Saturday, 21 August 2010

A nightmare on Elle's street

Top 8: 16th August 2010

Previously: The girls flogged Alesha Dixon's jewellery range (who knew?) on Gems TV, then jetting off to Spain for a swimwear shoot. Amba left, and cried. At some point in the future: the girls go to Liverpool to appear in HollyOAKS (bless Elle Macpherson for emphasising the wrong syllable) and get screamed at by a crazy lady. More so than usual, I mean.

Titles. Seriously: there's an Olivia?

Model manor. The girls troop in, having just been separated from Amba. Amelia interviews that they could hear her crying offstage after she left. Hmm, awkward. Amelia reads out the letter that Amba left: "Dear girls, it seems it's my time to leave the competition, and I really just wanted to wish all of you the best of luck. I'll miss all of the things this competition brings. Learn from my mistakes and keep going. You're fab. Stay strong girlies, lots of love, Amba." Nicola interviews that she was gutted to be in the bottom two. "It's like saying that you were the worst of the bunch." Except not, because the actual worst of the bunch was Amba, because she was the one who got eliminated. It's not that complicated, Nicola. Alisha interviews that she's so close now. I mean, she's in the Top 8! That's practically victory! After all, Hayley made it to the Top 8 last year. Remember Hayley? Anyone? Hello? Amelia sticks Amba's letter to the fridge.

The next day, there is E-mail, read by Charlotte: "Ladies, congratulations for getting this far in the competition. Within every top model, there is a hidden actor waiting to get out. I want you to dig deep and release her. Be ready for 6.30am prompt. Love Elle." Amelia wonders if they're going to be on EastEnders. Aim lower, Amelia. Much lower. [It's funny how Susan's internal actor got her booted, but I'm probably looking for logic where none exists - Helen]

Tiffany slurs that they had a long drive the next day and no one knew where they were going. Eventually they started spotting signs for Liverpool, which can only mean one thing: Hollyoaks! Well, at least they're in no danger of being conspicuously bad at acting in this crowd, I guess. They're met by Ricky Whittle and Hollie-Jay Bowes, and Alisha, predictably, loses her shit completely. I'm starting to think she literally never left the house until she signed up for this competition. Ricky greets them, and Charlotte and Alisha swoon in interviews. They start off on a tour of the set. Joy interviews that it's not like you see it on TV. Kirsty and Nicola get very confused about how all the wrong buildings lead onto each other. Alisha is surprised at how small everything is, and amused that the McQueen house has no upstairs. [Why wouldn't there be an upstairs in a house made of MDF? Oh... - Helen]

The girls are led back to the SU Bar, where they're met by Melissa Walton (who went to school with my boyfriend - SLEB CONNECTION), Kevin Sacre, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jessica Fox, Kris Deedigan, Anthony Quinlan and Bronagh Waugh, along with series producer, Paul Marquess. He's reading from a card, which bodes well, doesn't it? He tells them that to be a model, they need to be able to act. All credit to him for delivering that line while standing next to Nathalie "Speak & Spell" Emmanuel without cracking up. He splits them into four groups. Nicola and Olivia must act out a scenario that ends in tears. What I wouldn't give for their scene to be "Lucy Allan's tenure as producer of Hollyoaks." Joy and Alisha must do a scene ending in a catfight. Charlotte and Tiffany will act out a scene ending in a confession, and Amelia and Kirsty will be acting out a scenario that ends in death. Which, although they don't know it yet, will also be the deciding task in the final of this show.

Alisha and Joy talk to Jessica and Kris about playing two wannabe models at a casting. Jessica tells them to be more subtle. Amelia and Kirsty have decided to play adopted siblings fighting over their father's inheritance. Nathalie Emmanuel watches them silently. She doesn't take notes, though she probably should. Tiffany and Charlotte are with Melissa and Kevin, who tell them not to plan the whole story out (and anyone who's watched Hollyoaks for any protracted period of time will know how that feels) and let the rest just flow. They keep giggling. Nicola interviews that this was the worst challenge she's ever been set, because she can't act to save her life. Olivia asks if they can be crying about death, even though one of the other teams have death as their storyline. They get the go-ahead to do that, and Olivia does some quite convincing crying. Alisha starts pulling Joy's hair.

