Friday, 16 July 2010

Angst In Your Pants

Top 14: 12th July 2010

Hello! Helen here to ease you into your second week of Britain's Next Top Model, following on from Steven's excellent appraisal of week one. Being an avid watcher of all series, I must state that it's clear that they have upped the time and the money spent on this show, which has historically been a much poorer cousin of its other main international counterparts, and I say it's about time.

And so to business.

We start with another whispered intro from Elle, and a fierceshot of the judges from an angle clearly lifted straight from the X Factor. We are shown, as is now the rule for every programme, a recap from last week. We are told that the girls were pushed to their very limits. We get to see Alisha crying again. We are then told that this week the girls moved into the Top Model house. Olivia tells us that she is blown away by by it. Julien put the girls through a catwalk challenge, and someone is going to be a nightmare, and a lingerie shoot will prove to much for some. We then get a shot of Hannah crying on the telephone, with FashionGlasses on. Remember this, this will be important later.

I for one am confused about these "Coming up" sections, I really can't see the point of being told what we are about to see, especially if it's the biggest events from the evenings show, before we see them. [I think it's just generally the "Viewers Are Morons" school of editing that assumes we need to be reminded there's something worth sticking around for. - Steve] But I digress, back to business.

Fourteen remain to face the judges! We see all of the girls in a monochrome studio, wearing monochrome clothes and pulling their fiercest poses. Kirsty is the most notable in this section for having what can only be described as hair topiary on her head. Elle swishes into view for the titles and leaves her mouth slightly agape for the final shot.

It's not attractive.

Then it all speeds up, we have LONDON shots, a Ke$ha soundtrack and lots of shots of fashion shops, in case we have forgotten that we are in Britain and we are in TRENDY LONDON.

We begin in a loft somewhere IN LONDON. Charley Speed is waiting for us. Hannah handily tells us what we are looking at, two giant frames and a set of props. Charley congratulates our contestants for making the final fourteen, but if they thought that the Model Academy was tough, you haven't seen anything yet, because the competition is really going to KICK OFF.

We see that there are six props to chose from. These are a bunch of flowers, a handbag, a fur stole, a hat, an umbrella and a banana. Yes, an actual, real banana. Charley tells us that the girls will be split into pairs and strike their best poses inside the frames using the props they have chosen, and the poses have to change every time. Now we have a Top Model first as far as I am aware. I have always been confused as to how these girls walk off the street and are expected to know how to pose. Charley actually tells the girls that they are to use what they have seen in fashion magazines to give him their best poses to prove that they can really cut it in this industry. Joy, who is shaping up to be a bit of a car crash - knows better than the judges, lots of misplaced self belief - thinks it's daunting, and she's confused that there's no photographer.

First up are Amba and Charlotte. Amba picks the hat and Charlotte hilariously nearly chooses the banana but chickens out at the last minute. Charlotte says that she was thinking High Fashion and editorial. Big tick for Charlotte. Charley thinks they are pretty good.

Next up are Olivia and Joy. Olivia is invoking bad luck by choosing the umbrella and opening it indoors. Joy opts for the handbag. Charley wants them to think about what they are holding and use it in context. Harleen thinks that Joy didn't seem confident and that she was wobbling loads. Harleen says that Joy thinks of herself as a dark horse but she doesn't think so. Miaow.

Susan and Amelia are up next. Susan wackily picks up the banana because she is so wacky and Amelia the hat. Charley inexplicably tells them to "Arch" and get into it. Rachelle thinks Susan did well.

Next up are Tiffany and Hannah. Tiffany goes for the flowers, and Hannah is kooky so she goes for the banana. She immediately pretends to slip on it. Charlotte thinks that this is hilarious. Tiffany is less impressed and tells us in her unique brand of monotone that she thinks that Hannah doesn't give a bleep. [Seriously, what is up with Tiffany's voice? Is that what a Maltese accent actually sounds like, or is she just kind of...unusual? - Steve]

Alisha and Kirsty up next. Alisha knows that this is survival of the fittest, and she knows who the fittest is. Modesty has no place on this show. Kirsty chooses the hat. Rachelle is next to pick the banana, and poses alongside Nicole and her handbag. Charley tells them that posing is not just about your face, it's about your whole body.

Rachelle says that she is trying to be creative and use posture because she has done *klaxon* ballet for twelve years. Of course, she is told that it is to dance like and she needs to be more editorial. She admits she got carried away with the shape thing. I was left wondering at this point whether Rachelle has ever seen this programme, because if she had, she would have known that being a dancer never gets you anywhere on this show.

