The 13 finalists are selected and head to New York City for their youthful photo shoot in Central Park.
Tyra & Co. have returned for Cycle 12 of America's Next Top Model, where 34 girls were whittled down to a lucky 13 during a trip to Sin City. The finalists move into their swanky, new pad in New York's Upper East Side where the wannabe models tackle their first real photo shoot by trying to capture the innocence of youth.
Cycle 12 starts out just as all prior seasons have — with an outlandish gimmick, of course. This cycle's theme? Roman Goddesses. The 34 contestants arrive at Caesar's Palace of Las Vegas, when from behind a wall of gladiators emerge the two Js, who welcome the girls to the "Temple of Tyra." Vomit. Each girl puts on a tiny white toga-like dress and gold, lace-up shoes to strike their best profile poses followed by a walk down a runway with machines pumping out smoke to create the cloud affect. Forget making it down the runway without stumbling — these girls were lucky if they didn't choke to death with all that smoke in their faces.
But, at last, Tyra makes her over-the-top entrance alongside a bevy of gladiators, and the models immediately become what appears to be 11-year-old girls at a Jonas Brothers concert — complete with tears and outstretched arms.
We slowly begin to meet the wannabes who may or may not make it to be models. Let's just say casting really out did themselves this time around. There are the staples: the cute Southern girl, the plus-sized girl, the girl with a medical impediment, etc. But a few new archetypes have been thrown into the mix, including a tree-hugger, conspiracy theorist and even a scarred burn victim.
A chunk of the girls are sent home after they don't receive a golden crown of leaves a la Caesar, and the remaining gear up for their first photo shoot. Each is assigned a different goddess and tasked with portraying what she represents in their poses — i.e. Goddess of Love, Pride, Madness. But things get heated right off the bat with two girls whom the camera had been focusing on quite a bit: the unbelievably cocky Sandra and the mighty abrasive Angelea (whose fingernails will undoubtedly give me nightmares for weeks to come). A simple eye-roll initiates the battle, but the next thing you know, Jay is breaking up all the hand-flailing and palms getting thrown in faces. Despite what Angelea thinks, this ultimately affects her photo shoot for the worse.
The time comes for the final lucky 13 girls to move on to join the show as finalists: Allison (the one with alien eyes and a nosebleed fetish), Aminat (the extra-tall drink of water), Celia (the old grandma), Fo (the freckled "Blaxican"), Isabella (the epileptic), Jessica (the confident Latina), Kortnie (the plus-sized chick who loves her some cheesecake), London (the streetwalking preacher), Natalie (the spoiled brat), Nijah (the prom queen that always scowls), Sandra (the cocky biatch who sucks), Tahlia (burn survivor) and Teyona (the only person in this world who still says "da bomb").
The second hour begins with the girls entering their Upper East Side abode for the first time. As per usual, the house is ridiculously amazing, with the obligatory barrage of Tyra's face slapped up on every wall. The girls scurry to claim their beds, but another conflict occurs with Sandra yet again. Celia got the keys and thus first dibs on a bed, but Sandra threw her purse aside and took the same bed. When the two try to deal with the situation, they realize there's only 12 beds for the 13 girls, and Sandra is not having the floor thing. Ultimately, London, being the religious peacemaker that she is, gives up her bed to settle the matter.
The girls get their Tyra mail and head over to the 59th Street bridge, where they learn they will be doing a runway fashion show for Abaeté clothing as "good" and "bad" girls. Most of them do pretty well, including Isabella, who was nervous about the strobes messing with her epilepsy, and Tahlia, who wasn't happy she had to wear the most clothing to cover her scars. But Sandra, whose overly inflated head was about to float down the runway ahead of herself, stopped midway on the catwalk and retreated. Definitely a no-no.
For their photo challenge, the girls are each given a childhood game to play while trying to capture a youthful, innocent look with background models posing as youth gone bad. Oh, and did I mention the bad-girl playmates consist of a ghetto superstar, some Avril Lavigne look-a-like and a pregnant teen drinking out of a brown paper bag. Audible sigh. I can't even comment on that one.
The judges seem to have good things to say about Celia's shot, as well as London's and Nija's. Most of the girls have pros and cons, according to the judges, and land somewhere in the middle. But they were most disappointed in the bottom two: Isabella and Sandra (Ha! Karma's a bitch, huh Sandra?). Sandra let Ms. J down the most with her half a catwalk, and her photo was no prize either. Isabella had a beautiful spirit but looked lost. So who's the first to go? Isabella.
What do you think of the new season so far? Personally, I thought this is an interesting bunch of gals. I already love to hate Sandra, which is key. I'm anticipating a little snip from some of the other girls down the road as well (like Celia). My initial observation is that they really went for girls who are just plain bizarre — like Alien Eyes and her unhealthy obsession with hemophilia, the gun enthusiast (who I admit I am sad to see go) or the one who brought along her pen collection of different foods (where does one find a pickle pen?). I am interested to see if Sandra's reality check at the end will humble her, or if she'll keep that smug attitude going. Guess only time will tell.
What did you think of the premiere? Is Sandra going to take the title as house villain? Did the right person go home? Any favorites yet? Discuss!
Tyra & Co. have returned for the Cycle 12 of America's Next Top Model where 34 girls were whittled down to a lucky 13 during a trip to Sin City. The finalists move into their swanky, new pad in New York's Upper East Side where the wannabe models tackle their first real photo shoot by trying to capture the innocence of youth.