After ten minutes, they have to perform for each other. Amelia and Kirsty go first, because they want to get it over and done with. Their scene is actually quite good, though due to a blocking mishap, Amelia's "death" occurs off the side of the set. Tiffany and Charlotte are next, and they're both slightly stilted. Their scene also appears to be about death (morbid lot, aren't they?). Amelia interviews that she didn't know what Charlotte's confession would be. Charlotte's confession turns out to be that the dead mother they're discussing wasn't actually Tiffany's real mum. DOOF! DOOF! DOFF-DOFF-DOFF-DOFF-DOFF-DOFF! Nicola and Olivia do their scene next, and Olivia is really good, though she interviews that she couldn't actually make the tears come out. Finally, Alisha and Joy do their skit, and Joy displays an impressive ability to play a total bitch. Who knew? Their scene is quite comic and gets laughs from the audience. Alisha interviews that Joy went for the attack a lot more in the performance than she did in rehearsals, and as a result, their fight looks quite realistic. They go thudding to the ground, and the audience jumps. Alisha interviews that it was great because she's wanted to slap Joy all week. Heh.

Paul Marquess sacks the actual cast and hires the girls instead. Oh wait, he doesn't do that (though I wouldn't have blamed him if he had), he announces that one winner can pick a friend to go on a double date with two actors from the show. The winner is...Joy, who looks shell-shocked. She interviews that she thought Olivia or Kirsty would've won. And indeed, either of those would also have been excellent choices. In an interview, Alisha rants that it was her idea. I have some sympathy, as the same thing happened to me in an audition for a play at university once (long story short: we were auditioning in groups, I came up with a really cool idea of how to play the scene, despite everyone else just wanting to do it really straight and boring, we got loads of laughs, and then everyone got a part except me. NOT THAT I'M STILL BITTER.) Joy picks Alisha to join her on the reward.


When we return, Alisha and Joy are arriving for their double date with Kris Deedigan and Nico Mirallegro. Joy, slightly missing the point, interviews that it was nice to go out with Alisha and get to know her a bit better. Alisha subsequently interviews that she didn't want to go on a date with Joy, because she's moany and sweary. That's gratitude for you. They all seem to be having a nice time, though. Alisha interviews that she doesn't drink, and therefore doesn't really know her alcohol-tolerance threshold. Translation: she's a lightweight, and she's about to get wasted. Yay! Alisha is enjoying the cocktails, but Joy wants a lager. In yet another ranty interview, Alisha screams that Joy is "a lady, not a man". Speaking of things that are not, Alisha, it is also NOT 1954. If Joy wants a lager, let her have a lager. Sheesh. Alisha continues to complain that Nico and Kris were more fun than Joy was and kept her going for the whole night. That's what she said. No, literally, that is what she said.

Back in the hotel bedroom, an E-Mail comes under the door. Alisha and Joy get theirs delivered by a waiter. Kirsty reads it out to the girls: "Well done ladies, you all worked really hard. Now you will get another chance to shine. Tomorrow you will need to be back on set for 6am where you will be recording a real life episode." The girls scream. Back at the bar, Joy learns that as the challenge winner, she will have a speaking part. They go to leave, and predictably, Alisha is absolutely trollied. The other three are holding her up, and Alisha falls up the stairs on her way back to bed. Alisha decides to go and wake up Olivia and Amelia, the latter of whom has some seriously snazzy pyjamas. They tell her, quite politely considering the circumstances, that she's drunk and should go away. Joy finds her script, and Alisha insists on acting it through with her, drunkenly. "When it said 'beat', she was beating on the table," Joy giggles in an interview. Alisha wonders why people want to get drunk, and tells the kids that they shouldn't drink.

The next day, the girls are greeted on set by Hollyoaks senior publicist Rachel Hardy, who tells them that because they produce FIVE SHOWS A WEEK, they have to turn around quickly. Unsurprisingly, they will be wearing underwear again. Amelia interviews that they're always naked on this programme, and it should be called Britain's Next Naked Model. She's got a point, hasn't she? In the dressing room, she complains that she's come here to model and she's never worn a dress. Alisha interviews that she has seen her breasts more than she has seen her head. I think she's still drunk. Joy practices her line with everyone in turn. "The script was quite comical, but I expect that out of Hollyoaks," she interviews. Again: don't we all? The girls are greeted by director Penny Shales, who introduces them to Carley Stenson, Bronagh Waugh and Dean Aspen, who will be in their scene today. The girls parade through a scene in their underwear, and then Joy rehearses for her scene with Dean, in which he tries to give her his number and she rips him to shreds. Alisha interviews that Joy is doing very well. Dean interviews afterwards that Joy was a pleasure to work with and did a great job. The scene wraps, and the girls applaud themselves.

