‘America’s Next Top Model’: Don’t trust anyone over 20!

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For the last four episodes of “America’s Next Top Model,” Celia Ammerman fought a battle with her age (an ancient 24), but somehow failed to stop or reverse the aging process up until tonight’s episode. Would she continue to be old or learn her lesson in time?

Before this cycle’s final three were revealed, the girls were given a samba lesson, Paulina Porizkova advising that the aim was not only to move one’s body but also to make it look easy. Celia moved with way too much elegance for a tall old crone, but Paulina gave her the maddening advice that she wanted it too much and that she was desperate, which was not sexy because she was too old. It was almost as if Paulina, who is older than 24 herself, was getting a thrill out of telling Celia how decrepit she really was. Allison danced awkwardly, which she had warned everyone about, Aminat Ayinde moved naturally and Teyona Anderson, as her pal Aminat put it, had two left feet.

It feels like the ‘lessons’ and then challenges this cycle during the last few weeks have been lacking either relevance or creativity. After learning how to dance, the girls put their new skills to work on a ... dance challenge. Allison, who hilariously described herself as a ‘rickety little windup doll made of tin,’ did not anticipate that she’d fare well, but Aminat was confident in her own skills and was unhappy when ol’ Celia won the challenge (because she wrote the word ‘relax’ on her wrist, sort of like how Lindsay Lohan tattooed the reminder ‘breathe’ on her wrist, only not as stupidly permanent). It was odd when Paulina seemed to find it so strange that Celia chose her buddy Allison to share in the jewelry prize with her. It’s never been typical on this show for the girls to share their prizes with who should have won, as opposed to their chums, but at least Aminat didn’t seem to take it personally. The girls picked out some beautiful jewelry, and I am now trying to find a knockoff of Celia’s onyx drop earrings. To celebrate her victory, Celia struck a seductive ‘Lost in Translation’ pose in her panties in the girls’ hotel room.

The contestants were woken up by makeup artists Sutan and Christian jumping into bed with them, were partially made up and then driven out to the jungle, ‘not the jungle for TV’ as Aminat clarified. For some reason, Tyra pretended to be a woman angrily kicking her broken-down Jeep, one of her best performances to date. Her reason for being out in the jungle? Not to teach the girls the ‘Guidelines for Unchaining Their Figurative Fierceness,’ or whatever it is, but to photograph them.


I don’t know if Tyra was drinking some cachaça or if the heat was going to her head, but she was especially dotty during this episode. She held onto a huge prop wrench for an unnecessarily long period of time and advised the girls about the number of varieties of insects in the jungle, but clarifying, ‘We’re not about insects. We’re about birds!’ The girls would be portraying birds in their photo shoot, but not just any old birds. Allison, for instance, would be an ‘owl-slash-pterodactyl’ who’d be protecting her eggs. Tyra, who makes Mother Theresa look like garbage, told Allison that due to her own experience as a model she sympathized with the pain of squatting over fake eggs, and thus Allison was allowed to stand up from time to time. At the end of the shoot Allison told Tyra that she was ‘really pretty,’ and then bemoaned what a ‘square’ she is. I don’t think she belongs in the top three, but she can be entertaining, that Allison.

For her shoot, Aminat resembled drag queen goddess Bebe Zahara Benet, but of course not nearly as fierce. As Tyra and Jay Manuel discussed Celia’s shoot, Tyra got buzzed by a wayward moth and freaked out. Time to get out of the jungle, Tyra, before the horror comes and gets you.

Teyona predicted that only Celia or Aminat would make the top three, not both. I personally wanted to see the two of them in the top three and possibly do a photo shoot together since I thought they have similar lanky tall figures, and the contrast between Celia’s pale skin and short blonde hair and Aminat’s beautiful dark skin and long black hair would look amazing in a picture.

The judges loved Allison’s photo, so much that it inspired Mr. J. Alexander to speak in bird tones, which went over like a lead balloon. They liked Teyona’s picture but weren’t entirely enthusiastic about it, and felt the same way about Aminat’s. They seemed to like Celia’s picture but not enough to save her from the bottom two. Tyra informed Celia and Aminat that what they have in common is that they’re butterfaces. Well, what she really said is that they’re both fabulous from the neck down. And unfortunately, Celia, unable to stop the hands of time, was finally sent home.

Tyra gave Celia a lovely farewell and predicted that she’d have a great career in fashion, just so long as she says in the background the way old people should.

So next week Teyona, Aminat and Allison will battle it out for this cycle’s top model. I don’t think Allison will be able to pull off the Cover Girl challenge, and while the judges love Teyona, I’ve never found her one of the prettier girls in the competition, possibly due to her high hairline. Aminat is like that woman in the episode of ‘Seinfeld’ who sometimes looks gorgeous, sometimes looks wrong, but I think due to her amazing body and tendency to occasionally say something vaguely amusing, I’m pulling for her to win it all.

-- Claire Zulkey

(image: the CW)