Sunday, 1 August 2010

Amba alert

Top 12: 26th July 2010

For all that I'm enjoying this new series, I can't help feeling that the five-second bumper they use of Elle glowering at the camera at the beginning and end of each ad break is not her finest work. Indeed, my boyfriend rather thinks it looks like this:

I'll leave you to reach your own decisions on the accuracy of that, anyway. Previously on BNTM: Miquita fucking Oliver turned up to the accompaniment of much shrieking, and was tedious and disingenuous as usual. There were makeovers, and Tiffany got an awful attempt at a pixie cut (the botched Mia Farrow look being a Top Model makeover tradition) and cried forever, and then Rachelle got sent home for being a dancer. This week, Elle mentors the girls, and Nicola Roberts turns up. Hooray!

Titles. Anyone know why Kirsty has a pear on top of her head?

We open, as is standard, with Olivia recounting her bottom two horror story from last week. Now that she's survived, it's crunch time and she wants to prove to the judges that she deserves the second chance she's been given. Back at the house, there's E-Mail, read by Nicola: "Congratulations on getting this far in the competition." Alisha whoops, all by herself, startling Charlotte. Amelia is eating something, because she's genre-savvy and doesn't want to get the "possibly anorexic" edit that ruins your chances of winning. Nicola continues. "No time to rest as tomorrow it's all about first impressions so be sure to meet the judges standards. Love, Elle." That's taken verbatim from the card, by the way. I love Elle, but she really needs to learn how to punctuate. She writes like DELETE HER talks. The girls correctly deduce that this means go-sees are tomorrow, and Alisha wonders if it might be for acting or a commercial rather than standard modelling.

London porn: Trafalgar Square edition. The girls arrive at Models 1. We see Alex, Mecia and Jade's modelling cards, which were presumably fished out of dusty boxes in the basement by an intern seconds before the camera crew arrived. [I'm still angry about Jade-gate. Raging - Helen] The girls are greeting by Fraser Belk and Julien Miachon, bookers with the agency, who will represent the winner. The girls have two go-sees set-up for today, and must impress their prospective clients. Apparently they are not told anything about the jobs at this point, but Alisha fills in for us that the first one was for Miss Sixty, Julien (Miachon, not Macdonald) is waiting for them, alongside Daniele Sismondi, sales director for Miss Sixty. The girls will be asked to strike a pose that best represents the brand. Olivia is first in, and goes for the hands on hips with asymmetric legs look. Nicola goes for a side view with a bent knee and one arm behind her head. Tiffany adopts a pose from the Marjorie Conrad Memorial Invertebrate School Of Modelling, while Kirsty is very statuesque with one shoulder giving it some fierceness. Julien and Daniele tell her to take it further, then inform her that she's taken it too far. It's all about the subtleties, this modelling lark. DELETE HER is "a bit blank", surprise surprise, while Charlotte is too happy and smiley again. "I keep getting that, a lot," she remarks. Then stop doing it, sweetheart. Daniele thinks there is a market for her, but he is not it. Susan completely goes to pieces, holding her hair up by a few strands out to the sides, which is criticised as being "a bit shampoo ad". She tries holding her lapels instead, which doesn't work either. She tries a third pose, which is similarly unpopular. Julien later describes her casting as "pretty disastrous", and Daniele thinks she didn't do herself or the outfit any justice. Julien does not see her as being a model for his agency. This does not look good for Susan, does it? [The poses aren't the most rubbish part though, that's the problem. It's the Guppy-like modelling face that she does, like someone's switched on her "model" button - Helen]

Harleen does a nice lean-y pose, while Joyless holds her boobs up. Amelia is all angles, and Alisha accidentally pulls her shorts down. Amba is told that her pose has been done by everyone, which annoys her, because she thinks everyone else was stealing her ideas when she was practising backstage. It doesn't seem to occur to her that it wasn't a terribly original pose to start with. She goes back into the holding room and makes her feelings on the subject clear; Nicola interviews that Amba called them all "pathetic" for stealing her poses, and naturally wank erupts at this point, with Alisha seemingly the most annoyed by the slight. Amelia interviews that a lot of the girls don't know "how to read Amba", which may cause some tension.

Go-see, part the second. Fraser is with William Tempest, who is apparently an 11-year-old fashion designer. Presumably his mum had to sign a release form so he could appear on this show. The girls will have to walk for him individually. Harleen interviews that she was "so excited" to meet him, while sounding rather like she's making an appointment for her six-monthly dental check-up. DELETE HER interviews that William has dressed Victoria Beckham and Cheryl Tweedy Cole Tweedy, so he's A Big Deal. Alisha walks first, and gets rave reviews. Only brief snatches are shown of each girl's performance but they all seem to be doign quite well. Amelia is told she has the best walk so far. Joyless needs to practice her walk, but has potential. Tiffany has what it takes to be a Top Model, DELETE HER gets no comments that we see but walks like a fucking truck driver, and Charlotte is admonished for being boring. Charlotte cries as soon as she's out of earshot. Susan walks in a very stilted way and is asked to do it again. Her second attempt is equally bizarre. William and Fraser both agree that she didn't cut the mustard.

The girls arrive home, and are met by Grace and Charley. Charlotte, bless her, was excited to see them until she realised that they probably weren't there with good news. I kind of love Charlotte. Kirsty interviews that the atmosphere just crashed down. Charley confirms that they are there to deliver bad news, and Grace continues that after the go-sees, Julien and Fraser felt so strongly about the performance of one girl that they've spoken to Elle, and as a result, one of them will be leaving right now. At which point we cut to an ad break, even though you'd have to be pretty simple not to guess who's about to be packing her bags and heading back to Dublin. Er, "home". Heading "back home", I mean. [Grace was clearly enjoying the whole thing far too much. Love her - Helen]

When we return, Kirsty reminds us that someone's going home, and Charlotte worries that she's getting the boot because her second casting went poorly. Charley reveals that the girl who is going home is Susan, who smiles brightly and says that she knew it. She hugs Grace and thanks the judges for the opportunity, while Grace tells her that she's done so well to get this far. Susan cries that she's had a good time, and is overwhelmed to have made it to that stage in the first place. The other girls all get a bit weepy too. Susan interviews that while her castings went disastrously, she feels that nothing she could've done would've improved her performance because "people like William Tempest, they're going to see through it". As much as I love Susan, it's no real secret that modelling isn't her first career choice, so I'm guessing that's what she's referring to. Alisha interviews that Susan has done better than Amba, Charlotte and DELETE HER, and shouldn't have gone before them. Joyless, on the other hand, is all "eh, people have to go home. Shrug." Susan fades out of the picture. Wow, I've never noticed before, but Joyless looks seriously pregnant in that montage.

Later, there is E-Mail, read by Amelia. "Its time to get fun creative and imaginative with something red and close to my heart. Ill see you tomorrow, love Elle." We don't see the card, but I'm assuming that's how it's all spelt. Elle is waiting for them in an all-white room, and Kirsty is all decked out in shades and a shawl, determined to make a serious diva entrance, which doesn't go unnoticed by Elle. Amba interviews that she's always excited to see Elle. Amelia says that Elle is so pretty, it's distracting. Elle tells them that being a model is also about being A Role Model, which is where Seb Bishop, the CEO of Red, chips in to explain that his brand works with iconic brands to raise money to fight Aids in Africa. Elle tells the girls that she's going to be mentoring them through their photoshoot.

Backstage, Charlotte reveals that there's tension, as the girls bicker over who's got the most favourable props for their shoot. Amba complainterviews that she was practising a little bit in her head, but not making it too obvious in case those thieving bitches nicked all her awesome ideas again. Alisha is in first, sporting some natty headphones. Elle informs her that she has just 20 shots, and will need to make each one different. Alisha gets great feedback from her shoot. Amba has a laptop, which she holds like a book and poses coyly behind, and then does a crab position on the floor while Elle balances the book on Amba's stomach. It is pretty impressive, I can't lie. Nicola has some sunglasses, and Elle is pleased with her performance, saying that she knows her body, and is subtle and present at the shoot. Kirsty has some rings and poses like a boxer. Amelia sports some Converse around her neck, but her face is still an issue. Tiffany is modelling some laces (I think?) and says that she felt like a puppet, and that the shoot was more about taking direction than using your own ideas. Elle messes up Charlotte's hair ("It kind of hurt a bit, actually," Charlotte whimpers in an interview)[Hurty hair! Honestly... - Helen] before the latter models with a skateboard. Elle thinks Charlotte needs to be careful not to look like a ditz. Joyless is modelling flowers and struggling to come up with something unusual. Elle suggests holding the stems with her teeth, which gives Joyless a few ideas. Elle thinks that Joyless is definitely one of the prettiest girls in the competition, but that alone will not get her to the end. DELETE HER has a pram, and has to be pretty much spoonfed through the shoot. Harleen models some books, balancing them on her head. Elle thinks that Harleen is not the most photogenic girl in the contest, and while she's a beautiful girl, she may not be a fashion model. Olivia is modelling a t-shirt, which she finds it hard to do creative things with. Again, Elle leads her through the shoot, and Olivia worries that she didn't impress Elle at all.

