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'America's Next Top Model' premiere: What's a short top model to do? Tyra sort of knows

September 10, 2009 |  8:49 am

Model  For me, the "America's Next Top Model" formula was fine as it was – a well-oiled top-model-selecting machine. I thought, just like many of you I'm sure, what the heck is a short model going to do even if she wins? Well, Tyra answered that in Wednesday's second elimination as she was consoling the girls who didn’t make it:

“Ladies, I know this is hard,” says Tyra. “And the advice that I can give you is, yes, you’ll walk into agencies and they will say you are too short.” Please note she’s supposed to be consoling them. “But there are some other things you can do. You can do commercials. You can do [slight pause, eyes widen, wait for it] face modeling …OK?” And hugs.

She could only name two things! If that was Tyra’s version of a pep talk, please Lord, don’t let her volunteer for a suicide hot line. After Tyra’s less-than-graceful goodbye speech, I realized something – Tyra was just keepin’ it real.

So, in the spirit of Tyra, I'm going to keep it real with my review of the moments that made me go "Wha?" in Wednesday's two-hour premiere:

Le Cycle 13 - The Fall Collection: What's up with the random openings they've been using in the last few cycles of "ANTM"? Remember the crazy "futuristic" opening in Cycle 11 when the Js came out in couture bodysuits? Tonight's episode started off with a French-theme dubbed Tyra's Le Cycle 13: The Fall Collection where the girls are supposed pieces in Tyra's next fashion line. She then bursts out dressed like Mrs. Roper and screaming about the injustice of height discrimination in the worst French accent I've ever heard. Of course, the only explanation for this: Tyra is cray-cray.

The Thumbelina Complex: Any fears that this cycle was not going to, um, measure up in the drama department disappeared once the girls started rolling through. I've never seen so many "ANTM" contestants with so little self-esteem. Sure, they seem confident, but we all know the happiest clowns are really just sad carnies under the wigs and makeup. So, Amber does not fool me when she says that she's there for Jesus while she gyrates ("Shake that thing, Shake that thing!") around the room. Is anyone surprised she dropped out for "personal reasons"? Or Raven's tinkle-making tumbling passes during interviews. What about Bianca when she exclaims her high intelligence and self-esteem, yet throws a fit about everything she's asked to, uh, model. Has anyone told her what competition she's in? I'm pretty sure we're going to see some major breakdowns this season and when they arrive size won't matter. On the upside, these girls are here to play. And "ANTM" is always best when the girls want it bad.

What's a Ty-over?: Ms. J explains that it’s "a Tyra-Makeover." In my opinion, the makeover episode is the best episode of the season: Weaves fly, long tresses are snipped, and, inevitably, girls are in tears. You know this season is going to be good when the makeovers appear in the premiere, oh-tay! Sometimes, though, I just feel Tyra is messin' with the girls and I felt that way tonight. Sure, Bianca's attitude sucks, but c'mon, you had nothing to do with her, so yah bleached the girl's brows? Just mean. And why does Jennifer, the sole Asian contestant, and Lisa, Amber’s replacement, basically get away with a trim?

The truth is that once you get over the height requirements, this cycle is just like any other. Tyra is still narcissistic. The judges are just as harsh. And while the stakes may be higher for these girls because of their height, the Top Model standards are just that – the standard. Even with all the potential Tyra saw in her, Lisa left because she couldn't project the Top Model within -- and we can't just blame that on her height.

To paraphrase Ms. J, no matter how short you are, you have to walk that runway like you're 6 feet tall. And for that, "ANTM," I ain't mad at yah.

— Jethro Nededog

Photo courtesy the CW