Delita chooses the flowers because she likes flowers and it was harder than she thought it would be she had a lot of ideas but when she got up there nothing came out. I decided to forgo punctuation there, because Delita has apparently never come across any in her life. Harleen felt the hat was natural for her and she felt that she nailed it.

The contestants are put into two groups. Rachelle says what we are all thinking - one is clearly the winning group. The winning group consists of Harleen, Nicola, Alisha, Tiffany, Kirsty, Susan and Joy. Charley has the keys to the Top Model house, and in a stroke of absolute genius, the winning group will be first in the house and they will get to decide when the losers get to come in. Cue much screaming and jumping around from the winners. Tiffany thinks that being in the winning team is fantastic. We are introduced to the Top Model house, which quite frankly looks a bit like a fancy Portacabin. Alisha reminds us that she is the bitchy one by telling the losers that they can't come in yet, SORRY! Harleen is stunned by the house, it's so much better than anything she could have imagined. There are goldfish! Mannequin heads! Beds!

Olivia is still shocked and blown away. There are goody bags for the winning girls. Joy tells us in her particularly emotionless voice that she's over the moon. Susan said that she felt like a beast creaming off all the best stuff from the goody bags. [I heart Susan. - Steve]

We cut to a shot of 7 miserable, cold-looking girls sitting outside of the house. Delita tells us that they have made them wait a full 45 minutes before letting them in. Kirsty enjoys this power, and Tiffany feels justified in this as the other girls would have probably done exactly the same. Rachelle thinks that this is not the case, and it should only take five or ten minutes to look round a house. Susan is the first in the pool and the first to feel guilty about leaving the others outside. Once they're in, Charlotte is uber-jealous about not getting her hands on the goodies. Amelia puts some cliches in the meter by saying that she doesn't like losing and that you need to put 110% into the competition.

COMING UP (this is starting to annoy me already) Julien sees if the girls have got what it takes on the catwalk.

We have an ad break. Is this all the work Martine McCutcheon can get these days? Adverts for tummy yogurt? [Presumably her spectacularly dreadful novel isn't fully paying the bills just yet? - Steve]

And we're back. Delita opens the first E-Mail. It is finally acknowledged that walking isn't that hard. They've been doing it since they were toddlers, but can they do it in style? Start limbering up girls, because tomorrow they are going to have to put their best foot forward for a catwalk challenge.

This section starts with a tribute to poor, fallen Sophie from the Model Academy - Broken Heels by Alexandra Burke.

We are in a warehouse. Kirsty realises when she sees Julien standing there that this is going to be a catwalk challenge, because the E-Mail clearly wasn't explicit enough. Julien greets the girls and tells them that if they are going to be top models, they need to master the art of the Catwalk. We are going to find out who has it and who doesn't. We are introduced to our first expert, International Casting Agent Sarah Murray. In a lovely twist, the girls will have to wear gold shiny catsuits so the judges can properly see their bodies and appraise their walks. Susan thinks her outfit is AWESOME. Julien says that there is nowhere to hide in this outfit, and he's right.

Susan is up first. Sarah wants to know what is going on with her feet. Susan gives Sarah a dirty look behind her back. Excellent. Susan thought that there was more to walking the catwalk, she thought it was more posey and vain, but she didn't realise that it was just about walking normally. I'm gratified to note at this point that Susan has a bit of a Sidegob.

Charlotte is up next. Apparently the top half of her body is too "forward". [If I were Charlotte, I would've so tried the "but it's fashion forward!" argument. - Steve] Harleen is apparently the one that is every designer's nightmare, she walks like she is coming out of a nightclub. Harleen thinks that this is hilarious. Amba is too sexy, Rachelle trots and is not taking it SERIOUS. She responds to this accusation by laughing. Olivia thinks that she is criticised too much for only looking in the wrong direction, trying to run and not being able to walk in a straight line.

Amelia fares better. She loves the catwalk and she loves Julien because they are both Welsh. Even though she makes this statement in front of a different camera and in a different room, it appears Julien loves her too, immediately saying that she's the best and everyone should copy her.

Amba is graceful and easy. Harleen thinks that she is a dark horse, one to look out for AND a triple threat (thank goodness, that cliche meter was running low.) Nicola says she never wears heels and her walk is awful, and it is. Sarah says it's interesting, but not in a good way. Hannah isn't wiggling her hips enough. Hannah says she knows she's a terrible model but it's OK because she's a good person. I really like Hannah. [Me too! - Steve] Tiffany has work to do, and leaves Sarah speechless. Delita, as ever, needs practice. Alisha has too much wobble and is described as a Curly Wurly. Alisha doesn't know what a Curly Wurly is.

