Saturday, 18 September 2010

A general air of Malays

Top 5 (again): 13th September 2010

Previously: Nicky Johnston turned up at the house to test the girls' photography and artistic direction skills, and Amelia held the camera backwards and ended up taking 42 pictures of her own eyeball, which made Nicky ANGRY. Then George Lamb popped in and Alisha yelled "MINT SAUCE!" at him in her ongoing quest to annoy everyone in the United Kingdom, then Terry O'Neill photographed the girls alongside the thighs of some rugby players (NB. The rest of the rugby players' bodies may also have been in the shot; I wasn't paying attention) and the most clearly telegraphed non-elimination ever saw all the girls discovering they were going to Malaysia.

Happening imminently: a night-time shoot in Malaysia, which Amelia thinks is a bit of a disaster. Sorry, I probably should have made sure you were sitting down before revealing shocking information like that. And the girls meet Jimmy Choo. Five girls remain, but only one of them can be Britain's Next Top Model.

Titles! I miss Kirsty and her penis hat that was made out of her hair.

Gravel outside Model Manor. The girls celebrate their imminent departure with champagne; no doubt their neighbours are doing likewise. Alisha reminds the slower members of the audience that there are five of them left, but only one of them can win. Since Alisha likes to find fault with everything, I assume this is her way of telling us that she thinks she'd do the opening narration much better than Elle does. The girls pack. Alisha says she's never been to Malaysia before and is very excited, but she's aware that it's still very much a business trip. Joy informs us that she isn't messing about, and will continue to do what she does best, which is deadpan commentary. Sorry, "modelling". Amelia thinks this will be the biggest test of the competition. She also has a sexual invitation written on her shirt in French, but luckily for the censors, her hair is cascading down over enough of it to ensure that impressionable youngsters in the audience are unlikely to be corrupted. Tiffanuh is living her dream at the moment. Charlotte is in it to win it.

Grainy-ass stock footage of an airliner stands in for their actual journey, and then we are in Malaysia. The girls pull up outside The Ritz-Carlton at Starhill Gallery. I would love it if this turned out to be merely the venue for a production staffer to hand them their keys for the Premier Inn on the other side of town. Sadly, I am disappointed, as the girls get out of their car to witness some Genuine Malaysian Culture. Some people have dressed up as a dragon to perform a ritualistic dance; this reminds Amelia of her dog, and that total lack of imagination is presumably why her photos are always so terrible.[I demand to see this DragonCowDog and demand to know why it's in Amelia's possesion rather than the circus - Helen] More dancers block the doors. Alisha rhapsodises about how utterly amazing it all is. After the dancing, the girls applaud, and then a flunky from the hotel tells them that they will be staying in the Ritz-Carlton's "luxurious penthouse". Charlotte cannot get upstairs fast enough.

The penthouse is awesome. It has a grand piano, for crying out loud, and what appears to be a private roof garden with a pool. Charlotte strips down to her (mismatched, how embarrassing!) bra and knickers and jumps in, followed by Joy, who is not wearing a bra at all, God love her. Alisha pushes Amelia into the pool, as detailed on page 65 of The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People. Joy's unfettered norks bounce merrily around in the water. Tiffany slips in daintily with a t-shirt covering her top half, Alisha climbs in with her dress on.

Later, the girls sit around in their complimentary dressing gowns while Charlotte reads an E-Mail. "Hello girls, welcome to Malaysia. The world of fashion is about to take you to dizzy new heights. A special guest awaits you on the Petronas bridge. Be there at 2pm." The girls debate whether this will be a shoot, or whether it will just involve meeting someone. Joy thinks they might be meeting Jimmy Choo, as he's from Malaysia. A gold star to Joy for knowing that, because I didn't.

They head to the Petronas Towers (which Amelia rather unfortunately refers to as "the twin towers") and spot someone who Charlotte equally unfortunately refers to as "this dinky little man". It is, of course, Jimmy Choo. They are all massively starstruck. Joy admits that Jimmy Choo is the only designer whose appearance she would actually recognise in person. Amelia introduces herself thusly: "Nice to meet you. I'm from Wales." I was really hoping this would lead to a hilarious mix-up in which Jimmy Choo thought her name was Fromwales, but once again I am disappointed; instead, he tells her that he has friends from Wales. I bet he's talking about Shirley Bassey. Or possibly Gethin Jones. Jimmy Choo tells the girls that modelling is hard work, so they must love what they're doing. Alisha thinks he's an inspiration, even though this is what everyone has been telling them since week one. Charlotte says that he has amazing eyes. Jimmy Choo sends them out to explore his country and "do a lot of shopping". The girls do as they are bidden and head out to explore Kuala Lumpur. They find some local cuisine and dare Joy to eat some of it, and at this point I wish I were watching The Amazing Race instead. Actually, Joy and Tiffany would be an awesome Amazing Race team. Joy explains in an interview that everything in Malaysia is different and not like England, rolling her eyes as she says it, because she's clearly been prompted to say so by a producer and is aware of how thick it makes her sound. Charlotte enjoys being submerged in a new culture.

