Saturday, 30 July 2011

The ones to watch

Auditions - Semi Finals: 25th July 2011

Previously on Bintmodel: we were on the road looking for the next winner, searching for inspiration in glamorous locales such as Cardiff and Manchester. Meanwhile, viewers across the nation gradually went from excited to appalled to deeply, deeply bored. The judges saw a variety of girls, many of whom we will never see again. Voice Of Fearne informs us that now the auditions are finally over (DANCE PARTY!), it's time to see if the girls who made it this far can actually deliver the modelling goods in a proper studio, under the watchful eyes of Charley, Grace, Julien and Elle. Maybe I'm just being awkward here, but if they were going to waste all of our time with three weeks of pointless sodding auditions held, inexplicably, in arenas across the country, could they not have held them in proper studios instead and included actual, proper modelling type challenges as part of the audition? It might have actually made better television than Grace hooting "show us a funny talent!" and Charley sitting there picking his nails.

LOGO SMASH! Apparently tonight's episode of BintModel features product placement, as the little double-P in the corner of the screen tells me. This, incidentally, is the first time I've seen that on an actual show, as opposed to in the advert telling me what the symbol means. I'm quite excited now. I just hope this isn't the most exciting thing that happens all episode. (Oops - Chris)

It's day one of the semis, and the girls are assembling in a fancy-looking studio. They chat, they mingle, they look nervous. One of them is holding a Burger King drink cup. Burger King! She'll have to forget all that nonsense if she wants to be a working model. (I dunno, I saw Beyonce in Burger King... - Chris) The cameras zoom around the studio and close in on a selection of identical LBDs, with nametags on them for individual girls. One girl tells the cameras that they've all seen the dresses, but that's all they know at this point. Another interviews that she desperately wants to get in the house. Wouldn't it be amazing if, after three weeks of auditions, I had any idea who these people were? Did the massively enhanced budget for this year not stretch to name captions for the screen? I spot Bible Brenda sassing it up in the background, so at least there's one familiar face. Hi, Bible Brenda!

Voice Of Fearne's Commentary Of The Obvious tells us that some of these girls will have been sent home by the end of the day. Thanks, Voice Of Fearne! What would we do without you? The girls are assembled at the foot of some stairs, so any Top Model fan worth their salt knows what's coming next: the judges appear at the top of the stairs, and everyone goes wild. Grace has reacquired her giant glasses, if anyone's interested. Elle tells them that they are the chosen few from their countrywide search, and now it's time to see if they are photogenic. Again: should this not have been a much earlier part of the process? Elle asks who here is photogenic, and everyone whoops. Grace is the only one of the judges to raise her hand. Heh. Elle tells the girls that next door is a studio, and they will be put into groups and required to use their imagination to produce eye-catching photographs, and after this challenge, some of them will be CUT. Moonface Holly looks a bit nervous.

The judges retire to their private quarters, where they have large headshots of all the contestants. The contestants who are currently trying to prove that they're photogenic. This show is so ass-backwards sometimes. The judges marvel at how many girls there are, and Julien thinks that one girl who stood out as looking great is the girl Elle never saw: his marvellous Amazonian Wonder Woman Jessica. She's got a new hairdo, apparently, and Julien approves. Jolly good. Charley thinks Holly (there are two Hollys, and he doesn't specify which one) looked as good as he remembers. Grace says, looking at the photo wall: "You know who stood out? Where is she...?" Obviously didn't stand out THAT much, then. It turns out she means Bible Brenda. Grace thinks it's overwhelming to see them all together. Charley points at a picture of a girl called Stacey and asks if anyone saw her; no one did.

The first group of eight girls are paraded in for their photo shoot while Julien, Charley, Elle and Grace observe via the rushes in a separate room. The director instructs the girls to choose a prop, though there don't appear to be many props beyond a couple of cubes to stand/sit on. Pictures are taken, and Charley likes a girl standing at the back who elevates herself on one of the cubes. To ensure we are emotionally committed to this contestant, she is referred to as "tall girl at the back". Someone called Jade does well. The next group gets a more enthusiastic reaction from the judges. Bible Brenda excels in this group, as does the aforementioned Stacey, whose skin Grace just loves. Elle likes Lisa The Man-Hater from Cardiff, but the others are less keen. In the next group, Julien and Grace argue about one Liverpudlian girl, who Grace thinks looks like a fishwife, but Julien thinks has supermodel potential. In the next group, Julien likes Charlotte, who might be the girl he found in the strip club, but I honestly can't remember. Seriously, I had to recap the auditions, and still that is how much attention I was paying. Dear Sky Living: FORMAT CHANGE NEXT YEAR PLZ [CO-SIGN - Helen]. Charley agrees with Julien, but Elle and Grace do not. Jessica the Glamazon proves photogenic. Moonface Holly appears to be having a go at a spot of planking. With her crotch to the camera. Elle does not approve. Julien's "Turkish Delight", Gisele, doesn't get much support from the other judges. Another girl is liked by Grace and Charley, but Grace thinks she needs to "stop over-plucking her brows". Of another girl, Grace says she needs a make-under. "Maybe we can do that!" exclaims Elle. Somewhere, Jenny Frost worries for her job security. (They should spray-paint a cardboard box silver, stick it on Grace's head and make the girls call her GOD - Chris) Another Holly gets good notes from the judges. A girl called Ufuoma rocks her shoot and basically owns all the bitches standing behind her. Team Ufuoma!

More girls, but the judges are not impressed. Lots of pretty girls, but not models. One girl who does manage to stand out is Juste, whose legs Elle loves. Once again, Julien loves a girl who he claims the others think "looks like a witch". Grace snorts that she looks more like Kenneth Williams. MODELLING ENDS!

The girls wait at the foot of the stairs once more, and the judges appear on the landing. Elle tells them that they've had a good look at their pictures, and some of them stood out...but some of them didn't. Some girls are called out and instructed to go to the studio next door and wait there. I won't list all the names because it goes on forever, but given the presence of Ufuoma, Jessica, Stacey and so on, it's clearly the girls who are through to the next round. Brenda and Juste, incidentally, appear to lack surnames entirely.

We cut to these girls waiting in the studio, looking nervous. Elle arrives, doing a fairly amateurish fake-out sad face and dragging out the process of telling them that they're continuing in the competition for as long as possible [I found this so unbelievably tiresome - Helen]. Someone was clearly hoping to make this episode a two-parter. The girls in the other room are sent on their way including Charlotte, Julien's "angelic" possible stripper. Voice Of Fearne tells us that 22 girls made the cut, but only 12 can be finalists. OR CAN THEY? (Spoilers). Elle tells the top 22 that she's looking forward to seeing them tomorrow. They're all very excited, and marvelling that the winner of BintModel is somewhere in this room.

Adverts. The guy in the advert is cute, even if the advert itself is kind of dumb.

On our return, Voice Of Fearne reminds us what happened in the first 15 minutes, because that's how highly this show thinks of its audience. Now it's day two, and the top 22 return to meet Julien and Grace in the studio for their first professional fashion shoot. Grace tells them that they'll be working in pairs, and modelling "the magic box", which is basically just a giant transparent perspex container about 2 metres tall and maybe half a metre across. It's cosy, basically. Brand Representative Tess Montgomery, who is "the current face of Sekonda watches" (I am now imagining her to have a wonky moustache made out of clock-hands - Chris), tells them that they have to create a shot which is playful, strong, and shows off the product. Grace sends them all off to hair and make-up. To fill some time, the model-wannabes express their concerns about the pressures currently facing them, including the need to work with a partner who might try and sabotage them or something. Let's hope so, it's about time we actually got some drama on this show. Grace discusses with Julien how the magic box is a very intimate space (Unlike Grace's own magic box - Chris) , so it'll be interesting to see how willing the girls are to really go for the shot.

Up first are Kimberleigh and Catherine, and Grace tells Catherine that Kimberleigh is beating her hands down at this point. Julien thinks that Kimberleigh looks like a model, while Catherine just looks like a pretty girl. "Or an ugly model," says Grace cattily. Afterwards, Julien thinks the shoot got far more interesting when they got aggressive, but there was a clear winner. Elsewhere, Catherine and Kimberleigh exchange unconvincing "I was so happy to be paired with you!" platitudes. Imogen and Hannah are next, and both try placing the watches in their mouths, but Julien points out that it just looks like they're eating them. And I'm guessing this is a bad thing, unless "NOM NOM WATCHES" is Sekonda's new marketing direction. Grace thinks Imogen is doing well, but Julien tells Hannah she's not strong enough. Hannah applies the criticism, and manages to do a bit better. Julien likens Imogen to Audrey Hepburn [I Quit! I Quit! God, whatever happened to Hepburn? - Helen]. Outside, Hannah frets that she let "our team" down.

