Sunday, 12 August 2012

Girls will be boys

Top 11: 6th August 2012

First of all, allow me to apologise for not being Helen. She was supposed to be recapping this week, but I begged her to swap with me so that I didn't end up recapping both BintModel and the first episode of The X Factor in the same weekend, and she very kindly agreed. I can only try to live up to her levels of scorn. [Ach, stoppit - Helen]

Previously: MAKEOVERS! Risikat got a short Halle Berry-style cut, while poor, poor Roxanne ended up with hair the colour of the cast of Geordie Shore. Still, she overcame the odds to get first call-out, while Voice Of Fearne tells us that "after an emotional elimination, it was Penelope who got the chop". That doesn't even make sense. Does nobody proof-read these scripts? Or do they just let Fearne write her own? [I can imagine Fearne's crayon scrawled ideas. I suspect she writes them on herself - Helen] This week: fighting and androgyny, it seems. I like the sound of this already.

Titles. Be the one, be the one, BE THE ONE AHH-CHOOOS!

Backstage at last week's elimination, Roxanne is feeling a teensy bit smug about getting photo of the week; she thinks she deserved it because she put a lot of energy into that shoot. Tasmin interviews with barely-concealed glee that everyone in the contest is getting on nicely, apart from Roxanne and Madeleine. Roxanne admits that she and Madeleine had a bit of a fight, which appears to have been prompted by Madeleine looking at Emma's picture and saying it should have been picture of the week. Roxanne, the actual recipient of picture of the week, takes this as a slur, even though I don't think it was really intended as one; Madeleine just has a rather clumsy way of expressing herself. Madeleine interviews that Roxanne must have hearing problems, because "she keeps hearing me badly". Heh. Roxanne tells Madeleine that she shouldn't insult her within earshot (because I'm sure she'd be so much happier if she thought Madeleine was criticising her behind her back), and Madeleine says she didn't intend to offend. In an interview, Madeleine shrugs: "I'm French. We're not known to keep things to ourselves." Man, France's Next Top Model (La Prochaine Top Modèle de la France?) must make amazing TV. (Except Wikipedia tells me it hasn't aired a new cycle since 2007, so maybe not.) [I know I've said it before but it bears repeating. I love Madeleine so hard, especially now she's EUROPEAN - Helen]

Back at the house, Madeleine continues to stew while Anita interviews that she feels sorry for Madeleine because she's so different from the rest of them, being so tactless and everything. I think I'd really enjoy Anita's variety of guileless insults if she weren't so disappointingly inept as a contestant. Anita interviews that Roxanne is no better because she's so "opinionated", so they should probably just keep away from each other. If there isn't some sort of team challenge pairing them up together by the end of this episode, I will eat my couture sunglasses.

Elle Mail! Lisa reads it: "Hi Girls, Modelling is tough, you have to overcome your insecurities and embrace who you are, flaws and all ... Tomorrow morning be ready to tell the world you're proud of who you are. Love Elle x" If this challenge does not involve the words "guest judge Lady Gaga" I'm going to be very cross. Letitia thinks it's likely to involve talking. Tasmin thinks it'll be NUDE talking. The girls head off to the confessional room in their usual groups: Emma paired with Letitia (still utterly indistinguishable); Lisa paired with Kellie (The Axis Of Irish is all well and good, but it's no Eastern European Axis Of Formerly-Blonde Evil, is it?) and Madeleine all by herself. Basically, nobody has a clue and Madeleine does not give one tiny shit: "maybe fly into space and talk to aliens about our secret insecurities, I have no idea." [She's got the potential for Joy levels of amazingness. I can feel it - Helen]

