Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Whoo wee, last week America's Next Top Model was a letdown, but last night was a breathtaking recovery. It was the little, almost random moments that made this episode so memorable because they relieved the frustrations of the competition itself, and surprisingly, most were centered around Catie. Granted, her taking over Camille's phone and ragging to her poppa was overlong by a minute, but that entire oatmeal scene was absolutely brilliant.

Catie: "Eeewwughgh, this is HEALTHY oatmeal, BLUUEUEH!" (makes lemon-face)
Sara: "Here, let me try. Mm, it's good."

Not only was Catie's expression irrepressibly cute, but the sheer unexpectedness of the scene (which is probably filler) nonetheless shapes out her personality. Instead of a bratty and immature girl, we see a childish girl who probably hasn't been weaned off of sugar yet.

So it was with these scenes in mind that had me rooting for Catie instead of Camille. Even though Camille is so deluded -- her inflexibility and resistance to acknowledging that someone else may be more expert in, let's say, acting than she as a novice would be -- it's that same delusion that makes her so much tougher than Catie. What Tyra said, "Camille might have the drive to make it in this industry" (a paraphrase), rings true but also frightens me cos what if Camille actually wins this thing?

I'm thinking she won't, though. The last intractably self-righteous woman was Robin, who went fairly deep into the competition but still got the heave-ho. I sleep well at night knowing that Robin was more talented than Camille is.

But despite my newfound predilection for villains, I'd still like to see Camille go, and the sooner the better, because as the bad guy, she's boring because of her incapacity to change. She's a monolith. And I've spent too much time writing about her today.

The rest of the girls are shaping up into a preliminary final four: Shandi, Yoanna, Mercedes and April. These four also happen to be my favorites -- coincidence?

Tyra completely surprised me when she said that out of the remaining girls, Shandi was the most likely to work in high fashion. From clueless tomboy to high fashion? Wow. Still, in a way that's almost as good as ghettoizing her and I see her making it to the top three and no further. (See also: Elyse)

Mercedes keeps growing exponentially. Instead of just the bubbly but also stressed out personality we've seen up to this point, suddenly she starts cracking on Camille and damn gurl! She's a woman with attitude and snap! And out of all the commercial readings, her "Just uno baby" was the sweetest. Nice and energetic is boring. Flava is hott. At this point, she's my bet on winning.

April is an overachiever, which doesn't exactly endear me to her, but it helps me relate. I'm seeing her as a darkhorse who's going to go head to head with Mercedes in the final two.

The show isn't doing much to develop Yoanna's personality any further. Plus, Nigel gave her what sounds like a kiss of death. She'll max out at top four.

As for Sara, she only seems to offer a beautiful, exotic face. I didn't like her performance in front of the judges. By virtue of being easier to work with than Camille, she makes it one round further than the diva.

Finally, I just wanted to say something about that acting exercise Tyra's friend gave, with the blank paper/Dear John letter. For something that I initially dismissed as new age wannabe Method tripe, it elicited a huge response. I think possibly one girl (Catie?) started crying, which unlocked the feelings in the others, because potent emotion is absolutely contagious. One of the most powerful moments in this series.

No comments: