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'America's Next Top Model': The contestants have to come up with personalities

October 22, 2009 | 10:52 am
TM1308a_0567b This week’s “America’s Next Top Model” tested how well the contestants could think on their feet and express themselves on-camera. I know what you’re thinking: “But, they’re already pretty!” Right? It’s totally unfair, but according to Tyra, “This isn’t ‘America’s Next Top Still Model,’ it’s ‘America’s Next Top Model.’” So true, Tyra. Thank you for setting us straight.

It seems that Kara’s elimination last week has finally broken up the “mean girls” mafia in the house. Oh, there are still haters left like Erin, whose pale skin and blond hair remind me of the creepy kids in “Village of the Damned,” and Sundai (but you’d be mean, too, if Tyra gave you Kate Gosselin’s hair). Everyone else seems to be getting along. It may have helped that Rae has gotten closer to Nicole. As the resident mom of the group, it appears as if she has snuffed out the bullying.

Tyra called everyone in her black book to show up for the first challenge of the episode. First, “The Insider” host Lara Spencer and the host of “Celebrity Fit Club” Ant gave the girls a quick lesson on “thinking on your feet.” Each girl interviewed Ant as he portrayed a catalog of multiple personalities, from bored actress to male chauvinist, in an effort to teach the women how to keep an interview going despite the curve balls thrown their way. I’m not sure how realistic the activity was. In my experience interviewing celebrities, there are only three personalities I’ve had to deal with: Those that don’t want to talk, those who talk too much, and those who are under the influence of something (if you catch my drift).

In this playful “off-camera” activity, the ladies all seemed to do pretty well (by the way, I’m pretending as if this isn't a reality show and that they’re not always on-camera). The only person who seemed to falter was dear Nicole, who was thrown off when Ant went completely off-topic about her hair. Nicole’s grade for thinking on her feet? “F.”

In the real challenge...

Seventeen magazine Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket announced that the winner will appear in a beauty story in the magazine. Don’t you feel these little mini “appearances” in Seventeen cheapen the ultimate prize for the real winner? Whatever. I guess Seventeen will take any chance to score a free model. It is a recession.

In the challenge, the contestants interviewed “90210’s” Jessica Lowndes on the set of “The Insider.” Well-spoken actress, professional surrounding, and they just have to read a teleprompter? Easy, right? Well, not when the teleprompter goes haywire in the middle of the interview. That’s what each lady had to deal with. Poor Laura, who suffers from dyslexia, is stumped when she sees the crazy jumbled letters on the screen and she can’t discern if they really are jumbled or her dyslexia has kicked in. When Nicole’s teleprompter went out, she asked 20-year-old Lowndes if she has had any kids (plural!) like her character on “90210"! I guess in our teen baby-mama times that isn’t the most obscure question she could have asked. Erin took the prize for rolling with the punches and remaining conversational despite the challenges thrown her way.

In the final challenge, the contestants taped a commercial for CoverGirl. Last cycle’s winner, Teyona, showed up to give the girls some tips. She admitted that she didn’t do so well in her CoverGirl commercial challenge, saying she was way too worried about what CoverGirl wanted. That wouldn’t be so bad for this cycle’s contestants, since instead of reading the cosmetics company’s script, the women were able to write their own. Judge Nigel Barker stepped away from his usual still-camera work and directed the girls in their commercials.

Nicole, who bounces back well when she has done badly, did really well in her taping. Nigel was definitely surprised. It’s funny, because she’s someone who knows that her normal personality isn’t effervescent, but she pulls off bubbly when she has to. Jennifer was totally at home in the commercial and seemed to blow Nigel away. I, for one, was distracted by her bouncing head. And what about her lazy eye? Not one lowered lid. Laura had some dyslexia-related problems with memorizing her script, but she made up for her country accent by writing to it. Genius. Brittany did the best with memorizing her script. Too bad she sounded like “Mr. Roboto.” Rae basically said her lines and "smized" at the end. The worst CoverGirl commercial prize goes to Erin, who just melted under the pressure. Tears flowed uncontrollably as she sobbed her way through the shoot. I guess that’s one way to sell eye makeup.

Media darling Kim Kardashian joined the judging panel. I have to say she was the perfect choice to judge a commercial challenge, since she has done an amazing job selling herself to the American public as a real celebrity. Oh, and I’m not sure why Tyra keeps referring to the TV camera as “the motion camera,” as if it’s some newfangled invention. Newsflash: moving pictures have been around since the 1880s, Tyra! The panel picked Jennifer’s bouncy performance for this week’s top spot. The bottom two ended up being Rae, who didn’t project her personality onscreen, and Erin, who broke the record for most makeup retouches performed in a single “Top Model” challenge. Ultimately, Rae was sent home. I think Erin got by on her previous performance history and her win in the earlier interview challenge. Did you think she should have gone, anyway? I mean what client would hire a girl who can’t pull it together in an expensive commercial shoot?

Without Rae in the house, I’m worried that the “mean girls” are going to resurface. Poor Nicole.

-- Jethro Nededog (Follow me on Twitter @TheRealJethro)

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Photo: Nicole, right, puts her interviewing skills to the test as she interviews "90210's" Jessica Lowndes on “America's Next Top Model.” Credit: The CW