Joy is awful, but it doesn't matter because she thinks that Julien doesn't know what he's talking about because there are plenty models out there who don't do the catwalk. [There are also, coincidentally, plenty of models out there who never get any bookings, Joyless. Chew on that, eh? - Steve] She is told that she walks like a monkey.

Kirsty is up next. She says that she feels good because Julien is smiling. Julien thinks that she has something the other girls don't. A believable attitude. Tiffany doesn't want a walk with an attitude anyway. Julien has personally arranged for the two best girls to walk in a real catwalk for the London Fashion Weekender at Somerset House. Julien and Sarah both agree that Kirsty and Amelia are the best. They both get to pick a friend to watch. Amelia picks Susan and Kirsty, Nicola. The show is this afternoon and they have to LEAVE RIGHT NOW.

Cue more shots of London, and a hair and makeup montage, in which the girls have their hair and makeup done. Kirsty thinks that this was AMAZING. Amelia tells us that it took two people to her hair because it was so long. Nicola has never been to a fashion show before and feels like a celebrity in the front row. Kirsty is excited but she's ready to go. Nicola thinks that she is better than all the other models. Kirsty enjoys being the centre of attention. Susan tells us that she didn't recognise Amelia because she looked really cool. Amelia felt like she was on fantasy island.

COMING UP (grr!) We find out the girls will be modelling in their underwear with male models. There's pant biting! Ear biting! and Boobs! Hannah cries again.

The girls are congregated in the lounge in a school-photo-like arrangement that they couldn't have possibly gotten into by themselves for their next E-Mail. Apparently it's a fine line that turns a Supermodel into a Glamour model, will the girls stay on the right side?

Susan gleefully shouts out that they are going to be in the nip. Joy wonders if it's going to be lingerie. She's not sure about this but if she wants to win, she'll have to do it.

We see a big country house and gardens. Olivia is alarmed that she can smell animals. We meet Victoria Holt of Fred and Ginger LONDON who tells the models they will be modelling her underwear. She tells them that it is important they know that her underwear is glamorous but sexy, seductive not sleazy and this is definitely not a Page Three shoot.

The girls will be shot in pairs in different locations around the house and the male models are brought out for perusal in their pants. Amba is impressed but Harleen is worried about her Sikh culture. She is fine with lingerie shoots but lingerie shoots with men make her apprehensive.

We have another hair and makeup montage, which lingers frankly a bit too long on the boys being greased up. We meet our photographer, Shane Woodward, who has a vague air
and accent of a pornographer.

Joy and Kirsty are up first. Joy is happy about this because she says it's easier when you don't know what's going on. Eh? Their non-sleazy scenario is a post-party threesome/hot lesbian orgy. There's lip biting and kissing between them. Joy thinks Kirsty came across well, and thinks that she has to get into it otherwise she will have a crap photo. Victoria thinks that Joy struggled and was too aware of her hair. she's not sure if Joy has a good shot. She thinks Kirsty was strong and confident. Kirsty thinks it went well and this is the kind of thing she might be asked to do in the industry.

Harleen and Nicola are up next. We have a gratuitous shot of Nicola's bum. The brief is girly but sexy. Nicola's boobs keep falling out. Harleen is then told to take off her Kimono. She is clearly distressed by this and says she feels degraded because Sikh girls don't really do things like this. She says all she could think about was what her mum and boyfriend would think about her rolling around half naked with a man.

Olivia and Alisha are up next. Alisha thinks that the male model is pleased to have them. She told us last week that she was born to model. She was also clearly born to be on this show. Their theme is Lady of the Manor and her servants. Olivia has to bite the male model's shorts. Alisha initially plays one of the servants but finds this hard as she doesn't have the limelight. The roles are swapped eventually and Alisha enjoys getting the upper hand. [I was quite glad they swapped roles halfway through, because having Alisha as the servant did seem to be a concept riddled with Unfortunate Implications. - Steve] Victoria thinks that this is the strongest shoot yet (out of three) and she loves both but especially Alisha who thinks her poses through and followed direction well.

Next up are Susan and Amba. Susan doesn't want to be too glamorous and wanted to give her picture a rougher edge. Amba is a fan of the male model, Susan is not. Victoria thinks that they didn't seem comfortable, possibly because they may have boyfriends at home. Susan says she has never felt less sexy in her life but hopes that she looks good.