Up next are two mums, Tanya and Holly H. Grace is impressed with them when they first walk in, but less so as the shoot commences, because Holly is not bringing it. Tanya, on the other hand, has a "model's body", therefore can make any pose look brilliant. Also causing trouble are Ufuoma and Karis, whom Julian declares "the worst" so far. Grace comes up and tells them that they need to do something interesting, and Karis needs to bring what she brought to the audition. Their attempts at "aggression" are pitiful, and Grace bemoans the fact that they never manage to get it together in the same shot. Fortunately, we have Brenda and Juste next to turn things around - Julien thinks they're the best pair of the day, and that they look like professional models. Grace was pleased to see Brenda looking so happy in the shots. The optimism doesn't last for long though, as Daniella and Danielle come in to stink the place up with their lack of angles and general pervasive sense of embarrassment over the whole situation. Joanne and Lauri (the latter of whom is the Liverpudlian that Julien liked) are next, and Julien likens their shoot to one of those photo booths you go in with your best friend on holiday. He tells them that they're not acting like models, and on reviewing their footage, decides that they've now overtaken Ufuoma and Karis as the worst. Inexplicably, Joanne and Lauri bounce out exclaiming that it all went really well. I mean, neither of them seem like the sharpest note on the piano, but did they not get the whole "you suck" angle of Julien's commentary? Grace thinks Joanne has the potential to be a model, but is too predictable in her poses. Outside, Joanne and Lauri continue to delude themselves that the judges liked them, because "the photographer was nodding". Grace tells Julien that while the girls did go along with the direction they were given, the overall shoot just shows what calibre of contestant they are, and that calibre is "not great".

Jessica and Anastasija arrive, and are told by Grace that they need to be good because so many before them have sucked a fat one. They get up to all sorts of twisty, faintly homoerotic posing, and Grace notes that they're the first pair that aren't afraid of each other's bodies, while Julien declares them "supermodels in the making". Outside, Jessica and Anastasija have a brief conversation with Joanne and Lauri which is basically there to show us how deluded Joanne and Lauri continue to be. Are we all up to speed on that now? Jolly good.

Next in are Jade and Rebecca. Grace gets a full-on ladyboner over Jade, marvelling over her body and how she's present in the picture even when she's not looking at the camera. Rebecca gets a less rapturous reception, and Grace thinks they didn't gel well as a couple. Outside, Rebecca seems to know that she sucked. Rebekah and Holly C (who I think is Moonface) are criticised for not working together, and Grace advises them to take more advantage of their similarities (i.e. both being a bit moonfaced). They get some passable shots, but nothing earth-shattering. Julien thinks they lacked energy and didn't know what they were doing. Stacey and Amy follow them, and Julien and Grace bicker about them. Grace tells Amy that Stacey's dominating the picture. Outside, Stacey sobs a bit that the nerves got the better of her. Julien thinks they could be potential models, but Grace is less convinced: she thinks they're a bit boring.

That's the last of it, so Grace and Julien head out to see the girls. Julien tells the girls that they really appreciate all the effort they've put in (seriously, I love this new, mellow Julien so much - he's creepy, but he's such fun), and hand them the very first E-Mail of the series. He asks who would like it, and Jessica's hand shoots into the air, as do several others. Julien tells them to come forward, and a redhead whom I don't recognise ends up beating her to it. They're told that they aren't allowed to read the E-Mail until Grace and Julien have gone. After they've departed, Redhead reads the message, which informs them that the judges will be making their final decisions tomorrow, but would like to see the girls one last time first, so they have to turn up in their swimwear, with their hair tied back, and wearing no make-up.

More adverts. I really hate that Tresemma ad where that hairdresser smugs about how "women come to me asking for salon-quality hair". YES. BECAUSE YOU RUN A SALON, YOU GOON. THAT IS THE ENTIRE POINT OF YOU.

After another unnecessary recap from the Voice Of Fearne, we're onto Day 3, aka No Make-Up Bikini Day (In my world, every day is No Make-Up Bikini Day - Chris). They all line up as though being inspected by the police, as Elle and the other judges troop up and down in front of them looking for flaws. Some of the girls interview that they feel more comfortable without make-up anyway. Eventually, Elle tells the girls that they've seen all they need to see from them, and now the girls are in for the longest night of their lives while the deliberation takes place over which 12 get to move into Model Mansion.

Before all that, however, Elle has some news for Bible Brenda about her place in the competition. Elle explains that Brenda hasn't been able to present them with a Ugandan passport, or a British one, which is difficult because models need to be able to travel. As a result, Elle tells Brenda that this is as far as they can take her for now, however "devastating" that is. Elle says that she's earmarked Brenda as a special girl from day one, but hopes that she can get her passport sorted out and return for next year's competition. Brenda returns to the other girls to break the news that she's off, and they react with pleasing degrees of horror (though I guarantee you that, internally, at least half of them were like "yes! One step closer!") There are hugs, and there are tears, and Brenda puts her shades on and departs. Outside, Brenda says that the judges were very supportive and did everything they could, so she understands why she had to go. She believes that she's "unstoppable" now, passport or no passport. She even gets her own little montage to go out on. Bye(ble) Brenda!

The judges begin their deliberations with Anastasija and Jessica. Elle thinks they're brilliant together. Grace says that they might not be the prettiest girls on the shortlist, but they bring a lot to the table. Julien thinks they were "like an electric bomb", by which he means they were enthusiastic.[I'm beginning to love Julien's word roulette. It's actually quite charming - Helen] (It's fab-oo-lus! - Chris) Rebecca and Jade are next, and Elle thinks Jade has such a connection with the camera. Grace thinks that all you get with Rebecca is the demure, English girl. Then they look at Brenda and Juste, though obviously Brenda is no longer an option, so there is much wailing and self-harming and rending of garments over the missed opportunity. Fortunately, Elle and Charley love Juste as well, though Julien thinks she's merely "okay".

Then we come to Amy and Stacey, though no one ever actually mentions their names, which I feel doesn't bode well for them. Julien thinks they're the best two girls in the competition so far. After that, it's Imogen and Hannah, and Grace points out that Imogen was completely owning Hannah in the shoot, which is why they've chosen this particular shot, because this was after they pointed that out to Hannah and she took their criticism on board. Karis and Ufuoma are next, and the shot that's being considered is apparently the very first one they took, and Elle is impressed with the attitude they're showing. Charley worries that Ufuoma only has one expression, and Julien and Grace agree. Tanya and Holly H follow, and Elle loves them both, but Grace points out that Holly struggled. Julien thinks that Holly needs to forget about being a housewife and become a model. Catherine and Kimberleigh provided one of Elle's favourite shots, but Grace tells her that it was like pulling teeth to get that far. Rebekah and Holly C are next, and Holly C is viewed as a disappointment by the judges. Julien thinks Holly doesn't have the body. Joanne and Lauri (oh God) are next, and Joanne's picture gets some reasonably positive feedback from Elle, but Julien points out that in the shoot itself, she was hopeless. Elle retorts that all you need is one good photograph, though. I bet you anything at some point in the competition, someone will get sent home for "lucking into" a good shot and being told that models need to be consistent and that nobody will book you if you can't reliably turn out good pictures. In other words, Elle's argument is thinner than Kate Middleton. Grace points out how Lauri and Joanne thought they'd done brilliantly when they hadn't. Danielle and Daniella are next - Grace loves their voluptuous bodies, but neither of them knew how to use them, and Daniella in particularly just stood there and smiled.

Only 12 girls can go into the house, and Elle doesn't know how they'll narrow it down, because they've got great girls here. "Some great girls," Julien corrects her. Heh. Elle claims to love them all. Grace tells her she's full of shit. At this point we segue into the obligatory reality show sequence where they all stand around pointing at pictures on a table, talking about "she" and "her" and never actually revealing any of their decisions, so I don't think we really need to devote too much time or energy to this bit. It happens, it is enigmatic, et cetera. My favourite part of it is Charley contributing absolutely nothing and just looking really bored. (You picked out this 5 seconds of him doing that as opposed to the other...all the other seconds? - Chris) Sometimes I think Charley is the voice of the viewer on this show. Eventually, they come up with their Top 12. Grace worries that she'll wake up tomorrow regretting someone they didn't put in. Elle, on the other hand, is really pleased with their choice. Voice Of Fearne tells us that 21 girls will return tomorrow, but only 12 have been picked to enter the model house. (Spoilers: Voice Of Fearne is a liar.)

Commercials. I'm not normally a fan of Jared Leto, but in that Hugo Boss advert he looks positively edible. [JORDAN CATALANO 4EVA - Helen]

When we return, Voice Of Fearne runs through the list of prizes that we normally get at the start of the show, presumably because they were running a little short. We also have a recap reminding us of Bible Brenda's untimely exit, and the judges' deliberations. Now the 21 hopefuls are back, and in another stupid X Factor-style fucking with the format, there will be no procession in which Elle hands out a series of photos to the girls who made it through; instead they will all have a one-on-one audience moment with her where she informs them of their decision. God, show, STOP RUINING ALL THE GOOD BITS. Lauri thinks her positive attitude will help her. Daniella is tearful.

Up first is Tanya, who's just so grateful to have got this far, etc. We're reminded of her audition in which she was told she had too much make-up around her eyes, and then of yesterday's shoot, in which she had about six times that amount of make-up around her eyes. *facepalm* Elle reminds Tanya of her audition, and prefers to stick to the narrative that they always intended ("when you [took your make-up off], we found this extraordinary face") rather than what actually happened ("you couldn't get your make-up off but we pretended you looked different anyway, because we actually wanted to put you through all along and we were just being dicks about it"). However, they were worried that Tanya was not a classic beauty (You know, like Tiffnuh was - Chris). Voice Of Fearne reminds us that at the positively decrepit age of 23, it's Tanya's last chance to enter the competition. Is she through? Yes, she is. Tanya celebrates in a muted fashion.

