Sunday, 5 September 2010

Spring forward, fall back

Top 6: 30th August 2010

Previously: the girls went to Norway, and screamed. They had their pictures taken on a glacier. Kirsty was eliminated, because there's only room for one massive bitch in this competition, and Alisha's already got that one all sewn up.

Yet to come: the girls come face to face with Elle Macpherson and act like this is somehow novel, and leap off some scaffolding. OR DO THEY? There can only be one Britain's Next Top Model, y'know. Titles!

Night time at Model Manor: the girls gather to read Kirsty's goodbye note. Alisha doesn't think anyone will miss Kirsty. The testimonies from the other girls seem to back this up. Kirsty's letter is the usual standard "keep going, you can do it stuff" until we get to the PS, which is epic: "I took Nicky's letter because it means alot [sic] to me but when you get out you'll all find an e-mail with a copy." Two minutes into the programme, and Alisha's having a hissyfit already: "E-mail?? It's not the same!" Apparently we're supposed to disregard the fact that Nicky's letter was pretty much addressed to Kirsty specifically, because Alisha wants to see Nicky's handwriting and is annoyed that the carefully-spaced collection of letters on the fridge will now be unequal. She has apparently mistaken this competition for Britain's Next Top Severe Case Of OCD. Tiffany, quite sensibly, doesn't see the problem and essentially thinks that "people" are making a fuss because they're bored.

Later, there is E-Mail, read by Joy: "Girls, make sure you get your beauty sleep tonight, because tomorrow there's nowhere to hide. It's time to face facts, ladies, the camera never lies." Alisha jumps for joy at the prospect of doing a photoshoot with no make-up, while everyone else looks at her like she's just arrived from Io. "Aren't you lot excited?" she asks incredulously, and Olivia gives a half-hearted "yeah!" while everyone else continues to wonder what the likelihood is of Alisha being kidnapped in the night and never returning. [The producers would never let it happen, she gives far to good soundbite - Helen] Alisha interviews that she's excited about doing a make-up free shoot because she hates make-up. Excellent career choice she's made in that case. Amelia is less excited, because the stress of the competition has given her eczema. Glamorous! Joy thinks Alisha will do well if it is a make-up free shoot, because she has flawless skin, while Alisha babbles on about the storm that is coming. I hope she doesn't mean this one.

The next day, the girls arrive at Revlon HQ, where they're met by marketing manager Sarah Harper, who wants to understand how the girls can best portray their brand. By going on a reality show and talking about how much they hate make-up, perhaps? They'll be doing a beauty shoot for Revlon, to celebrate their new Colour Burst lipstick. The girls go to get their faces made-up, and they all talk about how important it is to impress the Revlon people. Photographer Hugh O'Malley shoots Charlotte first, who says that she was confident, but it wasn't coming across. Sarah doesn't like Charlotte's mouth, and Charlotte thinks it went downhill from there. Afterwards, Sarah thinks that Charlotte got it towards the end, but it was a struggle. Amelia's next, and says that she felt really nervous, and "it came on like a rash". Hugh asks Amelia to change her hand placement, and it's getting to the point now where I'm starting to think that Amelia's hands should get their own spot in the credits. [She was Vogueing. Actually Vogueing - Helen] Amelia comes off set and says that she didn't like it, which Charlotte points out in an interview is something that Amelia does all the time. Amelia thinks her picture is coming across as "transvestite". In fairness, considering the sheer amount of brightly-coloured make-up that's on all of the girls for the shoot, they all look like they should be operating after midnight in King's Cross. Alisha goes in next, and was trying hard to portray "modern" and "confident", which seems to go down well with Hugh. Alisha says again that she doesn't like make-up much (way to endear yourself to the sponsors!) but she actually liked the way she looked in the end. Hugh says that Alisha was a pleasure to work with. Alisha comes out and says that hers went well; Charlotte and Amelia look horrified. Tiffany's in next, and likes the colours that she was given because they suited her skintone. Unlike her hairdo [Harsh but fair, Steve - Helen]. Afterwards, Hugh wonders if she was too editorial. Olivia flails, because she "can't do beauty", she tells us. There's really nothing more I can add to that, is there? Hugh was not blown away by her. Joy, as ever, is hilarious: "I was really excited. It's just your face, and I think it sorts people out, because if you can't do facial expression, then you're pretty screwed in modelling." Joy for the judging panel next year, please! Joy struggles with her hands in the shot, though, because apparently she's got "corpse hands" that always needs lots of make-up. Hugh thinks she was beautiful, but lacked energy and enthusiasm.

