Tonight was the grand kick off to Make Me a Supermodel. Well, actually it was the "meet the models" special they decided to air before the actual start of the season. At least, I think it was their intention to introduce us to the models. I didn’t feel introduced. In fact, they mentioned names so few times and panned over the Polaroid collection so quickly during the judges deliberation that I barely managed to put a handful of names to faces. Then again, it’s awful hard to care about a room of 35 hopefuls when you know that within the next 43 minutes they will be cut down to 14.
The show is hosted by Niki Taylor and Tyson Beckford, neither of whom manage to give Tyra a run for her money. At all. Niki barely speaks to the models at all and Tyson spends a little time telling them they are walking too stiffly and handing out the occasional hug, but neither have the type of personality that jumps off the screen. Additionally, they are teamed up with 3 execs from NY Models who will be giving the winner of the show a contract, and none of those individuals exactly manages to be remotely interesting either.
Copying the standard reality show competition format, the show traveled to several cities to hold casting calls and we get a few minutes glimpse into each of them. It starts and Dallas, which offers only a calculatingly intense blonde in desperate need of a bra or warmer clothes and from there we travel to Chicago. There, Josiah admits to picking all his wife’s clothes out for her, while Nicholas informs us that it is his goal to be the show’s token gay. Does he know nothing about the fashion industry? The show is more likely to have a token straight male than a token gay. Ronnie, also gay, tells the judges he aspires to be President of the United States before admitting that he dated a porn star who moonlighted as an "escort" for 3 years. I am not sure politics is an area he should concentrate his energies on.
Moving on to Miami, I have to laugh at how they edit one girl admitting to being a "performer" at Disney World and follow it up with another girl saying "I’m a performer….well…..stripper". Bravo, have we a grudge against Disney? Tyson camera talks for a few moments about how models have to be performers and must "become the clothes" and I feel certain I just got an excellent view of my frontal lobes by rolling my eyes so far back into my head. We also meet Casey who claims to be a Buddhist and avid reader of Vogue, who is certain that is where he belongs. Given that one of the tenets of Buddhism is to transcend the dust of the world, I have to wonder how much of a Buddhist he actually is if making it into Vogue is what he is concerning himself with. I mean, I certainly think Vogue is like Nirvana, but I am a faithless heathen of epic proportions. Casey also tells us that he has chosen to become a model "for everyone else". It’s like the DSM IV spit out the anthropomorphic personification of Narcissism! And Frankie, who claims to be the best looking guy in the entire country, is clearly delusional.
We get to California and meet Perry, among many others, who claims to have had quite a temper a long time ago, "back when [he] was, like, 20". Perry is 22 now. But the real freaks are in New York (despite Miami offering up it’s fair share). We see a parade of contortionists, a guy in white linen Bermuda length shorts with front pleats claiming to be named "Sex", a girl who claims her biggest aspiration in life is to be a serial killer, and what I am fairly certain is a homeless man who wondered in off the street, given the length of his hair and beard.
From this array of humanity taken from across our great nation, 35 individuals are chosen. We get a montage of a few of them wandering through airports talking about how much they want to win in the most unenthusiastic way imaginable. Like you or I might discuss a build up of laundry we are avoiding. They all converge in New York, where they meet Niki, Tyson, and the Model NY execs and they are all asked to talk about themselves a little more. One admits to servicing two terms in Iraq, while Casey claims to have lived in an alley before Shannon tells the panel she’s actually not a female. There is an uncomfortable silence before she goes on and it eventually becomes clear it was her attempt at a clever metaphor that was instead painfully uncomfortable and awkward. I am grateful when they are told to stop talking and start walking. Even the stiff movements and frightened faces mixed in with the over the top goofiness of some trying to be noticed (like Perry flashing the universal sign language for "call me" while pointing to Niki) is better than the actual attempts at conversation. The quickly mark Jacki as the best runway walk, with Holly a solid second, and cut 6 people without fanfare but a lot of criticisms: Nicholas was too effeminate, Eden was too creepy, etc, etc. Tyson tells them not to give up, but they are all sent home.
They move to the swimsuit portion of the competition and here is where I get irritated, as the Model NY execs, each one of them over weight if not outright obese, goes down the line and tell girls who are 5’10" and probably 112 lbs that they need to "tone up" or "lose weight…down there…especially on your thighs". Right, because we don’t have nearly enough eating disorders in this country. With the line up done, they tell the models they are doing an impromptu photo shoot, where they must pair up and have only each other and a dingy looking club chair as props. A fair amount of soft-core porn is created, though I have to say Holly (who looks like Christina Ricci, only with less forehead) photographs startlingly well and her photo clearly comes out the best. Tyson declares it Dolce’s new campaign, though I think Dolce would have a more stylish bikini and a little thing called lighting before agreeing. The judges converge again and decide Erin is too fat, Heeda has bad skin, and Derrick is boyfriend cute not model cute and they are all cut along with another 2 people.
The final cut consists of the judges choosing 6 guys and 6 girls, and putting up 3 guys and 3 girls on their website for America to chose. America chose Katy and Ben, who join the 12 chosen by the judges in New York, to live together while competing against each other to find out who will be made into a supermodel. Hopefully next week, we will get more names of these people.