Credit: Chris Frawley/Pottle Productions Inc ©2012 Pottle Productions Inc.    
Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on Twitter0

America's Next Top Model

America’s Next Top Model Cycle 18, Episode 7 Recap: The Rise of “Dangerous” Sophie

Kyle no longer smiles for miles — she got eliminated on America's Next Top Model Cycle 18, Episode 7: "Estelle.” The judges finally got tired of seeing the same stoner Bambi expression on her face. It would’ve been great if they could’ve come to that conclusion last week, but oh well. At least they’ve also finally come to the conclusion that Sophie is a frontrunner. Maybe with AzMarie out of the way they can see more clearly what we’ve been seeing for a while.

The other modelstants must’ve been thrilled to see Kyle go home — especially Laura, who was ready to pay someone to off Kyle. Funny how much Kyle — with or without her fake booty tooch pad — was disliked and dissed behind her back on an episode that devoted half its time an anti-bullying PSA. Several of the models talked about how they were bullied as kids and gave touching support to the young girls who felt abused at school for how they looked. It was truly a beautiful moment for ANTM … that ended when the show remembered its entire set-up is about women competing against each other and being judged on their looks.

Anyway, in lieu of a traditional recap, we’ll be ranking the girls (and judges — we see you, too!) based on their photos, attitude and all-around fascination level. Check out our ANTM Power Play below, starting with our Top Model loser.

Ranking: 12, Tyra Banks
Rank on the show: Host/creator/diva (un-ranked)
This week, Tyra made a speech on “The Art of the Booty Tooch” that even The Sexy Nigel Barker couldn’t even sit through without comment. And he sits through some crazy stuff. Tyra’s main complaint with Kyle seemed to be that she was “Poochy Tooching” — not that her eyes were as blank as ever or that she used extra tooch padding when the other butt-less models just went au naturale. Tyra also sniffed that Annaliese’s shot was too commercial, forgetting how much the recent cycles are dependant on being commercial. Tyra also argued Eboni’s shot could get a two-page spread in Italian Vogue (really?) and went on again about Eboni looking young. (Heaven help poor Eboni when she *does* reach age 30.) Tyra applauded Seymone for bending backward in her centerpiece shot because you rarely see “fiercely real” women do poses like that. But since so many other models did back-bend poses, why should Seymone get special treatment, when part of the point is that she’s no different from the other non-plus-size models? On the upside, Tyra looked pretty extreme at panel in that mod black-and-white dress and those fierce bangs. But since when was she a “girl next door” model like Kyle?

Ranking: 11, Kyle (US)
Rank on the show: Eliminated
It was sweet to see Kyle and Seymone have a little potato party at the start of the episode, as the two girls who felt most ganged up on in the house. It’s possible they were just the most sensitive girls in the house … then again, no, that’s probably Laura. A good portion of this episode was about Kyle without directly involving Kyle. Laura, Sophie and Alisha all talked about Kyle — not kindly — and argued that she almost quit a few weeks ago and wasn’t strong enough to go through with this. The models were particularly upset when the booty-free Kyle added a tooch pad — the very thing AzMarie wanted nothing to do with last week — to her centerpiece shot. Laura and Sophie seemed to think that was cheating since all the butt-less models could’ve used help but you don’t just go shoving props down your pants. The pad didn’t help since the show chose a shot of Kyle that featured her “Poochy Tooching” to the side and also showed off her same deer-in-the-headlights stare into the camera. At least she ended on a high note, hugging the other models and hoping Texas was proud of her. But without Kyle around, what with the other girls complain about? They always seem to need a target.

UPDATE: Apparently Kyle is 9 months pregnant. Congrats!

Ranking: 10, Kelly Cutrone
Rank on the show: New judge (un-ranked)
Since Kelly can be harsh, it means a lot when she finally compliments someone she wasn’t previously impressed with. So it was nice to hear her agree with Nigel that this was Annaliese’s best photo to date. She's the “pixie of mayhem,” Kelly said. She also finally recognized Sophie as getting better each week and becoming “a dangerous girl in this competition.” Kelly gave Seymone something of a backhanded compliment, saying she finally took a good shot and it was better than what they’d seen to date. She also challenged Kyle, saying she was just getting worse, calling her centerpiece photo a "sad depressing little snake steak shot." But Kelly was a little too harsh with Catherine’s pic, saying “this looks like a leg of lamb that should go back into the freezer.” Hey now! Be nice to Queen Catherine.

