This episode, the judges didn't even hide the tacit understanding that the performance of a given week does not necessarily weigh into the decision of whether a contestant will stay above the cut. What the judges might look for instead of the photograph itself, they'll extrapolate some small, perhaps anomalous display into "personal growth," or they'll cite prior pictures in favor of a contestant, or they just have blinders on and continue to back a contestant for ideological reasons (in this episode, Janice is bonkers for Brittany the loud abrasive one (I mean Brittany) reminds the Dickinson of her first face). The arbitrary nature of the judge's decisions makes it particularly hard to call my rankings much more than a list of who I like best since there's little way of knowing what supposed deficiency will be on their minds in advance (especially because I don't watch previews). One week, Keenyah's taking a lousy picture and she barely avoids elimination; the next week, she takes a lousy picture and is the second contestant that Tyra calls out to go into the next round. The logic behind these decisions are effaced, likely to make the narrative more dramatic and unexpected.
PS - Beautiful sniping between Nolé and Janice this week, of course.
TOP MODEL AMERICANESS RANKINGS
1. Naima (2) - Oh, I could go on about her decision to try to blend in with the environment in her photo shoot, which suggests how in everyday interactions she attempts to suppress her "real personality" that might include the angry girl she used to be -- but I'm tired of being analytic. Now, suddenly, in addition to personality deficiencies and a burgeoning lack of facial versatility (funny that her decision to go on more go-sees instead of returning to the hotel was left out), she's no longer the juggernaut from the earlier episodes as the producers scramble to single out vulnerabilities to make the series more dramatic. (Her final three spot remains guaranteed, though.) Right now, she's got the perfect mix of certainty and doubt (which she'll overcome -- what a story!) to win.
2. Kahlen (1) - Dear! When so many girls checked her as having the most potential, it means she's peaking too early! (Some risky branch out on which I was climbing last week!) Especially now that she's shown her articulateness (during her toast to Christina -- aww! -- and her critiques during panel), I am sad! She is cutie pie.
3. Brittany (3) - The stinging criticisms dealt to her at this panel will chasten her for a week, but it won't last into the week following that, I'm fairly confident. (I'm not allowed to say exactly why I'm so confident, other than to suggest that I WILL BE THE GUEST JUDGE WHO ELIMINATES BRITTANY.)
4. Keenyah (4) - In reality competitions where a small group of judges (or judge -- think Trump) decides who will eventually be crowned the winner, it turns out that a large majority of contestants are on the show simply A) to fill out the roster, B) to stir things up, or C) head off complaints about a lack of diversity. Keenyah is A).
Indie rating: Loop - "Shot with a Diamond"