It’s hard to watch America's Next Top Model in the same light after last week’s Male Model Massacre — but the smize must go on! As Kelly Cutrone put it on Cycle 18, Episode 8: “Georgina Chapman,” “It's not the end of the world, it's only fashion."
Yes, we just quoted Kelly Cutrone — she who felt “dissed” by Eboni’s lack of pigtails, a grievous insult that almost got Miss 30 Never/50 Forever eliminated. (On that note, good job, Eboni! Screw the pigtails.) Kelly was the runway coach this week, already appearing to displace our beloved Miss J. Alexander. Traumatizing. Almost as traumatizing as the idea that a designer spent more than three months creating couture clothes made out of Hello Kitty products — including 40 lbs. worth of lunch boxes — and the models had to wear the designs as a 16-year-old girl photographed them. Only on ANTM!
The seven remaining modelstants also had to walk the runway as part of the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize shows, making this week’s episode seem like Project Pot Ledom. Alisha won the challenge and also got top photo for her S&M Hello Kitty pic. Good for her, but she also decided to take a lot of behind-the-scenes shots at fellow UK girl, Sophie. What’s up with that? At least the judges finally got word that Seymone may be “fiercely real,” but her skin is fiercely paper thin. Her attitude got her sent home — three episodes after her bad kitty temper emerged in Toronto, but news travels slow in Hello Kitty Land. Now there are only two American girls left.
In lieu of a traditional recap, we’ll be ranking the girls (and judges — we see you, too!) based on their photos, runway work, attitude and all-around fascination level. Check out our ANTM Power Play below, starting with our Top Model loser.
Ranking: 11, Seymone (US)
Ranking on show: Eliminated
If Seymone really did want to stay on the show, she had a funny way of showing it. Like we’ve said before, Seymone is great when she’s being complimented — it’s easy to be happy when everyone is nice to you — but when anything goes wrong, she completely falls apart, gets moody and defensive, and just wants to take her ball and go home. This week, she did that routine in front of Kelly Cutrone. Seymone should’ve learned after the Louise Watts incident that you don’t give “rude” ammunition to Kelly. Besides, modeling involves tons of rejection and if she needs this much reassurance all the time, it may not be for her. As Martin Lindstrom, the frightening brand futurist, told Seymone, “You speak with confidence but your body language can say the opposite.” During the HK shoot, she complained that the giant headpiece hurt her head. Mr. Jay Manuel worried that her temperament would ruin everything. Again. As Annaliese reiterated, Seymone is “hard work.” Alisha put it pretty well by saying Seymone walks around with a "face of death." On top of that, her photo was not loved and her runway walk was deemed “painful.” Nigel Barker said her face looked great but it was Modeling 101. Kelly couldn't even get to her face 'cause her body angle was so disturbing: "I feel like you're a hitchhiker in Hello Kitty Land." Tyra wanted her to do a bit more showing and less telling. True to form, after Seymone was eliminated, she continued to be emotional and upset, just wanting to go home.
Ranking: 10, Tyra Banks
Rank on the show: Host/creator/diva (un-ranked)
Tyra loves to tell stories about herself and she managed to turn Laura’s Hello Kitty photo into "extreme therapy" for her own HK deprivation growing up. Glad to know the show is helping Tyra deal with childhood issues! Tyra called out Eboni for her fierce face this week, ‘cause the kid just can’t win with anyone. Tyra liked that Eboni looked young but she suggested Eboni go with a “novocaine face” to get rid of her tough look. Seriously. Novocaine. At least Tyra complemented Alisha’s “Elvis meets Alisha” snarl and appreciated how Sophie’s shot looked pissed off, like she was about to slap them. She should’ve slapped them!
Ranking: 9, Kelly Cutrone
Rank on the show: New judge (un-ranked)
It used to just be Tyra that wanted to box Eboni into her 30 Never zone, but this week Kelly also put her foot down on individuality, arguing at panel, "I really felt like she was dissing all of us by not wearing her ponytails." Ugh! Enough! Besides, they are called pigtails. Eboni herself keeps saying she doesn’t feel 30 Never, she had a rough childhood and just because she’s young doesn’t mean she’s a child. On top of that, Kelly just seems to have it in for Annaliese and Catherine. "Annaliese kind of haunts me,” Kelly said of her love/hate with the Brit. She said her photo looked like a Carnival cruise ad. She also said she knows Catherine wants to be a model but she’s not sure she really is a model. (Stop insulting Queen Catherine!) She compared Sophie’s shot to Debbie Harry. She compared Catherine to Linda Blair. She wanted Laura to be a 1950s housewife gone mad. Her analogies are sometimes funny, sometimes helpful, sometimes nonsensical. However, she does seem to know what she’s talking about, even if she doesn’t always articulate it in a nice way. She said she’s produced somewhere between 700-1,000 fashion shows and none of the Cycle 18 girls was a "slayer" on the runway. There was no "bam." That’s this cycle in general. Sorry.
Ranking: 8, Georgina Chapman
Rank on the show: Guest judge
Like most guest judges, Georgina stayed positive while the other judges got to nitpick. But Georgina is a seasoned judge herself, having just come off the Project Runway: All-Stars season. She had some insightful comments, like wanting to see more humor in Laura’s face and wanting some kind of quirk or ankle out in Eboni’s photo. She liked Catherine’s eyes and was drawn straight to her face. She compared Alisha to Grace Jones, saying Alisha was wearing the clothes, not the other way around. She even allowed that Seymone’s big outfit was overpowering and would’ve been hard for anyone to deal with.