The next day, they're off to a school. Lisa tells us that she's a freak, because she loved school. I wonder what that must have been like. They are met in a classroom by a main with a hair topknot who does not look like a teacher; this is because he is image consultant Vernon François [I really wanted him to be called Ruby Rhod - Helen]. He explains that their challenge for today is to write their biggest insecurity on a t-shirt, and then explain to 200 people why they chose this particular aspect. Anne admits that speaking to large crowds is not something she's comfortable with. Lisa hopes she can relate to just one of the students. They get to work, and Anne tells us that she has a lot of insecurities, so finding just one to put on a t-shirt was a bit of a complicated selection process. Basically Anne's head is like the series seven BintModel auditions - there's even a little Charley Speed in there running out to find insecurities on the street and make them feel really uncomfortable. And they were insecurities in the first place, so you can just imagine what they'll be like when he's finished with them. Tasmin interviews that Kellie found the challenge difficult because she's a very positive person. Kellie doodles some hearts on her t-shirt as she tells us that it's hard to find things to say. Vernon asks her to think of the first thing that comes into her head, and Kellie tells him that she can be shy sometimes. Amusingly, Vernon's next line is bleeped out, so I can only assume he thought she said "shite" and repeated it back to her, which seems to be borne out by Kellie confirming "shy" back at him. Vernon tells her to think about why she's shy.

In the assembly hall, kids arrive and start to sit down. I wonder what part of the curriculum this comes under. David Cameron's probably fretting that they're trying to write this off as a Games lesson instead of training to be future Olympians. Backstage is Radio 1's Aled Jones, who tells them that he knows how hard it can be to deal with these issues, and that the hardest audience is often children. Remember, this man worked with Chris Moyles, so he knows what he's talking about. He tells them they'll all feel so much better when they've got this off their chest. If by "this" he means those ugly t-shirts, I expect he's right.

Anne goes out first, parading down the catwalk wearing a t-shirt with "NOSE" written on it, within the nose of a little cartoon face. Except the way she's arranged the letters, it looks a little bit like it says "NOES!" She explains to the crowd that she hates her nose, and she used to try to hide it with her long hair. She thinks it was once a weakness, but now it's a strength.

Adverts. The Wedding Video doesn't look any less crashingly unfunny than it did last week.

When we return, 'What Makes You Beautiful' is playing as more and more girls plod down the catwalk. The way that they flip their insecurities gets me overwhelmed! Jennifer's shirt says "second choice", Tasmin's says "closed off", Roxanne's says "confidence". Anita's says "short fuse", and she intones sagely that "it's not worth punching people in the face". If she doesn't make it as a model (and let's face it, she probably won't), I think Anita's true calling is as a motivational speaker. Tasmin says that she finds it hard to open up to people, while Letitia's shirt says "worried" and she explains that she's always concerned what people think of her. Roxanne tells the kids that she was bullied at school and had bad skin, but that you just need to be who you are, gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgender life, etc etc. Risikat (wearing an "odd" t-shirt) says that she was brought up in Ukraine (a last-minute bid for entry into The Axis?) [HELLS YES - Helen] and she always felt like the odd one out, but being yourself is amazing, so love yourself and be cool. Kellie is terrified, and gets a hug from Vernon; her t-shirt says "scared, lost and lonely" because school was cliquey and she was always getting into trouble and getting suspended for her behaviour and her piercings, but once you grow up it's okay to be who you are. I quite want this to be the cue for all the kids to be so inspired by the prospect of being themselves that they start rioting and piercing their noses with paperclips, but sadly the littluns all stay politely in their seats. She interviews that she feels like she confronted her 13-year-old self, and she's glad she did it. Aled speaks to the kids to find out what they've learned, and one of them chirps up "beautiful women can have insecurities!" Well, I'm so glad that's the lesson they're all taking away from this.

Aled congratulates the girls and tells them he's arranged a reward of a big night out for all of them. Back at the house, everyone's getting ready. Lisa's excited about her first night out in London, while Roxanne is tired and missing her daughter. She calls home and blubs as her daughter babbles excitedly at her, and signs off by saying "see you soon!" which seems like a fate-tempting choice of words. The girls are taken to a rooftop bar overlooking Trafalgar Square, where they drink champagne and enjoy chocolate-covered strawberries. "Rich people live well," notes Madeleine. Risikat and Roxanne talk about how this is inspiring them to keep going. Food arrives, as well as an Elle Mail: "Girls, the competition is getting tougher every day, and sometimes you've just got to man up. Be ready to do it like a MANDEMSUGASUGASUGA for your photoshoot tomorrow. But for now, go and enjoy yourselves! Love Elle x" I may have paraphrased the MANDEMSUGA part, but I'm sure you know what the original said. Also Letitia, who's reading it out, actually says "exclamation mark" at the end. Bless.

