Four episodes into the season, the “America’s Next Top Model” house has reached the annual point where the male and female models are comfortable enough to know exactly who they want to hook up with, or at least who the best targets are. The flirting was at an all time high in tonight’s episode “The Guy Who Gets a Beard Weave,” and as such, so was the jealousy on set and the frustration within the ranks.
The An Le-shot photo shoot was a clear arbiter of effort, if not pure talent, due to the difficulty of holding a series of awkward poses for so long. In addition, Matthew and Mirjana’s time in the Tyra Suite only served to add animosity to their relationship, which clearly affected Matthew’s performance in tonight’s Optical Illusion shoot.
On the flip side, Keith and Kari’s flirtatious attitudes definitely benefited them on set, adding confidence and personality to their time in front of the camera that only a few other competitors were able to bring. It was a quick shoot that could have used a longer edit in order to see some of the creative or adventurous poses the models came up with instead of only getting Denzel’s meltdown for a signature moment on set.
Hiding boxes containing the makeover outcomes while withholding which model they belonged to was a particular brand of cruelty from Tyra, but added a splash of extra amusement before the models even got to the salon. Even though the episode’s namesake ended up on Denzel, he was the least dramatic makeover of the night (and Keith, of course, who got nothing done). The most drastic changes were reserved for Shei and Kari, who both handled them in the most opposite way possible.
The former received a half-black/half-white hairdo that could have turned her into a skinny Cruella de Vil but came out gorgeous and increased her confidence to a higher level. Kari, on the other hand, had the requisite breakdown that happens with at least one model each cycle. Unlike some in previous years, she was smart enough to at least make an effort to embrace her altered appearance, leaving Tyra the job of gently reminding her that a unique look is better than a classically pretty one.
Leaving the episode time to fill with the makeover was a fine choice, and probably the smartest one considering that is where most of the entertainment lies each year, but with no challenge to take up a big chunk of the episode, everything seemed too quick with no real cohesion from segment to segment. The better move would have been to wait to shoot this week’s photos until after the makeovers were completed, giving the judges an opportunity to see the future potential of each model.
Incorporating social media into the judges’ decision continues to be a double-edged sword. It undermines the decision to send someone home because the judges don’t have the ability to make a united decision without external input corrupting any intelligent points they make.
However, it also gets the audience as involved as possible which is the more important thing for the show’s continued survival. The possibility of Kari getting sent home just as she was getting used to her new blonde locks and initiating a possible romance with Keith was horrible to think about knowing it would have been her social media feedback that sealed the decision.
Chantelle received the “heading home” edit consistently throughout the episode with the repeated refrains from her housemates that she was too arrogant and didn’t have the talent to stay much longer. Her uniqueness wasn’t enough to keep her in the competition, but it was the right decision. At least she got to walk out the door with a stylish new weave and dye job.