An ad break, even though nothing interesting has happened yet. Oh God, are The Script back already?

Back at the penthouse, there is E-Mail, read by Amelia: "Hi girls, put on your dancing shoes as tomorrow you'll be performing Malay style. Good luck." Charlotte is SO EXCITED. Alisha loves dancing. Joy tells us that everyone else who is here has had dance lessons at some point in their lives, and therefore they are all dirty ringers. Oops, sorry, wrong show. Joy, of course, has not. The next day, the girls are taken out into a picturesque landscape full of greenery, where they meet Datin Azanin Dato' Ahmad, who is an internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer from Malaysia, she tells us. Each girl must perform in character as a historical figure, and they will all be given special costumes. She wants them to perform individually and also to each other. Joy must play the role of a warrior queen, with sharp and alert movements. Amelia is a princess warrior queen, and must do a lot of finger flickering. Stop laughing at the back. Charlotte is a princess of the mountain, and has a fan prop, which she can use as a weapon. Alisha's character is a woman who all the men are in love with, but she's faithful to her husband. And she has a puppet. Tiffany is the lady of the lake and must dance fluidly. Tiffany doesn't know how the other girls are feeling but suspects that non-dancer Joy will be nervous. She's right: Joy thinks she can't even walk without falling over. Alisha thinks a lot of the other girls aren't taking this as a challenge (shot of Joy gurning heroically), but she's taking it all very seriously. Shocker, right? Joy and Amelia giggle that they have no idea what they're doing.

Amelia has to dance first, and was a bit nervous about trying to move. She seems to be doing reasonably well, though Alisha criticises her in a VT for not moving from the spot she started on. Charlotte says that she wanted to get the story across; once again we go to Alisha for feedback, who seems to have confused herself with her namesake from Strictly Come Dancing. Alisha complains that Charlotte's dancing didn't relate to her character. Charlotte says that she loves improvisation dance, so this task was perfect for her. Alisha is next, and thinks that she had the hardest task, because she had a puppet. Then there's Joy, who looks entirely lost. Alisha thinks she looked like she had daggers and was "dagging the air". Ah, the verb 'to dag'. I dag, she dags, we all have daggen. Tiffany was worried because everyone else had done well, and felt the pressure with everyone looking at her. Alisha thought she looked phenomenal in her purple outfit. Afterwards, Datin Azanin tells them all that they really moved her with their interpretations of her dance movements, but the girl who impressed her most is...Charlotte! Alisha looks thunderous. She whinges in a VT that "Charlotte wins everything, even if she's bad." I'm so glad no one told Alisha that the outcome of this series would be decided by a public vote. Charlotte wins herself some designer clothes from top fashion designer the House of Raoul. Charlotte's allowed to pick another girl to share the prize with her, and picks Joy, because they were both in last week's fake bottom two and need a bit of cheering up.

Charlotte and Joy go shopping. They examine lots of outfits. Joy picks up a colourful dress and thinks it's something Amelia might wear: "all it needs is some sequins." Snerk. They select shoes and bags. Charlotte thinks the others will be jealous when they return with their designer swag. Back at the penthouse, there is E-Mail floating in the pool. Alisha reads it. "Hi ladies, you've all been dancing, but now it's time to get official. Dress to impress, meet me at 3pm." Tiffany deduces that they are going to meet Elle. No flies on her, are there? Alisha and Charlotte figure that the not-terribly-subtle inclusion of the word "official" means that there'll be some sort of VIP with Elle, so everyone goes off to have a wardrobe crisis. Conveniently, a woman walks into the penthouse and informs them that she will be dressing them all today in Malaysian outfits. And they all look very pretty once she's finished, which is handy.

Alisha interviews that they were "invited to a very special event by the 'hierarchy' in Malaysia." The air quotes she put around "hierarchy" and the incorrect context in which she used it suggest to me that Alisha isn't entirely sure what that word means. Amelia is excited that they are going to a formal dinner because she loves etiquette. Elle turns up, also in Malaysian clothing, and has a little chat with the girls, telling them that their strength of character will get them to the next level, and it's now about who they are as much as what they look like. The girls are all quite relieved by her advice. Elle warns them all to be polite, and everyone laughs nervously.