The girls assemble ready for Sarah to declare the winner. Sarah explains that the winning girl impressed her because she had high energy from the moment she stepped onto the set: Alisha. Alisha interviews that when her name was announced, Charlotte was smiling, "but her eyes were saying 'bitch'." Or, as Tyra Banks would put it, she was 'bizing'. Alisha's reward is to go out for cocktails, and picks Olivia and Tiffany to join her. Are we about to get another "Alisha can't handle her drink" plotline? I do hope so.

Commercials. Uma Thurman is an Alfa Romeo. Does this mean she'll be in Transformers 3?

Model manor, night time. Alisha, Tiffany and Olivia are getting ready to go out, and dancing around like fools. Olivia is excited, because no one's chosen her to share in their prizes yet. This is probably because they, like I, keep forgetting she exists. The girls are taken to The Hoxton Pony, where Alisha invents a cocktail called "Diva-Ish", with a bit of help from the owner. Back at the house, Charlotte is enjoying quiet time with Amelia and Joy. Amelia notes that Charlotte's been a bit quiet since the last elimination, and Charlotte explains that it's because of what Julien said. You know, when he called her a heifer. Getting upset, Charlotte says that she doesn't care, she doesn't want to be a size four. Now, obviously I think Julien's a tool, because who doesn't? But at the same time, it is rather ridiculous to (a) enter a modelling competition on television, and (b) hope to become a professional model, if you're going to get this upset when someone criticises your appearance. Amelia admits in a VT that Charlotte "has put on a few pounds", and that a lot of the girls think so. Over at The Hoxton Pony, the others are discussing the same thing. Olivia suggests, in all seriousness, that Charlotte should be a plus-size model. This is ridiculous. Charlotte is not a plus-size anything. Tiffany and Alisha think that's brutal. Back at the house, Charlotte feels like the biggest girl left because she was singled out by Julien, and says that she's "a pretty sensitive person". She then tells Amelia and Joy that she's "not the biggest girl left". Amelia doesn't like this because "it does infer that other girls are bigger than her." It doesn't 'infer' anything, Amelia. It might 'imply' that, yes, but the only one 'inferring' would be you. Joy confessionalises that Amelia told her that she thinks Charlotte meant that she, Amelia, was the biggest girl left, and OH MY GOD CAN WE JUST END THIS MAD CONVERSATION, NONE OF YOU ARE FAT. Joy senses what I'm feeling: "Jesus Christ, both of you. Just shut up." I heart Joy.

The next day, there is E-Mail. "Girls, we've seen how perform in front of the cameras, but a Top Model also needs character and personality. I want to find out more about the real you. Love Elle xx" The girls wonder if they'll be having one-on-one chats with Elle. Sure enough, Elle arrives a bit later on and the girls all scream. Tiffany's the first person to get a one-to-one chat with Elle, and admits to feeling really nervous. Presumably because she has no guarantees that Elle will be able to understand her without subtitles. I certainly can't half the time. Elle talks to Tiffany about her haircut, and says that it was the best thing that they ever did, because Tiffany wouldn't still be here if they hadn't (burn!). Elle tells Tiffany she thinks it's time she had another haircut. Tiffany: "D:". Tiffany cries because she's overwhelmed by Elle, and gets a hug.

Joy goes in next, and looks rather tense. Joy admits in a post-event VT that she feels like she still didn't get what she's really like across to Elle, because she couldn't actually speak properly. Elle tells Joy that she's beautiful, but she needs to be more free-spirited and less scared. Olivia tells Elle in her chat that the competition is making her see that she can do something and really stick it out, and that being bottom two in the second week gave her the kick up the bum that she deserves. Olivia interviews that at panel she's always being told off for the way she stands or something. Elle tells Olivia that she's there because the team thinks she has what it takes to be there. Charlotte goes in for her chat with Elle, and like everyone else, gets tearful. Elle rebukes Charlotte for trying to cover up her real emotions with a laugh, and Charlotte sniffs that this feels like her last chance to go for it, because she feels like she's too old. Elle tells Charlotte that she was 18 when she started modelling, but she wasn't successful until she was 26. Charlotte gets a hug too.

