“America’s Next Top Model” Recap (18.10): Kung Fu Crying

The girls learn their fight combo. Eboni says the moves are easy, and she got a yellow belt in tae kwon do as a kid, so she’s got this. Time to pair up with the stuntmen! Ooh, except for Laura, who as last week’s challenge winner is paired up with Nicholas Tse. 

Annaliese feels confident because she was a gymnast, and is overall feeling good about the competition. She actually looks pretty good rehearsing her fight scene. Alisha says she picked it up pretty quick. Her punches are all over the place, but you can’t fault her enthusiasm. 

Oh, dear. Sophie is too adorable to fight. She’s prancing around and making little teeny fairy punches. She says she’s from Oxford and these things don’t happen there. But then she thinks about winning and starts to tear it up. 

Nicholas coaches Laura in a totally normal way, but the producers play seduction music over it, because they are stink vultures from Hell. Laura does mention that Nicholas is cute, and then that she finds Asian men sexy, not realizing that the producers will use pretty normal comments to try to edit her into a ravening sex beast. 

Remember your Top Model lessons, girls: There is either prudery or rampant sex mania. There is no such thing as a normal, healthy sexual impulse, and even if there were, it would certainly not be OK to talk about it in a natural and straightforward way. Someone set up a Kickstarter to get Tyra and the gang some therapy. 

Lines! Holy monotone, they are also getting lines! Alisha says she isn’t threatened by lines, and none of the other girls can really act. She is correct. Eboni is so bad that when I played this episode Meryl Streep broke into my apartment and punched me in the neck. Sophie is also not great during her rehearsal. 

Back to Eboni. Wow, no one is a gem, but Eboni somehow manages to sound like she learned to speak English from a car navigation system, then decided it was too warm and expressive and dialed it back a bit. Alisha really wants to show her stuff because she was in the bottom two last week. 

Time to shoot!

Nicholas says they’re going to keep rolling no matter what, which we all know is a made-up rule, but in the grand Top Model tradition, we will totally pretend it is how a set really works. Each model gets one practice and one real take. Eboni is first. Her rehearsal is not great, and Nicholas tells her to use her Tae Kwon Do. So either Nicholas is psychic or he’s maybe chatted with the models more than we’ve been led to believe. Or maybe Eboni just has an incredibly detailed résumé? 

Time to roll. Miss J. helpfully announces that this is Eboni’s one take. Eboni walks on and says “Oh, no. We have company,” so woodenly that several spruce trees shuffle over to watch and carve little hearts on themselves. Eboni looks OK throwing punches, but then she delivers her final line so badly that one would not be surprised to learn that she said each word in a different recording studio on a different day in a different year and they were all spliced together by engineers who did not wish to risk exciting the pride of ferocious lions who had inexplicably been allowed into the editing suite. 

Alisha is up next! She says her lines one million billion jillion times better than Eboni, by which I mean pretty OK. Her punching is fake and wild, though. But again, nice – or at least perfectly competent – acting. We see Eboni watching Alisha’s shoot, and she acknowledges that Alisha nailed it. 

We haven’t seen Annaliese practicing her dialogue yet. Is she a ringer? Let’s find out. She’s super stoked at the chance to come back to Hong Kong and be in a music video. She does well! Perfectly fine with the dialogue, even giving a saucy little look to her camera at the end, and she looks good with the punching. Laura gets bleeped and blurred. She was hoping the others would suck. 

Laura is up next. She says when she thinks of Angelina Jolie in fight scenes, she thinks of her sexy hair flying all around, so that’s her strategy. Laura does a pretty good job with her first line, then lets down her pony tail to complete her fight. She makes pant-hoot noises while she fights, but remembers to act while she’s punching, and does a respectable job. Alisha reminds us that Laura is not Angelina Jolie. 

Sophie is ready to bring it home. Whoa, she says her first line normally, like a real actress, and the contrast with the others is startling. Her fighting is terrible – they actually animate pixie dust coming out of her fists – but her line delivery is really pretty good. And adorable. 

Nicholas liked the way Eboni improvised and took off her jacket, Alisha’s wink to the camera, Annaliese’s bad-assery with the fighting, Laura’s modelicious thinking for taking down her hair, and Sophie’s ability to interact with her scene partner like a real human being. And the winner is — Laura! 

She is incredibly happy, and says she’s glad she can show the judges she’s still winning. Alisha is pissed, and acknowledges that she’s hating right now. She says there’s no way Laura deserved that win and she’s pissed off big time. I am curious to know who she thought the winner should be; it was objectively not Alisha. 

Modelland!

Whoops, turns out Alisha does think she should have won that one. Eboni says everyone is a little pissed. Alisha doesn’t understand why she didn’t get picked. Because you were punching things in Iowa, hon. Sophie thinks Nicholas was eyesexing Laura. Laura says she wouldn’t mind having sex with him. 

Somehow that morphs into Eboni saying, “She admits that she didn’t do the best, and yet she still won the challenge.” When was that exactly? I would like to see the footage. I mean, yes, lord knows what actually goes on, but since the editors and producers are determined to make Laura look like a naughty bad frequent sex haver this week, you’d think they would include a statement like that if it existed. 

Eboni and Alisha suggest that Laura “seduced” Nicholas to win. By which everyone clearly seems to mean “flirted with” at first, but then Eboni says “She’s sleeping her way to the top.” 

And the sleeping volcano that is Laura begins to rumble. She is not cool with anyone saying that. Not at all. Eboni, having slandered and massively pissed off the wildest card in the house, goes to sleep. Never become a character in a horror movie, Eboni. 20 minutes after Eboni crashes out, Laura comes in to the room to make damn sure everyone is clear on the fact that she wouldn’t sleep her way to the top. (And, really, young models, never forget Sharon Stone‘s sage warning: You can only sleep your way to the middle.) 

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