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‘America’s Next Top Model’ Review: “Jessica Sutta and Nadine Coyle”

America's Next Top Model
CW

America’s Next Top Model‘ was off last week, but never fear ‘ANTM’ devotees, we’re back with a new episode this week and plenty of drama. American girls are in the lead, five to four, in an episode that brings a lesson in the legendary “booty tooch” (if you have to ask, just don’t).

The episode kicks off with a big ol’ dose of weepy drama when Sophie takes the teddy bear Laura’s dead best friend gave her and breaks its ear off. As the ear floats away in the swimming pool (aided by a lazy foot shove from Kyle), Laura comments that it’s as if her best friend is being ripped away from her all over again. Look, the death of your BFF is tragic and we feel your pain, Laura, but it’s a stuffed animal. It’s a tad melodramatic to compare the dismembered ear of a stuffed animal to the loss of your friend. Get a grip, girl. You’re too fierce for this.

Lisa, the winner of the ‘All-Stars’ cycle, pops by with a special challenge: the girls will be recording a song and taping their own music video. This challenge is a new one for ‘ANTM,’ introduced during the ‘All-Stars’ season as the show has metamorphosed from a modeling contest into something more akin to ‘America’s Next Top Mogul,’ or, ‘America’s Next Top Tyra Banks Disciple.’ For the US team, Lisa has brought Jessica Sutta from The Pussycat Dolls (yeah, I don’t know either) and for the UK team, Nadine Coyle from Girls Aloud. The pop stars will help mentor the girls during the challenge.

Laura comments, “We got the best mentor you could ever possibly hope for.” No, Laura, the best mentor you could ever possibly hope for is Adele, but since she’s too busy singing about that one fool that broke her heart (seriously, get over it already) and she’s way too expensive for Tyra’s banks (zing), you get this cheap imitation pop star, manufactured and re-purposed from a Vegas burlesque show. Enjoy!

The girls listen to their backing tracks on their VIRGIN MOBILE PHONES and learn the lyrics. For the challenge, the girls are emulating female pop ensembles, so they’ll need to work together. The UK girls call themselves Fiercely British, while the US girls call themselves The United Sirens of America. Both names are equally terrible, but this is a terrible challenge. And like last season, Tyra has sneaked “Pot Ledom” into the lyrics, which is “Top Model” spelled backwards. Yes, really.

The UK girls nail their vocal tracks, proving once again that while they may not be on top of the photoshoot challenges, they’re quite skilled at these mini-mogul challenges.

At the dance studio Tyra shows up to teach the girls some moves, including her signature “booty tooch,” which is basically that thing where you arch your back and stick your butt out. You know, like the strippers do. Tyra gives the girls special shorts with “booty tooch pads” to enhance their behinds, but Azmarie refuses to wear hers, so Tyra kicks her out of the lesson.

It’s absolutely ridiculous for Tyra to refuse to include Azmarie in a lesson on sticking her butt out just because she won’t falsely enhance her body. It runs contrary to Tyra’s body-positive preaching, and it’s just — frankly — stupid. Azmarie is right to stick to her guns, but will it hurt her in the music video challenge?

Tyra’s instruction also includes teaching the girls the “smize” dance, which involves waving their hands in front of their eyes. Azmarie should be grateful she was kicked out of this lesson.

During the music video shoot the UK girls top it once again with an energetic, confident performance. Even when their moves are out of sync, they hold it together. The distinction between the US and the UK girls is clear: UK is confident, poised, and in control. The US girls are awkward, falsely confident, and suffering from insecurity — especially Kyle, who gets called out for her big, deer-in-the-headlights eyes that read on camera as confusion. Azmarie and Laura give standout performances, but this challenge clearly goes to the Brits.

At panel, after Tyra gives the seemingly never ending list of prizes, we get to see the fruits of the girls’ labor. The US team’s video looks like something you laugh at on YouTube. Kyle gives the worst performance of the group, and even her Katy Perry-meets-squirrel looks can’t make us believe she’s a pop star. Laura is rightfully praised, while Azmarie is condemned for her not-so-subtle lack of enthusiasm for the challenge. Tyra calls her out for her refusal to wear the butt pad, and Azmarie cows and apologizes for disrespecting the Kingdom of Tyra.

The UK girls’ video actually gave me pause. It’s closer to a legit music video than I ever thought Tyra’s team capable, and part of that may be their accents, which naturally lend elegance to their vocals, but their attitudes are intensely confident and alluring and the girls fully commit to the absurdity of the task. None of them are particularly weak, but Catherine still feels slightly out of place with the rest — almost too dainty and classic in her features. Annaliese is a fiery ball of energy, and while Sophie seems like the most modelesque of the bunch, Annaliese bests her in attitude alone.

Alisha takes top spot this week, with the rest of the UK girls right behind her. It comes down to Kyle and Azmarie — Kyle for her confusing performance and Azmarie for her lack of dedication to the music video. In a shocking upset, Azmarie is sent packing. Arguably the best model this season, Azmarie is basically punished by Tyra for refusing to wear a butt pad. This show just got so boring.

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