Yb Dato' Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen, the Malaysian Minister of Tourism, welcomes "Ellie" (hee!) and the models to Malaysia on behalf of the government. Then there is more Malaysian dancing, and a banquet, and the girls pose for photographs with people who are presumably quite important. Charlotte interviews that she spent ages worrying about observing the correct etiquette, and ended up just copying whatever Elle was doing. Heh. Then the girls take part in some traditional dancing, which Tiffany finds slightly alarming. Jimmy Choo is there too, throwing some shapes.

After the dinner, the girls go to a bar, which also has a swimming pool. They look at how beautiful the city is. Joy says that she'd have been happy stuck in a tent as long as she was in Malaysia. Alisha interviews that she was "not herself" that night (which must, logically, have been an improvement) and left the table "to release some negative energy", which presumably means she went off to record her interview segments for the rest of the episode. [I presumed it meant crying audibly in the toilets until someone had noticed she'd gone - Helen] The girls discuss her after she's gone, of course, and whether she should go home if she's not enjoying herself. Charlotte would hate it if Alisha went home, regretting the fact that she hadn't enjoyed herself. I, on the other hand, would quite enjoy that. Tiffany thinks that someone has got to go home and she just doesn't want it to be her. Charlotte recounts an incident in which she asked Alisha if she was okay, and Alisha snapped at her, and decides that she won't bother caring next time. Joy's all "this is why I don't bother with human emotions."

Ad break. Maybe it's just became I'm a man, but Eat Pray Love looks awful.

Back at the Penthouse, there is yet more E-Mail, read by Charlotte. "Hi girls, one of the first rules of being a successful model is being on time. Be ready at 4pm." Charlotte wonders if they're doing a sunset shoot. Amelia wonders if the shoot is going to go on all night.

And then there is drama. Alisha interviews that when they got back, Amelia took her to one side and said that people had been talking about her after she left the table. Ooh, the little stirrer! Charlotte interviews, sounding slightly tearful, that as far as she was aware, she'd read the E-Mail and there were no problems, and then she was confronted. Alisha announces to the room that she wants to say something "to everyone": she doesn't appreciate people talking about her behind her back, and she saw whose lips were moving. Charlotte tells Alisha that she was just saying she didn't want Alisha to be here and be sad and then regret that if she went home (and while we don't have the entire conversation to refer to, we do at least know that she isn't lying about having said that), and Alisha tells Charlotte that if she wants to "have the little attitude thing" then that's fine, but she's heard the other things Charlotte's said about her. Just so we're clear, this is the same Alisha who has been talking shit about everyone for weeks. Charlotte's all "what exactly am I supposed to have said?" Alisha tells her that she wants her to just be honest and admit that she said it. Charlotte's all "yes, and I will, once I determine what the hell you're actually going on about, you mad bitch." At this point Amelia interjects: "if you've got a bad negative vibe, and you don't appreciate your place in the competition, I don't think that's a really nice thing to come out with, because that is what was said." In the interests of fair and balanced recapping, at this point I scan back to the inflammatory conversation just to check I'm not misremembering it. Charlotte says, verbatim: "I would hate for her to go home and then just regret the fact that she hasn't enjoyed herself, or like tried--" and then Tiffany cuts her off. Now, obviously context is key, but that doesn't sound to me like Charlotte's suggesting Alisha doesn't "appreciate her place" in the competition. The only person we hear actually saying the words "people who don't want to be here" is Tiffany, and we don't even have any evidence that she was talking about Alisha. So, in short, I'm not entirely convinced that Amelia isn't just creating drama for her own amusement here.

Right, back to the argument in question: Tiffany cops up to saying that if people don't want to be here, then they should go home. She claims, however, she didn't mean Alisha. "We were saying that we think you've been really sad today," Charlotte explains, and Tiffany adds "yeah, everyone was backing you up!" I'm not entirely sure that's an entirely accurate account of the conversation either. I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle. Either way, Alisha warily considers the matter resolved. Charlotte interviews that she's not here to bitch, she's here to win a modelling competition. The fourfour fan in me wishes she'd said "I am here to make friends!" Tiffany interviews that the whole thing got blown out of proportion, but people were saying things they shouldn't have said and winding people up. Finally: some sense.

