Well, that was weird. It was only a matter of time before Eboni and her "30 Never" pigtails were yanked from America's Next Top Model Cycle 18, but Alisha’s extreme sobfest breakdown and decision to quit — after being told she was safe — was a surprise.
So after Episode 10: “Nicholas Tse,” we’re already down to the final three and it’s two Brits and one American: Sophie, Annaliese, and Laura. They’re a strong final three, but it’s a strange way to get there and it’s definitely clear that Kelly Cutrone has already anointed Laura as her winner. Maybe Laura has been flirting with Kelly, like she flirted with guest judge Nicholas Tse, flirted with AzMarie back on the premiere, and even gave those silkworms some sexy smolders last week. Laura’s a flirt. Laura loves sex. Everyone is allowed to mention it — except Eboni. Laura’s extreme emotional swings behind the scenes have shown her to be much less mature than her (post-Kyle) nemesis, Eboni. But, as Kelly noted, no one looking at a photo knows or cares about the stories behind them. (Cue Nigel Barker’s eyeroll at Kelly. Cue us siding with Nigel over Kelly, just because!)
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: 10, Alisha White (UK)
Rank on the show: She quit!
It’s probably safe to say Alisha did not have a positive ANTM experience. She started the episode angry because she was never in the bottom two on Britain’s Top Model and she thought Sophie should’ve been in the bottom two last week. She went on a rant, insulting everything about all the other models. "I don't understand,” she argued. “I've got the longest legs, I've got the best body." She said in the “real world” she could take Sophie out in pictures. "Laura needs to be a voice-over for girls that have sex on the phone or something." "Annaliese is not a model. She is a presenter." She was “pissed off big time” when Laura won the action scene challenge. She also took Eboni’s side when Laura went off on her own rant about being accused of sleeping her way to the top. "You said that you would sleep with this guy,” Alisha argued to the cameras about Laura’s crush on actor/guest judge Nicholas Tse. “You are a slag. Let's keep it professional here." Yeah, real professional. Like calling girls slags.
Nigel Barker said Alisha is the one who should be able to model, but can’t. Kelly Cutrone said "There's nothing sadder than a 6-foot girl who's a size 2 that's that beautiful that's not photogenic." Alisha was in the bottom two with Eboni and she did warn everyone earlier that she wasn’t sure she wanted to do modeling anymore and if she was in the bottom two they should just send her home. So she sent herself home, after Tyra Banks flashed her photo as safe. She cried hard but managed to sob out, "I can't stay. I can't be selfish when I know that I need to do things for myself. I can't do it. I'm not going to take it away from them ... I'm going to walk away to get my spirit back and to just feel like Alisha again. I'm not being ungrateful." Tyra said she wasn’t being ungrateful, but Eboni had to leave too. Surprise double elimination! At least Alisha made a farewell speech before quitting, unlike the even angrier Louise Watts.
Ranking: 9, Kelly Cutrone
Rank on the show: Judge (un-ranked)
Kelly, we get it. You worship Laura. You don’t care about anyone else. Kelly kept saying “I didn’t love the photo,” “I didn’t like the photo” about the other models. She couldn’t come up with any criticism for Annaliese’s photo, but when Annaliese was gone, she ripped into her again, telling the other judges Annaliese is just a TV hostess. "She's snappy and happy but she's not a model." Kelly said she had three weeks of horrible photos — and if she really believed that, she should’ve fought harder for Annaliese to leave before she had a chance to improve. Instead, they waited to see if Annaliese would get better — and she did. But Kelly is determined to ONLY credit Laura. When Laura’s pic came up, she jumped in to be the first to say, "I love it. It's amazing, totally expansive...." She went on and listed all the places the photo could run. There’s really no need for Kelly to be on the panel next week since it’s already clear what she’s going to say. Again.
Ranking: 8, Eboni (US)
Rank on show: Eliminated
Funny how the show spent so much time talking about Eboni as “30 Never” and making her wear pigtails, but this episode no one said anything about her youthful appearance in the photo or asked her to wear pigtails in the challenge or anything. What was all of that for? Eboni was never a fan of the pigtails, but she wore them because she was told to. It was pretty clear she was going home when she said, toward the start of the episode, "Me and my pigtails are going to the top." Eboni handled Laura’s random anger with class, which is more than Laura deserved, but Laura is much better when it comes to photos and challenges and that’s all that matters. Eboni wasn’t scared in the Macau Tower photo shoot, when they were 764 feet above the ground in Hong Kong, but Kelly hated her “Leaning Tower of Pisa meets a Candy Store” pose, and Tyra said she didn’t know her own angles. "I kind of feel like this is the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz,” Kelly said of the shot. “She's lucky that some bird didn't land on her elbow."
Ranking: 7, Nicholas Tse
Rank on the show: Guest judge (un-ranked)
Was it fair for Laura to get personal fight training with Nicholas — the challenge judge and the panel guest judge — or did that give her an unfair advantage? She got to flirt with him and establish some chemistry and, even though she admitted she didn’t do the best in the screen test, Nicholas named her the winner so she could come back for his music video. Did he just pick the girl he wanted to see again? At panel, he was quiet and polite, just saying Alisha has a lot of room to improve and arguing that Sophie was the most energetic and her smile is so adorable you almost let her slip by with little faults. He did say that Laura should’ve extended her legs in her photo, so he gets points for that bit of constructive criticism. But if he hadn’t rewarded Laura at the challenge, would Alisha have flipped out to the point of quitting? Is he partially to blame for Alisha’s breakdown or was she going to go there no matter what?
