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‘America’s Next Top Model’ Review: “Jez Smith”

America's Next Top Model
CW

This week the girls go on more booking visits, or “go-sees,” in Hong Kong. There are only three girls left on ‘America’s Next Top Model,’ so things should be at their most interesting at this point — except this is the third time they’ve had to do “go-sees” this season. What gives?

Tyra Banks is firing up the ol’ recycling factory and sending the girls on go-sees yet again, which means an episode packed with them getting lost while trying to navigate a foreign city. Every cycle has some version of this challenge, which relies on the girls’ inability to read maps or speak the local language to create excitement. Only this time there’s a twist: for each go-see booked, the girls will win $1,000 Hong Kong dollars (what’s the exchange rate there? Is that $5 American?).

The girls are paired with a male model to help them get around, which will make things much easier and almost guarantee that the girls get to each go-see. Finally, we can see how the girls perform at go-sees without all the added rushing around and pressure that distracts from the purpose of the challenge.

The first designer, William Tang, likes Sophie and Annaliese (finding the latter to have “special flair”), but thinks Laura’s walk isn’t up to snuff. Gregory Derham is an eccentric designer who gravitates to Sophie and makes Annaliese wear a costume made of sparkly bananas, something Cher might wear while performing at a zoo. And again, Laura fails to impress with her walk.

Henry Lau asks Annaliese to walk several different ways, but she just can’t give him what she wants. It’s an excellent lesson in the motivations and desires of different designers — there’s no way that one model will be able to please each and every designer. Lau likes Sophie, and a pattern begins to develop. Laura is beautiful and looks great in the clothes, but her walk needs work, while Sophie and Annaliese seem to impress the most.

Marisa Zeman also finds an issue with Laura’s walk, though she likes her look. Again, Sophie and Annaliese nail it.

Laura surprisingly books two out of four shows, while Annaliese books three, and Sophie books all four. Sophie wins $4,000 Hong Kong dollars (or as Kelly Cutrone calls them, “Holla Kelly Cutrone dollas”) and becomes the new face of Marisa Zeman’s Nude is Rude clothing line for a whole year. To celebrate, the girls are sent out for a night on the town with the male models. We don’t get to see the girls cut loose as much as other contestants did in the earlier cycles, so it’s nice to see them having a little fun.

This week’s photo shoot challenge is for ‘ANTM”s Dream Come True fragrance, and the winning photo will be used to promote the scent worldwide. The girls are dressed as ballerinas and placed in a giant perfume bottle, like a metaphor for their childhood or something. Of course, this freaks Laura out because she used to burn the heads of her Barbie dolls as a kid, which means she can’t relate to being a girl.

Sophie points out that shes’ not sure that a British girl can win ‘America’s Next Top Model’ — which brings up some interesting points. The producers will, inevitably, pit a British model against an American one in the final two. But will the show’s sense of patriotic duty prevent the producers from choosing the best model in the end? Reality shows in general aren’t credible, but ‘ANTM’ is notorious for playing the “expectation subversion” game by way of editing tactics, manipulation, and hypocrisy.

Sophie is perfect during the shoot, as always, while Laura and Annaliese struggle to give ethereal performances. Annaliese knocks Laura in a one-on-one interview by bringing up her sexiness again. It’s frustrating to no end to see a woman who appears to be so smart resort to such catty, petty judgments of her fellow competitor.

It’s a foregone conclusion that the bottom two this week will be Annaliese and Laura. The former has a great personality, but her ego sometimes gets in the way. Laura is a beautiful model with a lot of potential, but she can skew too sexy and her walk leaves something to be desired.

Laura, of course, gets to stay because this is ‘America’s Next Top Model,’ and it’s more interesting to put a British girl against an American one in the end.

One last note: The scroll on the bottom of the screen informs us that the next cycle of the show will allow the fans to help decide who stays and who goes — first Tyra fires Miss Jay, Mister Jay, and Nigel, and now she wants to let the fans decide on the winner? These are terrible business plans, Tyra.

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