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'America's Next Top Model': Slidin' down the catwalk into a finale

May 14, 2009 |  4:37 am

Teyona For an "America's Next Top Model" cycle that started off with a lot of spark and lighthearted promise, the finale lacked a little luster.  But why? Teyona Anderson and Allison Harvard are both beautiful in unique ways. Unfortunately, neither creates TV magic on her own, and the show's rigid formality has made the finales more rote than riveting.

As usual, for instance, the top three found out that they'd be shooting a CoverGirl commercial and photo and that the winner's ad would appear in Wal-Mart stores (the news of this made Allison look as if she wanted to cry).  As usual, the previous Top Model (McKey Sullivan, in this case, looking lovely) stopped by to give advice and pretend to be having an off-the-cuff conversation about how great CoverGirl's newest product is. 

The girls did look beautiful, Aminat Ayinde in red, Allison in a fluttery teal dress, Teyona rocking yellow effortlessly. Aminat was slightly underwhelming, as was Allison, but for her underwhelming was better than awkward. Teyona stumbled over her words and cried. Oh honey. If there is one thing you shouldn't do, it's to cry. Then the makeup people have to come back and everyone is waiting for you. Why didn't anyone give her this advice?  Finally, Teyona made it through a take before the girls had to face Tyra, who was dressed like an evil queen. 

The judges deliberated: the judges were impressed that Allison pulled off both the commercial and the shoot.  Aminat's commercial was OK but her film was just "wah-wah," plus she had all the potential but couldn't work her face well.  Tellingly, the judges didn't have too much to say about Teyona despite her meltdown. Despite the Brazilian judge saying Allison wouldn't be his pick for a fashion show, Aminat was sent packing and as usual Allison and Teyona would face off in a fashion show. Allison was nervous, but she had practiced her walk and "gotten over feeling lame," which is a feeling we all should aspire to. 

Each season the producers try and up the ante on the fashion show with some silly gimmick like having it be on a hill or over a swimming pool or something. This was the first time, though, that the show felt rather second-rate and unprofessional. The first part of the show was a copy of a Victoria's Secret event, with the girls modeling swimsuits and wearing big feathered wings (plus over-the-top makeup that didn't seem to correspond at all with the rest of the look). Both girls performed adequately (that meaning, again, that Allison was surprisingly competent). Then, in what must have been a very long break, the girls changed into brand-new big costumes, this time with headpieces, and sambaed down the aisle.  Finally, after another pause for serious restyling, and seemingly unconnected to the other two parts of the show, the girls were covered in grime and oil and had to slither down the aisle on their hands and knees.  Allison said that it resembled an art installation, but it was more like a scene from a creepy '60s sex play. Teyona's fake ponytail fell off and, rather than freak out about it, she whipped it in the air -- which would have been cool if a.) this hadn't been done already on "RuPaul's Drag Race") and b.) the wig weren't still sort of connected to her head by an icky-looking thread.  But the girls "walked" the catwalk well in that case, I suppose. 

Because Allison and Teyona had modeled bikinis during the fashion show, they naturally had to wear them during judges' final panel, and it looked chilly. The girls always have the best makeup during the last judging, and Allison looked amazing with smoky eyes. The judges deliberated, and were wowed by Allison's improvement, but felt Teyona had wanted it more, and lo Teyona is our next Top Model. 

I'm not worried about Allison, though. I had heard of her as "Creepy Chan" online before the cycle even started, so I have a feeling we'll hear from her more in the future.

— Claire Zulkey

(art: the CW)

Comments () | Archives (7)

They never said Allison's film was "wah-wah", they said that about Aminat. Tyra said Allison's shots were really strong.

I think the judges were ridiculous. Who are they do say one wanted it more than the other? They should've based it off of who did a better job... now who THEY thought wanted to win, that'd ridiculous. I thought the show was called America's Next Top Model, now "I wanna be a model the most!" *rolls eyes*. If Tyra hadn't have said that it wouldn't be so angry right now, it just shows she is extremely biased and unfair.

You're right though, Allison will be fine. She's better than that show.

Sarah C

There is an error in this article. The author writes "The judges deliberated: Allison's commercial was great but her film was just "wah-wah,". During deliberation, the judges praised Allison for her film, pointing out their amazement at how she could not only be edgy, but commercial. It was to Aminat's film that they replied "wah-wah" (because she was unable to control her face, as the author stated). Plus, they said Allison's commercial was only good, not outstanding. Just thought I would post about it!

Claire Zulkey

Thanks Katherine and Sarah--I have updated the post to reflect that correction. I was getting my A-girls confused!


I don't believe Tyra was being biased, I think you, who have written this article is biased. I watched the last episode , and Teyona was clearly the best pick out of the 3 girls.

Rick Cain

Ridiculous. I knew Tyra wanted a "sista" to win this cycle, but she kept Allison so it at least seemed legit that she wasn't gonna have 3 black girls in the finale.
Both Amina and Teyona had terrible presence, bad ghetto-speak which neither could turn off for the commercials, Amina has a bad tooth gap that really needs to be fixed, and Teyona's meltdown during the commercial taping should have taken her out of the running immediately. I think I know why they fired Paulina, she wanted Allison...

Tyra was obsessive over "youthful appearance" and she used that argument alone to can one of the 25 year old models. Alison looks about 16 so I guess youthful appearance didn't count that day.


Allison got robbed, this show is RIGGED. Years ago, Teyona would have been thrown off for that train wreck of a commercial. Also, looking at their portfolio Teyona had no range, she always had her 3/4 head shot. She's only pretty from one angle, whereas Allison had a broad range.

Ty-Ty played favorites and I have a feeling that she only picked Teyona because Teyona could never get a modeling contract on her own, with her lack of personality, swinging robot arms and constant weird high-shoulder shrugging. I'm not watching any future shows, what a waste of time if its so rigged, NOT SATISFYING.. BOYCOTT ANTM!!


I do believe that Allison should have been ANTM. I did not care for either one of the other girls' attitudes. Being confident is one thing (something Allison desperately could have used coaching on) but being obnoxious and narcissitic is quite another. Allison photographed beautifully and had a diverse portfolio (the others had the same recycled "strong" poses and "determined" faces). Only Allison displayed an array of emotion and depth in her photos. My main criticism of Allison is her mousy demeanor (which, by most of her photos, you wouldn't have any idea she was like that in person) and awkward walk. She seemed to pull it out and work it at the final fashion show though. I believe that she will have a future in fashion even if she didn't win. These other models that were top three are a dime a dozen. I didn't see anything particularly different about either one. I am happy for the winner (obviously she wanted to win, but I don't think MORE than anyone else). However, I think that they should have gone by strength of performance, attitude, and presence. Allison had all of these things on camera and walking the catwalk. I seriously disagree with the results. An idea is to have the last judge on the panel (seems to rotate) be the viewers at home. Have them vote. I think that if they are going to call it America's NTM that they should get the citizen's opinion. Those who watch will most likely agree that Allison should have been ANTM. Congrats, T. I think you are very fortunate, and deserving to work in the industry. However, I do not think you won this competition. Good Luck, and I hope that Allison gets some reward for this miscarriage of justice.