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‘America’s Next Top Model’ Review: “Beverly Johnson”

America's Next Top Model
CW

This week on ‘America’s Next Top ModelTyra Banks and Co. send the models off to the exotic land of Canada. The playing field is still pretty level between Team US and Team UK, but can the girls model their way through gallons of organic maple syrup? Let’s see what all the fuss is aboot.

The girls receive a video mail message from Mister Jay (on their VIRGIN MOBILE DEVICE — this is crucial information) instructing them to pack their bags because they’re heading off to Canada for Toronto fashion week. While there, the girls are given a twist on the classic go-see challenge. They will meet with the designers from eight fashion houses — including Mister Jay for his own line — to book runway gigs.

Sophie and Eboni tie with four out of eight shows booked, while Azmarie and Annaliese also perform fairly well, impressing the designers with their fabulous, strong walks. Seymone, Catherine, and Ashley all manage to book zero shows, though, making Seymone a bit fussy.

During practice for the runway Kyle and Laura are cut from the Pink Tartan show because they aren’t quite runway-ready, which could end up hurting them in elimination. During the runway show it’s hard to fathom how Eboni booked so many jobs — her walk is mechanical and lifeless, and her look isn’t as compelling as Azmarie or Sophie. She has a great personality, though, and seems readily adaptable to many different looks, including walking in front of Mister Jay’s giant, foreboding, ‘Men in Black’ headshot during his show.

The two frontrunners — Sophie and Eboni — face off for the ultimate prize: An all-expenses paid trip back to Toronto for the Calgary Stampede, which is  something like a rodeo, but with more flannel because it’s Canada. Jay can’t decide between the two of them, so they both end up taking the prize.

For this week’s photoshoot, the models will be covered in what appears to be the fall bargain bin leftovers from Hobby Lobby (faux maple leaves) and organic maple syrup. It’s incredibly important to note that this is organic maple syrup. This syrup comes from only the healthiest, grain-fed, cage-free maple trees in Canada.

Catherine is rather bland in her shoot, but she maintains a positive attitude between her inability to book runway gigs in the earlier challenge and her difficulty in interpreting direction in the photoshoot. When it comes time for Laura’s shoot her tough veneer finally cracks a little, giving us a softer side; just weeks prior to being cast on the show, she lost a friend in an accident. Like a good model she channels her emotions for the shoot and turns out a striking photo.

It’s unclear how these models were able to function when a few of them obviously got some of that syrup in their eyes. Maybe because it’s organic it doesn’t hurt. Azmarie takes an excellent photo, as expected, and even Seymone bounces back from her earlier runway rejection by rocking her curves for her shoot.

Eboni winds up looking a little too sexy, except for the maple syrup covering her armpit. Unless you’re into that?

Beverly Johnson — the first black woman to grace the cover of Vogue — is this week’s guest judge. Those hideous UK and US flag shirts are still around, and it’s really tragic that they can’t be eliminated.

The judges love Sophie’s pic, but I think it’s far from her best. It feels dull, void of any passion or emotion. I know she’s modeling with leaves and syrup, but couldn’t she conjure the image of pancakes to give her face a little excitement? She’s capable of so much more than this week’s results.

I’m not jiving with the judges this week at all. They are taken by Catherine’s photo, but there’s something about it that feels uninteresting, like many of the photos this week; maybe it’s the poor combination of syrup and that metallic fuschia lipstick that even my grandma tossed out ten years ago. Ashley’s picture is striking and her eyes look messy, almost as if she’s been crying through the syrup. It’s unlike any of the other pictures this week, and of course the judges hate it.

At some point Tyra compares Annalies to a dinosaur and does the worst, most awkward dinosaur impression ever. It’s unclear which is more offensive: being compared to a dinosaur, or Tyra’s dinosaur impression itself.

Laura’s photo is praised (so the judges and I agree on something), and I’m shocked that Tyra doesn’t tell Laura she should have friends die more often. Even the tactless Tyra Banks has her limits. But then she says Azmarie looks like she’s saying, “Don’t you want some of this maple booty?” and all tactful goodwill is squandered.

Seymone’s photo ends up looking generic, and reminiscent of a curvy girl lingerie ad; Kyle is boring and still looks like a deranged Katy Perry (yes, it’s redundant); Eboni’s photo doesn’t turn out as sexy as her photoshoot implied, but there’s a suspiciously noticeable smooth-over job on her syrupy armpit. When it comes to the feisty Annaliese, Kelly Cutrone tells the other judges, “Sometimes I wake up and have dreams of her talking.” Cutrone is the Salvador Dali of PR mavens. Azmarie’s photo is simply gorgeous; she’s like a black, more masculine version of Angelina Jolie as Gia Carangi.

Also of note: Judging this week takes place back in L.A., which makes little sense given that Toronto is a bit closer to the UK and easier to ship a losing Brit home, if need be — no expense spared, I guess.

The judges reach a verdict, and Tyra Banks as Selena Quintanilla (RIP, Selena 4Ever) steps forward to deliver. Eboni surprisingly takes top photo this week. I still have yet to understand what the judges see in her when Azmarie is standing right there.

In the end four British girls are in the bottom, and it comes down to the Scottish Ashley (who reminds the viewers that she’s doing it for her wee babies back home) and the redhead Catherine. In an upset, Ashley goes home, but Tyra tells her that she has a stellar personality and should be “a presenter.” You hear that, Ashley? Go home to your wee babies and Google “how to become a presenter.” A presenter of what, you ask? Oh, you know, anything! Tons of things need to be presented: Cars, game shows, people who were just married… You could even be one of those girls that hands the famous people their awards at the Oscars, but is never, ever allowed to speak. Go forth, Ashley, the world is thy oyster.

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