Leading up to last night's premiere of cycle 16 of America's Next Top Model on The CW, viewers were promised a big surprise. As a seasoned viewer of the show myself, I thought, hmmmm, maybe Tyra Banks is casting shorter ladies again (like in cycle 13)? Or maybe they were going to take them on an extreme rock climbing expedition ... in heels!
So man was I let down when the big "surprise" was that they were booting the casting week. But Tyraaaaaa -- I love hearing tall skinny girls tell their sob stories! No. Really. It helps me pick my early-on favorite! Tyra immediately reveals the big "surprise," and follows through with the lowdown on the 14 lucky ladies who've landed a spot on this season's runway. Boo. You fun-sucker.
Actually, now that I think about it, it seems like Tyra is actually the only person having fun this episode.
Tyra wants to give these girls a taste of rejection that they'll face being a model, AKA be a horrible human and make them think they've been eliminated.
The 14 girls are told to collect their things in the next room and that they're going home, and Tyra wants to give them her condolences, in person. Tyra shows up to "say goodbye," and suddenly in true reality TV fashion, there's some dramatic commotion, a curtain drops, and BAM -- congratulations, girlies! You can dry your eyes -- you've made the cut after all. Cue the confused tears, jumping, hugging, more yelling, and a bit of excitement. But the fun stops once again when the girls see that there are only 12 beds in the house. Whoopsie, looks like someone's going home ... fast.
The episode continues with the girls snapping a few photos backstage before competing in a ridiculous challenge, where they walked on a 12-inch runway over water while in a large plastic bubble. Think of ABC's Wipeout, but with 6-foot-tall women. Was it entertaining? Of course. Were there a few falls? Oh -- you know it. Again, it looks like our modelistas aren't exactly having a blast.
Tyra, photographer Nigel Barker, and fashion editor Andre Leon Talley are back this season on the judging panel. As in every episode of ANTM ever, Tyra opens the panel by telling the girls what they're competing for. Cycle 16's prizes include a $100,000 contract with Covergirl, a contract with IMG Models, a spread in Italian Vogue and a feature on the magazine's website, vogue.it, and last but not least, a spread and cover in Beauty in Vogue. Wow, that's a mouthful, and a whole lotta Vogue. At least it's nice to see Tyra changing things up from the usual prize of a spread in Seventeen magazine.
Model and jewelry designer Erin Wasson joins the three as they critique the girls. And after deliberation, the panel sends 20-year-old Angelia back home to Florida, telling her that she's just the prettiest girl in the room, but not the strongest model. Ouch. Yup, no fun at all.
From the looks of things so far, I do have a few early favorites. Brittani -- a pint-sized 19-year-old from Pennsylvania -- has a fierce walk, even inside a bubble, and this too-cute personality reminiscent of an excited puppy. And then there's Ms. fierce brows herself, Mikaela from Boca Raton. These brows are eye-catching, that's for sure, and she has the bone structure of a goddess. The question is, will Tyra touch those luscious bushes when it comes to makeovers?
All in all, It seems like we have a lot to look forward to this season. I just hope that Tyra starts letting the girls have a bit of fun too. Because although it's funny to watch them frustrated, walk a 12-inch wide runway, and be told they're "just beautiful," there's no way I could handle this for another 12 episodes.
Will you be watching America's Next Top Model this season?
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