Next in to see Elle is Jade, who says she just wants to learn how to model. Elle tells her she's very present in her pictures, but they're not sure she has the versatility to continue. Jade says she wants to prove to them that she can improve and do different things. And she's going to get the chance, because she's through. Danielle goes in next, and Elle tells her she's gorgeous, but she's not through. Elle blames this on "the other judges", incidentally. Danielle cries, and heads home. Some of the others get shorthanded, and because I still can't recognise all of these people yet and THEY STILL DON'T HAVE FUCKING NAME CAPTIONS, I can't tell you who is in this section apart from Jessica and Daniella. Jessica gets through, Daniella does not.

Next it's the turn of Hannah, whom Elle found in a shop in Dublin. Elle tells Hannah that she's always championed her, and "convinced the other judges to keep you on", so Hannah's through. I like how Elle has turned everything into a "me vs them" battle, so she always looks like the hero whatever the outcome: either she personally talked all the other three into putting someone through, or she fought valiantly for someone but was shouted down by the other three witches. I guess that's the bonus of being the executive producer. Anyway, Hannah's very excited to be through.

Amy is next, and we're reminded that the judges have always found it hard to agree about her. Elle tells Amy that Julien loves her, but Grace and Charley do not, and asks Amy what she should do. STOP AVOIDING RESPONSIBILITY FOR EVERYTHING, MCPHERSON. Amy wisely remains silent. Elle thinks Amy is quirky and interesting, so she's in. Joanne goes through to see Elle, and we're reminded of hers and Lauri's folie à deux, so Elle finally tells her that the judges though they were the worst. She breaks the same news to Lauri, who is looking TERRIFYING. Elle tells Lauri that the judges' initial fascination hasn't translated to photographs. Lauri is not through, but Joanne is, for some reason. Don't ask me, I'm just the recapper. Karis, Holly C and Rebecca are also booted, while Stacey, Anastasija and Holly H get through.

Apparently this means there's just one place left, and it's between Imogen and Ufuoma. Because we're all about the Idol/X Factor rip-offs right now, they're sent in together to see Elle. Elle says it's really hard to tell one of them to go and one of them to stay. Imogen has made it through, and Ufuoma congratulates her. Elle says that looking at Ufuoma, she can't let her go. SHOCK TWIST! She doesn't know what she's going to do because they've only got 12 beds, but because they're both so beautiful, she wants to put them both through. They exit, and celebrate. Ufuoma refers to herself as "lucky number 13", and then laughs somewhat resentfully in an interview that "I shouldn't be number 13, I should be number one!" Hee. I think I'm going to like Ufuoma.

So that's it, then: we have our finalists. They're all very excited. Hopefully at some point next week we'll actually manage to be able to tell them apart, but the budget might have stretched to name captions by then. Elle hands over the keys to the top model house, and Jessica catches them. GROUP HUG! We're treated to some previews of what's in store, including falconry, underwater stuff, cheerleaders, crying, swearing and Janice Dickinson telling people they walk like truck drivers. Also, Ms J and The Wanted appear somewhere. One thing of interest? There's a clip of Elle saying "the winner of Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model...", which gives me hope that we won't be subjected to another catastrophic live finale like last year. Unless the second half of that sentence is "...will be decided in a live finale in which Dave Berry will repeatedly ask people how they are feeling and I'll adjust my underwear in full view of the cameras". Let's hope not, eh?

Friday, 22 July 2011

The Ballad of Tania Roxanna Federenco

Auditions week 3 - 18th July 2011

Hello, and welcome to what is blessedly the final episode of auditions. Much has been said of the pointlessness of these, but it bears repeating. We are going to have no Susan Boyle style slamming of preconceptions here. We are not going to marvel as the shy girl opens her mouth and begins to sing like an angel. The most you could hope for is a Hollywood style taking off of glasses and tousling of hair to reveal a fashion goddess underneath a geeky facade, but you can pretty much tell if someone is going to be good at being a model in under five seconds.

But this is the format now, I hope they get all of my angry tweets about how much I don’t like it, but seeing as I can’t resist hashtagging them as #bintmodel rather than the official one, I don’t think they’re going to see. No, I have to console myself with trolling their Facebook page and shouting at my television. SRS though, if any Bintmodel honchos are reading this I have one thing to say.


If the protracted audition shows weren’t enough, you have to invoke FEARNE BLOODY COTTON on me. Why? Why would you do this to me? This is my SAFE PLACE. This is where I hide from Fearne. You inflicted MIQUITA BLOODY OLIVER on me for an episode last year and I didn’t complain. I know you need celebrity guests, I understand that. But why give me that bloody foghorn voiced Terrahawk honking all over my Model Monday? Don’t want it. NO.

But that’s enough ranting from me. We need to get down to business, however pointless that business may be.

Blah blah credits, blah blah Fearne, blah blah Elle is awesome, blah blah judges, blah blah prizes, blah blah Tuffunuh, blah blah on the road, blah blah there can be only one.

Today we are in the Dublin, WHICH IS THE CAPITAL OF IRELAND, Fearne helpfully tells us. We are also in Manchester, which Fearne explains is one of the culture capitals of England. THANKS FEARNE, WHERE WOULD WE BE WITHOUT YOU. Answer – A LOT HAPPIER.

Elle is going to meet up with Ronan Keating and his wife. Apparently, Ronan is going to tell them where to go street casting. Hmm, the unfortunate implication of asking Ronan where to look for girls in front of his wife.


There are thousands of girls wanting to be a bintmodel, and apparently there’s nothing they won’t do to be notice. Cue montage of screaming, backflips and being bendy to “What’s that coming over the hill, is it a monster?” Unfortunate implications ahoy. Elle asks someone to smile with their eyes and apparently there’s going to be someone who won’t take no for an answer. This is gonna be FUN.

Someone’s crying, someone is powerful because everyone looks at her when she walks into the room. Fearne tells us there is excitement in the air.

A girl says that to win would be a dream come true, someone else is nervous, but happy to be here because it’s what she wants. We see the judges arrive. Fearne tells us the judges arrive. Elle is wearing a Muppet and pretends to want to know how everyone’s weekends were. She informs them that they are in DUBLIN. It’s bleak, melancholic and beautiful outside allegedly, but she’s wearing her sunglasses indoors so I don’t really want to listen to her. In a not at all scripted observation, she hopes that the girls bring some sunshine into her day. Julien wants to see some country girls. He explains that this means girls that live in the country. Grace stares into middle distance whilst Charley repeats every second word that Julien says. “Salt of the earth girls” Elle agrees. At the sound of Elle’s voice, Grace perks up again and nods. “Sexy farmer’s daughters” says Julien, and the entire coven cackles.

We see the judges walk into a conference room and say good morning to the camera crew. Fearne tells us that the girls are waiting outside as we see them waiting outside. (Are you getting the point that nearly all of her voiceover is pointless yet? I won’t rest until you do.)

A spotty girl interviews that she has a natural look. You said it pet. She says she wants to produce pictures that people will remember for the rest of their lives. (If they involve another girl and a cup she's got a chance. Otherwise... - Chris) A girl with ridiculous earrings says that whenever she walks into the room, people think she’s a model because she stands out.

“Bring them on!” shouts Elle. Here we go.

“Can you do anything extraordinary?” Asks Grace “and if you can, can you, like, break it out, right now?”

These girls have obviously been grouped together for their special talents, which include putting their arms behind their backs, bending over backwards and doing a twirl.

Grace asks one girl if she’s a chatterbox. She says she doesn’t think she does, then talks solidly for one whole minute without taking a breath. Julien asks the next one who inspires her. She says Kate Moss. She thinks she’s amazing and wants to be like her one day. I think we all aspire to being a haggard boozehound one day too. [Apart from those of us who've already achieved that, obviously. - Steve] Julien asks her if she thinks she has the figure to be a model. He’s such a bitch. She surprises the judges by immediately answering in the negative. Grace just says thank you to this. Way to sell yourself, lady.

Next is a girl who knows that when she walks into the room that people look at her, and she knows that gives her the power. Sure love, unless you are a covert hypnotist or you’re packing heat I don’t think that’s true.

Grace asks her to surprise the judges by showing them their best catwalk. I have to admire the stealth bitchiness of that remark. In fact, I’m going to put a hat on just so I can take my hat off to it. Grace then follows up this moment of awesome by doing a face of patronising throughout the whole thing. Grace asks them to step out. Earrings thinks that the other girls were more comfortable talking to the judges. Room of power said that she talked and talked and the judges lapped it up. Back to the judges, Julien says that they all had LOVELY PERSONALITIES. Oh dear.

They file back in, Grace says that “despite all of you being gorgeous...” which causes spotty to burst into tears about how much she WANTS THIS. Grace finishes by saying none of them are going through. Elle says she hates it when they cry. Earrings tells spotty that there’s always next year, and Room of Power is OK, because she just came to try out. She sits with her uncomfortable looking boyfriend and says that it wasn’t meant to be. She’s lying.

In more pointless voiceover, Fearne tells us that although there’s been no success for the first group, there is no shortage of wannabe models in Ireland. This is illustrated to us by showing us lots of girls standing in a line throwing poses (I said “throwing”, deal with it) and pouting at the camera.