Once that's all over, Elle tells the girls that she thinks they all did well and she has great shots from all of them. Seb has clearly not been schooled in the art of building suspense on reality television, as he then blurts out that they thought Alisha should win. Alisha squeals, and wins a ring by Solange Azagury. "I WON!" crows Alisha in her interview. I'm going off her a bit.

Back at the house, and there is Food Wank. Apparently Kirsty had been planning to make a roast for four days, but Amba and Harleen didn't want any: Harleen because she's vegetarian, and Amba because...well, no one really knows. Amba explains that she's just eating her own food. Kirsty says that she's not going to exclude her form eating because she's part of the family. Apparently everyone else was more offended by Amba's refusal to partake in Kirsty's roast than Kirsty was, but the person with the most beef was - wait for it - Alisha, who follows Amba around and asks her why she insists on acting the victim. Amba leaves them to it. Over dinner, Amelia postulates that in an environment such as this, they all need to get on, but it's not working out right now, while Alisha points out that they're all trying hard with Amba. Amba comes down and asks to have "a grown-up chat" about the situation. Nicola tells Amba that she has a tendency to come across as rude and offensive. Olivia tells her that she has a tendency to moan about it if she thinks someone else has got a better deal of things than she has. Alisha interviews that Charlotte and DELETE HER were suspiciously silent during this meeting even though they have their own problems with Amba, which she feels is dishonest and two-faced. Charlotte interviews that she didn't want to pile on because she's been friends with Amba since boot camp and she is a nice girl, "but she moans so much". Heh. Alisha tells Amba that she gives the impression of seeing herself above everyone else. Alisha brings up the pose-copying issue from yesterday, and Kirsty tells Amba that she doesn't even apologise when she's wrong. Harleen tells her to be aware of the way she comes across. Amba interviews that the meeting really helped, though I suspect she regrets calling it in the first place. Alisha interviews that most of the other girls probably won't let it go, because Amba didn't apologise. Gosh, imagine that, Alisha - someone not letting something go! Commercials.

E-Mail, read by Charlotte. "Being a model isn't just about being beautiful, we can also use our position to raise awareness and help others. So make sure you're ready to give a little extra - be ready by seven. Love, Elle." The girls speculate that they'll be involved in a campaign of some sort.

The next morning, they meet Sherry Adhami from the charity Beat Bullying, who ask them to take part in a photoshoot to demonstrate the effects of bullying. Alisha interviews that she was happy with this shoot because "obviously I've been bullied in my life, and I really wanted to do something to help." Far be it from me to play armchair psychologist, but I always feel rather sad for anyone who prefaces a story of how they've been bullied with the word "obviously". There is a man standing next to Sherry, who does not get to speak, but will later be identified as David Fairweather, this week's photographer. Weird. The girls go to make-up, but are called out midway through to see Sherry. Charlotte wonders what gives. Sherry tells them that she'd like them to meet a very important supporter of the charity, and Nicola Roberts walks out. The girls smile. Seriously: they shrieked like banshees for MIQUITA FUCKING OLIVER, and all Nicola Roberts gets is a couple of wan grins? Sort your priorities out, ladies. It does appear to be a slight delayed reaction, however, as the girls start to gasp a few seconds later. Maybe they just didn't actually know who she was at first, which is a bit embarrassing for all concerned, I imagine. Charlotte interviews that she's a massive Girls Aloud fan. [Has there been anything yet that Charlotte doesn't LOVE? - Helen] Nicola tells the girls that the girls need to put as much emotion into their photographs as possible. I giggle silently to myself at the irony of Nicola Roberts advising anyone on how best to come across in a photograph. Don't get me wrong, I love her and I think she is stunningly beautiful, but she does have a tendency to look a bit uncomfortable in still images.[Don't even start on her conveying emotion... - Helen] The girls go to leave, giggling, but DELETE HER turns back and says "do you know your cousin, Leon?" I would imagine she does, DELETE HER, yes. "Well, that's my brother Mark's best mate!" DELETE HER continues. The North West is a small world, it would seem. "I just thought that I'd say that!" DELETE HER finishes, realising that she's just made a complete tit of herself. Nicola looks a bit alarmed, as well she might.