Ranking: 6, Tyra Banks
Rank on the show: Host/creator/diva (un-ranked)
Tyra loves to talk about Tyra and make the critiques about herself, but this week she actually had some practical points to make, especially for Eboni. Eboni did not take a great shot and, to Tyra, it wasn’t the pose, it’s because she doesn’t know her face’s best angles. Tyra said she’s learned that she can’t do profile shots so when a photographer is on her side she has to “cheat” and make sure to show her best angle. She tried to illustrate that point with Laura’s shot, which she called “absolutely beautiful” and showed that Laura knows her angles. Tyra also told Sophie about her own fears while modeling; if she was leaning over a cliff or something scary, she would tell herself “I'll give them the product but I won't give them me.” (Sounds like something a hooker would say in a pulp novel, but that’s Tyra.) Tyra also made a joke about Alisha’s shot with her hand on her head — which Nigel insisted they picked because it was the most editorial — saying it looked like Alisha was on her way to church on a Sunday morning about 50 years ago and oooh child it's windy up in here! She thought the shot was interesting, but she wanted more of a swan neck. Tyra is all about the neck. Nigel is all about the eyes.
Ranking: 5, Sophie Sumner (UK)
Rank on show: Called second
Still love Sophie and don’t agree with her that she’s “slipping,” but this wasn’t one of her better weeks. She was kind of an adorable mess in fight training, looking — as Alisha put it — like a little fairy with fairy dust flying out when she tried to punch. It was bad luck for her to get a challenge on a skyscraper since she and Alisha were the ones extremely afraid of heights. Sophie seemed to deal with it pretty well — after sobbing into Nigel’s arms — delivering a pretty good shot. Nigel said she surprised him; she freaked out, then she would calm down and pose. Nicholas said she didn't look petrified in any way. Kelly said it's great that she overcame her fears but she didn’t love the pose. She thought Sophie looked like a weathervane. So Nigel seems to be Team Sophie and Kelly is Team Laura. And Nigel is leaving after this cycle. Just saying. That might be a clue.
Ranking: 4, The Sexy Nigel Barker
Rank on show: Judge and noted fashion photographer (un-ranked)
Nigel gets the slow clap this week for defending Annaliese to Kelly. Kelly’s “she’s not a model” argument went stale a long time ago. When Kelly sniffed that Annaliese has had three weeks of horrible photos, Nigel jumped into say she’s getting better and better. He referenced Mercedes from Cycle 2. She was very similar and she went on to be a commercial success and is still modeling. She's proof that if you have the desire to win you can produce fantastic pictures. Nigel noted that he, as a photographer, needs a model to smize and have a sense of humor, two things Alisha definitely had problems with on set. Nigel seems to be a fan of Sophie’s (yay) and said he’s also a fan of Laura's but she wouldn't have necessarily done better than the other girls in the photo, but they were terrified of heights and Laura loves heights. Maybe that’s fair, maybe it’s not. Chances are, in the real world, Sophie and Alisha would just ask their agencies not to book them for anything involving extreme heights.
Ranking: 3, Annaliese Dayes (UK)
Rank on show: Safe
She’s the only one who is 1) getting progressively better in challenges and photos while 2) staying sane. Everyone else has been deteriorating professionally or mentally/emotionally. Kelly can say what she wants — Annaliese is proving herself week by week. Her photos are strong. She’s a sparkplug in challenges. Everyone likes her. No one has a beef with her. Half of the prize has to do with commercial stuff — like being a guest correspondent with Extra and recording a single. She’s proving that you can be a model and also a TV host/presenter.
Ranking: 2, Laura (US)
Rank on show: Called first
(In best Will Ferrell in Zoolander voice): “Laura. She’s so hot right now. Laura.” Laura won the challenge and best photo last week. She won the challenge and best photo this week. She’s the new AzMarie, but chances are she’s not going to be the victim of a surprise elimination. She’s on a good path to win. That’s Kelly’s plan anyway, and since Laura is the only American left — and America is in the title of ANTM— she has a great chance to beat Sophie and Annaliese. She just has to make sure she doesn’t screw up a runway challenge. Her walk is her weak point.
Laura’s photos lately have been undeniably amazing, but her quick temper has not been so amazing. Yeah, in the real world, editors, designers and agencies don’t care what models do when they’re not on the set, but this is a TV show and we care. Kyle probably cared. Eboni cared. Laura always seems to need someone to attack, so we’re worried for Sophie and Annaliese since they are the only ones left. Except the judges?
Ranking: 1, Miss J. Alexander
Rank on the show: Runway diva coach extraordinaire (un-ranked)
There was no runway walk this week, but Miss J found a way to Hong Kong, donned head-to-toe turquoise with long, dramatic hair and made THE BEST faces during the action scene training. Loved Miss J’s faux shocked O face when the men illustrated the stunt fight moves and J’s oh-good-lawd face after Sophie messed up her lines. Classic. Miss J is priceless and needs to be on this show MORE, not less.
Catch the next episode of ANTM Cycle 18 on Wednesday, May 16 at 9 pm ET/PT on The CW.
Gina Carbone is a contributing writer at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @ginacarbone.
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