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'America's Next Top Model' recap: Souqin' it up

May 5, 2011 |  8:31 am


Was it just me, or did this week's episode of "America's Next Top Model" veer into dreckitude territory? Sure, there was another round of fire-related high jinks. Yes, Molly's bleeped-out cursing reached an all-time high, and there was the whole eating-goat-brain moment. But even with all that possible Orientalist-leaning adventure and a pretty unexpected elimination, the end of a cycle always feels like the doldrums, and this one doesn't even have an added spice of house drama to keep it alive.

Perhaps it's just because all the girls are just so desperately serious right now. Hannah began the episode by painting each of the remaining four in the broadest marketing strokes possible: There's trailer-park-turned-model Barbie, surfer Barbie, girl-next-door Barbie and, um ... angry Barbie? Even the tea with Franca Sozzani didn't stir much up, except for Brittani's halfhearted queries about the future of print magazines. Luckily, Ms. Jay was there to save the day with a challenge that Alexandria described as "very cultural," which is a pretty great euphemism for "some weird foreign thing": Everyone had to dance with a tea tray on their head.

But wait, there's more! All of the models then had to do it live with professional dancers thrown in. And, oh yeah, the tea cups were replaced by candles. Most of the girls did impressively well, considering, but Molly the grouch tripped going down the skirt, cursed a blue streak and never really recovered her dignity (or her teapot, for that matter.) Alexandria hammed it up, but got a little too "In Da Club" with her moves and the whole tray came crashing down. (But as Britanni pointed out, Alexandria had an unfair advantage because "her head is flat on top." Oh?) Britanni won the challenge anyway, and brought Hannah along for a one-on-one runway-walking lesson with Ms. Jay. The whole thing was pretty painful to watch. Ms. Jay was just about one step away from rending his tunic.

Even the photo shoot seemed a little blah, despite aggressively interesting hairstyles and lush backgrounds. Hannah's Cinnabon-crown of a hairstyle outshone her modeling performance, and Alexandria's Aladdin-meets-the-exorcist look couldn't save her from a pinched face. Molly continued to rock that "I would punch you if I wasn't so fashionable" look, and Brittani seemed to totally nail the shoot, even after an unfortunate encounter with a bite of goat brain.

The judges disagreed, however. Alexandria took most of the hit. "You look out of your mind!" was Andre Leon Talley's comment, but the real nail in the coffin was when Nigel Stewart correctly identified her gaze into the distance as the look of an airplane flight attendant. Ouch. Brittani didn't do as well in panel as I expected, but she still got the second picture, after Molly's sure-thing landing in first. It came down to Hannah and Alexandria. I was counting on Hannah going home. She's lovely looking, but nothing she's done this season has been fabulous enough to save her from a string of mediocre pictures. But instead, the judges sent Alexandria packing. 

I'm not sure this bodes well for how interesting the next two episodes are going to be. I'll sort of miss Alexandria's psychological warfare. How about you, "ANTM" watchers? Who's going to win this rodeo?

-- Margaret Eby


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Photo: Alexandria poses on a photo shoot as Hannah and Molly look on. Credit: Walter Sassard / The CW