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Thursday, December 21, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #12

It's cold in Casa De Module.
With only four girls left, tensions and nerves are high, and there's no room for niceties. Caridee hates Melrose. Eugena hates Melrose. Melrose hates everybody. Amanda hates prune juice. Still.
I'm feeling the chill in the "Shiver Me Bimbos" episode of America's Next Top Module.

· Amanda, in her usual thin-faced, pointy-nosed fashion, laments the departure of her sister, claiming that she made the ultimate sacrifice by practically inviting the judges to boot her. Sure, 'ultimate sacrifices' are usually things like donating kidneys or throwing oneself on grenades, but getting kicked out of a televised modelling competition is almost the same thing. If I was Amanda, I'd be more upset that, without the novelty value of having someone who looks exactly like you to help chug the plot along, all she is now is a gawky Ginger bag full of femurs, ulnas, and ribs. Think Richie Cunningham on a diet of oestrogen and heroin. There. You got it.

· A Tyra-Mail cryptically announces this week's theme of Working With A Partner, and our modules file into a dance studio, where they're met by a dancing dwarf with the best name ever – Nacho Blanco. I'm pretty sure I've ordered him in a restaurant before. Nacho, through an interpreter, tells the girls they'll be learning to dance flamenco today, and introduces three hot Spanish guys and one anaemic geek. They stamp their hooves and clap their hands, and each module picks one to be their partner. Amanda picks the anaemic geek, and I've never seen two more snappable necks or sets of unused genitalia in such a small space before. Nacho teaches the girls some steps, keeping time by shouting "Bam, Bum, Bing-Bing Bum", which, combined with his name, makes him the funniest Spanish midget dance instructor I've ever, ever seen.

· Melrose's confidence far outweighs her dancing ability, Eugena is a natural, Caridee is pretty good, and Amanda looks like the scrap bin at a chicken-boning plant. Eugena, in an even more insightful burn than last week, comments that "Amanda looks like Amanda trying to dance". Wow. Ouch. Your literal is so lateral, Eugena. The modules are told to practice hard for a dance challenge tomorrow. Eugena's natural ability precludes any practice, but Amanda and Caridee stay up most of the night rehearsing their moves in eerie night-vision light green. Amanda's skin-tone is unchanged. Melrose, instilling a delicious tingle of impending disaster in all our loins, says "I don't want to over-practice. It'll just work". Oh, Melrose, my bug-eyed, psycho-grinned friend. If it wasn't for the inflationary qualities of your huge ego and over-blown sense of ability, you'd crumple like a house of maniacal cards.

· The modules go to dinner with Miss Jay, who has little advice except for the implied How To Look Like A Crack-Addicted Hermaphrodite. The simple question "How did you end up here?" triggers a babble switch in Melrose, and she rants like a caffeinated cockatoo about fashion design, ambition and blah blah bloody blah. Everybody, Miss Jay included, looks on with a mixture of boredom and incredulity. Caridee remarks to camera that Melrose seems to have three personalities and that "It's really creepy. Maybe she should be medicated". I love pharmaceutical cattiness, especially from the mouth of my New Best Friend. Miss Jay rounds off the dinner by voicing what everyone's thinking: "May the best bitch win". Amen, freak.

· Caridee and Eugena are becoming fast friends, forming a strange kind of black/white, exciting/boring, best-chick-in-the-world/evil-vacant-lump-of-flesh partnership. You can tell they're friends, because first thing in the morning, Caridee invites Eugena to "feel how smooth my armpits are today". That's how all girls express their devotion to each other. It's a bit like having a pillow-fight in our undies, gentlemen. You know we do. The two besties discuss their growing distaste for Melrose, and this starts a montage of diary-room clips:
o Eugena on Melrose: "I'd be pissed off if she won".
o Caridee on Melrose: "She's so fake. She's like WWF wrestling".
o Melrose on Caridee: "She has no problem with vulgarity"
o Caridee on Melrose: "If Melrose becomes America's Next Top model, I'll puke. All over. I'll just puke.
Goddamn, I love Caridee. I'm going to compare people to wrestling as frequently as possible from now on. And maybe puke a little.

· Nacho Blanco greets the modules in a park with "Ola, Chicas", and tells them they'll be dressing in full flamenco costume for a photographed dance challenge. Polka-dotted frilly meringues are produced, and the girls take the stage in turn to stampy-stamp-stamp their way through the challenge. Caridee and Jose do well, helped along by a considerable amount of mutual sek-shoo-all electricity, and Eugena and Oscar are excellent. Amanda and Grua go through the motions like whippets on a treadmill, and Melrose and Angel do reasonably well, but Melrose is rattled when she forgets some of the steps. A normal, non-pre-postal person might have shrugged off this minor mistake with a coquettish giggle, but Melrose's face hints at a concealed pencil-case filled with razor-blades and iodine. Nacho is proud of his protégés, as any corn and avocado-based baked dish would be, although he does point out Melrose's errors. Eugena wins the challenge, and picks Amanda to share her prize of three designer jackets.

