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"America's Next Top Model": The Peanut Gallery Pipes Up

March 25, 2009 |  9:16 pm

54299 So there we were, chugging along a very typical but, as always, mildly entertaining episode of "America's Next Top Model" when the girl I had just picked as my favorite, Celia Ammerman, went ahead and, during judges' panel, potentially torpedoed her chances at winning the competition. Tahlia Brookins, the self-doubting burn victim, has been annoyingly wishy-washy and wimpy throughout the season and the girls are starting to acquire that "you don't deserve to be here if you don't want to be here" attitude that exists only on reality TV. Tahlia passed the judges' scrutiny, however, but Celia stepped forward to alert the judges about Tahlia's ambivalence about being in the competition, which Tyra promptly smacked down. Oh Celia. You're so pale and square and elegant and high fashion and fashion-loving -- why did you have to go and do a thing like that?

Without Celia's outburst you could have titled it "The Episode of the Cycle Where Benny Ninja Comes to Visit," which is always a good time. Before the girls had their posing challenge, they were visited by Toccara Jones of cycle 3.  She mentioned her various side projects (but not, curiously, "Celebrity Fit Club") and was there to discuss personality, which she thought ALL the girls were lacking.

Then the girls met Benny, who gave the girls a tough lesson in posing. Celia built up some cachet (which she would later destroy) by winning the style challenge, which involved a pose-off in front of a large group of vocal, finger-shaking gay men. 

For the challenge, the girls portrayed fashionable immigrants, posing at Ellis Island for an actual old-timey film camera. It must be a sign of the times that immigration has been pushed so far to the back of the national consciousness that it's the subject of a fashion spread. The photos did look pretty, though, with children and Benny Ninja serving as props. Teyana Anderson and Aminat Ayinde had especially lovely photos.

Kortni Coles hasn't seemed like she was in the same category as the other girls, beauty-wise, since she came on the show (and her new red hair didn't help), so it wasn't that surprising that the judges picked her to go home. Again, the surprise was Celia's mini outburst; other than that it was business as usual at "ANTM."

--Claire Zulkey

(photo: the CW)