Next up in front of the judges are girls WITH NAMES so we better pay attention. There’s 19 year old Joanne from County Wicklow, and 19 year old Izzy, from Belfast. Izzy interviews that she’s beautiful inside and out, and she has the personality to go with the looks. Joanne interviews that she wants the judges to see that she’s lots of fun and that she’s going to work hard, because she wants to be known as a good model and not a messer, whatever that is. Fearne informs us that joining Izzy and Joanne are best friends Niamh and Rebecca. FRIEND TENSION. I love it.

Elle counts them, 1-4. Well done Elle! Charley asks if they’ve thought about modelling before. Er, Charley, they’re here. Please stop thinking and go back to being pretty and making vaguely creepy sexual remarks, k? Joanne replies that she actually is a model, and she mainly does catwalk stuff. Elle calls her a gorgeous baby face. Grace asks the best friends if they are best friends. Elle suggests a walk off. “Such different looking girls from the same town” says Grace. Charley agrees. Yes, you two. That’s how it works in Ireland. Everyone is grouped geographically by how they look. It’s what inspired the Boyzone hit, “The only Blonde Girl in Cork” (I made the Boyzone bit up). Elle asks Izzy to Smile with their eyes. They all crow that that’s the Tyra thing. The CARDS. Elle can’t believe she said that and helpfully explains to Izzy that that is a “Tyra-ism”. Izzy thinks she can be a model because when she’s not talking she can be more confident in herself. This makes absolutely no sense so Julien asks her to take her hair down. It’s greasy with terrible roots. Charley pretends to look intelligent. Elle says that there’s something “Marlon Brando” about her. Careful Elle, she’s already far too skinny, that comment might push her over the edge. Elle explains that this means she is beautiful but with strong features, and she loves that juxtaposition. Elle and Julien agree that they like Joanne and Izzy. Izzy’s crossing her fingers. Joanne thinks that it was a mistake to say that she’d already done a lot of modelling when she could barely walk in heels. Elle thinks that she looks like a cross between Geena Davis and Claudia Schiffer. Grace doesn’t think she’d make it to the final. Charley says that she’s got a “plain baby face”. Plain babies being the bane of the baby circuit. Elle thinks Izzy is interesting, Grace thinks she’s scary. Elle compares her to Marlon Brando again, in a “broken nose” way. Julien thinks she’s an odd-bod but Elle likes that.

Charley welcomes them back, and tells them that it’s been a tough toughie, but they’ve made their decision. Joanne and Izzy are through. Joanne goes back to her boyfriend and Izzy goes back to her mum and I realise that you can see EVERY BONE in her back. Eek.

After the break – someone has a psychic mum! Elle hits the streets and tries to hawk her underwear, and someone won’t take no for an answer and doesn’t think much of Grace.

Adverts! Barry M cosmetics look a bit cheap, don’t they? [It always amuses me how it sounds like "barium". - Steve] Are they only on Clubland 19?

And we’re back.

Fearne reminds us that we are in Dublin and there’s hundreds of girls walking and being measured. Elle thinks someone’s fringe isn’t doing her any favours. I know what you mean, I had one for years and it did nothing for me. We see Laura and Ashley go through.

Psychic mum girl is a bit nervous about meeting the judges but thinks she has a good chance. A girl with Lego man hair tells us that last September, she was sitting getting her hair done when she got a phone call that her mum was in hospital. I’m sure there’s going to be a point to this. Bear with. Apparently she needed to come in the hospital and her mum was very ill. The last conversation she had with her mum was about auditioning. It’s not clear if this was the last conversation ever, but her mum told her to go for it.

We learn that psychic mum girl is called Michelle. Grace wants to know what her mum said about the competition. Apparently her mum read her cards a while back and saw travel related to work. (I'm guessing Michelle's mum also told her she'd be meeting a man whose name began with J - Chris) As soon as she got through though, her mum said that she was too close to do a reading for. Got through? I thought these were open auditions? But then again, if the previous subterfuge of “just back from Kuala Lumpur” is anything to go by, they shouldn’t try to hide anything. She walks to a face of pain by Grace.

Helmet hair is asked to pull her fringe back. Grace grins at her and they all love her walk. Elle thinks Michelle has something. Julien says that he’s been looking in his crystal ball and he quite likes her. Yes Julien, it’s clear you need help with knowing what to think. Charley likes her best out the group. JoannePsychicMum thinks she got her personality across, and she did model when asked so she thinks she’s done well. Grace thinks she just has a lovely neck and shoulders. Michelle is through and is ready to work hard. Legohairpossiblydeadmum is shocked and disappointed because she thought she did really well.

Fearne tells us that yesterday before the auditions, Elle met up with “old friend” Ronan Keating and his top model wife Yvonne to ask where to find the best girls in Dublin. In an uncomfortable segment, they greet each other and Elle asks them how the kids are. They welcome her to Dublin. Ronan jokes that she won’t be able to see any beautiful girls because they’re all wrapped up in their raincoats. “And under umbrellas!” shouts Elle. It’s so good that she’s meeting Ronan, because she needs to know where the beautiful girls are. AND THAT IS THE POINT OF THIS SEGMENT, FOR I CAN SEE NO OTHER. Ronan suggests Grafton Street, because that’s where the best girls are, and the best shops. Even in the rain. Mrs Ronan suggests that there might be some jewels tucked away in the country, to which Ronan “jokes” that they only have 24 hours. Don’t disagree with Ronan, Mrs Ronan. Elle says that the fashion industry is so prevalent, that any girl who is remotely beautiful is shipped off at a young age so finding unspoilt beauties is difficult. Hang on... Shipped off? What are you talking about Elle? That makes NO SENSE. Where are they shipped off to? Is there a workhouse somewhere for pretty young girls? Are parents shipping off pretty girls with a knapsack and £20 and telling them to go and make their fortune in London/Paris/Milan? [From what I saw on Channel 4's The Model Agency, that sort of makes sense. Anyone with real potential is sent off to an agency in the big city at the age of about 14, and groomed by them before sending them off overseas. - Steve] Apparently, finding girls that aren’t with an agency is difficult. Mrs Ronan says that Irish girls have more confidence and personality(code for "are drunk" - Chris) which gives them the edge over other girls. Elle thinks it’s great to hear her say that, because she always tells “her girls” that being pretty isn’t enough. Ronan thinks it’s more about being in the right place at the right time and treating people with respect and working hard. Elle announces that she’s off to Grafton St. There’s more awkward air kisses and praise be, it seems that this awkward little segment is over with.

DublinPorn! People walking about!

Elle walks through a shop and goes on an escalator. She says she hasn’t seen any girls yet then puts on her sunglasses. Indoors. Do you think those two things are possibly linked, Elle?

Elle spots someone she likes but thinks she might be too young. She barges up to her and asks how old she is. Thirteen. You’re too young! She bellows at her. Elle suggests modelling in a couple of years and says how her thirteen year old son would like her. I could hear the sound of him groaning from wherever he is, whenever that was. Elle continues to prowl around the underwear section. I have to confess to looking out for a lost gang of priests somewhere in the back. Elle points out another girl and shouts “YOU” at her. “ME?” she replies, looking shocked. Elle invites her to the auditions tomorrow. She’d love that. Elle then shouts about buying underwear to a gang of bemused women with cameraphones. Next, she finds Hannah and invites her to the auditions. Elle then goes outside, in the dark, under an umbrella, in sunglasses to look for more girls. Unsurprisingly, this is fruitless so she decides to go home.

The girls off the street audition. Hannah thinks it’s quite surreal. The other girl has been looking in the mirror and wondering if she really could sell something. YOU ARE MAKING THIS FAR TOO EASY.

Elle says it’s nice to see them again. The first girl is too old at TWENTY FIVE, but Elle still wanted her to audition because she wanted her to meet the judges and wanted to see her again *COUGH*. She’s just thrilled that she was considered. Hannah apparently has beautiful blue eyes. Grace asks her if she has her own eyelashes. She does. Grace is amazed. Charley wants to know a bit more about her. Apparently she used to be shy, and is uncomfortable about being tall and thin because she got slagged off for it at school. She always thought she was a bit of a plain Jane. Julien’s random comment generator says that she’s a bit of a “Snow white”. This is followed with “big eyes”, after which he presumably goes back to sleep before adding “nice hair”.

Grace likes Hannah, but doesn’t think she could put the other one through. Grace is basically asking if she wants to bend the rules asking Elle if she feels awkward not putting her through. Elle is happy not to. They call them back. Old lady is happy just to have had five minutes of their time. Elle says to Hannah that she probably doesn’t want to know what they thought, but it’s all a HILARIOUS RUSE because they want her for the semi finals. Hannah phones her mum to tell her the good news. Hannah’s mum rightly wants to know when she has to be back.

So that’s Dublin, the capital of Ireland. Grace says goodbye to the set and Julien says goodbye to Dublin. I think he needs to reinforce to himself where he is.

Coming up – Auditions hit Manchester, and a girl who doesn’t have what it takes thinks she’s got what it takes.

Adverts! The ads are makeup, cheese and Tom Daley. He’s a lovely young man, isn’t he?

And we’re back. ManchesterPorn!

Fearne finally tells me something I want to hear. It’s the last city for auditions! A girl in a leopard print hat tells us she loves Manchester. A skinny girl who is all teeth and hair tells us that she tried last year, and this year she wants to do it. Julien is now wearing the Muppet (this being the model equivalent of "holding the conch" - Chris) and Grace gets out the car looking like a mile of bad road. Julien bitches that this is her in her natural state and makes a snide comment about her hairdresser not turning up and this is how she looks every day. Grace scratches her head and says “beautiful”.