By this point Alisha is worrying about the number of teary-faced girls emerging from their chats with Elle, and wondering what the hell is going on in there. "Is she beating them?" Alisha wonders. Alisha tells Elle that she's very happy to be there. "Do you think you can win?" Elle asks. "Sometimes," Alisha replies, in a manner that strikes me as rather too deliberately coquettish. Elle tells Alisha that her real-life beauty doesn't translate into her pictures, and that perhaps she's been trying too hard. Amelia heads in. "You look beautiful," Elle tells her. "Thank you. And you," Amelia replies, in that way that people do without really thinking about what they're saying. Elle's all, "well yeah, that's my job." Snerk. Elle tells Amelia that she is "exceptionally beautiful", but Amelia admits that she doubts herself a lot. Elle tells Amelia that whatever she does, her beauty will be an asset, and that she always thought it was more interesting for a girl "to use her beauty rather than to sell her beauty". This segues into a rather odd story about how Elle was going to be a lawyer and win lots of cases because she was so very charismatic. I can only assume she'd have been working for the law firm from Ally McBeal. Amelia says that the conversation helped her to think that it's all been worthwhile, however far she gets in the competition. [I bet the "Elle as a Lawyer" reality show will be on Living by this time next year. Mark my words - Helen]

More ads. I wish Dinner For Schmucks didn't look quite so awful as it does, because I would walk over hot coals for Paul Rudd, but I have to draw the line somewhere.

That night, there is more E-Mail. "Girls, get some rest tonight, because tomorrow the sky's the limit, love Elle." Olivia wonders if they might have to be birds. The next day, they're taken to Pinewood Studios, which Charlotte and Tiffany are very excited about. They enter a giant hanger and are greeted by Grace, who has decided to mark the occasion by dressing as the Bird Lady of Alcatraz. The first thing Joy spots, however, is the ambulance, which she notes with some irony is a reassuring presence. Behind Grace, a man leaps from some scaffolding and lands on a giant crash mat. Grace informs them that they too will be leaping from a height of 20ft for their shoot today. With Grace is today's client, Lisa McWilliam Herbert, who is representing Galaxy Ripple. Lisa explains that they will be conveying the sense of enjoying her chocolate and getting that floaty feeling, "and you literally will be floating because you will be falling from that scaffold." This makes literally no sense for many reasons, the very least of which is that floating and falling are clearly not synonyms. Grace explains that the girl who wins this challenge will be part of their next campaign. Olivia is excited because she's a daredevil, Amelia is rather more nervous. The stuntman explains to the girls that the most important part is to remember to land on your bum, not your feet. I'll say that again: LAND ON YOUR BUM, NOT YOUR FEET. This will be important later.

Charlotte is excited about the prospect of the jump. Alisha decides that "safety mat" is a misnomer, and that she'd rather refer to it as a "death trap". Heh. The girls are all given a practice jump to begin with: Charlotte goes first and plants her bum squarely on the giant X as she lands. "Good old bum," she laughs in an interview. "See, it comes in handy, this big bum." Hee. Joy is atop the scaffolding, and asked what she needs to land on. "My arse," she replies. LOVE HER. Unfortunately, she lands on her feet, and hurts her knees. Alisha needs a bit more time to prepare, but executes an excellent fall in the end. Tiffany freaks, but manages to do the jump. Olivia interviews that she couldn't wait to do her jump, but decided to let Amelia go before her because she was so nervous and wanted to get it over with. Amelia has a meltdown when she gets up there, and when she actually does jump, she gets her form all wrong and lands in a kind of crouch. She informs us in an interview that her knees came up and hit her nose and her right eye. Ooh, ouch. She's taken over to the paramedics and treated for her injuries which, for reasons I can't quite determine, means that Olivia is taken up to the scaffolding, but has to wait for Amelia to emerge from treatment before she can jump. This takes about 20 minutes, which is more than enough time for Olivia to psych herself out completely. Olivia can't actually bring herself to jump when her turn comes and begins to cry. Grace goes up to reassure her and give her a hug, but it's no good for Olivia, who's completely in bits by this point. The stunt co-ordinator tells Olivia that it's now or never, pretty much. "You'll be fine," yells Amelia from the ground; however, this reassurance is somewhat undermined by the giant ice pack she is currently holding to her face. Olivia is given one more shot, but can't do it, and goes back down the lift. She admits that she doesn't know what happened to her up there. Amelia interviews that it doesn't look good for Olivia to have gone to pieces in front of the client and one of the judges, and does not seem to be aware of the part she played in Olivia's downfall. Except maybe that was her plan all along? Maybe Kirsty's giant bitch edit was all an elaborate subterfuge to make us overlook Amelia and her evil plans? The stunt co-ordinator takes the decision not to let Olivia jump at all, because she's so upset that there's a good chance she'll hurt herself in the process.