The girls go on to another bar for MOAR DRINKS, and Madeleine starts throwing some shapes on the dancefloor. The next day, there are some sore heads and Lisa interviews that they were hoping for a lie-in after their night out, but no, they had to get up at EIGHT O'CLOCK! Roxanne mumbles that she feels sick. "Hangover sick?" asks Madeleine, failing to hide a smirk. They're all taken by coach to what Roxanne describes as "an old building, like a gentlemen's club" (she didn't like it, it looked haunted) where they're greeted by a very dapper-looking Tyson, who tells them that he wants them to "tap into their inner dude". On camera? That's disgusting. [To be fair, Tyson is 'in the area'. *gets  coat* - Helen] They're being styled as men, and must play a man while retaining their feminine charm - oh, and they've only got five minutes to get their best shot.

Predictably, Jessie J bleats on the soundtrack as the girls head off to get made-up and Risikat interviews that the main feeling between the girls was confusion: "why would anyone want us to be like a man?" I can only refer her to Ciara on that one. Anita says that she's only just come to terms with walking like a girl, and now she has to learn to walk like a man. Heh. Lisa is worried about the timed aspect, because it takes her a while to warm up. Kellie giggles that she's dressed like her dad.

The photographer is Alex James (no, not that one) [CHEESE WANK... sorry - Helen] and Letitia is up first. She explains that they've not studied male models, only female ones, and as a result she had no idea what sort of poses she had to do. Tyson reminds us all that Letitia's big problem is that she's (say it with me now) too sexy, but that in this shoot, it works.

After another oddly-timed ad break, we come back and join Jennifer, whose makeover hairdo actually seems well-suited for this challenge. She's posing precariously on a mantelpiece and looking manly in a feminine way, which seems to be very much the brief as far as I can discern it. Well done Jennifer. Alex says that Jennifer was nice to work with. Risikat is next, and her posing is a little stilted; she admits that she was having trouble remembering to pose like a man. However, Alex likes the "sultry, not stroppy" vibe she was bringing. After her we have Kellie, who appears to struggle with the sexy side of the proceedings - as does Anita, who's focusing so hard on not squinting that she goes too far in the other way and just looks startled. She frets in an interview that she's "one of the weaker ones". Tyson and Alex agree that she poses like "a shy girl".

Emma follows, and says that hearing everyone before coming out with negative opinions of how their shoot went made her more determined that hers would be a good one. "The clothes are masculine, but you're not," Tyson tells her, which gives me flashbacks of my first day of secondary school. Tyson thinks she didn't come in as strong as she expected, and Emma returns to the others dejected, saying that she essentially misunderstood the brief. Madeleine is next, and Tyson wants more sexiness from her: "just the hint of a boob or something," suggests Alex. Tyson and Alex think she looks scary in some pictures. Roxanne goes in with confidence, and tries to balance the masculine clothes with a feminine demeanour, explaining that if they wanted them to behave like men, surely they'd have just cut out the middleman and hired male models? Tyson tells her that she has a minute left, but probably doesn't need it. Roxanne, of course, relates this exchange to the other girls afterwards, because she's classy like that.

Then we have Lisa, who admits that she had an advantage going later in the process because she'd picked up what was expected of her from the earlier girls' failure to deliver, and she hopes that she's done enough for photo of the week, because she'd really like that. Tyson and Alex are impressed with her diversity - "get her an agent, she'd be working this week," says Alex. After her is Tasmin, who is hoping not to be in the bottom two again - "I think two times in a row is enough" - but Tyson's and Alex's response to her shoot seems lukewarm. Anne, on the other end, gets a good response, with Tyson asking her if she's sure she hasn't modelled before.

The girls head back to the house, where Roxanne has decided they should have a roast dinner, so everyone gets involved with preparing it. Anita interviews that it's the first time they've all sat down for a meal together, and Risikat adds that the experience helped them to feel closer to their families. Of course, thoughts soon turn to elimination, as Jennifer says that they have no idea who did well, and Madeleine admits she's feeling apprehensive for the first time. Tasmin thinks the fact that they've tried to send her home twice and yet she's still here must mean something. This is where someone needs to introduce her to the phrase "circling the drain". Back at the table, Anita says that it's a "nice dinner to end someone's journey". Heh. She interviews that she gave everything up for this, including her job. She doesn't want to have to move back to her mum's, though I suspect she might want to start getting used to the idea. Tasmin proposes a toast to their last time as the Top 11. Roxanne is hoping to get photo of the week for a second week in a row.

