I should start off by telling you I’m actually a Top Model expert. And not in an “ugh I just spent the last 12 hours watching another ANTM marathon on Oxygen” kind of way. I mean I used to spend my Wednesday evenings writing episode recaps on deadline for a high-profile news website (really). I once shared an elevator with Mr. Jay Manuel. Obviously I take smizing and being fierce very seriously. So why is this season such a joke?
To be fair, I only caught the last 30 minutes of tonight’s episode because I was busy trying to convince pizza guy half a block down the street to deliver (it’s raining) (he wouldn’t). It’s very possible that the half hour leading up to judging offered a completely reasonable explanation as to why half a dozen model wannabees flew themselves across the pond to compete for amazing prizes like a hit single (what?) or a stint as the new face of America’s Next Top Model perfume, which apparently exists. Even more puzzling still is why each girl decided to distinguish her nationality by painting her country’s flag on her lips during panel (because the accents and matching t-shirts weren’t dead giveaways). But that doesn’t bother me so much. British people are cool and hearing Ashley talk to her adorable Scottish children with their adorable Scottish accents on the phone almost made me wish for a few British babies of my own.
But like, whaaa? I missed the actual shoot, but thank god, I think, because what are these crazy people doing? Based on context clues (and Tyra’s helpful recap), I pieced together that each girl was supposed to represent a British/American cultural icon, depending on which side of the Atlantic she hails. Except that term is so broadly used that it includes everyone from Pocahontas to Elton John to Michelle Obama, who we learn is incidentally a huge fan of the show and is probably watching right along with us (and with Malia and Sasha, of course). The models get into character and pair up with each other (at random? who can say) and jump into mid-air poses while fancy cameras take 360 degree shots that show off angles or something and the entire time you’re thinking “what do George Washington and Amy Winehouse even have in common ahhh?”
Tyra, decked out in a floor-length rip-off of Kate Middleton’s red-carpet Jenny Packham dress, begins elimination by reminding the girls that while yes, she’s American, that doesn’t mean she thinks Americans are the best, although maybe she does because she ends up calling them all first while the rest of the contestants stand there pouting with their Union Jack lip art. But this is a competition, you know, and as they say in the biz (or at least before commercial breaks), “May the best Brit or the best yank win.”
As a blond Kelly Osbourne coos from her seat as a guest judge, some of the girls nail it–the model who does Margaret Thatcher, for instance, is more dead on than Meryl Streep–but Latoya Jackson isn’t angry enough and would John Lennon really tuck his legs up like that? Kelly Cutrone, who tries to muster up the tell-it-like-it-is bitch we came to know and love on “The Hills,” can only quip that poor Ashley looks like a royal mess as Princess Diana (haha, good one) while Tyra, as always, tells us how she would have done it better. Then she poses the nagging question that has had our stomach twisted in knots for the last 15 minutes: Is the girl going home boarding a domestic flight or an international one?!?!?!?!?!
In the end, no one cares. I was almost hoping Janice Dickenson would pop up out of no where and start krumping or someone would pull a cycle four and pass out, just to divert our attention from the train wreck that is America’s Next Top Model: British Invasion. Can cute Scottish accents even carry this season? Producers seem to hope so–they saved Ashley from the bottom two, after all. But it looks like thing are only going to get more awful because next week Kris Jenner is a guest judge which, despite how incredibly exciting the previews want you to believe it will be, is probably only going to end in tears.
Is America’s Next Top Model done? Is it dead? I think it’s dead. Like, it’s a ghost right now. But not as dead as American Idol. Wednesday TV nights are the worst.
Did anyone else watch the British Invasion?