Charlotte, Joy and Alisha are having their make-up done, and when the other three arrive, they wonder what the hell happened to Olivia and Amelia. Chocolate Ambassador Lisa explains that they're looking for a girl-next-door type, but they have to be professional and relax and get the shop done. Joy goes first and meets with Neal Haynes, the photographer, who warns her that they don't have much time and will only be able to do about three jumps. For some reason they're being shot from on the ground as they jump; now, I'm no professional photographer, but that seems to me to be an impossible angle to get a good shot from. Joy interviews that they were supposed to be conveying the impression of jumping off a building and "floating" to the ground, but that it felt more like "you were walking down the street and just fell down a pothole." Joy jumps, but struggles to achieve the horizontal falling position the client wants, because she admits that she wanted to be able to see she was going to land on the crash mat and not, y'know, break her neck and die. Neal thinks her stance makes her look like Batman. Joy explains that they had to look into the light, but not at the photographer, make sure their hair wasn't in the way, but also look normal. This is actually quite a complicated shoot, basically. Joy jumps again, but the results are not good. Grace thinks she looks "utterly terrified".

Charlotte goes next, and pulls off a rather balletic leap. She interviews that one she realised she could land, she knew she only had a couple of shots to nail the rest of the pose. She really enjoyed it, but isn't sure she's produced a great shot. Alisha's skirt keeps billowing up around her face so all we can see is her knickers, and hits her head as she lands on one of her attempts, which upsets her. Grace thinks she's grimacing in her picture rather than smiling. Tiffany is wearing the absolute worst hairpiece I have ever seen. She looks like she's playing the village wench in an amateur dramatic adaptation of a Thomas Hardy novel. She explains that "the shoot was about the girl next door, and I haven't seen no girl next door with short orange hair." Heh. She's happy about the wig, so that's the main thing, I guess.

Amelia goes next, and is asked by Neal how she feels. "Really nervous!" she shouts from the scaffold. This is apparently not the answer Neal wanted. Amelia says that she felt "like one of those 16th century people, when they're jumping to their death on the lallows". And if that makes any sense to you, you're smarter than I am. After a couple of fluttery false starts, Amelia finally leaps - and lands on her bum this time. Hooray! Although she promptly sits up and apologises to the entire studio, declaring her effort "horrendous". She jumps a few more times, and the results are not inspiring. I will be literally amazed if anyone gets a good shot, because the entire set-up of this shot was ludicrous.

Backstage, the girls deconstruct their day's work. None of them are feeling terribly confident, but Olivia thinks none of them have anything to worry about because at least they went through with it. Back home, there is E-Mail, read by Amelia: "Girls, what an eventful two days. Enjoy your evening because tomorrow it'll be time to find out who has fallen from grace, and will be leaving the competition for good. See you at elimination, love Elle x". Amelia is not expecting it to be easy. Olivia thinks that was the hardest challenge they've ever faced. Alisha prepares to open a can of whup-ass on Julien if he has anything negative to say. Adverts.

Elimination room. The girls troop in, looking like awesome space hookers. Elle introduces the panel, who all get muted "hi"s from the diminished round of contestants. Guest panellist this week is Neal the photographer from the jumping shoot, who is wearing some very nice glasses. Elle runs through the prizes, which I've just realised include "the chance to appear in a Revlon campaign", which sounds awfully vague. I mean, theoretically I've got the chance of appearing in a Revlon campaign, but it's not likely to happen, is it?

Joy is up first. Julien tells her she looks more beautiful in front of him than she does in her beauty picture, which makes her look older than she is. Elle thinks she looks like a young Audrey Hepburn in the picture. Julien disagrees. Charley thinks she should've had more energy behind the eyes, but she has done well. We then have a look at Joy's jumping shot (and, by the way, all of these pictures will feature some spectacularly half-arsed photoshopping to make the girls look like they're actually jumping off a building). Joy's best shot is not great, as Elle wonders if she was pushed rather than jumping. Grace congratulates her for jumping despite being terrified.