The next day, the girls arrive at a building. Alisha doesn't know what they're there for. They climb to a terrace on top of the building, where they're met by Grace, who tells them that they'll need to be pretty but tough. Sarah Earlam is with her, and she is the brand representative from Baby G in the UK. Surely to be a brand representative, it helps if you can actually enunciate the name of your product clearly? It took me a fair bit of googling to find out what she was on about; for a minute I thought the girls were going to be modelling with top '90s dance act Baby D. Anyway, their current in-store model is nail chewing airhead Pixie Lott, and the winner of today's photoshoot will be taking over from Pixie Lott next spring. I hope this isn't just limited to Baby G promotions, and that they will all be in fact impersonating her onstage in a manner not entirely dissimilar to The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Amelia interviews that it's their biggest campaign yet. Grace explains that they'll be doing a night time shoot against the Kuala Lumpur skyline, and sends them off to get made-up.

Sarah explains that the girls need to have fun with the brand but also have "edgy toughness" to them. Alisha tells us that it was her 19th birthday, but she couldn't relax because she had to work. Grace arrives with flowers and a present for Alisha, apparently from Elle. Alisha's birthday present is a fancy pair of sandals. She says that it'll be something to tell the grandkids about. Charlotte heads out for her shoot, looking like "a baby Elvis", in her own words. She explains that she was hoping she'd be standing up and had planned for that, but the photographer wanted her to lie down. Apparently she was also directed to rest her weight on the arm that she's wearing the watch on, which seems rather odd. The reactions from those behind the camera are not great. Charlotte interviews that it's offputting to see those sort of faces when you're doing a shoot. Grace points out that the watch is on the wrong arm for the pose, and Charlotte tries some other poses. Sarah tells her to be "fun and energetic". Grace interviews that Charlotte came in with a great energy, but when she had to move on from what she'd originally planned to do, that energy disappeared. Charlotte hopes she's got a good picture, because she was bottom two last week. Sarah thinks Charlotte had some great shots, but the watch wasn't in any of them. She's disappointed, because Charlotte bears the closest resemblance to Pixie out of all the girls. That's strange, I haven't seen Charlotte chewing her fingernails and staring into space once yet.

Alisha's next, and is holding onto a rail and leaning off. She admits that she forgot she was wearing the watch and just started posing, until Grace reminded her.[She also forgot she was scared of heights to the extent she nearly had a panic attack in Spain week, but we'll gloss over that - Helen] She then tries a variety of watch-centric poses and seems to be doing quite well. Alisha, however, is unsure that she's got a picture that covers the brief. Tiffany's going next, and is instructed to "love the watch more" by Grace. Tiffany says that it's hard to work with a watch because it gives you a lot more to take into account when you're posing. Sarah tells Tiffany to look more energised. Grace thinks Tiffany didn't get the "pretty but tough" brief, and gave them "starey and really tough" instead.

Amelia has super-crimped hair and loves her outfit. She does, however, forget to point the watch face at the camera. She thinks she moved more fluidly on this photoshoot. Sarah thinks Amelia looked inexperienced, and if she'd turned up for a magazine shoot for them, she'd have sent her home. Grace thinks Amelia doesn't understand her body. I think there are a lot of things that Amelia doesn't understand. Amelia thinks the shoot was a disaster, but she tried her best.

Finally, there is Joy, who is looking like Björk, for some reason. Sarah advises her to try to have fun with the watch. Joy seems to be floundering a little bit, but to her credit, is clearly trying very hard to get it all just right and suggesting a lot of things to try. Grace appreciates that she's being pro-active about it all, and enjoyed seeing Joy "go through her process". Sarah thinks Joy is the perfect combination of pretty and tough. Joy hopes she's done enough.

Ads. I want the shirt that the guy in the Häagen-Dazs advert is wearing.

Malaysian judging! Tiffany giggles, for some reason. Elle welcomes them to the Malaysian judging room, and introduces her panel. including this week's guest judge, Sarah Earlam, who Elle claims was their "mentor and client" during the shoot. Call me picky, but I think a mentor needs to do more than just say "you need to be energetic" over and over again. Elle runs through the prizes and how the models spent their week, and then Tiffany is the first to be judged. We see her best shot, where she's dangling her watch arm between her legs and looking a bit like she's desperate for a wee. Grace tells her that they struggled to get this shot, and this was the only passable one she gave. Sarah thought Tiffany was uncomfortable in her hair and clothes. Tiffany admits that she struggled with the hair, but Elle tells her that from a model's perspective, Elle herself could not have done better. She thinks that even if it was a struggle to get there, she nailed this shot.

Alisha's next. "You're actually looking really confident," says Elle. "I think that's the name of the game," Alisha replies meekly. Alisha's best shot is not pretty. Charley tells her the pose is great, but the lighting isn't complimenting her face. Elle tells Alisha that when she works out her light, she's beautiful, but if she gets it wrong, she becomes unattractive very quickly. Elle tries to reassure her by pointing out that even she struggles with her light sometimes. She omits the second part of that sentence, which was "but then someone strikes a match and I can smoke my cigarette after all." Julian tells Alisha that she's sexy in person, but she looks like RuPaul in this picture. Cheek: RuPaul would never look as mannish as Alisha does here. Julien says that he'd hate to see her go, but this is not her best picture.