After the commercials, there is more E-Mail, read by Alisha: "Ladies! Are you ready to face things that go bump in the night? Sometimes modelling can be a scream. Be ready at 8am. Love Elle." Alisha interviews that she doesn't like horrible things, haunted places or horror movies. She's not going to like what's coming. The girls arrive at a spooky house, complete with schlocky horror effects. They have to walk down a corridor, where the lights go off. A woman runs out covered in blood and screaming, and the girls all freak. Then a mysterious figure emerges, and lights a torch under his face: it's Charley. Being lit from that angle doesn't do him any favours, by the way. Charley tells them that their photoshoot will be paying homage to some of the greatest horror movie scream queens. They head into make-up, and Joy is excited about the theme because she loves horror films. Anyone surprised? Amelia is cold, and thinks the building really is haunted. Charlotte is feeling less scared than when she arrived, "because I did cry, when that girl chased us down the corridor." Hee. Charley arrives with their photographer, Matthew Brindle, who is a man of few words.

Alisha's up first, and she's being attacked by zombies, which are clawing their way through a door behind her. I think the terror on her face is real, and Alisha confirms this. "I was really scared," she says. "I actually did want them to stop touching me." She explains that it was not the sort of shoot where you can look pretty, so she tried to model with her torso and put the fear on her face. That's actually quite sensible; I have nothing sarcastic to add. Matthew thinks Alisha did well, but he did have to keep reminding her to be glamorous. Amelia has to run down the corridor away from a knife-wielding man. Matthew tells her to put her arms down when she runs; Amelia continues to run with her arms out. Nicola is being Janet Leigh in Psycho. She interviews that she found the whole thing weird and kind of funny. Charley thinks she needs to be less self-conscious. Joy has to be possessed, which apparently means wearing a rubber leotard and being chained to a hospital bed with no mattress. She thinks she is being more positive than she has been, and leaves the photoshoot happy for the most part. Tiffany has lots of prosthetics to make her look bloody, and is wielding an axe. She interviews that it's hard to look pretty, angry and crazy. I dunno, Tyra Banks manages it quite often. Charley likes the variation in her poses. Charlotte is next, and the photographer wants her with her hair in the air. Charlotte interviews that to achieve that while still facing the camera involves really flicking her neck, and it really hurt. I sympathise to some extent, but I also wonder if Charlotte might be a bit of a wimp. Matthew calls her his favourite of the day, because she pulled off some tricky direction and was charming to boot. Olivia's direction is thus: "we're going to have you down here, eating a man". And they say this show is soft porn! She's actually a zombie eating guts, and seems to be doing a great job, though she worries in an interview later about not actually trying to look pretty. Charley and Matthew seem happy with her work, though. Kirsty also has a lot of prosthetics, and has to play someone who's been stabbed and is dying. She gleefully shows us backstage how her knife is attached. She interviews that she was pleased with her performance, and thinks that if she goes, she'll go out on a high note. Alisha and Charlotte interview that Kirsty's kind of cocky.

Which brings us to: bitch edit time! Back at Model Manor, Joy interviews that Kirsty came downstairs and asked if anyone had a problem with her. And it turned out everyone did [Schoolgirl error, Kirsty - Helen]. Kirsty tells them that she has nothing but kindness for all of them, and she doesn't understand why they don't like her. Alisha tells Kirsty that it feels like Kirsty thinks she's the best one there. Tiffany says that she's "never met someone so 'look at me!'" Alisha rants in an interview that Kirsty doesn't give anyone else a chance to speak or do anything. Kirsty gets quite upset and says that she isn't trying to be a bitch. Charlotte explains to her that she finds Kirsty hard to be around, not because she's a nasty person, which she isn't, but because she's just too much. Joy thinks that Kirsty handled the situation well. Kirsty tells them that they've helped her by telling her all these things. I suspect this saga is not over.

Commercials. God, bloody Cheryl Cole gets everywhere.

Judgement chamber. The girls file in, to be greeted by Elle, who tells them they've had a dramatic week. There's the usual run-through of judges, including guest judge Matthew Brindle, and the prizes. We see a clip of their appearance on Hollyoaks, which Elle thinks they all did an amazing job in.