Elle has a different Muppet on and says that it’s another day of beautiful girls in a slightly bored tone. More queuing, more measuring of girls. Elle drops in for a pep talk with the girls. They scream. She’s wearing sunglasses. She’s excited to see the beautiful girls of Manchester. She's expecting big things from them because it’s the last city. She wants to see shining personalities, because they’ve already got lots of beautiful girls.

A redheaded girl who is all teeth and hair and looks thin to the point of illness tells us that being a model is “more than a dream”. It’s something that she really, really wants. The girl who has been in every ‘coming up’ section as a trouble maker tells us that she’s got what it takes and she’s got the ‘diva-ness’. She’s not going to let the fact she looks like Natalie Cassidy on a bad day stop her. Oh no. Redhead stick girl introduces herself as Hazel. Julien tells her she has a peculiar face. She agrees. Elle thinks it might be about the haircut and asks her to pull back her hair. I’m thinking that pulling back your hair is the ‘have you got another song’ of bintmodel. Elle and Julien agree she’s got a ‘Model face’.

Next up is whacky Natalie Cassidy. Her name is Tania Roxanna Federenco (awesome name, if nothing else). She’s unemployed. She’s been having a bad year. She lost her auntie and uncle and her mum is ill. Grace rolls her eyes. THIS IS WHAT YOU ALL WANTED. THIS MUST BE WHY WE’RE HAVING THESE AUDITIONS. YOU WANT SOB STORIES. TAKE THEM. Her ill mum is here with her by the power of her tablets. Charley thinks it’s difficult to lose two siblings in a short space of time. Can someone please explain to Charley what a sibling is? Grace acknowledges that she’s been through a lot, but wants to hear how great she is. TANIA CAN DO THAT. Grace says that the difficult times are what builds her, but they are only part of the puzzle. Tania Roxanna Federenco tells us that she is a great person, but she can be horrible (!?). She’ll never start a fight but she will damn well finish it (by being wheeled into the back of an ambulance crying - Chris). She walks. Elle calls it sweet. Tania Roxanna Federenco interviews that it was nerve-wracking.

Back to the judges, Julien and Elle are laughing behind their hands, presumably at Tania Roxanna Federenco. They’re all agreed on Hazel, who will presumably go out in week one in a Very Special Episode about body image. (Oh ANTM 15 Anamaria, if only you could have prevented it). They also like “number 4” who we saw nothing of (I hear she's from The Island - Chris). Grace suggests they talk about Tania Roxanna Federenco. Charley thinks that her story is very sad, but she hasn’t got the looks. Julien thinks she’s got a fabulous personality and she’s a fun girl. She’s not a fun girl Julien, her family ARE DEAD. He agrees that she probably doesn’t have the assets of a model. They come back in and put Hazel through. Tania Roxanna Federenco looks sad. Hazel is crying. Tania Roxanna Federenco hugs her SICK MOTHER and says that she thinks she deserved at least “one stupid chance” and it didn’t happen.

More girls. Grace asks to see special talents. One girl can lick her elbow. (LICK YOUR ELBOW, YOU DO IT LIKE THIS! - Chris) Grace doesn’t think that Mario Testino would ask for that. YOU ASKED THEM, GRACE! Another can twist her elbow round, someone else does ballet. Another girl says she’s one of a kind and gets through. The ballet girl gets through. Some other boring girls get through.

Coming up! Tania Roxanna Federenco wants to know why she didn’t get through, Julien steps out of line and someone cries.

Adverts! Jewellery, reverse charges and hair dye. Lovely. Cheap rimming joke on trailer for new Sky One comedy? Not so much. A bit beneath Jane Horrocks, anyway. (Not possible - Chris) [I laughed. Don't judge me. - Steve]

More ManchesterPorn!

Fearne reminds us that it’s the last leg of auditions, but there are still hundreds of girls to see. A girl with lovely eyebrows interviews that she’s wanted to be a supermodel or famous since she was little. A very tall Chinese lady is going to try her best to see if the judges like her. Elle wows at her entrance. Much is made of the Chinese girl being tall and Chinese. Grace wants her to take her dress off because it’s hiding her proportions. Another girl stomps when she’s doing the catwalk like she wants to fade into the walls. Another girl is asked to show how wild she is for some inexplicable reason. She screeches and Julien laughs. Eyebrows is asked about her origins. She’s a mix of West Indian, white and Chinese. Julien likes this because he likes a cocktail. I will resist the cheap and obvious gag here. Elle doesn’t look pleased with eyebrows’ walk. Grace makes much of the screeching girl who was asked to screech screeching, complaining that she’s more of an actress. WHAT DO YOU WANT, GRACE? SHE DANCED FOR YOU AND YOU DON’T LIKE HER DANCING. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME AND THE JUDGES EXACTLY WHAT THE POINT OF ALL THIS IS PLEASE?! IT’S HURTING MY HEAD.

Screechy is staying positive. Julien liked “the Chinesey ones”. Sweet baby jeebus. Can you still get away with being that racist on television? [Apparently. - Steve] Grace thinks that the tall Chinese lady’s proportions were odd. Elle welcomes them back. Eyebrows, who’s name is Rakaia, gets through. Julien thinks that the tall Chinese girl could be ok if she lost more weight and drags her back for further inspection. Grace tells her that her proportions aren’t perfect. They obviously feel pressured into putting her through, so do. Elle shouts at Julien for putting them on the spot. Tall Chinese girl (NAMES PLEASE) (She doesn't need a name - she's Chinesey - Chris) is really happy to be through and in the semi final.

Oh, what’s this? Tania Roxanna Federenco is back with her SICK MUM to demand answers as to why she wasn’t put through. She totally can be Britain’s next top model. She knows she’s got what it takes. She’s totally prettier than some of the other girls that got through. She physically can’t understand why she hasn’t got through. I feel like I should explain exactly why this statement is wrong to her but at this point I haven’t got the energy.

Tania Roxanna Federenco is back in the judging room. She’s changed into a costume from High School Musical. They ask her where her dress is. She replies that she threw it off in a rage when she didn’t get through. Elle likes her outfit. Julien wants to know why she’s back. Tania Roxanna Federenco wants to know why she didn’t get through. Charley gently explains that lots of girls didn’t get through. Grace decides that she’s gonna cut the crap. You know Grace, the one that currently has another show on the same channel called Chick Fix where she sorts out people’s lives? Yeah, that one. She asks Tania Roxanna Federenco if she knows what Vogue magazine is. Tania Roxanna Federenco replies that it’s beautiful and glossy. Grace asks her if she thinks that she looks like the girls in that magazine. Tania Roxanna Federenco totally does. Honestly? Asks Grace. She replies that yes, she honestly does. Grace tells her she doesn’t. Tania Roxanna Federenco wants to know why. Grace tells her she doesn’t have *it*. Tania Roxanna Federenco wants to know what *it* is and why she doesn’t have it. Give it up love. Please. You don’t want to hear that you’re not particularly attractive any more than they want to say it.

Charley takes the tact tack. He explains that girls in fashion magazines are not classically beautiful, leaving the “like you” inferred but not stated. It’s beautiful. He explained that they have a special quality and I’m left feeling quite warm and fuzzy for Charley. What a gent.

Elle tells her that she’s not tall enough, and her legs aren’t long enough and that her roots don’t help. I feel the need to point out that this is now going on over ‘Beautiful’ by Christina Aguilera. Ugh.

Tania Roxanna Federenco hits back that Hazel wasn’t particularly beautiful. Grace replies that it’s not about being beautiful, it’s about being interesting. The camera pans over Tania Roxanna Federenco. Julien tells her that she’s obviously a lovely girl, but she just doesn’t have the bone structure. He tells her that she’s beautiful, but not beautiful enough. This is also quite sweet and I nearly fall off my chair in shock. [I am loving Julien this series. He's gone right off the deep end and it's very entertaining. - Steve]

Tania Roxanna Federenco seems to offer to change her face. Elle cuts her off and tells her that she’s never going to hear what she wants to. Julien then cuts her short by giving her a hug and sending her on her way, telling her to try something else and admiring her balls. (too easy).

Tania Roxanna Federenco leaves quietly, but interviews that she thinks they’ve made the wrong decision and that Elle doesn’t even have the right look and infers that she’s only a model because it was easier to get into the industry in the olden days. Tania Roxanna Federenco then tells a runner to tell Grace she’s a swearword. Elle says that it was hard to be patient with her.

Tania Roxanna Federenco is now leaving the building and taking her fabulous elsewhere. She puts on her sunglasses and gets into the lift and leaves us until she auditions for the X Factor Forever.

There’s one more girl. I think this girl is a bit of a precautionary tale. The thing with open auditions where they have been previously closed is that you get all the nutters that are quite easily sifted through in the initial stages actually turning up demanding to be seen.

This girl, who we shall name CryingGirl, has been trying for the last four years and this is her LAST CHANCE. She’s crying already.

There’s another girl who was one of the People’s Choices last year, but she didn’t get through, she thinks, because of her confidence. But she’s been WORKING ON THAT. She tells the judges that she’s always wanted to be a model and Grace sucks in her cheeks. She does a weird thing with her tongue.

