or, If the season's going to be this boring, I'm glad they eliminated two girls in one night.
Unlike the previous two seasons, the prominence of the judges within the narrative of episode has risen exponentially. Tyra doing the first judging from her bed, and then snuggling into bed after her bit was done? The girls' loft, complete with images of Tyra everywhere? Jay Manuel (otherwise wonderful) reminding us yet again that he's Mr. Jay, and J. Alexander is Miss J.? So much attention on the judges takes up time better suited -- from a dramatic standpoint -- for character development.
Which brings us back (maybe not -- the connection doesn't seem quite so obvious to me now but I want to address this anyway) to the season premiere, wherein the producers revealed not just the process of choosing the contestants, but also their backgrounds and biographies, a subtle yet large mistake. In successful reality series, biographical data is communicated to the viewer at a "natural" pace (scare quotes because of the levels of mediation involved in the presentation of information in this genre), revealed to us gradually in a manner consistent with traditional storytelling precepts. When the premiere laid out all the cards on the table, it denied the series fodder for later story arcs.
Anyway, in the tradition of entries for past seasons: now for the obligatory indie-crush part of this post.
But! As all indie-crushes now will be compared to Elyse, this episode was clearly disappointing on the Yaya front. Be it tricky editing or her comfort in being just one of the girls, there was a dismaying lack of critical commentary from Yaya. (Maybe she's majoring in Communications at Brown?) In fact, there was nothing presented in this episode that set her apart from the other girls -- she took part in the Kelle-backtalk, and her response to the "monkey" comparison was rather standard (though how else would a person react?).