Tyra told us last night that “the road to success, and to the top, is not a straight line: it’s a zigzag line.” Cycle 15 led us down a long, zigzag-y road full of strangely posed hitchhikers. But what happens now that the show has already made it to the town of High Fashion, Italy? As long as we’re still getting a few OMG moments every Wednesday out of it, it's cool with us. Here are the top five from the Cycle 16 premiere.
5. Russell James has a book called Russell James that needed to be held towards the camera.
Product placement has its, er, place, but the best backstage image during last night’s totally natural photo shoot might have been the four models holding the photographer’s book perfectly erect with Post-its marking the pages.
4. Alexandria is ready to sign the adoption papers.
Pep talks in the mirror and runway lessons from Alexandria. What else could sweet, wide-eyed Jaclyn want from a mother? The dynamic between these two was a touch Toddlers and Tiaras (“You wanna win?” “I do.”). A more seasoned model taking a newbie under her wing out of genuine concern is lovely, but the whole thing really seemed to be born of sheer exasperation on Alexandria’a part: “How can you not know that this is what you’re supposed to know?”
3. Prank war!
So, the idea was to skip the casting portion this time around and start off by pranking the final 14. And it wasn’t plastic wrap on a toilet bowel — this prank came with an important lesson. By having the contestants think they were going home and then revealing a beautiful house to them 10 minutes later, they would all have a better understanding of how rejection really works. A minor side effect of this strategy, though, was extreme paranoia. Dominique, after noticing something fishy about the sleeping arrangements: “Somebody’s about to get eliminated, because I ain’t got a bed!”
2. The Girl(s) in the Plastic Bubble
It wasn’t surprising that the models’ first runway challenge was to walk in a large bubble on a 12-inch wide plank over water. We’re shocked, however, that the show provided them with such a convenient flotation device if they stumbled. Truthfully, though, the falls weren’t even the best part. Something about the bubble made everyone comfortable enough to break out their old Shannon Miller balance beam poses. And while Jay gave Dalya some grief for the hands-on-hips move, she pretty much just copied Miss J’s demonstration from earlier in the episode.
1. Tyra reminds us that she’s in on the joke, because she wrote the joke.
After doing the same thing 16 times, you almost have no choice but to become more and more self-referential. It’s not enough to sit next to Andre; he’s got to be on Tyra’s shirt now, too. The fearless leader knows what we’re all expecting, and in the opening five minutes of the show she gave it to us brilliantly, from the Hello Kitty fashionista to the faux angst-ridden Goth child. We almost spit out our water when she said, “My name is Angora Nylandra Tafatia Michaels. I’m not here to make friends.” Oh Ty, we know you're not.