Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Whew, what a harsh episode. When the contestant that comes off the best is Camille, you know that the episode is hardcore.

What Janice Dickinson brought up about Camille's new leaf -- that possibly her newfound humility is just an act -- missed the point by a hair; rather, the issue is how long Camille will accept and adopt to criticism. That said, I have to admit that I thought she was the best dancer out of the whole bunch, Shandi included (more on that in a bit), but I can't that I was disappointed when April won instead. How far she'll go depends entirely on how well she responds to advice and criticism. For better or for worse, she's suddenly top 3 material.

Shandi disappointed me. A total lack of trust with her boyfriend precipitated the entire argument. (Besides, even if going out to the movies is their "special thing," cripes, going out to the movies???) She's become an ironized example of the contemporary rags-to-riches story, where the better one does in a business, the more unreasonable and corrupted with and by riches one becomes. While she's become more comfortable in the context of America's Next Top Model, apparently areas in her character that remain insecure. Evil Shandai indeed.

Armchair Freud done. I didn't like much her dancing. Her gangliness didn't translate well for me. All the praise she's getting has the feel of a set up, as though she's peaking too early to win the whole thing. (cf. Elyse)

April was way too highstrung (how stereotypically Asian). While she does need to push herself to overcome certain shortcomings, she goes about it in a mechanical as opposed to organic way. Her situation is a variation on Mercedes' dilemma from a while back: stress debilitates more than any other perceived deficiency.

Yoanna was petty when she sniped at April. Still I felt bad for her when she fell during her routine. I also thought she danced pretty well, but then again, I dance like her, and I have the riddims of an architect. I thought for sure, though, that because of the gaffe, she would be gone.

While Yoanna was the most visible player in the "Let's make fun of April" bit, Mercedes played a role in it too. So the Leee Book doesn't say "all sunshine and lollipops" next to Mercedes anymore, either.

Finally, Sara. I felt horrible for her. Much in keeping with the scathing and nitpicky nature of the critiques this week, I thought her flaws were minor. I absolutely agree with what Tyra said about Sara being able to stand with her and Heidi Klum in a Victoria's Secret ad. Her dancing, though, was shaky at times, which I'm sure was caused by her bum knee. Still, even though I predicted she'd be gone by next week, it's a wake up call -- at the beginning of this episode, the remaining girls were a strong bunch but didn't think that the situation had changed, everything was still business as usual. But in order to make cuts the judges are going to be scrutinizing them more closely than ever. The level of competition just got kicked up a notch. (BAM) Sara shouldn't feel bad, I'll do it for her.

But out of all of them, perhaps she has the most at stake -- half of her family. I don't know whether her elimination is a good or bad thing in this regard. Probably both. From a modeling = prostitution perspective, it won't matter, because she's already been "stained" by the experience. But maybe pressing the issue will force reasoned and open debate about it, which, unfortunately, I doubt will happen.

Oh by the way, Rodney Jerkins is a great producer, but he didn't disguise Tyra's voice the way whoever it was did for Britney. Nonetheless, Tyra was extremely astute and self-aware when she realized the irony of her eliminating a contestant when she's starting off on her own new thing.

It's almost like the show is now doing the job of the tabloids. (Not like reality shows never before showed people being rotten.)

I miss Elyse.

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