Joy's first up, and is congratulated for winning this week's challenge. Her possession shot is terrifying, and actually quite brilliant. Elle thinks she looks like "a debauched goth". Julien loves her picture and is really pleased for her to be back in the running. Matthew tells her she just needs to be more confident. Olivia is next, and her zombie picture is hideous, in a good way. Elle loves it because "I haven't seen you look like this!" Well, yes, because this isn't Britain's Next Top Zombie (although I would watch the shit out of that show if it existed). She thinks it's one of the best shots of the whole competition. Charley thinks she was motivated throughout the whole shoot. Julien is impressed with her versatility, compared to her sexy shot from last week. Tiffany's axe-crazy shot is great, and the judges love it. Charley says that she was really diverse on the shoot, and Matthew is impressed that she made the light prop-axe look really heavy. Grace is impressed that she still looks beautiful despite everything. Alisha's zombie shot gets less of a warm reaction; Elle thinks she looks like she's enjoying being grabbed by zombies, and Grace thinks it looks like she's "in a zombie musical". Matthew tells her she has a strong face, but needs to work on being more soft. Grace tells her it's not her best shot. Kirsty's "left to die on the stairs" shot is stunning, but Grace thinks it could be a catalogue shot, which is not a compliment. Julien doesn't think it covers the danger of the scenario, but Matthew is impressed that she looked beautiful even as she was "dying" and Elle thinks she nailed it [It was rather admirable of Kirsty to try and steal the whole thing by being beautiful when the other girls had to be ugly. After the way they treated her, I don't blame her - Helen]. Charlotte's poltergeist shot is freaky, and Matthew informs the panel how well she worked on the day. Grace can't believe that Charlotte was just jumping rather than being suspended, because the action in her hands and feet is so believable [I didn't get this. It's believable because it's REAL Grace - Helen]. Then Julien ruins it all by saying that they need a reality check, because it's not a good picture - it's not scary or creepy and she doesn't look good in it. He doesn't think she has any versatility as a model. Julien sucks. Charlotte returns to the line-up with tears in her eyes. Nicola puts a consoling arm around her waist. Nicola is next, and Elle asks her if she's about to cry. Nicola admits that she's a bit upset for Charlotte. Grace tells her that it's a competition, and it's a dog-eat-dog world out there, etc etc, so she'll have to harden up. Nicola puts her "granny glasses" on to view the shot, which Charley likes but Grace does not, because she thinks it looks more like toothache. Matthew thinks she needs a better awareness of the camera. Elle thinks she should be better at that by this stage. Amelia's picture is not great, and Matthew brings up the whole arms thing. Elle likes the image, but finds her stance awkward. Julien likes it because she looks ugly and unlike herself for once, though it's not her best.

Deliberation. Joy's picture gets rave reviews, and Julien's happy she's got her confidence back. Olivia also gets great feedback, but Grace isn't sure she's a great model yet. Charley thinks Alisha's hard work on the shoot hasn't translated. Matthew loves Tiffany, as do Charley and Elle. Grace doesn't see the acting in Kirsty's shoot. Matthew loves Charlotte's shot, but Julien doesn't think she looks good as a model. Elle thinks she fulfiled the brief, and so does Charley. Elle tells Julien he's outnumbered. Heh. Elle says that she loves the photograph of Nicola because of the art direction. Matthew says there weren't many to choose from because her body was often turned away from the camera. Julien thinks she hasn't the body to be a top model. Matthew was looking forward to shooting with Amelia, but her heart wasn't in it. Charley thinks she can't take direction. Grace thinks there are two strong contenders to go home.

Eight beautiful scream queens stand before Elle, but she only has seven photographs. First call-out goes to Olivia, who Elle says has totally earned it. Joy is second, then Tiffany, "Poltergeist Girl", Kirsty and Alisha. This leaves Amelia and Nicola in the bottom two. Elle tells Nicola that she started out strong, but recently her photographs are starting to fade. (Didn't this seem to happen around the time she found her glasses? Could the two be linked? Quick, Nicola, go back to the darkness!) Amelia is the kind of girl who turns heads, but needs to learn to translate her great genes into great photographs. So who gets to stay on? Amelia. Elle hugs Nicola and tells her she did really well. Nicola leaves, tearfully. Everyone remaining seems to be in tears as well.

Back at Model Manor, Nicola says she feels disappointed with herself because she was in the bottom two last week, so she knew she needed to up her game, which she doesn't feel she did. She really wants to model, so she's going to go to agencies and keep pushing, because she doesn't want to do anything else. We see her fairly decent portfolio, and then she fades out of the group shot. Aw. I'll miss Nicola. I so thought she'd make the final, but I guess it wasn't to be.

Next week: the girls hit the high street for a fashion challenge, model couture hats, go off in a helicopter, and have their pictures taken on ice. Helen will be here with all the details. Join her then!

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