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'America's Next Top Model' recap: Where the wild things model

March 24, 2011 |  8:31 am

TM1605_02_BRI1 Bratty behavior, an unflattering weave that just wouldn't quit, a famous stylist and a baby jaguar: This week's episode was a classic installment in the "America's Next Top Model" tradition if I've ever seen one. Alexandria continued her reign of attitudinal terror -- the Dynasty of Whine, as it shall henceforth be known -- but the real villain in this episode turned out to be Monique, who led a charge to read Alexandria's diary aloud on camera, only to discover that the stuff in there wasn't about her. Not to mention Monique's revulsion at the baby jaguar, which I'm guessing about 80% of the models wanted to run away with and rename "Mr. Stripeyface." Monique glared at that thing like she wanted to make it into a coat.

And, of course, no "ANTM" would be complete without an extended product-placement challenge for Covergirl. In this one, the women had to split up into teams of three and each claim director, writer or talent duties for a webisode promoting Covergirls' new line of "silk-infused" products. Despite Mikaela's prolific obscenities and Alexandria's mean-queen talent antics, the whole challenge was pretty boring. We already saw people flop on camera last week; two episodes in a row stretches the importance of models-as-actors a bit too thin, methinks. (Though sometime, Tyra is really going to have to break out her "Coyote Ugly" tape to show the girls what's what.) The best part of the whole challenge -- in which Kasia, Brittani and Mikaela eked out a win -- was Jay Manuel's exasperation with the middle-school-skit level acting the women were throwing out on camera. "I have to cut you before you can cut her," he hissed to one director-talent team.

Luckily, the main-event challenge was one of the better ones we've had all season. Clad in Rachel Zoe's new faux fur line, the women had to pose at the L.A. Zoo with, yes, a baby jaguar named Murato. Molly, who has been complaining about her weave pretty much nonstop for three episodes, tried to work the Rapunzel wig sewn on her head, but every picture just seemed sour and flat. Kasia, who apparently has never held an animal before, spent most of her time struggling to hang on to the sucker. She looked like one of the Real Housewives scampering after a lost poodle. Brittani and Hannah, on the other hand, turned out impressive pictures -- I think Brittani's is my favorite photo of the season to date. The real surprise was Dalya's fall from the top. It's rare that Jay blasts the models during their shoot -- rather than through his teeth to the confession cam -- but this week, Dalya's work had him telling her "This is remedial modeling, Dalya!" Ouch.

So, to no one's great shock, Dalya ended up one of the last two. Hannah took best picture, followed by Brittani and Alexandria, whose photo came out more like a really expensive Facebook profile shot than a fashion photo. Molly landed in the bottom for her bad pictures and anti-weave screed. "I am queen of the bad weave," Tyra scolded her, "But this [pointing to her face] I am always in control of." Despite her terrible photo showing, I didn't see Dalya's elimination coming -- she seemed like a far stronger contestant overall than Molly -- but out she goes. My bets for the top girls have to be Brittani and Alexandria, who've been landing the shoots every week. Any guesses, "ANTM" fans?

-- Margaret Eby


Full ShowTracker Coverage of "America's Next Top Model"

Photo: Brittani poses with jaguar Murato. Credit: Baldomero Fernandez / Pottle Productions Inc.