I’ve learned not to claim disdain for reality television. I’d love to, sure, but I’m so hopelessly addicted to America’s Next Top Model that I have no room to talk smack. And after last night’s episode — one of the most hilarious I’ve ever seen — I can say with assurance that I’m not heading to ANTM rehab anytime soon.
The final six contestants (Anya, Katarzyna, Whitney, Lauren, Fatima and Dominique) headed to Rome this week, got brief lessons in the Italian modeling industry, and filmed some truly awful Cover Girl commercials. There was so much to love in this episode, I don’t even know where to begin.
Left to right: Lauren, Whitney, Katarzyna, Anya and Dominique
Well, I could start at the beginning, when Anya charmingly face-planted coming out of the van. I’m not kidding when I say "charmingly" — I don’t know what it is about Anya, but she’s so sweet and cute and nice and upbeat that she must be made out of unicorns or something. Unicorns covered in glitter. And rainbows. With sprinkles on top.
The girls got on Segways and tooled around Rome before heading to the first challenge: an impromptu meet-and-greet with designer Gai Mattiolo. Everyone puts on dresses and gives Gai a little runway show, and Lauren still lurches about like … er, Lurch.
And Whitney complains about the fact that all the dresses are too small, and she’s a plus-size model and she has it so hard. And did you know that she’s a plus-size model? Plus-size model plus-size plus-size — Yes, Whitney, we get it. You are a plus-size model. You have mentioned this six or seven hundred times during every episode this season — I think we’re finally getting the hint.
I swear, if this was Pee-wee’s Playhouse and not America’s Next Top Model and "plus-size" was the secret word, we’d all just be yelling and screaming for a half-hour straight.
After Anya wins the challenge, it’s time for the Cover Girl commercial shoot. Quite frankly, Jay "My spray tan shade? It’s Oompa Loompa" Manuel is showing far more of his chest than I feel comfortable with. Admittedly, the commercial must have been tough to shoot: There were cues and blocking to remember, and the copy was written in Italian. Of course, while I’ll concede that it was tough, some of the girls bombed so hard that … well, that I had to rewind the DVR six times to watch them over and over again.
Katarzyna and Fatima managed to rock it, but the others? Oh, my. Whitney was so overblown and fake and cheesy that she seemed to be channeling the secret lovechild of Suzanne Sugarbaker and Anna Nicole Smith.
Dominique was … words kind of fail me. Her accent was so bad and over-the-top stereotypical that it clearly belonged to one of those little cartoon moustache dudes on a pizza box. Why she shouted "Brasilia!" in the middle of the whole thing I have no idea — however, it’s my new catch phrase.
Lauren … oh, Lauren. Oh, Lurch. It was embarrassing to watch — but not so embarrassing that I wasn’t in hysterics every time I watched it — and I watched her effort a lot, trust me.
Then it was panel time, and Tyra’s ego was out in full force. She reminded us several more times of all of her achievements, of how she conquered the Italian fashion world, blah blah blah. Most of this, mind you, was delivered in an Italian accent that made Dominique’s seem authentic.
The judges did their judging thing: Tyra makes everyone feel uncomfortable with her "antics"; Paulina Porizkova is fabulous and funny; Miss J. critiques others whilst sporting silver eyebrows; and Nigel Barker is useless.
Everyone agreed that Lauren’s, Anya’s and Dominique’s commercials were abysmal. All the sane people in the room agreed that Whitney’s was atrocious, but Tyra loved it. The opposite holds true for Katarzyna’s — but then again, Tyra’s had a hate-on for Kata since day one, and I just don’t understand it.
The repeated, purposeful mispronunciation of the girl’s name, the blatant disrespect, the veiled insults — I think Tyrant’s ego feels threatened by a contestant who’s beautiful but also smart. Kata’s an Ivy Leaguer and doesn’t need to rely on her looks for a career, as Tyra did. All this, of course, means that Kata won’t win, which bums me out — she’s been my girl since Claire got the boot a couple of weeks ago.
Katarzyna’s awesomeness earned her second place this week, however, while Lauren and Whitney landed in the bottom two. In the end, Lauren was sent packing back to the U.S. as Tyra reminded her that a model can take great pictures, but she also needs to speak well.
Huh? Funny, when Tyra was at the height of her modeling career, I don’t recall ever hearing her voice. Oh, well. Arrivederci, Lurch!