'America's Next Top Model' back with high fashion theme, tons of drama
By John-John Williams IV
Sep 09, 2010 at 12:21 PM
John-John reports on last night's America's Next Top Model premiere, featuring Baltimore contestant Jane Randall.
High fashion. High fashion. High fashion. High fashion.
I'm pretty sure that we get the picture already, Tyra Banks. This cycle of "America's Next Top Model" is going to be dedicated to...wait for it...high fashion.
When the group of hopefuls gather in Palm Springs, by way of Los Angeles, they soon learn that they will be grouped together by model types. ("America's Next Top Model" doesn't waste any time trying to create drama. This formula is a recipe for disdain and tension.)
The "quirky" models are the first to walk. The sexy models are next, followed by the "strong bone-structure" models. It's our first real look at Marylander Jane Randall, who is a former college lacrosse player who ditched the sport to pursue a career in modeling. The blondes, and brunettes followed.
The drama comes bursting out when the girls have some downtime. Kayce, who was a semi-finalist in cycle 11, put Lexie on the spot and made her tell the group that Jordan did not want to be on the show. The incident built bitter feelings between Lexie and Kayce.
Tyra --once again on her high-fashion kick-- talked to the other judges about the importance of choosing the right winner so that that model becomes an important name in the fashion industry.
During an evaluation period in front of the judges, we are reminded that Kayce is the same contestant that had a major issue with transgender contestant, Isis, competing in the competition in cycle 11. (It's clear that Kayce is going to be the villian of the cycle.)
We're also introduced to: Kayla, who grew up poor; Rhianna, who is a nature-girl; and Esther, who is an Orthodox Jew with "G" sized breasts. (Tyra asks her if her religious beliefs will interfere with her modeling. Esther says they won't.)
Meanwhile, back to new drama. A bunch of African-American contestants learn that contestant, Emily, writes in her diary that she didn't want to room with a "black girl." All hell erupts. Emily bursts into tears and claims that she is not a racist. Later, Emily goes in front of Tyra and sheds tears for being misunderstood about the diary incident. (Whatever!)
Hometown girl Jane Randall meets the judges who think that she is an Ivy League rich girl. She admits that her parents bought her a horse when she was younger.
Liz is the mother of a year-old child. She is also a college student working two minimum wage jobs while collecting public assistance. Tyra commends her. Sara is also a mother, but she also "raps." Lord have mercy. Kendal is a virgin who has never been outside of her home state of Alabama. Anamaria said she's obsessed with IMG modeling, which just so happes to be managing the winner of the competition. (Will that winner be Anamaia?)
Ann is next. She's 6' 2". And she has the smallest waist that Tyra has ever seen. (In life off of the show, the remark got Tyra into some hot water among critics. She later apologized for appearing to praise Ann for being so skinny.)
Sisters Terra and Chris seem to provide more comic relief than modeling for the judges, who are split about which sister is better.
Jordan is next. she said the majority of the contestants on the show are "tolerable." Lexie is next. Tyra compares her to Uma Thurman. Lexie reveals that she left home at the age of 14 because of abuse. Vanessa is next. She's a former Miss Teen Minnesota.
The girls then learn if they will advance further into the competition. Vanessa is eliminated. So is Emily.
The 20 remaining contestants change into Cynthia Rowley gowns and are challenged to pose head-to-head with their direct competition.
After Tyra, Mr. Jay Manuel, and Miss J. Alexander deliberate they further whittle the group down to 14 finalists.
Anamaria is the first finalist. She is followed by Kendal, Rhianna Chris, Jane, Chelsey, Liz, Sara, Lexie, Esther, Kayce, Kayla, Ann, and Terra.