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Thursday, June 15, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Six #11

Goodness, but our girls are physically expressive this week! Mind you don’t get in the way – it’s the Not Drowning, Waving episode of America’s Next Top Model!

· Jade seems to have singled Joanie out as her main competition, which she cleverly hides by constantly mentioning how “un-intimidated” she is. It’s good to know that she doesn’t let insignificant things intimidate her, like beauty, poise, multiple brain cells and a birth certificate which doesn’t mention Satan. Jade says to camera “If Joanie went to castings in New York, they would laugh at her”. Maybe, but it’s a step up from being spat at, sweetheart.

· Just as I was starting to think that this was the first truly heathen series of ANTM, up jumps a surprise display of piety. Daniele takes a tabernacular time-out from the stresses of moduling by popping open her bible and referring to scripture until, as she says, “I get where I need to be”. I can never remember what it is about modelling that God especially likes. I think it’s the shallow and occasionally lecherous focus on the body. Or maybe the vomiting.

· The girls are pink-bussed off to a theatre where they are met by Patravadi, a dance teacher. Patravadi and some traditionally pointy-hatted dancers demonstrate some traditional Thai dancing, which is restrained, complex and delicate, just like our modules aren’t. The girls are given lessons and told that their hands and movements are to be “berry elegant, berry beautipul”. But watch out! Lifting your hands above eye level might be interpreted as arrogance! Jade reassures us that she “doesn’t have an ounce of arrogance in her body”, which I suspect is only because of some kind of metric conversion.

· Daniele tries to concentrate on the dance lesson despite a headache and a general feeling of wooziness. The cameramen help us to experience her malaise by making the focus all fuzzy whenever Daniele is on screen. Thank God she didn’t have haemorrhoids. She feels sicker and sicker, and I would have felt sorrier for her if I hadn’t been so transfixed by the puffy red bloomers the modules were shuffling around in. Hilarious.

· Lunchtime, and the heat and frantic schedule take their toll on our girls, and tempers are short. Joanie gently accuses Jade of always being defensive, but Jade proves her wrong by squealing “I AM NOOOOOT!”. Jade picks a fight, and the two waah waah waah for a while. Jade says to camera that “Joanie’s trying to corrupt things”, and even the boom mike doesn’t know what she means. Joanie does much better with “I’m sitting right next to her, and all I can smell is bitch”.

· All of a sudden, Daniele’s on a stretcher, gasping for breath, shaking, and on her way to hospital! Then, just as suddenly, there’s an ad break, and I throw a shoe at the telly! It turns out that Daniele is suffering from dehydration, exhaustion, and a touch of food poisoning. Perhaps God couldn’t understand her accent when she was praying earlier. She eventually checks herself out of hospital, saying that she feels rubbish, but the competition is more important, and she has to be strong. She’s like Moses crossing the desert. Except he never entered a modelling competition.

· The remaining 4 modules dress up for a Thai dancing challenge in stunning wrappy, shiny outfits with gorgeous ornate headdresses. They do their own makeup, and Jade looks like she’s the worst entry in a kindergarten colouring-in competition. In front of an audience and judges, and accompanied by a bunch of dramatic drummers, each module takes it in turn to waddle onto the main stage and show off what they absorbed that morning. Jade does quite well, but is a bit stiff and angular. Joanie rocks the house, and depite being tall, blonde, and from Beaver Falls, is quite convincing. Jade pouts and says “I’m not intimidated by Joanie. She’s not on my level”. That’s right, honey, but she can see the top of your head from there. Sara is unremarkable and looks embarrassed, but Furonda takes the cake, although not literally, because the intake of actual food molecules might kill her. Rather than recreate the moves demonstrated in this morning’s workshop, Furonda just decides to do her own thing, which evolves rapidly into a kind of hilarious hula/krumping/apple-picking/itchy-bum hybrid. She even lifts her hands above her eye level (I know! Um-ah!), but is saved from looking arrogant by her permanently slack-jawed open mouth. The judges look politely confused. The audience piddle their pants laughing. Joanie wins the challenge, and Jade scowls so hard it looks like somebody rubbed an onion in her face.

· The prize, which Joanie shares with Sara, is a lame and tedious dinner with a group manager from Thai Elle magazine. Joanie is given a bejewelled warrior sculpture as a gift, which she decides to point directly at Jade when she gets home. Malice and sculpture – together at last!

