Is it terrible that we are 11 weeks into the first season of Make Me a Supermodel and I am still kind of bewildered by it? Granted, the show runs a lot more smoothly than it did the first few weeks, when the episodes were disjointed montages that looked like they had been edited by film school students on benzos, and thank god for that. But it still makes me feel dirty from time to time. And not because of the nudity, which I am more than fine with (Hi Ben!). But I am getting ahead of myself.

We start out with Ronnie and Shannon rising to face the eviction panel. Shannon thinks she has more of a right to remain in the competition, since it’s her first time at panel and Ronnie’s been four times before. But Ronnie is so confident that he doesn’t even really bother to pack. Since there can be only one this week, it is Shannon that is sent home. I am unsure about this decision from the standpoint that Shannon was consistently a strong performer, but it makes perfect sense when you also consider that she was a boring one.

Less boring is the dynamic in the house now that it’s shrunk and the guys can spend all their time picking on Holly. Which they do by flipping all the pictures of her on the wall backwards and mocking her high-pitched voice. She takes it in stride, with a smile even, which just makes me like her that much more. She’s really improved each week and done so without gaining pretension or arrogance. She actually seems grateful to be there and for the chance to have this as a possible career opportunity.

There is a weird moment where Tyson brings Naomi Campbell to the house and she’s gorgeous and surprisingly soft spoken. But she just says ‘hi’ to the models and looks through their books, saying she likes the photos and likes Holly’s hair. And then she leaves. I can’t comprehend having a model of her caliber on and not having her actually DO anything but flip through a couple books, smile and leave. It almost feels like she is just doing it as a favor to Tyson. Is the show that needy for ratings?

The Photo-shoot challenge has our four remaining hopefuls posing as the four elements and wearing nothing of consequence. Which still seems to make them all uncomfortable. Ben portrays Air and during his photo-shoot it’s as if someone replaced our usual prison guard with a male model. His posing and comfort in front of the camera has increased to a huge degree. Holly portrays fire — which first I have difficulty seeing, since she’s just sprayed kind of yellow with long white nails and skull cap covering her hair. Then they set a manikin head on fire and digitally add the flames to Holly’s photos and it makes perfect — and gorgeous — sense. Though I am immensely disturbed when the photographer comments that she isn’t thin enough. Which is the stupidest thing I’ve heard anyone say in months and hence the aforementioned feeling dirty. So. Not. Right.

Perry poses as Water. At least, that’s what they say he is. But he just looks like a greasy Dashboard Confessional fan with a bad haircut, too much eyeliner and serious dental issues. Nothing about it reads "water" to me. And the glycerin to simulate drooling? Gross. Lastly, when you show a long shot of a male nude who has done the tuck…do us all the courtesy of playing Goodbye Horses. Seriously.  Ronnie portrays Earth and from the moment see him, all I can think of is Dead Poets Society.  Please don’t kill yourself Ronnie. Sound your barbaric YAWP!

The next day, the models go out in the evening to an art gallery that is showing their elemental images. They are all kind of blown away by it, which is endearing. By the time the Catwalk Challenge comes around, they are all feeling pretty good about themselves. Which means it is a perfect time to bring in Christian – the snarky winner of Project Runway – to coach them on their walks! Sadly, he does not being the nasty like he did on PR. He made a dress for Holly, that looks exactly like one of the dresses from his winning collection, only in pink and purple instead of shades of beige and cream. Holly feels so confident that she camera talks that she’s going to "kill this catwalk like it’s a lazy squirrel," which…..wait, WHAT?

I just can’t. Let’s pretend that never happened, OK?

Christian gives them all the type of helpful information we would expect. Ben is too serious, Perry should never do goofy poses, Ronnie needs to hold his eye line or risk looking "too pagenty" and Holly is fun, sassy and cute. That is some crazy accurate insight he has, huh? To pick up on the things that are the most blatantly obvious just like that. He’s a true fashion talent. Too bad about the hair. He coaches them through three different looks and then promptly disappears in a cloud of "fierce."

When the catwalk does come, I am again mesmerized by how much improvement there is in Ben. And how much everyone seems to be really enjoying themselves. Which is weird, since we are so close to the end now. Yet, they all seem relaxed and in their element. The underwear walk is very sexy, despite the fake tattoos and goofy arm warmers. I adore Holly’s entire outfit and wig, which make her look like she belongs on the cover of some pulp noir international spy book. The preppy walk makes far less sense, with the guys in sock garters and extra bouncy steps, but whatever. The final look is evening wear. The guys are all in suits and I have to say, Ben does it best. Perry just has too long a waist to pull off the suit, and Ronnie lets the suit wear him.  Ben looks like James Bond. 

Panel goes as panel always does. The judges bring up the fact that they think Ronnie and Holly have softened up and are no longer in model shape. Which is ten shades of ridiculous. All the same, Holly takes it all without a whimper and when they tell her that she needs to work "a lot" on her body and add that even if she doesn’t win, every agency in the US will want to represent her, she tears up, smiles and says that as fantastic as winning would be she just wants to work. And that is what makes me want her to win.

Ronnie and Ben both seem like they are haphazard about it. As if they would love for it to work out, but they are hedging their bets a little. Perry I could easily see becoming a reality show fixture more than anything else. Plus, when they ask him what he learned in all his time on the show, he replies that he went through a "lot of crap" but that if he trusts himself he can’t go wrong. Which is all well and good, but I would have rather that he learned something about humility. Even if it were just the definition thereof.  But Holly seems to genuinely have a passion and desire for the work, beyond the show, beyond the possibility for fame. I really believe that she is one of those girls who know what day Vogue comes out each month and have never missed an issue, because they love fashion that much.

But no one is put up for elimination this week. Next week is a standard Bravo Reunion show (yay!) and after that we move into uncharted territory. Here’s to hoping that Holly wins. And that they don’t let the benzo addicted film students near the editing equipment.

Posted by:Jessica Paff