CryingGirl also has a stutter, but it’s not going to let it hold her back. Grace explains that she’s got a LOVELY PERSONALITY. CryingGirl is from Liberia and has also lost a lot of her family in the war. Grace thinks she’s sweet and she’s got something. She tells them she’s learned lots from watching previous series. Probably of X Factor, with that story.

They leave the room. Julien likes the “two Black Girls”, to a chorus of “REALLY?!” from Charley and Grace. Julien thinks she talked her way into it. Elle agrees then says she maybe hasn’t got the fineness of features that’s needed. Charley doesn’t think she has the look. The returnee has a bad walk but Charley thinks the public will get her. The returnee hopes that CryingGirl will get through as well as her. Nothing like a bit of confidence. The returnee, who we learn is Nicole, gets through.

They also put CryingGirl through, who’s name is Daniella. She falls to the ground and Julien hugs her outside. She interviews that she’s going to show them what she’s got. Nicole is so happy to be through again.

That’s it! It’s over. Elle says well done to everyone. Elle hugs Charley and he looks like the man least wanting that hug ever. Elle complains about Julien’s boots, that he made presumably, not owns, whilst Julien tugs at the back of Grace’s top.

So with a final FACE OF SURPRISE montage over some Black Eyed Peas, the auditions are over (THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT). There are more than 80 girls through to the semis, so join us next week for Boot Camp, where these 80+ are going to be whittled down to twelve. That’s a lot of disappointed ladies...

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Britain's Next Top Brummie

Auditions 2: 11th July 2011

Hello! My name is Chris, and I am new round these here parts. Inspired by Steve and Helen's inspired re-telling of TIFFNUH's rise to greatness, Joy's rise to reality tv immortality (well...for Living), and Alisha losing horribly (HA!), I am on board to help them guide you all through this series of BINT MODEL. My Top Model experience is limited. I've seen the last one of the British version, and a few of the American version (my favourite model being the same as most of the rest of the Internet. You know, that one who was cast as kind of a joke, was too old for the show, and didn't really look like a model, but made up for it with her ridiculously OTT and obnoxious personality. You know? Tyra?)


Anyway, despite that, I know nothing about modelling, I last bought myself clothes in about 2004, my knowledge of female proportions is...rusty...LET'S GET TO IT!

Previously on BINT MODEL : BINTS! And...well...not models, but people who could one day pretend to be. Sexy tortoise Elle McPherson and her "sidekicks" (Token Bitchy Queen Julien "Old" McDonald, Token Star-Shagger Grace "Got Dressed In A Blackout...A SEXY BLACKOUT!" Woodward (*star status of Matt Cardle pending*) and Token Straight Bloke Charley "Surname Could Not Be More Ironic If It Were 'Natural-TV-Personality' "Speed) went to London and Glasgow and sifted through a bunch of girls including a bitchy drama student, a poet, some girls Charley Speed was trying to pick up for a quick shag, Bible Brenda and...that was about it. Nobody cared, not even the chair, but we're doing it all again! YAY!

We're reminded what the girls are competing for this year - getting to beat a bitch into 2nd place, a contract with Models1, a 6 page-spread and the cover of Company magazine (you're not actually on the cover. They just give you a copy.), a holiday for 2 in Jamaica, a car, a cosmetics campaign with Revlon, a £50,000 international campaign with Miss Selfridge, and maybe, if you're lucky, your own wikipedia page! How exciting! Fearne Rotton reminds us via voiceover that this year the judges (when Elle can be arsed) have travelled around the country to London, Glasgow, Brimingham, Cardiff, Manchester and "Ireland's capital" (THANKS FEARNE!) Dublin. No idea why, given that about 12 people seem to turn up for each casting they might as well have just done it all in one episode in London. BUT THAT WOULDN'T BE THIS MUCH FUN! ELLE EATS A MARS BAR, CAN YOU IMAGINE?!

Sorry about the spoiler there.

This episode covers The Famous Four Going Mad in Cardiff and Birmingham. I am from near Birmingham. This should be fun. Elle's going to walk round the Bullring in sunglasses and leopard-print. If she doesn't leave pregnant, I'll be very surprised. We're promised tears, talent (?) and Julien shouting "WURR WURR WURR WURR!".

Three episodes. Three episodes of this.

First up, glamorous Cardiff. Fearne tells us that excitement is MOUNTING in the Welsh capital. I hate to think what level it was at before. I've seen people more excited about accidentally catching an episode of Murder She Wrote they'd only seen the last 40 minutes of before. Like...a girl smiles? And says she has a family. EXCITING SCENES!

So exciting that we're already resorting to the excitement of Julien McDonald going kerb-crawling. He marches down the street at midnight with "a local friend" (*eyebrow*) hollering "WE ARE LOOKING FOR HOT YOUNG GIRLS! WHERE-EVER YOU MAY BE...COME OUT!" So many mixed messages in that sentence alone, and you can't even see the leather-daddy outfit Julien's wearing. He peers in the window of a lot of fast-food restaurants at people having their pre-vomit kebab, and they all stare back, vaguely confused. He finds some fat old women and patronises them as only a fashion-queen can. Some drunks recognise him, but they're fugs, so he doesn't care.

Suddenly there's a soundtrack change to "Let Me Blow Your Mind" as Julien approaches a girl who is more model-esque than anyone else he's seen trawling the streets of Cardiff. In that she's blonde. Her name is Hannah Wells, and Julien tells her that she's stunning, and that she has to come to auditions tomorrow. She looks vaguely convinced so Julien grabs her and bellows about how he's FOUND HIS FIRST WELSH GIRL. And you know that's a true statement. He rounds up a couple of bar-tarts and a stripper, grabs a deep-fried Mars Bar, orders another for Elle (hilariously saying "CAN I ORDER A DEEP-FRIED MARS BAR FOR ELLE MCPHERSON?" in doing so which...I'm asking for that on my next night out regardless) [I so need to be there when that happens - Steve][ah, fried Mars Bars...*bagpipe music swells, tear rolls down my cheek - Helen] and then heads off into the night, looking for coc...a hotel.

It's the following morning, and Elle's Angels turn up, with Julien wearing sunglasses (so you know he and his local friend had more fun last night), and Grace in a moss green carpet. As she walks in Grace hisses "I smell coffee!" like Nosferatu sniffs out virgins. Charley does nothing. As ever. They all take their places, as Elle arrives, also wearing sunglasses (I'm guessing this is due to fun not connected with any Julien may have had. You know, actual fun) and says that she's dreading Julien backing whatever girl he's scraped out of the Cardiff gutters right to the end. Eh Elle, he kind of seemed like he just picked the first girl with all her limbs under the age of 25 he happened upon.

She waves hi to Julien, and they kiss like the Mafia. He shows her his deep-fried Mars Bar. She eats it. None of that is a euphemism. It couldn't be. Even Julien McDonald's cock is less gross than a deep-fried Mars Bar. You know, probably. As this happens "Sweet Disposition" by Tender Trap plays, like this is supposed to be kookily inspiring. A MODEL EATS! CALLS ZOOEY DESCHANNEL!

Modelling now (what, so soon?) and we see a bunch of girls getting cut for being midgets, and other girls doing those funny walks that models do. Swish swish swish. First group now, and one girl, Lisa, says that she's looking forward to meeting Julien because he's a Merthyr Boy. How they let that SLUR on air is a mystery to me. Call OFCOM! Anyway, Lisa (looks a bit like Gwen Cooper's Primary School Teacher sister) walks in, says her age, her location, and also that she hates men. Grace looks at her with her best "a child just pooed on Supernanny's Shoes" face in disgust and horror. Oh good, just what this show needed. Feminism. [5'9"+ Sisters are doing it for themselves... - Helen]

So anyway, what's happened is that Lisa (blatantly) got dumped, like a week ago, and is still processing it like a Carrie Bradshaw column written by one of Ablisa. She hates men! But she loves them! But just as friends! But they're such bastards! Apart from her gays! She's just too good for straight men though! But she will talk to them! Grace, like a moron, asks her if she would be alright taking part in a photo-shoot WITH A MAN BEHIND THE CAMERA! Dun dun durrrrn. Lisa doesn't answer and continues jawing about her complex relationship with mens, until Grace asks her why she's better than the other two girls currently awaiting judgment. Lisa says that she is full of character (she won't shut up!), has a split personality (she makes no sense!) and sometimes she comes across as shy! (if it involves shutting up, I'm all for it).

Julien asks her if she thinks she's got a beautiful face. Lisa then wins back all my love in 0 seconds flat by referring to her own face as "workable".'s livable, like having one eye or mild dyspraxia. [It's a fixer-upper. - Steve] And the way she makes it work is...adjusting her hair a bit. LISA TO WIN! THE GIRL WITH THE WORKABLE FACE! She demonstrates her "sweet" (bitchy whilst tilting backwards), "sexy" (bitchy whilst tilting forwards), and "angry" (like Sasha Fierce - Toddler Edition) looks to him, to better state her case. Elle tells her she has good bone structure and a nice-shaped face, whilst looking more like one of the twiglet-aliens from Men In Black than ever, and asks Lisa to do her funny walk for them. Swish swish swish. It's crap.

The other two girls currently in the room do funny walks, and one of them reveals she is called some stupid name that even Victoria Beckham would baulk at, which she's clearly making up on the spot. This apparently is enough to get her put through, and Elle then puts Workable Lisa through for shits and giggles. Eh, I think she's peaked with calling her own face "workable" to be honest. Hope I'm wrong. Elle tries to make out this all because she saw potential in's just that her hair was all wrong and it's not at all because she's a stank bitch. Yeah yeah yeah Elle. Tell it to Tyra.