As the girls prepare for panel, Voice of Fearne runs us through the prizes one more time, as well as the roster of judges. This week's guest judge is prolific supermodel, and trailblazer as the first to walk in male and female catwalk shows, Andrej Pejic. Andrej is seriously stunning. I can imagine pretty everyone being Andrej Pejic-sexual, regardless of their orientation the rest of time. (He did send FHM into a whirlwind of gay panic after all, which must have been fun for him.) First to see her picture this week is Jennifer, who looks like "a beautiful boy" according to Elle, who sees this as a natural segue to seek Andrej's opinion. Andrej loves the long body and the face pose. Tyson tells the panel that he and the photographer both loved working with Jennifer, which Elle points out is "good feedback". Thanks for that, Elle. Lisa is next, and Elle thinks she's gorgeous. Whitney likes that she's quirky and cute, while Julien likes that she's young, fresh and sporty. Andrej thinks the posing is awkward, but it works. Then we have Anita, whose picture doesn't get such good reviews: Elle points out that Anita's right eye is "stuck to the corner of [her] nose" and makes her look cross-eyed. Tyson says that she was trying so hard not to squint that it backfired. Whitney loves the pose, however, and thinks Anita just needs a bit more confidence. Andrej tells her that as a model you have to adapt to new situations constantly, being a chameleon, so there's no room for self-doubt.

Adverts. Revlon remind us that they're associated with BintModel, as if we couldn't guess. Also, lovely Gethin Jones continues to wander around Holland & Barrett stores that are not my local one, because life is unkind like that.

When we return, it's time for defending picture-of-the-week champion Roxanne. Elle asks if she was feeling pressure, and Roxanne says she felt like she needed to bring it again. Tyson's all "OH, SHE THOUGHT SHE WAS IT." Roxanne protests that she's "not cocky at all", and once again we get drawn into that tedious reality TV minefield where women are told to believe in themselves more but told they're arrogant and offputting if they actually take that advice. Sigh. Luckily for Roxanne, her shot is great, and Andrej's favourite so far. Tyson thinks she's great to work with as a model, but doesn't offer much personality. "She's a great model, but as someone you want to hang out with on a long photoshoot, nah, not really." HARSH. Elle tells him off for being too personal. Roxanne cries and apologises, and Tyson tells her not to worry about it. I have a feeling we might see Roxanne's confidence issues leaping all over the place throughout the rest of the series now. Julien, sensibly, says they should get back to the picture and tells Roxanne that for the first time, she looks like a Top Model. Elle loves the picture, and loves Roxanne's hair like this (to be fair, it does look a lot better this week) and spanks Tyson with her cue cards for his impudence. Tyson looks like he's enjoying it rather than feeling chastened though. Roxanne stomps back to the line-up, chewing her cheek, and it's Madeleine, of all people, who reaches out a friendly arm as she passes, though Roxanne doesn't respond.

Risikat next, and Andrej isn't a fan of her shot, as he thinks there's nothing fashion or editorial about it. Julien thinks that if anyone could pull off this styling, it should be Risikat, but unfortunately she just looks like an average pretty girl in an average picture. Then we have Emma, and Elle thinks her picture looks like an eighties supermodel. Julien thinks she makes the clothes look amazing, and she looks gorgeous. Elle tells Emma it was a good week for her. After her, it's Tasmin, whose Bettie Page pose gets a thumbs-down from the panel. Whitney thinks it looks too obvious, and if you're going to do that pose you need to pop the body. Andrej thinks she has a great body, but the picture isn't showing it. Julien thinks she's a little girl in the body of a "huge, incredible model" and she needs to put those two things together. Again, that makes no sense. Surely she's already put them together, discovered it's not working, and now needs to remove the little girl from the equation? Modelling maths is hard, you guys. Elle starts to make "we're basically giving up on you" noises.

