the Americans is clever rather than mean-spirited. When American Laura tried to challenge her on the runway, Annaliese replied, "Just remember, you guys speak English." Nice. When she saw that they would be photographed by 60 cameras, Annaliese quipped, "I like cameras — I'm an only child.” She didn’t impress as Mel B. — she looked angry, which is weird since she showed so much bubbly personality behind the scenes. Since Mel B was Tyra’s favorite Spice Girl, she really missed a golden opportunity to impress the host. But we have our eyes on Miss Annaliese.
Ranking: 2, Sophie Sumner (UK) Rank on show: Safe Sophie is in a good position in this competition because she took a strong photo of a difficult subject — Margaret Thatcher — and she has a quirky personality that should be fun to watch. Good combo. Sophie said she’s from Oxford, “like the dictionary.” She randomly shouted out "tea and scones" at the start of the fierce parade, which wasn't so fierce, but it was funny. She had to wear “a really dodgy wig" as Margaret Thatcher and she said her fellow poser, Seymone, looked like a fly splat on the wall as Michelle Obama. Tyra said Sophie’s pic was "Margaret Thatcher meets Judge Judy but it was fierce." Kelly O. gave Sophie the best compliment — she said photographers love a blank canvas and Sophie is a blank canvas you could change into anything.
Ranking: 1, Ashley Brown (UK) Rank on show: Bottom two They should never give Ashley subtitles over her thick Scottish accent. That’s cheating. Let her be a Mad-Lib! In a promo clip Tyra said, "I don't know what she's saying. It is like the Charlie Brown teacher, but so cute." She has two kids and she wants a good life for them. We saw pictures of her little ones and watched her tear up talking to them, setting her up to be the season’s sweetheart. (Which is weird since she was branded a “troublemaker” during her U.K. run.) Jay and the judges seem to be rooting for her. Jay said Ashley "was a little disheartening" as Princess Diana but she just needs to believe in herself. Ashley cried because she was embarrassed and she expected to go home because her shot was "rubbish." Nigel called Ashley "a royal mess" and Kelly C. said "I feel bad for anybody from the U.K. who sees this picture." It didn’t seem to be that bad, but she has potential to do much better and it means a lot that the judges saved her because of her sparkling personality. The show is already setting her up to be a fan favorite.
Catch the next episode of ANTM Cycle 18 on Wednesday, March 7 at 9 pm ET/PT on The CW.