Ranking: 7, The Sexy Nigel Barker
Rank on show: Judge and noted fashion photographer (un-ranked)
At this point, Nigel is challenging the models who don’t do something new or interesting — like Seymone’s Modeling 101 pose, Laura’s one-trick pony contorting, Catherine’s “obvious” body language, Eboni’s lack of playfulness, and Annaliese’s “awkward” look on her face. So when Alisha got the ultimate compliment that it was the best shot he’d seen from her, it meant a lot. Nigel, we’ll miss your sexy smolder! Don’t leave us!
Ranking: 6, Catherine Thomas (UK)
Rank on show: Safe
Adore Queen Catherine, but this was not one of her better weeks. She’s clearly not ready for runway work, since she failed to book any go-sees back in Toronto and this time she almost fell over in front of the designers, earning a lecture from Kelly about how only one model has ever fallen over in her 700-1,000 past fashion shows. Kelly called Catherine’s walk “painful,” looking like she was drugged, and called her photo too “Exorcist.” She questioned whether Cat is even really a model (she is! She is!). At least Catherine has learned to take criticism with grace. No more runway breakdowns. She can still be a nervous poodle, desperate to please, but she has wise perspective. She even said that she respected Kelly’s opinion because she knows what she’s talking about, a nice counterpoint to Seymone saying Kelly talks a lot of crap. Both statements are true, but if you’re a model on ANTM it’s better to take the high road.
Ranking: 5, Eboni (US)
Rank on show: Bottom two
In Martin Lindstrom’s fortune-cookie-esque branding critique, he said of Eboni, “Youth is strength but be aware you can come off as arrogant.” Maybe, but the point she’s trying to make about not being 30 Never is a fair one. It’s just a shame the judges see that as arrogance instead of common sense. She’s not a little kid, or even a 16-year-old like Ann He, the Hello Kitty photographer. She’s 18, which is not that much younger than the other models. Who cares about the pigtails and extreme youth? Her real problem seemed to be her not-so-great runway walk, which is weird since she tied with Sophie in Toronto for booking the most go-sees. Kelly said Eboni looked like a robot on oxycontin in her walk. In her photo shoot, she struggled and complained about being forced into her youth box. "The judges are going to tear her alive," Jay predicted. Nigel said her photo lacked a sense of playfulness. Tyra and Kelly went on about her fierce face. Tyra recommended novocaine. Kelly was offended by her lack of pigtails. Georgina liked the picture and thought she looked sweet, but also worried. She should be worried. She’s being judged by crazy people. When Seymone mentioned one of the models wanting to walk out, she probably meant Eboni. Can you blame her?
Ranking: 4, Laura (US)
Rank on show: Safe
It’s true. Laura does like to make that one bendy contortionist pose. It’s a great pose, but she needs to do something new. She was also way too happy, at the start of the episode, to see Kyle go home. Dignity, girl, dignity! And she doesn’t seem to have a strong runway walk. But she’s still striking and one of the frontrunners for the finale.
Ranking: 3, Annaliese Dayes (UK)
Rank on show: Safe
Everyone keeps underestimating Annaliese because she’s “only” 5’7” and has a “commercial” look — but consider the evidence: Her personality helped her book runway shows back in Toronto and she was one of the girls who got to open a show this week. She has a strong walk and her photos are getting better, even if they aren’t spectacular. Mr. Jay liked her “I’ve got a secret” Hello Kitty shot. Photographer Ann He said Annaliese was flowing and her poses were elegant.The judges seemed to like her photo from the neck down. It was split, with Nigel and Kelly not loving the shot and Tyra and Georgina liking the akward, different deadness of it. Kelly still isn’t sold on Annaliese, but she seems to stick in Kelly’s mind, as creepy as that sounds.
Ranking: 2, Sophie Sumner (UK)
Rank on show: Called second
Annaliese, Alisha, and Sophie were the only models chosen to open runway shows and Sophie was the only one asked to open *two* shows. That’s big. She’s getting a "Sophie strut" with her confidence and one of the designers said she could be a world-class model. Don’t get cocky, girl! We saw what happened to AzMarie.That was something branding guru Martin said to her — that people respond to your bubbly personality, just don't get too full of yourself and turn people off. Her attitude already seems to be turning off fellow Brit Alisha, who seemed to think Sophie was being fake and had unkind words for her photo. Is Alisha threatened by Sophie or is there just a personality clash going on? This wasn’t Sophie’s best photo, but she still got called second and she’s still the frontrunner to win.
Ranking: 1, Alisha White (UK)
Rank on the show: Called first
"Hurricane Alisha is coming!" She’s hungry for this. Last week she was in the bottom two and it was a wake-up call. As branding guy Martin said of her, “You show fierce determination but you can crumble under fierce critiques.” She didn’t have a fierce critique this week, it was all positive. The one show she opened ended up winning the Dorchester Collection fashion prize of $40,000 and a display in Paris Fashion Week. The win seemed to give her confidence and she brought the same strong dominatrix attitude she had in her music video into the Hello Kitty photoshoot. Kelly loved the picture, calling it “fierce” and totally Gamatronica Gamazonian. Nigel said it’s the best pic he's seen of her yet. She agreed. She knows it. Kelly said, "She's a superstar” and a fierce competitor in this competition. Only if she pulls it together, Nigel added. Tyra said she hopes it's not a fluke. They weren’t sold on Alisha up to this point, and she does tend to fall back into “dead eyes” sometimes, so hopefully this is truly the start of Hurricane Alisha and not a front that just passes through.
Catch the next episode of ANTM Cycle 18 on Wednesday, May 2 at 9 pm ET/PT on The CW.
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