Credit: Chris Frawley/Pottle Productions Inc ©2012 Pottle Productions Inc.    

Ranking: 9, The Sexy Nigel Barker
Rank on show: Judge and noted fashion photographer (un-ranked)
The sexiest Brit on the show made the right call when judging the B.I.O. team challenge PSA. The Brits seemed to have a better campaign, bonded more with their girls and really needed those family messages — not that this is Survivor — because they are much farther away from the comforts of homes than the Americans. Nigel was pretty critical of the extreme booty tooch shots, especially if they were too extreme and “pretzel”-like. But he made a point of saying he liked Kyle’s face. That’s nice — she does have a great face — but thankfully the judges ultimately agreed that that’s not enough. It’s been enough for too long already.

Ranking: 8, Estelle
Rank on the show: Guest judge
It’s always good when the guest judge is part of the episode as opposed to just showing up to judge — then not having much to add. Estelle was part of the high fashion art installation centerpiece shot. She noted when girls — like Laura and Kyle — were not aware of what was going on around them and blocked the others in the shot. She also applauded Annaliese for being dynamic and pointed out that Sophie was supportive of the other girls during the shoot. She was a nice, positive judge who made a few specific points and suggested the girls just be themselves but bring a little something extra to the cameras. Not the best guest judge in the world, but definitely not the worst either.

Ranking: 7, Laura (US)
Rank on show: Safe
Laura had a pretty good photo — she’s always reliable for extreme poses, even if they get a little too “stripper club” — but her extreme dislike for Kyle just went too far. Last week she said Kyle was dead to her and this week she wanted to pay someone to get rid of her. It’s like ANTM meets The Sopranos. However, Laura shared more of her own tough background when bonding with the girl she was paired with in her anti-bullying PSA. The girl, Esthefany, said what made her feel beautiful was making her mom proud. Laura told the cameras about her insecurities with her family. She remembered being age 9 and coming home to the smell of stale beer; she felt like she wasn't good enough for them to stay sober for. Laura has the kind of overcoming-adversity story that ANTM loves. She’s still a frontrunner for the finals, but this was not her week.

Credit: Chris Frawley/Pottle Productions Inc ©2012 Pottle Productions Inc.    

Ranking: 6, Catherine Thomas (UK)
Rank on show: Safe
Queen Catherine is usually great with photos — it’s the talking stuff that tends to give the quiet gal trouble — but now things are reversed. She had a great music video last week and struggled in her photo this week. Mr. Jay said she became lost on set and just grasped at any prop. "This is crazy in a bad way," he said. Nigel said it was actually a cool shot but he didn’t understand what she was doing; she was focusing so much on her booty tooch that she forgot about her face. He believed her in the PSA but not in the photo shoot. Estelle said Catherine’s photo didn’t do much for her. And Kelly made her harsh leg of lamb comment. Catherine is one of our favorites but she needs to take great shots every week, since that’s supposed to be her big strength.

Ranking: 5, Seymone (US)
Ranking on show: Called second
Now that Kyle is gone, the burden is on Seymone to step it up. Tyra may gush over her just about every week — and this week even Kelly joined in, although in a half-hearted way — but we’re still not seeing it. There’s way too much focus on Seymone’s status as the “fiercely real” model when she should just be judged on the same standard. Her photos are OK but she tends to get called before girls with more engaging shots. This week, she probably should’ve been called after Annaliese, Eboni and Laura.

Ranking: 4, Alisha White (UK)
Rank on the show: Bottom two
Ugh! Dead eyes! Alisha! Come on! She should be past this by now. But we still believe in her. She has such a presence away from the still cameras. She’s passionate and competitive and had an adorable cry after seeing her parents and little brother in her video message from home. But more than anything, she gets points for the beautiful moment she had with the young girl she was paired with in the PSA. Alisha’s girl, Anahi, said she was insecure about her hair and her skin because when she looks at princesses they are all pretty and have different hair. It made Alisha cry, because she knows how it feels to hear people bully you for things you can’t change. Anahi cried too when Alisha told her how beautiful she really was. "This is how God made you and this is how he wanted you to look. You are so beautiful." It was so sweet and so touching. As Alisha put it, everybody gets a bit bullied in their life and it just depends on how you deal with it. That said, she really needs to start taking strong photos. Put the spark back in your eyes, girl!

