I've said it before (and others have noted it too), but dedicating a whole tv-hour to the semifinalists is excrutiatingly boring, and not just because we know who's made it as a finalist onto the show. To me, the most important reason is that there are too many girls (32!) and only so much time to devote to any one of them. As a result, the show can only give the girls the most cursory backstories, and if a contestant is one of the unlucky 19 who misses out on being a finalist, then, in a way, telling her backstory was all for naught; and if in the interim this girl manages to elicit viewer sympathy in spite of the abbreviated narrative she gets, the viewer ends up feeling short-changed. And so: why bother?
Well, one small reason for the producers to show the pre-elimination is to see what-could-have-been -- it's not a compelling reason by any means, but it does provide fodder for fantasy. For instance, we got to see Dani the "ultraconservative" Texan last night, and I found myself rooting for her to find a way into the finalists' house. To go by the brief argument she had with Danielle, the tension between them would probably have led to some of the most delicious knives-out catfighting since the Robin/Ebony clashes from Cycle 1. But then Dani had to go ahead and suck ass and show how underqualified she was.
Which brings me to another meditation on the narrativity on the show, which hopefully won't bore you, dear reader. I pulled for Dani to make it because I was bored with Jade's schtick immediately, and if Dani were to make it onto the show, she would've made a interesting Top Model villain than the fifth iteration of Self-Deluded Girl Who Thinks She's All That. In other words, I'm much less comfortable watching a girl like Jade (though at 26 I should call her Grandma) embarrass herself because she's so wrapped up in herself, and much more comfortable watching someone like Dani make a fool of herself because of her infantile politics. But for better or for worse (though I'm guessing worse), we're inevitably going to see Tyra break down Jade into a puddle of estrogen-filled tears (even if she's is drag queeny).
And this is the point where I retire my stupid power rankings. For me to predict the performances of the girls has been a mug's game, since the show can be so deceptive with how it characterizes its contestants, and I don't want to embarrass myself any longer. Nevertheless, I'll wager that Nnenna (how I love the smart chicks) and Sara (is it written into someone's contract that there has to be a Sarah or Sara on every cycle?) are bound for the top four, while Gina won't make it past the halfway point (poor complexion, horrible teeth/overbite, ugly smile, possibly developmentally challenged).
And finally: how I miss you, Janice Dickinson!
Indie rating: autechre - "Bronchus One.1"