· A Tyra-Mail sends the girls to a photo shoot in the jungle (Daniele somewhat groggily), and Jay meets them on the back of an elephant. The modules learn that today’s shoot will be atop the gigantic beast, and are excited, Jade gushing about how great it will be “to be next to a creature that preposterous and big”. The shoot is to promote a vibrating razor (because shaving is obviously not dangerous enough already), with the intention of juxtaposing the girls’ smooth skin against that of the wrinkly pachyderm. Five minutes of tedious product placement later, the girls are dressed and made up with leaves in their hair, ready to go. Daniele is first, and looks nervous as the elephant reels and trumpets with fright every time the camera flash goes off. Despite still being sick as a dog, she brings it with some stunning poses, offset by her announcement that “I’m about to regurgitate on somebody’s face right now”.

· Jade is still gushing about her massive co-model, and says “it reminds me of an ancient dinosaur. Because, you know, they are in the dinosaur family”. About as much as you’re a human, pet. How’s that zoology degree going? Jade is still a bit stiff and angular, which frustrates Jay. Furonda is just a touch bizarre – flailing arms and jutting jaw, looking more than a little like some drowning Meccano. Joanie gets all brave and creative, balancing herself on the elephant’s leg, and Jay nearly soils himself with enthusiasm and pride. Jade gets the almighty sh*ts and says “I don’t pay much attention to Joanie. She’s not on my level”. Uh-huh. Using words from your own vocabulary, I think you’re manipulising the truthfulness a bit. Sara marvels at Joanie’s originality, and decides she’s going to be original too, by copying everything Joanie does. She does well, but doesn’t make any friends with her unabashed mimicry.

· The dreaded Elimination Tyra-Mail arrives, and the modules head for the Judgement Temple to face the judges. Like clockwork (albeit from a clock made from stupid gears and conceited springs), Jade rants to camera about how amazing she is, babbling “I am a threat. If I’m eliminated, the girls will be happy, like, they won’t have to deal with Jade anymore”. Word. Tyra, with a brand new skip through the Forest of Ridiculous Lumpy Hair, introduces the judges, including Spunky Nigel, who is now in charge of eighty percent of my estrogen.

· In this week’s Judgement Mini-Challenge, the modules are asked to don a mask and express three different emotions (sensuality, compassion and despair), using only their bodies. All five of the girls express all three of the emotions by waving their arms indiscriminately in the air, with Furonda again winning the ribbon for Most Likely To Be Mistaken For A Funnelweb Caught In A Garbage Disposal Unit.

· The photos from this week’s shoot are discussed – Furonda’s is surprisingly good, Daniele’s is gorgeous without a hint of her threatened elephant-upchuck, and Jade’s is fairly decent. Joanie’s photo is head, shoulders, arms, and abdomen above the others, and even though her legs are spread atop the elephant “Hello, Boys!” fashion, she still manages to look sophisticated and elegant. It’s almost a pity her manky tooth is gone – I could’ve done a whole paragraph of ‘tusk’ jokes. Sara looks stunning in her shot, but is given a spray about being a copycat. Tyra dribbles on about how copying is fine, as long as you ‘make it your own’, and I can’t help thinking that her job could easily be done by a three-year-old gibbon with a frock and a script.

· The modules’ names are called out one by one – Joanie is first, because she’s my new hero and I’m inviting her for coffee as soon as I can clear a space in my schedule. Sara is next, because she finally figured out she’s in a modelling competition, followed by Daniele, who is given even more schtick by Tyra about her incomprehensible accent. Leave her alone. She’s got new teeth. It comes down to Furonda the Funnelweb and Jade the Vacant Powerpoint – Furonda is told that she has a great personality (like that ever got a module anywhere), but that she just doesn’t get it, and Jade is told she marches to her own drum, and then quickly reminded that that’s a bad thing. Then, in the first sensible and logical moment ever recorded on American television, Furonda the Funnelweb is given the Flick. ABOUT TIME. The stuff I gouge out from under my toenails is more appealing than this girl, and better at dancing. Bye, Furonda! Don’t absorb any calories on your way out. As Jade collects her photo from Tyra, she thanks her for believing in Jade. Almost endearing herself to me, Tyra responds with “It’s not necessarily me believing in you, Jade”. Then she blinks, and I hate her again. Furonda wears her inane fuzzy pink tiara for her entire goodbye speech, and comments that the “judges must have lost their heads”. Whatever. Go eat something.

Next week, the modules do some ‘go-sees’ in giant decorative animal masks, there’s a photo-shoot in the ocean, and Joanie establishes her dominance by having a right old bee-yarch about Sara. Exotic. Aquatic. Despotic.

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