Tiffany is the first to do her shoot, and has been made-up to look like she has two black eyes. David explains that we will need to see the effect that bullying has had on her. TIffany explains that her scenario is that she is being bullied on her looks, and she needs to look in the mirror and imagine hating what she sees. Shame she doesn't have a ton of experience of that to drawn on, isn't it? Watching the shoot, Nicola comments that Tiffany is like an actress. She is doing a pretty great job, in all fairness. Olivia has had her hair dampened and will be filming in a makeshift toilet cubicle, and interviews that she tried to put herself in that position, mentally - I assume the position of having recently been flushed. David tells her to look a bit more scared, but is impressed with her performance, as is Nicola. Alisha is being chased in her scenario, and admits that she's been through that before and knows how it feels. Nicola likes the rawness of Alisha's shoot. Sherry thinks Alisha got it "down to a t". Charlotte had her lips literally stitched together for her shoot, which looks hella painful. She does a good job of tensing her face, and Nicola thinks she's very professional. Hilariously, as soon as the shoot wraps, the sheer force of Charlotte's contained grin busts her stitches. Ouch.

Amba's shoot is about cyber-bullying, with a random model's hands attacking her through a computer screen. Her scared face is a bit shit. Joy is in a hospital bed with a made-up broken nose for her shoot, and Charlotte interviews that Joy seemed rather affected by it all, and wonders if there's an issue there going back into Joy's history. I kind of judge both Charlotte and the producers for including that particular clip, because that's up to Joy to decide whether she wants to discuss it, if indeed there is anything to talk about there, and until that day it's not really anyone else's business. Joy rocks her shoot, though. She interviews that it's hard, because normally you have your "hair done up nice" to help you look good on camera, whereas here you have to drawn on your own ability to sell the shot. Afterwards, Joy admits that her mother was physically abused for some time, so she has some familiarity with the scenario. So we didn't really need that clip of Charlotte talking about it at all, did we? Joy says she tried not to think about that part of things too much, as she thinks it would've affected her too much.

Kirsty's scenario is being peer-pressured into sex, and says that she has to look scared, but not too scared. Nicola is impressed with how well Kirsty handled a difficult concept. DELETE HER admits that she's never been bullied, so she has no real first-hand experience of the situations they're being asked to portray. She says she just tried to think of things that made her sad, instead. It doesn't go well, though the problem seems to be the bed rather than DELETE HER - and Nicola fixes the shot so we can't see DELETE HER's knickers. Amelia's situation is all about peer-pressure with drugs, and she tells one of the people at the shoot that she's never been offered drugs, "but with my personality, I'd be terrible." Hee hee. She's looking very Florence Welch here. I'm still not sure she's got her face in check yet. Nicola gives her some feedback on her pictures and how she's not really getting the shot. "I have been told that several times now," Amelia admits. Nicola (the contestant, not the popstar) is being an outsider in her shot, being judged for dressing differently, which she says is what happened to her at school. In Coventry? Surely not! Sherry says that the pain is clearly still raw for Nicola as you could see it in her eyes. Nicola says she was determined to get a good picture and show people how much it could hurt. Harleen interviews that she's had a similar experience to her shoot, so it was a bit like reliving it. I'm not really sure what Harleen's shoot is actually about, but it seems to involve a lot of her scrunching up her face and looking a bit stressed. Some of the other girls are watching the shoot from a balcony and commenting that it's taking her a long time to get it right, but it seems to get better as she goes along, with David encouraging her to scream. "I found it funny," Tiffany guffaws. Harleen interviews that although it upset her and brought a lot back, if it helps one person, it'll be worth it.

E-Mail, read by Amba. "This week you've been working hard, but for one the dream to become Britain's Next Top Model ends tomorrow. Get some rest, and we'll see you all soon, love Elle." Tiffany interviews that she thinks everyone in the house is a model, but not everyone has the potential to be Britain's Next Top Model. Alisha interviews that if she were in the bottom two and DELETE HER was going through, she'd be all "What the hell?" Tiffany interviews that she'd stop modelling altogether if she were cut before Harleen. How rude.


