We all knew it was coming, but the magnetism of Annaliese's personality is so heady (and her excitement during the go-sees so infectious) that on the night that this episode aired, it roused me against the plodding quotidian that ANTM has become and gave me hope that we'd be granted the subversive whimsy of two Brit finalists for America's Next Top Model. But instead of a living phantasmagoria of teas and crumpets and the two most charismatic characters of the cycle, the humdrum cynicism that has become ANTM's normal again reasserted itself, where its brand of rationalism -- which, as our better senses could've told us -- dictates that an American must, by hook or by crook, participate in the cycle finale; and here we are, represented by Laura, who books half of her go-sees (the fewest among her competitors), and who struggles still with her walk, which, you know, might be an issue in the final runway. Just saying.
So Annaliese quietly became my favorite of the cycle, though probably more because of her easy, breezy (~sigh~) video recaps than because of how the show features her. By and large, the editors have chosen Sophie as our go-to talking head when a light quip is called for; if the internet is anything to go by (bear with me here), her style of eyelash-batting, über-girly frothiness justifies the amount of attention given to her, but between her and the time ANTM takes nowadays to foreground Tyra's interest in social engineering*, the editors have to leave out what I imagine to be Annaliese's choicest bons mots, to their discredit.
Additionally, Annaliese is more right than she admits when she says that Laura's over-the-top sexuality doesn't mesh well with the Top Model brand; in fact Annaliese's garrulousness is exactly the sort of quality that would've made her an exceptional ambassador for the show. (Sophie, as well.)
When Tyra calls Jez and Nigel her twins, you had to expect her running these calculations in her newly Harvard-minted business tycoon's mind:
You know how Tyra says in this episode that the winner of the cycle "will be the new face of America's Next Top Model's fragrance, Dream Come True"? Because clearly, this (which is still the funniest thing of the cycle) is not cutting it.
Seeing "Fire" Kelly Cutrone handing out money gave me the best idea I've had in ages** -- ANTM fandom, as diminished as we are, should pool together cash to give to "Fire" Kelly Cutrone to make her leave the show, which, I wouldn't be surprised, might well be all part of the plans of this "PR legend."
* Tyra's social engineering jones is especially prevalent in this and the previous cycle, both of which kept promoting
certain girls -- Alisha and Angelea -- whose fitful performances landed
them in the bottom as often as not but whose reprieves were motivated by
their combination of hard-scrabble backgrounds and perceived modeling
potential, a set of circumstances that Tyra sees as an opportunity to
play queenmaker, i.e. Oprah.
** Incidentally, wtf @ her for counting out the bills in French. It's like, beyond her vapid snark and flaccid insults, she's trying doubly hard to make everyone miss André Leon Talley. WELL IT'S WORKING, YOU AWFUL HARRIDAN.