Brief montage of Grace being rude to various girls now : she mimics one girl's stupid mouse voice, she tells one girl her rubbish hair is the least of her problems, she calls one girl boring, she coins the nickname "Miss Cardigan" for a girl wearing a cardigan [such wit! - Helen], she tells two girls that they aren't going to be models (HOW UNNECESSARY!). Montage ends with Grace flapping her lips like Jackie Wilson and bellowing "GIVE ME THE REAL STUFF!". It's never coming Grace. Unless you mean coke, and lots of it.

(*advertising break*)

As The Saturdays welcome us back from Fernando Alonso's lip-sync, we're minded of the four girls Julien tossed together at random earlier. One of these girls is called Charlotte. She's the one who's a stripper. A lap-dancing stripper at that. She tells us that she's been dancing in laps for two years now, and it pays the bills, and if she has to do it for the rest of her life then fair enough, but hopefully she can get out of that seedy seedy world of writhing around unnaturally whilst nude for men into the bright clean shiny world of modelling. Writing around unnaturally whilst nude for gay men.

In she walks with Julien's other three girls and Julien asks her if she's always wanted to be a model. She says yes, but she's always feared the rejection. Grace asks why she fears rejection, and Charlotte says it's because she had a troubled childhood, was bullied at school and people laughed at her for wanting to be a model. Elle starts off on an exegesis about how hard it is for women to really get a healthy and realistic image of themselves (WHICH IS WHERE THE MODELLING INDUSTRY COMES IN!), and seriously of all the people to save a young woman from the sex industry on TV this month, these four are by far the least inspirational. At least have John Simm play one of them. Or all of them. I don't care. [As far as I'm concerned, it's Damian Lewis or GTFO. - Steve]

We next cover how Julien found Stripper Charlotte - in a lap-dancing club (with Charlotte going full Dickensian urchin as she explains : "he found me at work so he did, in a lap-dancing class so it was, Mr Julien did ma'am") - and Grace pulls a massive inappropriate Kenneth Williams blowjob-face of shock until Elle yells "THAT'S REALLY COOL!" to stop her saying anything stupid. Elle asks Julien what the fun he was doing in a lap-dancing club with nudey girls in it. When he's know...a gay. Eh, cheap condoms Elle.

Charley and Grace are shocked (shocked I tell you!) that a lap-dancer might not be a massive blowsy Jodie Prenger style tart-with-a-heart, and Stripper Charlotte explains that she has two different personas. Charlotte, and Rosie. Rosie's the one who does lap-dancing, and will end up murdering a john in the back of a Ford Fiesta in 8 months time when he gets a little too fresh. She tells Elle that if she put a pole in front of her, she'd werk it. So Elle gets Charlotte/Rosie to writhe around a bit of tetanus looking scafolding waggling her vagina about whilst Julien pretends this is giving him a boner. [I would say that one can only imagine Charley's face, but I'm not entirely convinced he's not a bit Ken Doll down there - Helen]


Julien's Girls take their leave, and we get this amazing exchange whilst they wait :

Grace : It's amazing that she's got that alter-ego thing, that she can turn into so many pe...
Elle : I'm sorry, she doesn't have an alter-ego, it's all in her head.



Anyway, Charlotte/Rosie gets through, because Julien wants her to (Grace HATES her), and Charlotte/Rosie says that she wants to show people that "dancers" aren't like what people think. They're "normal women-girls". Yes dear.

Montage of girls getting through and not getting through now : two girls do prayer hands of thanks, one girl does awful krumping, one girl touches her nose with her tongue, one girl says she's not a model, one girl strangles herself. Grace snorts like a submerging hippo. Elle decides she's bored of this crap, because she's got kids to look after and wanders off, leaving the sidekicks in charge. Fearne informs us that Elle has a "special night with the children" planned. If by "children" you mean "bottle of kahlua" Fearne, then maybe.

Julien, Grace and Charley all voluntarily eat on camera, to prove they are real, and then get back to judging.

First up is Alex. She tells us that she thinks she's a bit different to everyone else, because she's a bit bigger than they are. She wants to show us all that "big is beautiful". I notice that Elle got herself well out of the room to avoid having to offer an opinion on this whole can of worms. Yeah Elle, just stick to saying that strippers are cool and bitches are funny and would be great if they did something with their hair. Don't strain yourself.

Grace tells the girls that Elle's not there, and so "the lunatics" are running the asylum. She's mad she is. You don't have to be mad to be a BINT-MODEL judge, BUT IT HELPS! And so on. Alex is defensive off the bat grumbling "I'm a plus-sized model in case you hadn't noticed yet". Go home Alex. This is about as far away from owning it as you can get. Julien laughs in her face, and Grace tells her she's not technically speaking a plus-sized model, because she's not big enough. In fact she's not a model at all, she's a NORMAL PERSON EW EW EW GET OUT! Julien tells her that she can't just come in and claim a "Get Out Of Jail Fat" card - why should they bother with her above anybody else?

Alex replies that she's very determined and she can work really hard and she can also get her tits out. The judges then make her get her tits out and do a funny model walk. Mika sings "Big Girls You Are Beautiful And Also Balloons And Also Buffalo And Sometimes When I Look At Pictures Of Jensen Ackles I Feel All Funny BUT I'VE DEFINITELY DONE IT WITH A GIRL! RIGHT IN THE BOOBIES! AH-AH UGLY BETTY DESPERATEHOUSEWIVES SEXINTHECITYLIPSTICKJUNGLE!" or whatever the hell that abomination of a song is called. Everything on Alex bounces up and down as Grace screams "BOUNCY BOUNCY BOUNCY!" at her, and Alex screws up her mouth like Peppermint Patty and hates every second of this.

Next up, Julien asks a girl in the same line-up whether she likes any model in particular, and the poor girl dares to say Giselle, which sets Julien off for absolutely no reason and he starts yelling at her about how she's "NEVER GOING TO BE GISELLE SO WHO THE FUNK DO YOU THINK YOU GET OFF THINKING YOU CAN BE GISELLE? YOU DON'T EVEN LOOK ANYTHING LIKE HER YOU FOUSTY OLD TROUT!" He then makes her get her tits out. Such an odd little man. Such an odd little show. This girl who is not Giselle is called Holly apparently. It's left to Fearne to inform us of this. She is through, Alex is (duh) not.

Alex cries her way out and it makes Leona Lewis wail like a distressed Fallopian Tube.

Two girls get through from the last group of the day. One of them is called Victoria, and she looks a bit like a sexy goblin. The other one...I'm guessing we'll never see again unless she gets a tooth-over. Rejected from this group is (Not That) Tulisa. She's giant, has clown hair, is dressed in denim, and has hoops I could fit my fists through (calm down Julien). Grace tells her she's beautiful and that she should keep trying and keep her chin up and all that, but it's not her this series. Tulisa just cries more, which makes Grace cry more, which makes Grace confused deep inside her carpet, so she decides Tulisa can go through anyway. She decides to dramatise this in the manner of the last 5 minutes of a Richard Curtis movie, sprinting after Tulisa telling her to STOP! THE JUDGES LOVE HER AFTER ALL! Sadly, Alex is still off crying and self-harming somewhere, so this isn't soundtracked by, say up-tempo Northern Soul, but instead with more Leona. WE CAN'T STOP THE LEONA! Stop crying Alex, wherever you are, you're ruining this moment for Tulisa with your neo-soul Snow Patrol covers! Selfish fatty normal person!

And that is the end of Cardiff.

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Fresh from the hell that is the prospect of "Chick Fix", we are in my home... well not town. Region. Home region. Lots of shots of the Bull Ring and the Bull Ring bull and Victoria Square and especially Selfridges, because Selfridges is to Birmingham as Big Ben is to London and The Eiffel Tower is to Paris. And how depressing is that? Our Great Work is a SELFRIDGES [It's better than the old Bull Ring being the mark of Birmingham - Helen]. Anyway stomping right outside Selfridges is Elle, looking like Bet Lynch after a nasty bout of anorexia. This should end well. She opens with "I'm about to go into the Bull Ring, which is a shopping centre", intoning the whole thing like she's David Attenborough and some Brummies are about to start absently trying to pick ticks off her in a charming fashion.

My people greet Elle with utter indifference. I'm so proud. Like, one girl paps her with an iPhone, and some people wave at the camera, but that's about it. Elle stomps around demanding that somebody, anybody, pay attention to her. It's amazing. One girl just stands there shovelling mini-eggs into her mouth as Elle begs her to audition, then walks off with a sneer on her face. Eventually Elle finds her level - 6 year old girls entering a shopping centre talent contest, fellow Australians, and one girl clearly planted by production. HA HA HA.

Birmingham 1, Elle 0. How I wish we had an anthem.

To the LG Arena now (because yes, this show needs an ARENA to hold all 14 potential contestants that have turned up), where lots of girls say they like modelling (handy!) and that there are so many tall, pretty girls here (surprising! I was expecting short fat hairy midgets! THE HEAT IS ON!). We close the pre-action maunderings of cattle. with one Brummie girl saying "if you can't stop thinking about something every day, then you should pursue it". See, I told the judge that regarding Darren Criss, and he didn't listen.