It's judgement time. Elle welcomes the girls to the judging room, and introduces the judges, including this week's guest judge, Nicola Roberts. Elle tells them that this week they learned how cutthroat the industry could be when Susan was axed unexpectedly, and they learned that modelling is not just about beauty, but also about being an ambassador. Alisha's the first one called up, and congratulated for her challenge win. We see her Red shot, which is pretty good. Her bullying shot is really good, and apparently she got it in the first shot. Nicola is next, but Charley feels her expression is more like she's yearning for a long-lost love. Julien says that she's on the verge of becoming boring and weak. Elle tells her that she needs to believe in herself. Kirsty feels like she could've pushed her shot a lot more; Charley thinks she looks almost sexy in it, but she shouldn't, because it's not that sort of campaign. Tiffany is asked by Charley if having a haircut she didn't like made the shot really easy. "I'd better not say," Tiffany admits.[I get the feeling that Charley is going to drop a massive clanger every week. I look forward to it - Helen] Joy's shot is incredible, and Grace says she'd believe it if she saw it as a billboard. Julien thinks she could win this competition, but she needs to believe in herself. Amelia's shot is not good - she explains that she was trying to convey feeling confused by her emotions, but Elle giggles that she's confused by the photograph itself. Julien tells her she needs to work harder, and Elle thinks she's modelling by numbers. Charlotte's shot is one of Elle's favourites, as she only had her eyes to express herself. Julien thinks it isn't convincing and shows no emotion, but let's face it, Julien just likes the sound of his own voice complaining. Also, he's wearing a t-shirt with a tuxedo print on it, which immediately makes anything he has to say about anything at all utterly invalid. Amba is nervous to see her picture, which isn't really great. Elle doesn't like it, and Nicola wanted to see more fear in her face. Grace tells her she should never be boring in a shot, and she's a bit worried about her. Harleen looks fabulous today, and Elle says as much. Unfortunately, her photo is not good - as far as I can tell it's about feeling trapped and alone and unable to speak out about bullying, but Harleen's face just isn't conveying that. Elle tells her there were only two shots the photographer could use. Olivia's shot is great, and Elle is pleased to see her working so well by herself because she required so much direction when Elle worked with her. Julien loves her picture and thinks she's his shining star. DELETE HER has a terrible picture, and Julien says that he was bullied at school (and of course, having learnt from this harrowing experience, he grew into the compassionate and affirming adult we know and love today) and used to go home to his bedroom to cry, and that DELETE HER should be conveying that emotion in her picture, but she isn't.

Deliberation. Nicola thinks Alisha needs no deliberation, she's brilliant. Nicola has not had her best week, but her previous work holds her in good stead. Kirsty was passionate about the campaign on the day, but it's not coming across in the shot. Charley thinks she's giving the same look in all her shots. Tiffany was amazing on the day. Joy is a superstar in the making. Amelia needs to maintain a pose and have conviction. Charlotte is the most commercial girl, but Grace thinks she's going "from cheese to mould, i.e. she's growing on me." Grace, darling, I love you, but you really need to work on your metaphors. Amba's picture didn't deliver. Harleen is not very good. Sorry, she's not very good in this picture, Elle just paused in a very unfortunate place when saying that. However, Elle is really pleased with the outcome of Harleen's makeover. But, asks Grace, how long must they spend on her? Grace thinks Olivia is limited. DELETE HER is beautiful, but lacks the longevity to continue in the competition.

Elle has 11 beautiful girls before her, but just 10 photographs in her hands. Alisha gets first callout. Following her are Charlotte, Tiffany, Olivia, Nicola, Joy, DELETE HER (seriously?!?), Kirsty and Amba, "by the skin of your teeth, missy." That leaves Amelia and Harleen in the bottom two. Not a good week for the redheads, is it? Elle has only one photograph in her hand. Harleen is more beautiful than she has ever seen her and has really blossomed, but this hasn't translated in her pictures. Amelia is beautiful, but is acting as she thinks a model should and this is hampering her progress. Amelia gets a picture. Elle hugs Harleen and tells her she has done an amazing job. Harleen thanks her for the opportunity and wishes the other girls luck. Harleen interviews that she thought she'd done well in the shoot, but obviously she didn't get across what she was trying to. She's glad that she came to the show and it was the best experience of her life. She's going to miss everyone, but she feels that she's got enough to go out there and carry on. And fade from the montage.

Next time: the girls pose in Carnaby Street, and then pose for a photoshoot covered in SEXY CHOCOLATE. Beyoncé pre-records an appearance, and Joy is nearly set on fire on a photoshoot. Blimey.

1 comment:

  1. Can I just point out that, as said boyfriend, I was not implying that Elle McFierceson is in any way fat. Just that, for a model, she looks like ass in every single promo shot I've seen.