Tiffany and Delita up next. Tiffany looks like something from another planet. A perfect planet. Tiffany feels that Delita struggled. She did. Delita was finding it hard to co-ordinate standing up, a wine glass and an expression. The photographers frustration is palpable. Tiffany is asked to look down the model's boxer shorts. Tiffany says she doesn't want to that and I certainly wouldn't argue with her. Victoria thinks that they did well but tactfully says that there are some issues with Delita. She loves Tiffany, however.

Rachelle and Charlotte are up next. They seem very giggly, playing about with ribbons and doing lots of grinning. Charlotte thinks that they get on well and are having fun. Rachelle offers to kiss Charlotte when it's clearly not necessary. Charlotte thinks Rachelle fancies the model, but she didn't say that. Of course you didn't, dear. Victoria thinks that they were a pleasure to shoot. She reflects what the girls said regarding the energy. She thinks Rachelle brought lots of poses and Charlotte is lots of fun, but wonders what she would be like in a different shoot and whether she could look different.

Amelia and Hannah are up next. Amelia isn't happy. She thinks that the shoot is one big orgy and that some of the shots are inappropriate but she echoes the comments of the other girls about this kind of thing being what is expected of you. They both look uncomfortable. In the VT's, Hannah is wearing a jumper that covers her up completely, with a big penguin on front, seemingly trying to cover up in retrospect. Her boobs keep falling out on the shoot. Victoria feels that Hannah is uncomfortable because she's a "bigger girl" and the garments don't fit her as well. [Which I'm so sure was a COMPLETE accident. - Steve] Hannah says she doesn't normally take things too seriously, but she took the shoot seriously. Cut to Hannah crying on the phone to her mum, saying that she can't do it, and modeling just isn't for her. It's hard to believe that this part isn't staged because she is not wearing her FashionGlasses when the conversation begins but she's wearing them when it ends. Good job, continuity people. [I think they were sitting on the top of her head at the start - she must have just pulled them down at some point. - Steve] She tells her mum she felt exposed and disgusting. It's hard not to feel uncomfortable on her behalf.

COMING UP (aside from me breaking my television) The Judging! Hannah wants to say something! What on earth could it be?

Pondering during the adverts, it becomes clear to me that there definitely hasn't been enough Grace in this episode. I'm actually looking forward to seeing her.

Hurrah! We're in the ALL NEW judging room. Elle is channeling Tyra, complete with new hair and standing as the girls enter. She introduces the judges and welcomes the models to the ALL NEW judging room. One thing to note here is that the girls all look impeccable. I get the feeling they've been styled, but I'm speculating. We have Fashion Designer Extraordinaire, Julien. Award winning Stylist and Art Director Grace Woodward who has worked with Noemie Lenoir and Gorgeous Supermodel Charley Speed who has worked with Prada, Gucci and Many more. Guest Judge this week is The Gorgeous Fashion Casting Director Sarah Murray.

We need to know about the Prizes. A Models One contract, a Revlon campaign and a cover and six page spread of company magazine.

First up are Kirsty and Joy. Kirsty is congratulated for winning the catwalk challenge. She's wearing an odd bandana. She says that the models backstage were friendly and gave good advice. Who said the modelling world was bitchy? Elle loves Kirsty's jawline and the connection to the camera. She also thinks the bra looks fabulous. Grace says she believes Joy and is proud of her. [I hated Joy's picture. She looked like she was in a completely different shoot to everyone else, and not in a good way. - Steve]

Then it's Hannah and Amelia. Hannah says she has been having a kerfuffle, in that she finds being sexy and poised an uphill battle. Elle can empathise with this as she used to feel taller and bigger than everyone else, but learned to work with it. She advises Hannah to embrace her body and not to be embarrased. Charley thinks Hannah's picture is smouldering, serious and sexy. He is surprised. Amelia is asked how she's feeling. Of course she's feeling great because she won the catwalk challenge, which was one of the best days of her life. Elle thinks Amelia's picture is amazing. I think she looks a bit mad. Grace, however, loves her faraway look. Julien thinks that they have scrubbed up well from ordinary girls to beautiful creatures to be desired. Charming.

Olivia and Alisha are next. Julien thinks that Olivia is beautiful but when she's done up too much she looks forced. He finds her natural look more intruiging. Elle asks how it was having her face so close to the male model's boxers. Olivia didn't like biting them. Charley asks what the issues were on the shoot, grinning in a very creepy way. Elle asks him what problem did he think that there would be with a girl in her underwear having her head close to a man's boxers. Charlie claims that it has never happened to him and the whole thing is exceedingly uncomfortable. Alisha is shocked with her picture. Julien likes it. Grace doesn't. She thinks it's awkward.