Elle turns up, followed by Grace in glasses with catwoman ears (*face*), and then Julien clutching...what appears to be a Craig David poster. Who would be surprised to hear that Julien is leaving out of his car? I would not be. Grace goes to get ready (oh yes, it gets worse), and Elle sneaks a peak. Grace looks like Elton John threw up candy floss all over Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Is what she looks like.

Speaking of unfortunate looks, Amy is our first girl of note. She's the same shade of white as a bloated corpse's feet, has the face of a girl that was burnt at the stake in the 16th Century for being a witch based on the evidence of facial structure alone, hair that sits on her forehead with all the ease and grace of Bruce Forsythe's, a chin you could rest pints on, and she's chuntering on about her art. She's the most modelesque person I've seen thus far! She's grotesque! I bet she takes great pictures! Why is Julien the only one noticing this? Why am I on Julien's side?

Julien and Elle ponder aloud as to how other human beings react to seeing Amy for the first time. Amy confirms it is either screaming, vomitting, or the full pitchfork treatment. Julien makes her do a funny walk, swish swish swish, and Amy goes full Angry Goth. She's such a star! Just cancel the whole competition right here. Sod off Bible Brenda, we have a winner. All the girls work out, and Elle, Julien and Charley all loathe Amy, because they're all jelus hatahs, but Julien just says "Jade Parfitt" over and over and over again, and guarantees that Amy will be in the Final Three. I wish...

Anyway, Julien goes on and on and on and on and on and even admits that he's older than Grace to pull rank, that's how much he loves Amy. So you best believe he's in love. Eventually his pleading gets Elle's special dispensation, and Amy is through. YAY! Julien tells her to go and google Jade Parfitt. A nation follows.

Montage of crying girls now, soundtracked by Jessie J doing like a man dem suga barrowman dem SUGAH DIRTY SUGAH. Actually it's just one crying girl but she's so boring it feels like a montage. Like every boring crying girl who thinks really wanting it so badly is the same as being interesting or likable purified down to one girl. She's called Rebecca. Anyway, she's followed by, per Fearne, "another Julien-looking model", also called Rebecca. Which is not to say that the model looks like Julien (more's the pity, can you imagine?), but rather she is really pale and skinny and druggy-chic and kind of washed out. Julien raves about her, but Grace whinges that she's got no pizazzle. She wants to find the new Elle, or the new Naomi, you know, a girl who works to 90s standards of beauty with an obnoxious attention-whore personality. Who cares if she's a MODEL? We want a personality! BRING BACK ALISHA! [Let's not and say we did. - Steve]

Julien honks loudly in her face until she shuts up talking nonsense. I don't know if I can recap this show if it's going to make me Team Julien this often, I just can't. Elle tells them both to calm down (as does Charley, but if a Charley talks and nobody's bothering to hear it, did it actually happen?), and she puts through both Model Rebecca and Crying (/Personality) Rebecca. NOTHING SAYS PIZAZZLE LIKE SNOT ON YOUR SLEEVE!

OK, actual montage now, of successful girls. Another Mika song plays (*fast forward*). Through the speed fast-forward I can tell one girl is so obviously better than everyone else in her room they declare her their queen and self-eliminate ; one girl has a name that means something in a language (like "peace of mind" or "tranquillity of bowels" or "pizza" or something) and does kick-boxing, and one girl who looks more like a member of the Sugababes than a model is liked be Grace (SURPRISE!).

More shots of the judges eating now (why? I have never seen a show that included so many unnecessary shots of people eating. I do not need to see these people perform basic bodily functions. Unless it is Charley having a shower obv kthz plz) as they discuss hideous fug-model Amy some more. Julien still loves her, Grace still doesn't, the creature itself is still flumping around looking like Noel Fielding in Planet Of The Apes. [I have nothing further to add now, because this is the exact moment that I completley zoned out - Helen]

(*advertising break*)

As we finish scribbling our itineraries for our day out at BINT-MODEL LIVE! (9am : whip mayonnaise eggs at Delita, 9:05am Go home), the show plonks us right back into Birmingham.

Before our next group enter, we get a brief preview of them waiting outside the judges room. Basically it's four girls stood in a little huddle as another screams at them and gesticulates and bugs her eyes out and plays with her hair and pulls stupid Atomic Kitten faces and cows them all with her laser-blast shotgun eyes. She is, surprise surprise, reality tv variety Scouse. Her accent is, at least, mild. Her name is Laurie.

She enters, gurning her face off at all the judges, and tells them all she teaches in a school for the deaf. Or at least, they're deaf when she's finished with them. She gets all the lirrle deaf kids to come out their shells, and she's dead bubbly and that. She basically makes deaf school sound like a Butlins at which she is Head Redcoat. Such fun. Julien tells her that she's very beautiful and very vibrant with "tossled hair", but being a catwalk model means looking like a miserable bitch at all times. Can she do this? Laurie tells him that she can. She's very versatile. Like a "Char-melion". Grace snoots "KA-melion" at her, like Julien didn't just full-on say "tossled".

Anyway Laurie can be a rock-chick or a decapitated corpse or a classic moment from Britain's Next Top Model history or whatever other moronic photoshoot concept you want her to embody. They make her do a funny walk, swish swish swish, and the funny walk reminds Grace of Abi Clancy, who is a real "personality" if ever I've seen one, so obviously Laurie is through. PERSONALITY! PIZAZZLE! As she walks out, Julien says that Laurie is the sort of girl that men actually want to have sex with. Well what is she doing going through then Julien? This is a show for models.

Two girls with the same haircut audition. The one that seems like kind of a phony (you know, based on two seconds of air-time) gets through. Charley gets to read this one out, just for something to do, or than sitting there being irrelevant. CHARLEY CAN READ DEAD GOOD MISS.


Another montage now, this time of rejects : one girl looks at the floor whilst she walks, one girl looks like a boy, but, you know, not in a model way , and then things get so bad a whole room of girls gets cut in one go. One girl is not very sexy and can't walk, and then a whole room just breaks into spontaneous voguing for no reason. None of them get through either. Eh, Elle's just angry because she got chewed up and spat out by the Bullring. Don't take it out on the rest of Birmingham just cause you couldn't handle the Bullring Elle. Not their fault you ended up making a little fort in H & M out of tipped-over clothes-racks and cried and cried and cried until they had to call Julien to come and get you to leave.

Finally in this montage of fail, we get Sarah, the winner of something called "People's Choice" from last year's series, which I'm guessing was some sort of online vote to pick a contestant. Apparently, despite this accolade, this girl didn't get into the house then, and she's certainly not going to now, as Grace doubts her Amazon potential. Sarah goes outside and calls Grace a bitch (but says she's still coming back next year, ok Sarah). Grace yells to camera about how the PUBLIC HAVE NO CLUE WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A MODEL, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Of course, I bet they're still going to get to decide the winner this year. [We weren't the people who put Alisha in the top three either, GRACE. - Steve]

Next up are the two girls that Elle found in Birmingham earlier. That's right, it's the producer plant, and Little Miss Mini Eggs who has, despite her attitude, actually turned up. That's my girl. Anyway, Production Plant is such a fresh off the street find that she's had a modelling job in-between meeting Elle yesterday and today, where they've screwed up her hair horribly. She still gets through, because she's Elle's baby, as is Little Miss Mini-Eggs.


Finally is Tanya Mikailovic (sorry, complete guess there), [according to someone on Facebook who was also at this audition, it's actually "Hania", but the show got it wrong - Steve] who is a quarter Serbian and on her last shot, at the ripe old age of 23. She has more eye-make up on than My Chemical Romance, Green Day and Taking back Sunday combined. Elle roots out her delightful ethnicity like a piggy hunting for truffles, then asks her what Serbian women look like. What the hElle? You sound like you're touting for a mail-order bride, cut it out. Tanya tells her, in a thick Brummie accent, that Serbian women are all beautiful and tall, with big eyes (*giggle giggle*).

Charley asks her to give him three words that encapsulate Tanya. She replies "God Damned Sexy" (*giggle giggle*). Charley asks which designer she'd like to work for, and she points at Julien and giggles some more. Julien then points out that she's wearing far too much make-up and they can't see her eyes, and suddenly giggly Tanya bolts mentally and starts shaking and panicking and saying she should have toned it down, and that she's taking from the panel the message "less is more". The panel nod and say "yes, less is always more". Grace says this. Grace who is dressed like a CIRCUS GANG-BANG.

Anyway, Tanya gets eliminated along with the rest of her room, thanks to Elle's anti-Brummie rage, but then Elle decides that she's changed her mind, and that if Tanya had gone and taken the make-up off her eyes spontaneously, she would have got through easy. So let's go and make her do it artificially and for the cameras! IN THE SPIRIT OF REALITY TV! Eh whatever Elle, Grace already did it. I know you were off with your booz...your kids at the time, but it still happened. Anyway, Elle runs after Tanya, and tells her to scrub all that crap off her eyes, and then they'll consider her again. Hilariously, Tanya tries to do so, but the muck is caked in that she can't get rid of most of it, and then she comes back in with it all still on all "what can you do?" (*shrug*) and the panel fiddle awkwardly and then let her through anyway, and pretend it was her jumper they had a problem with all along.

Oh yeah and she's got a kid and had 4 hours to live once or something.

I love this show.

Next week : Dublin! Ronan Keating tells Elle where to get all the good crack!