Anne's picture is deemed "disappointing" by Elle and "very catalogue" by Andrej. Julien thinks this should have been Anne's week, but he could've done a better job himself. Tyson attempts to defend Anne, saying it was her last shot of the day, and he wants to blame the room. Elle loves Madeleine's picture, but Whitney thinks her eyes look dizzy. Elle is pleased that she's found a good angle to be photographed from. Letitia next, and her shot is her reclining in a chair in an aloof fashion. Elle loves it and thinks it's the coolest take on "sexy" that they've seen. Tyson thinks you can't teach this, and she just went in and nailed it. Julien doesn't think the picture looks masculine at all, and she looks like a glamorous girl in masculine clothes. Was that not the entire point? I don't get why he's phrasing all this like it's a criticism. Julien's critiques are so opaque sometimes. Finally, we have Kellie, who is asked about her "scared, lost and lonely" t-shirt. Elle asks her if she feels like that today, and Kellie says that she really felt a release after going to the school. Another triumph of modelling over medicine! Kellie's shot is not great, largely because of the ludicrously high-waisted trousers that have completely destroyed her torso. Whitney thinks her face looks beautiful, though. Julien tells Kellie it's her job to make the clothes look amazing, and she should've turned to the side more - but she'll learn that sort of thing as the competition goes on.

Time for the judges to deliberate. Jennifer's picture is the first one up for discussion: Whitney loves it because she feels like Jennifer is growing in confidence, and Tyson likes that she took charge of the shoot. Andrej thinks Letitia's picture is great, but she's not one of his favourite girls and he doesn't see her having a high-end career. Lisa's picture is loved by all. Anita lacks strength, according to Julien. Tyson likes Roxanne's picture but not her attitude, while Julien thinks she answered the brief the best, and Andrej thinks she looks like a working model. Risikat didn't work it, and Julien thinks she needs to work harder. Elle thinks Emma looks hot, and Whitney thinks that you look at this picture and want to be her. Tasmin was on notice, Whitney says, and had to wow this week, but didn't do it. Julien thinks her personality doesn't go with her body, and Tyson thinks she was one of the tougher shots of the day. Anne's picture is a disappointment, and she looks bored. Whitney thinks Madeleine looks better in pictures than she does in real life, but she's not one of her favourites. Julien thinks there's nothing there beneath the clothes, the hair and the make-up, and Elle cracks that the same is true of her. Finally Kellie, "last and maybe least" - Andrej thinks she could be a high-end model, but she needs to work on her body and learn how to take better photos. The judges have made a decision. Who's going home?

Elle has 11 beautiful models before her, but only 10 photographs in her hands. This week, there is a tie for picture of the week between Emma and Roxanne. Well, that's unusual. The following girls are also safe: Letitia, Lisa, Jennifer, Anita, Madeleine, Kellie and Risikat. That leaves Anne and Tasmin in the bottom two, and one of them is going home. Elle fudges her lines here, saying "the name of the girl I do not call must leave immediately", giving me a mental image of a giant TASMIN name-plate departing the competition while Tasmin is allowed to remain behind on the condition that she is now officially nameless. Because let's be honest, Tasmin's going home here. Elle tells Tasmin that this is her third week in the bottom two, and she's always there for the same reason - the potential the judges see in her that doesn't turn up in her pictures. Anne also gives them high expectations, but they worry that she's sliding backwards. So who stays? Anne, obviously, because it's third time unlucky for Tasmin. Anne heads backstage for a hug.

Elle tells Tasmin that she's "done a great job", and I'm not really sure what she's basing that on given Tasmin's unbroken run in the bottom two. Tasmin says it's been a really good experience and she doesn't regret anything, and she's going to miss all the girls - "they're really nice". I have to say, this lot do seem to have bonded remarkably quickly. We see a montage of Tasmin's pictures, and I actually think her shot from last week wasn't that bad, but overall I guess her portfolio is a bit underwhelming. She fades out from the group shot. Bye Tasmin!

Next week: an acting challenge! A trip to Paris! And best of all: JOY! JOY IS BACK! I hope she hasn't lost her endearing surliness. [I love her so very, very much - Helen] Join Helen for all the gossip, assuming there aren't any more last-minute switcheroos.

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