America’s Next Top Model 19.04 “The Girl Who Does What Tyler Perry Says” Recap

The reality show villain is a blessing and a curse to a viewer. Television thrives on conflict and I understand the inclination to keep big, drama-happy personalities around, but if they’re around too long or outlast talented individuals, it takes away from the season as a whole. You want to be entertained, but you want the season to produce a hungry, talented, likable winner that you can root for. And for that eventual winner to be given the camera time needed to build a fanbase that will help them, and by extension the show, become a success. Following in the Top Model footsteps of the likes of Camille, Melrose, and Alexandria, Kristin is the next villain to try her hand at spicing up a cycle. But does she succeed?

Kristin is Awful and Other House Drama
Y’all, Kristin is horrible. It’s been fairly obvious that this “former” mean girl is still trapped in the days of schoolyard scuffles and vicious backbiting, but “The Girl Who Does What Tyler Perry Says” laid all of her attitude problem out in the open. Kristin is the type of girl that has watched a little too much reality TV, her strategy of goading every girl into slapping her to get them kicked out from the “I’m not here to make friends” school of behavior disorders. Her whole fight with Destiny was way too aggressive and escalated to violence in the blink of an eye, with Kristin the one turning it into something that it shouldn’t have been; if you steal something from somebody’s purse and then act like you’re the victim, you have a problem. Her persecution complex through the entire episode, capped off by another vacant photo and a bratty altercation with Victoria over who got to read the skull mail, made me long for the day when she gets kicked out.

Tyler Perry’s Top Model Challenge, Starring Tyler Perry
After the girls got it together, they headed to Santa Monica for a challenge with multi-hyphenate Tyler Perry (who wasn’t good or bad in his brief time). Playing off the idea that modeling is less about being pretty and more about being able to embody any emotion you’re asked (as you are in acting), the models were each assigned one of four characters: tourist, rapper, street performer, or Hollywood diva. They then were dolled up in elaborate, ultra tacky/loud costuming and had to parade around, interacting with people on the street as Tyler and Tyra directed them from a nearby van. It was a challenge that was quintessential Top Model – it might have been based on a solid concept that exercised certain muscles for each model, but it was predicated on embarrassing the girls in a Candid Camera-y kind of way. A few might have rose to the challenge, but considering the fact that we only saw about half of the “bits”, I think it’s safe to say that it didn’t quite succeed.

Kiara ended up winning the challenge, being drawn to play a delusional wannabe Hollywood diva and getting to embrace the flaws that the house has chided her for. Though I liked her performance more as it went on, including her head-to-toe gold ensemble and feathery jacket, I would have given the victory to Yvonne, who had to portray a rapper. Her character made her stretch more than the other standouts (Kiara, Victoria as an insane lady with an inexplicable British accent) and her commitment was less bad sketch comedy and more grounded in behavior believably found on planet Earth. We finally got to see her be confident and have a little fun, so for displaying a little personality, she deserved to win the walk-on role in the Tyler Perry movie.

The (Runway) Walking Dead
The photo shoot took place at Universal Studios on the set of War of the Worlds, a tiny suburban neighborhood that looked like it went through the apocalypse. There, the girls have to model pretty stunning evening gowns while portraying the undead in a zombie-themed photo shoot. Cut to 10 pretty women getting covered in sores/blood and trying to work their “bad side” in a setting that could have easily looked hokey rather than dark or high fashion.

Like the challenge, very few of the models really rocked it. My favorite of the bunch was Laura, who managed to provide the aggression the shot needed without turning it into ugly-ugly, while Leila’s broken down doll posing was the only other highlight of the shoot. Destiny may get points for trying something new by laying on the floor, but that didn’t make her shoot any less awkward; Kristin was boring, flat, and uninspiring with her vaguely Maxim facial expression; Kiara didn’t read like a model whatsoever; Victoria came crashing back to Earth in a shoot that was much too timid and blank to be a zombie; Yvonne had no idea what to do with her body; Nastasia, Brittany, and Allyssa were in the weird gray area of not being bad but not being that great, but in this shoot with the performances we saw, that’s good enough to make it another week.

Additionally, Johnny still isn’t impressing me with his presence on set. I don’t expect full-on technical critiques of each model’s posing or anything, but growling, telling them (over and over) “more hungry!”, and talking about people “not giving it” didn’t feel that constructive/relevant. I may be a weird Top Model viewer, but I like seeing the advice given at the shoot. I like seeing the creative consultant offer a piece of advice, the model take it, and then go from 0 to 60 in 3 frames. We don’t really get anything like that from Johnny yet – I’m still hopeful that the more the field narrows, the closer he’ll grow to them and the more specific his advice will be.

Panel
I think I’m a little over the social media aspect of Top Model. In theory, it’s fairly sound, but the comments we hear don’t add anything to the conversation. There’s been nothing that insightful that’s come from the video messages and Facebook comments, which would be the main purpose for including them in the show. Top Model viewers are smart and it’d be nice to have that be given more screentime, either through extended video photo critiques or better photo comments than they’ve been reading.

The biggest thing to come out of panel, aside from everyone’s decision to wear black, is that Kristin spoke up against the criticism that her modeling leans too much on being pretty. Although I hated her for much of the episode and thought this would turn into another self-pity party, she actually approached it fairly well and I respect her asking how to be not pretty-pretty. You’d think that she would have seen an episode of Top Model or two and know about the concept of ugly-pretty by now, but it gave Tyra the chance to demonstrate the difference between ugly-pretty and ugly-ugly and offer an explanation about the type of modeling they’re looking for.

Currently doing poorly in the social media realm are Kiara (who looked very music video in her photo) and Yvonne, who managed to hang on for another week and outlasted Destiny; the latter’s confidence was just too low to be able to bring life to her photos and with her drama earlier in the episode, maybe it’s for the best that she got out of there while she could. Destiny could turn out to be a great model one day, but she needs to grow, get more experience, and learn about herself in order to do that.

Top Model Leaderboard – Week Four
1. Laura – 42.5 (Highest social media score yet)
2. Leila – 37.3
3. Brittany – 37.3
4. Allyssa – 35.5
5. Kiara – 32.7
6. Nastasia – 32.4
7. Victoria – 31.2
8. Kristin – 30.9
9. Yvonne – 29.5
10. Destiny – 27.0

Thoughts, Quotes, & Observations:
-I’m already irritated about the height comments re: Nastasia. They saw how she photographed in the audition process, so I don’t see how her “picture height” is becoming an issue in week four. I think it’s safe to say that she won’t win because of that, which is a shame because I think she has immense potential.
-The episode suffered from redundant critiques. How many times did we hear some variation of “you don’t look like a zombie”?
-I’ve yet to warm to him as a judge, but I loved Rob’s jacket at panel.
-Next week on Top Model: The models participate in a charity fashion show and the photo shoot is all about cheerleading.

One Response

  1. carmen September 15, 2012

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