Then we have Amelia. Her best picture is pretty weak. Grace says it doesn't make her want to buy the watch. Sarah says that they kept asking her to try new things, but didn't really get what they were looking for. Charley tells Amelia that she's improved from the start. Julien says that the picture is good, and Amelia needs to be positive.

Charlotte's next, and she's nervous. Her best shot is okay, but not great. Sarah tells Charlotte that she likes the top half, that it fits the tough brief perfectly, but she didn't know what she was doing with her legs. Grace tells Charlotte that she came in strong, but something happened and it just went away. Charley thinks this shot is strong, "but it sounds like there was difficulty getting it." Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Last but not least, there is Joy. I'll confess: I stared at this picture for a good ten seconds before I even located the watch, so it's a bit of a fail for me on a personal level. Joy likes that she's looking off in the distance in her picture. Julien likes it because it doesn't look like Joy. Sarah thinks Joy matched the brief perfectly. Charley likes the subtlety of the way she's holding the hand with the watch in. Julien thinks it's the sign of a good model that she can show off the product without seeming like she's doing it. Hang on, so I wasn't supposed to see the watch? I'm so confused now. Anyway, Sarah liked Joy the best, so she's the new Pixie Lott, or whatever. Coming to a chart near you soon!

Deliberations. Elle thinks Tiffany looks rock and roll and strong in her picture. Grace thinks it's a great shot, but the process of getting it was difficult. Joy looks expensive and current, and Julien thinks she looks like a top model. Sarah thinks she behaved like a top model too. Julien thinks that for Amelia, "the ginger nut has cracked." Charley thinks she's improved, because her early shots were very poor. Yes, congratulations Amelia for going from shit to fractionally-less-shit. Elle thinks Amelia's headspace is self-sabotaging her. Charley thinks the top half of Charlotte's picture is a strong shot. Sarah says that Charlotte worked hard on the shoot and clearly really wanted it. Elle thinks Charlotte does "glamour, beauty, sexy, supermodel" very well, but falls apart when she has to be static. Julien thinks she'd win if it were an advertisement for hairspray, but it's a watch advertisement, and you don't see the watch, just the hair. First of all, I saw the watch in this picture a lot quicker than I saw it in Joy's. And second: now we're supposed to be seeing the watch again? Make your fucking mind up, Julien. Alisha looks like a man. Julien thinks she's got it, but she just needs to learn how to make it rock.

There are five really beautiful girls standing before Elle, but she only has four pictures in her hands, and they represent the girls who are still in the running to becoming Britain's Next Top Model. First callout goes to Joy, then Tiffany is second. The third picture is Alisha's. So Charlotte and Amelia are bottom two this week, and I think that's complete bullshit as far as Charlotte's concerned, but since I can't even work out whether I'm supposed to be able to see watches or not, I suspect my opinion is not valued here. Elle tells them that they both had the weakest shots (really? Weaker than Alisha's man-face? Weaker than Tiffany's Tena Lady ad? I'll give Joy the benefit of the doubt, despite the magical disappearing-reappearing watch, because the rest of the picture was lovely): one of them wants this more than anything, and the other one doesn't know how fantastic she is. So who stays? Charlotte, of course. The judges feel her fighting spirit will bring her back next week.

Elle hugs Amelia, and tells her she's been amazing and beautiful. Amelia apologises for not being more positive, but says that she's going to go away a much better person. Back at the penthouse, Amelia packs. She says she's had the best experience of her life, and she'll leave a stronger person. She won't give up on modelling, and she's realised she can do really well if she just focuses. Good luck with that, then. Fade out and VANISH.

Next time: the girls eat something gross for a casting. Malaysian go-sees! And a jungle photoshoot with Charley. And somehow there are still three weeks until the final. Nope, I don't know how they're going to plug all that space either.


  1. Alisha's finally found out about the public vote. And as expected she's not happy. ALISHA White has slammed bosses for deciding to let the public decide the winner - saying it has turned the show into a "popularity contest". Hahaha!

    (seriously hope Joy wins)

  2. Wow ! I have been seen your post. Its very usful and helpfrl site.I even located the watch, so it's a bit of a fail for me on a personal level. Joy likes that she's looking off in the distance in her picture. Julien likes it because it doesn't look like Joy.Thanks for shering.
    agenzie di modelle