· Melrose is gutted that she didn't win the challenge, and we should take a moment to list some of her cavalcade of comments and excuses. I've even thrown in a fake one to see if you're paying attention – see if you can pick it!
o "My dress is too long. You can't see my footwork".
o "This dress is HUGE on me".
o "I don't like dancing all serious"
o "You have to be perfect to win, and it's frustrating".
o "I hate how you only get one chance!"
o "I'm mad at myself".
o "Dancing is like, my soul".
o "I wanna, like, get a kitchen knife and just STAB, STAB, STAB! All work and no play make Melrose a dull boy. I want to play with your entrails".

· Yet another Tyra-Mail summons the girls to an outdoor pool, where Mr Jay and Tyra meet them to explain today's photo-shoot. Tyra will be "coaching" (read: drawing attention to herself with a series of hoots and clucks) the modules whilst they float in the pool in pairs in designer frocks, evoking the spirit of 'ethereal angels'. What?! No idiot costumes, extreme make-up or motorised hair? Are you sure? Melrose and Eugena take the plunge into the unseasonably icy water first, and in a groundbreaking scientific experiment, we find that committable lunacy floats, and cranky disdain for all humans sinks like a stone, as Boring Eugena has trouble keeping her head above water. Melrose comments that "I think I'm good in water. Eugena's struggling to get the float on". The pair shiver and sputter through their photo session, finding it hard to look relaxed and friendly through the cold and their intense loathing for each other. Amanda and Caridee are next, and Caridee's grace is offset by Amanda's stiff, awkward floating Meccano impersonation. The cold begins to seep into Caridee's bones, and she starts quaking and convulsing with hypothermia and a touch of the grippe. Mr Jay and a paramedic drag her out of the pool and warm her with a towel, and Tyra scolds her for not listening to her body. If only Tyra listened to her own body a little less often, particularly when it wakes her up in the middle of the night to go get another eleven-piece bucket. For health and litigation-avoidance reasons, Caridee is forbidden to re-enter the pool, so Amanda finishes the shoot by herself. Melrose rolls her eyes, seemingly indignant that Caridee was able to take the spotlight away from her with a cheap trick like partial cardiac failure. Bitch.

· It's judgement time, and the modules front up to the judges, including Spunky Nigel, who I'm making a mix-tape for, and guest judge David the photographer. Tyra's back in a corset, although it seems to fit quite well, sharpening my growing disappointment with her stylist. First the flamenco photographs are viewed, and we're shown a close-up of Amanda's feet, which point disturbingly in two different directions. No biggie when you're constructed mainly of pipe-cleaners and chewing-gum. Miss Jay jumps up to demonstrate his version of Transgender Flamenco, and in a surprise comparable to finding a piece of metal in a Christmas cake, Tyra screams "I wanna dance with you, Miss Jay!", and proves without a doubt that wiggling like you've stuck a bobbypin in a socket has bugger-all to do with flamenco. Tyra loses a shoe but flaps onward, explaining that even if your clothes fall off, you should keep on with the job, the irony being that she really shouldn't have hoisted herself up off her dimpled derriere in the first place.

· Floating pool-photos are picked through, and I have to admit that all four of the girls look breathtakingly stunning – all wafty hair, dreamy faces, flowing gowns and the complexions expected from those halfway through the cryogenic process. The judges note that Eugena had trouble floating ("If you start to sink, keep your face PRETTY!"), that Amanda has the limbs of an emaciated scarecrow, and that Caridee is impressive in her ability to look hot when she's quite decidedly not. Temperature-wise, I mean. Aesthetically, she's bodacious.

· The judges deliberate and make the following insightful comments:
o Nigel (proving he's worthy of his no doubt stunning pant-filler): "Melrose irks me. That hat makes her look like she's trying too hard".
o Tyra: "Eugena looks like she's given up".
o Nigel (making me not want to eat his neck for just a second): "Caridee takes a beautiful picture, but she's too high-maintenance".
o Twiggy: "Amanda's body is a disaster"
Note that I haven't included any of Tyra's comments here – I've successfully tuned my ears and brain to a frequency that filters her voice into a dull fatty hum.

· Judgement time, and Tyra clutches the Photos of Doom in her meaty paws as she calls the names of the successful modules. Melrose is called first, and Caridee mouths something to herself – I'm no lip-reader, but she definitely, definitely included the word "bitch". Eugena the Boring is called next, leaving just Caridee and Amanda. Tyra tells Amanda that she has an edgy, high fashion look (read: scrawny), but that she's awkward and meek. Caridee is told that she has a bubbly personality, but that she might spill over and flood (hummmmmmm), and that she can't handle extreme temperatures. We all know what happens. We do. Caridee is safe, and Amanda is given the flick, because things are right with the world. Caridee cries gratefully, and Amanda, relationship-novice that she is, comments that "It's kinda like I'm breaking up with Top Model, but I got broken up with". Really. If this is break-up sex, you really got screwed, girl. Bye, Amanda! Try not to yoik up a cup of prune juice on your way out.

Next week, the competition gets jalapeno-hot as the field narrows to three, the girls have trouble remembering their lines for a commercial, and a catwalk is set up in what looks like a snow-tunnel. Spicy. Dicy. Icy.

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