Credit: Chris Frawley/Pottle Productions Inc ©2012 Pottle Productions Inc.    

Ranking: 3, Eboni (US)
Rank on show: Safe
At least Jay Manuel requested “something different” from Eboni this week, as opposed to the same old pigtails Tyra wants Miss “30 Never” to wear ALL THE TIME. She had a unique “Pretzel Tooch” pose that was too “topsy turvy” for Kelly, but captured Nigel’s attention. Nigel said Eboni is blossoming and getting better. Eboni does do better when she’s allowed to veer from the pigtailed little girl thing. While Alisha was struggling in her photo shoot, Sophie and Eboni talked about how Alisha should be doing an extreme ugly-pretty pose. So Eboni knows her stuff, she just sometimes gets sidetracked by looking and acting like a kid. Speaking of being a kid, Eboni also shared a personal story of being bullied when she was younger. Her race and poor social status were her biggest insecurities. Her nose and lips were big, she was called names and even had chocolate milk poured on her. Eboni is still hit and miss for us but she had a decent week.

Ranking: 2, Annaliese Dayes (UK)
Rank on show: Safe
Estelle seemed particularly impressed with Annaliese, who also impressed All-Stars winner Lisa D’Amato last week. Annaliese just sparkles and her energy draws people in. Her photos are often an issue so this week it was good to hear both Nigel and Kelly say this was her best shot yet. Tyra complained that her “yay” was too commercial instead of high fashion, but Nigel argued that it could be commercial or editorial. Besides, part of the ANTM prize package is being a guest correspondent for Extra and creating a music single — and those are commercial interests that really suit Annaliese. She’s another one who seems to be improving. And she took some food to the face during Seymone’s photo shoot, at Mr. Jay’s suggestion. Can you imagine how ticked off Seymone would’ve been if someone did that to her?

Ranking: 1, Sophie Sumner (UK)
Rank on show: Called first
Finally, the judges can see what we see! This is the first time Sophie has won top photo, even though she’s probably earned it a couple of times before now. Kelly called her photo all kinds of funky stuff like “nasty,” “dirty” and “mayhem.” She thinks Sophie is growing and getting better and becoming “dangerous” to the other models. Kelly also compared Sophie’s look to Ivana Trump’s divorce party when she was leaving Donald Trump. (Ha!) Nigel loved the shot and said it was even more about the smize than the tooch. He was digging her Ziggy Stardust vibe. Tyra doesn’t seem 100 percent sold yet, but that’s probably a good thing. She wants Sophie to work for it.

Sophie also bonded with Raquel, the girl she was paired with in the PSA. Raquel said kids at school called her ugly because she has a mole on her face. Sophie said they were just jealous. When she was young, Sophie said she looked like a skinny horse with Bugs Bunny teeth. She wanted the girls to know it does get better. As Raquel put it, your inner beauty can't get bullied.

In addition to taking great photos, being a standout in the music video, being cute in her commercial from a couple of episodes back and supporting her fellow Brits during their own photo shoots — Sophie is funny. She’s a little melodramatic but in a playful and memorable way. She got ticked off at her boyfriend for his lackluster message from home, just talking about how cold it was outside instead of showing her support. “After all that, I get the suckiest video message ever." Ha!

Also, Sophie gets bonus points for being friends and former flatmates with Emma Watson, a fellow native of Oxford, England. How wicked is that? No wonder her photos are so magical!

Catch the next episode of ANTM Cycle 18 on Wednesday, April 25 at 9 pm ET/PT on The CW.

Gina Carbone is a contributing writer at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @ginacarbone.

Get your ANTM fix: Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter.

04.19.2012 / 06:39 PM EDT by Gina Carbone
Related: America's Next Top Model, Recaps

Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on Twitter0