Sunday, April 15, 2012

America's Next Top Model: British Invasion (Cycle 18) - 18x06 "Jessica Sutta and Nadine Coyle"

If I weren't so arrogant, I'd have packed my ANTM blogging in by now because Annaliese has got episode recaps on lock:

(Her entries for all the other episodes are here on her website.)

Fortunately, my fondness for the internet equivalent of hearing myself talk is keeping me in the blog game. Still, I'll admit that Annaliese has complicated my job this week, and not just in terms of raising the bar for an episode that's ultimately a little disappointing, considering that it was supposed to combine my two favorite things: drama on ANTM (the fight at the beginning over Laura's teddy), and the non-singing Pussycat Dolls.

At the end of the episode, Tyra tells Az that she thought Az had a real shot at reaching the finale of the competition, which I considered merely an empty platitude spoken by a thin-skinned megalomaniac who couldn't ignore a perceived slight. But then Annaliese mentions (at 8:57 in the second part of her recap) how Tyra prefaces her parting remarks with "I don't know if I should tell you this..." and a wary eye cast towards the production staff, which Annaliese reads as a possible point of tension between the production staff and the judges -- that is, do the judges really have the final say over who goes home, or does production? (Which prompts another question for my fellow ANTM historians: who overruled Tyra in Cycle 16 when she tells Brittani that she wanted to send her home?)

If Annaliese is right, then Tyra expresses a genuine sentiment on AzMarie's elimination, which would thoroughly invalidate my initial interpretation of the elimination, i.e. Tyra seemingly taking so much offense at what happened in the tooch teach that she's willing to overlook a superior portfolio and video shoot/recording session to exact some pissed off judgment. Because, seriously? Every time she's on a runway, Kyle's eyes bug out, and her walk up to Tyra after her last call-out is no exception:

Whatever the case, I have to admire the way AzMarie handles the situation: her refusal to participate is the least attention-seeking of all the non-participatory showdowns in the show's history, all expressed in a preternaturally even-tempered manner. (I can also empathize with the principles of her rationale, because I would've been struck with debilitating horror if I'd been in her position. I mean, come on, learning about the various ways you can (and should not) stick your butt out? For Az, who seems to be a Queer Warrior type of person, I'm sure that kind of objectification is deeply uncomfortable.) And then to swallow her pride and admit that she was wrong for walking out? That's an unusual amount of humility and maturity for this show, though to be fair, they've been in evidence in the way AzMarie generally acquitted herself during her abbreviated stay on the show. To put it another way, I'm glad we'll always have her Hammer Dance.

I was in some empathetic fits throughout this episode, actually, and not just for the tooch teach, but for all the ladies having being subjected to those songs ("songs"). The Brits' pull off their merely dumb verses with panache, although I have to say that the group name they choose for themselves reeks of a panicked, last-second decision:

Annaliese: Oi, luvs, guv'nor 'ere says we 'ave to 'ave a group name, and right quick, yeah?
Sophie: 'ows about "Tees and Strumpets"?
Alisha: "Bri'ish Blimey Chickies", like?
Catherine: Saiy, "The Rine in Spine Stais Minely in the Pline"!
Annaliese: Right then, guv, we're "Fiercely British," wot.

(Incidentally, I've been thinking about Anglophone accents lately, partly because of Nadine Coyle, whom I, at times, thought had a Texas drawl, so honestly, I was never going to twig to her Norther Irish accent without help from Wikipedia.)

The Yanks, on the other hand, are saddled with a tune that, for reasons that have nothing to do with making Seymone say "ain't," makes me physically ill. Lyrically so cloying and lazy! It's not like the Americans, with their overall personality deficits, didn't already need some help, but this song just buries the remotest chance they had at preserving their dignity. So, right, the English misses (I can call them English now that Ashley isn't around repping Scotland) had them over a barrel.

Clearly, the Brits own the challenge, with Alisha and Annaliese being the brightest stars out of a bright bunch (but I was stunned that Sophie, whom I adore, gets the second call-out; I credit her with an A for effort, but in plain terms, she did not outperform both Annaliese and Catherine (who brings her own subtler, elbow-deep fierce to the video)). (And I'm not praising Annaliese just because she checked out my blog -- her moves are smooth.) But I'm not going to quibble too much, as I've been dead curious to see what a British victory looks like (it's been a while since the Falklands).


Ana said...

Can a Brit win?

I'd rather have a British All-Stars season, but ever since this started it seemed like it would be rigged.
The Am girls are making it really tough, though :| .

Even Laura seems weak compared to the wow the Brits bring (Alisha in the video WOT) - although her ugly-gorgeous moment at the end had me rewinding those few seconds 7 times or so.

At the start I thought that the top 3 would be Laura, Az and... Sophie, with Laura/Az winning (probably Laura, but it would be weird to miss an opportunity for a queer contestant to finally win; Kayla, I miss you!).

Somebody in the editing had fun combining all Kyle's bugged out moments and lack of personality with others' reactions to them.

*waves to Annaliese*
Love you :D !

Ana said...

After watching Annaliese's vlogs:

- Laura and being sexual.
With a toy from a dead best friend.

- Connecting with Kyle? What did she leave out? My curiosity spiked.
And she was actually funny when awake? EDITING Y U NO SHOW?!

- She actually mentioned fixing?
Watching everything when I get the time.

Leee said...

Can a Brit win? The conventional wisdom is that they're overwhelmingly unlikely, but I've given up trying to forecast this show in all of its irrationality. I mean, Az going home!!?

This is probably the closest to an All-Star UK as we're likely to get, I think, which incidentally is why the Brits are so much more memorable than these Yanks -- we're seeing a select cream of the crop against a smaller-than-usual set of Americans, only one or two of whom are memorable in any non-lulzy way.

Laura's face in the video is totally, inexplicably engrossing!

Poor Kayla! TT__TT I am still unreasonably angry about how they undermined her on All-Stars.

And as for the allegations of Kyle's unseen personality, I hope that the recap episode will give us a peek like they did with Christina from Cycle 4. (ANTM HISTORIAN, WOT.)