Alisha's next, and her beauty shot gets rave reviews. Her falling shot looks mad, however, but Julien admires her professionalism in going through with it. Amelia's beauty shot is nice, but Elle thinks her claims of liking what she sees sound rather hollow. Amelia explains that she had issues on the day so she was expecting the shot to look worse. Grace tells her it's a beautiful picture, and Julien thinks she looks desirable, but Neal isn't sure it's a shot worthy of a top model. Her falling shot is rather awkward, and Elle thinks that Amelia looks like she has soiled herself. Nice. However, Elle is impressed that she got back up after falling and hurting herself. Neal reminds her that it's a big shot for a big campaign, and that she needs to go all out to get the shot.

Olivia is looking defeated, and explains to Elle and the panel that she's normally daring but something took over her at yesterday's shoot. Grace explains to her that if she has to find a way to overcome this, as if it had happened on a job, her agency would've been sued. Olivia cries. Julien says it doesn't necessarily mean that they'll have to eliminate her, as she has potential. They look at her beauty shot, which Julien thinks is beautiful, and Neal sees some Rihanna in there. Tiffany goes next, and Elle doesn't like the angle or expression of Tiffany's shot, and thinks she needs another haircut. Grace tells Tiffany that she needs to think attitude when she's taking a shot, and that this picture is an example of what she shouldn't be doing. Tiffany clarifies with them that they need more quirkiness from her. Her falling shot isn't great either, but the panel think it's the best one they've seen so far.

Finally there's Charlotte. Her beauty shot is lovely, I think, and Grace tells her that she definitely doesn't look fat, which is a rather odd compliment for a face-only beauty shot, but I suspect it's only there so Julien can have a platform to be apologetic as only he can. He tells her not to think that he doesn't like her, because he does, and she's "not too fat", but catwalk models are just a bit slimmer than she is. Which is, essentially, pretty much what he said last week, and in terms of the really insulting things Julien has said this series, it probably wouldn't make the top 10. Her falling shot is decent, and Elle reveals that it was the brand's favourite shot of the day, and it will be used in an upcoming campaign for Galaxy Ripple.

Deliberation time. Julien thinks there's nothing special about Tiffany, and Grace thinks her beauty shot is too "Lady Di". Olivia lacks confidence, and Charley points out that in the real world, your agency would call you beforehand to check that you're okay with jumping 20 feet off some scaffolding onto a crashmat. Which is a very valid point and I'm glad he made it, but at the same time, I think if Olivia had received a call like that, she would've said yes, because it wasn't until Amelia nearly concussed herself with her own limbs that Olivia started to question the sanity of leaping off some scaffolding to make people buy more chocolate. Julien thinks Amelia looks like "an exotic jewellery box". Charley likes to see Alisha looking softer in a beauty shot. Julien doesn't like Joy's beauty shot, but Charley thinks that she's made for beauty shots. Elle likes Charlotte because "she can do a bit of everything"; Julien admits that he didn't like her at first, but "she was a star from the beginning, and she's still here."

So, who gets first call-out this week? Alisha, whose beauty shot Elle absolutely loves. Following her are Charlotte, Amelia, and Joy, which leaves Tiffany and Olivia in the bottom two. Olivia looks like a top model in person, but the light behind her eyes reveals a scared little girl, apparently. Tiffany doesn't look like a top model in person, but works hard every time to get the shot. So who stays, the girl who works hard, or the girl who wastes her potential? Duh. Tiffany gets the last picture, of course, and Olivia gets the boot. Elle tells her that she has the potential to do whatever she wants, and she needs to go home and practice. Back at the house, Olivia admits that she wanted to stay, but she doesn't want to take someone else's spot since she didn't do the freefalling shot. She leaves a note behind her, which includes the phrase "Sorry about spelling", bless her. Olivia troops away from Model Manor, and fades out of the picture.

Next time: the girls turn photographer, but some cope better than others. George Lamb stops buy for a photoshoot, and the girls get their pictures taken in a room full of rugby players. Helen will be walking you through that one, so come back soon to see what she makes of it!

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