Amba and Susan are up next. Julien says that Amba could turn a gay man straight. Susan's picture is awful but they all seem to love it. Sarah thinks that Susan could be naughty... [Amba's picture was terrible too. She looked like a blow-up doll with a puncture. - Steve]

Tiffany and Delita are up next. Tiffany's shot is sexy and hot. When it comes to Delita, Elle clearly doesn't want to say anything to negative in the first week so she opts to describe the photo. Julien is disapointed because he wanted to see a great picture from Delita. Charley thinks that something is lacking in the eyes. Pot, kettle, etc.

Harleen and Nicola are up next. Harleen is clearly unhappy. Harleen explains that she wasn't keen on the shoot. She knows she said that she was happy to do lingerie shoots but she had a problem straddling the male model. Harleen begins to cry. Elle can imagine that it would be a stretch for her. At this point I'm standing up and shouting at the TV about how Tyra wouldn't stand for this. [I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU, WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU, HOW DARE YOU?!?! - Steve] Harleen says she doesn't want to dissapoint her mum. Elle thinks she looks amazing. Grace, however, doesn't care about the whining. She says it doesn't matter how you were brought up, you have to get on with it. That's what I'm talking about. Nicola's shot is the favourite. Elle says she's never seen Nicola like this, which is easy to believe because she's she's seen her twice. Charley thinks it's interesting because she's not the most flamboyant of the girls.

Finally, we have Charlotte and Rachelle. Grace was concerned that Charlotte is too Smiley Girl but likes the shot. Rachelle has missed the camera. If she had found it, the shot would have been killer. Julien would buy the pants if he was a girl. He thinks they have sex appeal and the photo is fun.

It's time for the judges to deliberate. One girl has to go.

Elle thinks that Joy is beautiful. Sarah thinks she needs more confidence. Julien thinks Kirsty has transferred from ugly duckling into swan. The judges feel that Hannah needs to want to be there and embrace her potential. Charley wonders if they have the time to waste on her. Sarah feels that Amelia could easily be stereotyped as a whimsical redhead and needs to be more modern. Grace isn't convinced by Olivia. Julien thinks Alisha is a black beauty but she can't walk. Sarah believes she is most determined out of all the girls to get it right. Amba surprised Charley but he thinks she needs more time. The judges think that Susan is very Julianne Moore. Elle thinks she has the personality of an actress. Tiffany is a Maltese sex bomb and is one for the men. Charley is surprised by Delita's picture but isn't sure she has what it takes. Elle sees something in Harleen an dthinks her family wouldn't be disapointed int he shot. Nicola is mousy in real life but gorgeous in the picture. Grace thinks it's "Whatever". Charley likes Charlotte's body and Rachelle is trying to compare herself to Naomi, and apparently there's not the space for another one.

Back to the judging room. Elle has 14 beautiful girls in front of her, but only 13 photos in her hand representing the girls that will continue.

Joy is called first, followed by Amelia, Kirsty, Harleen, Charlotte, Amba, Susan, Alisha, Olivia, Tiffany, Nicola and finally Rachelle. This leaves Hannah and Delita up for the chop.

But Hannah wants to say something. Whatever could it be? She'd rather not know who's photo Elle is holding, but if it's her, she'd rather it was Delita. She's really thought about it and really isn't her. Elle actually asks if she wants to step down. She hugs Hannah and wishes her luck. I'm baffled. This isn't what I'm used to. I'm waiting for the lecture about taking a place from another girl and it just doesn't come. [I know, I just kept picturing how Tyra would've reacted. Probably something along the lines of "HRRNK! WRONG ANSWER!" and dropping Hannah into a tank full of sharks. - Steve] Hannah says Delita wants it more and doesn't want to take her place. She was worried she was losing sight of who she was. The experience has taught her that what she really wants to do with her life. She wants to teach English.

So Hannah wheels her suitcase out of the house and Delita is thrown a lifeline. I'd like to tell you what Delita had to say about this but I watched it a few times and I still don't know. [Apparently Hannah gave a post-show interview and revealed that she was told she would've been given a picture if she hadn't eliminated herself, just in case anyone's wondering. - Steve]

Coming up next week. Miquita Oliver leads a style challenge (really) and MAKEOVERS! It is also totally spoiled who gets all their hair cut off, but I'll save it for next week. Join us then!

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