Saturday, 22 September 2012

Don't go chasing waterfalls

Top 5: 17th September 2012

Previously on BintModel: arachnophobia, the last word in suspense. Also the last word in Roxanne's modelling career, because she was sent home while everyone else got to go to Canada, eh? Bunch of hosers. (That's the absolute last stereotypical Canadian joke I will make, I promise.)

Titles: are you what I'm looking for? Is it a curlicue? (My boyfriend thinks the theme tune is wretched. I still think, despite its faults, it's the best one they've managed so far. I mean, the one they used for cycles three through five sounded like they'd ripped off the theme from Night And Day, for fuck's sake.)

Back at Model Manor: everyone is very excited to be going to Canada. "We've been to Dubai, then Paris and now Canada," says Lisa - and no disrespect to Canada, but when you put it like that, it does sound a bit like diminishing returns, doesn't it? Risikat interviews that making it to the top five proves that she was totally right for following her instincts all along. I love that as a perspective on the world, so if Anita wins this year, I'm assuming that proves I was wrong to decide to go ahead and recap this cycle. Letitia (who needs to learn not to talk while giggling because I had to go back and listen to this bit three times before I had a bloody clue what she was saying) vows that she will prove to the Canadians that Letitia is back. Bloody Anita wonders if the modelling world in Canada is different from that of Europe. Well, I'm guessing there are fewer Europeans and more Canadians, for starters. Risikat says that they'll soon find oot. Er, "out".

Everyone departs Model Manor for the final time, and presumably nothing amusing happens at the airport because the next thing we know we're in Toronto. Lisa interviews that upon arrival, they "literally" got into a limo. As opposed to...? Nobody knows where they're going yet, but they're all very much enjoying the Canadian scenery. Emma interviews that they saw a huge building - the CN Tower, to be precise - and that is indeed their destination. Upon arrival, they're shepherded into a lift which goes up the outside of the building and has windows to allow them all to see how far they're going up. Bloody Anita starts to look queasy, and anything that upsets her is good with me, so I am very pro-Canada so far. When they reach the peak and get out from the lift, there is a screen with Elle Mail waiting for them. Elle welcomes them to Toronto and informs them it's time to get down to business. Being a model, she continues, is one of those jobs where people will constantly ask you to do unreasonable things and fire you if you refuse (I may be paraphrasing slightly here) so today's challenge is designed to see how well they cope under pressure. Elle wants to see who can strut their stuff around the edge walk of the CN Tower. Letitia's reaction to this is such a burlesque of actual human emotion - she inhales so hard that I'm surprised she doesn't end up with a gobful of Anita's hair. Also, just to shit them up even more, Elle reminds them that they are 1168ft up in the air.

Bloody Anita immediately gets the vapours and declares that she's not doing it. Gosh, I wonder if this will ultimately result in Anita "conquering" her "fears" and having a really great journey to relate to everyone at panel, in exactly the same way that she did last week? She runs around like Marge Simpson on an aeroplane all "IDONTWANNADOITIDONTWANNADOITIDONTWANNADOIT" and shakes off all attempts at reassurance from the others, because this is Anita's Camera Time and no one else is getting a look in. Lisa reminds her that the whole point of this is about getting over a fear, and Bloody Anita snits that she doesn't want to get over her fear. Fine, then quit the competition. Good riddance. Meanwhile, in the background, Risikat is laughing. Team Risikat, anyone? In an interview, Risikat points out that no one was actually telling Bloody Anita that she had to do the challenge, but she just kept yelling "I'm not doing it! I'm not doing it!" anyway. Risikat has so got Bloody Anita's number, hasn't she? [The comment of 'I don't want to cry on camera AGAIN' tells you all you need to know - Helen]

Bloody Anita cries in the toilets and then CONVENIENTLY HAS AN EPIPHANY that if she doesn't do the shoot, she'll be letting herself down. We're going to get this every week until the final, aren't we? Perhaps next week she'll develop a sudden, debilitating fear of photographers. Or lights. Or Elle Macpherson. Everyone gets suited up in unflattering jumpsuits and attached to some cables, and taken up in the a lift to the dangling-off point. Emma, incidentally, is quite excited about the whole challenge, and wastes no time in getting going once they're up there. Bloody Anita, having had her convenient epiphany, then of course has an inconvenient relapse when she actually has to walk out and starts wibbling about how she doesn't want to do it. I mean, I get fear of heights, I really do, but she is firmly attached to a very secure-looking cable and she is also NOWHERE NEAR THE FUCKING EDGE, for crying out loud. Eventually, Emma has to come back and hold Anita's hand as she goes around, pointing out that they are "as safe as being on the pavement". Probably safer, considering they're significantly less likely to be hit by a car up there.

The rather contrived "modelling" aspect of all this, incidentally, is that they have to lean back off the edge of the walkway while letting go of the cable and deliver the line "everywhere's a catwalk in Canada; take yourself to dizzy new heights". Everyone manages to do this, apart from Anita who kind of lurks back near the wall and says it while grimacing. Bloody Anita interviews that the others were probably all really happy that she was so afraid, because it made them look better, and that if the situation had been reversed, she probably would have tried to talk them out of doing it at all. She really is the actual worst, isn't she? [Yes - Helen]

Once that's all over and they're all back on terra firma, they get back into the limo and head off to their next destination. Risikat attempts to say something about what they've just been doing and of course Bloody Anita interrupts, so Risikat hits back: "thanks for talking over me, bitch. Put your point across, because it's obviously more important than mine." TEAM RISIKAT. They're deposited at a fancy building, the Soho Metropolitan Hotel, where all the celebrities have stayed. Not just Canadian celebrities like Avril Lavigne and Carly Rae Jepsen, you understand, but real celebrities like Madonna and Beyoncé. They're going to stay in the fabulous three-storey penthouse. Oddly enough, Anita's fear of heights does not kick in again upon learning this. Isn't that just the darnedest thing? The penthouse is, admittedly, kickass and everyone wonders if this is what their lives will be like if they win. I'm going to hazard a guess: no.

After an ad break, it's another bright sunny day in Toronto and the girls are sitting around in their robes when a butler comes to deliver them an Elle Mail, which Risikat reads: "Hi Girls, I hope you enjoyed your first day in Toronto, but now it's time to get back to model business as today you'll be meeting some of Canada's leading fashion experts. You leave in 30 minutes, and remember it's all about first impressions. Love Elle x" Risikat wonders what fashion experts means. I like that she's been on the show this long and still doesn't have a clear picture of such a thing in her head. I feel that speaks volumes.

They head to Elite Toronto where they meet the director Matti Gidilevich and its president Alecia Bell. Lisa is first to have her portfolio and walk examined. The others are taken off into a separate room to stew, and Bloody Anita frets about walking for them, while Letitia wishes she'd brought better heels. Seriously, did it not cross anyone's mind that they might be asked to walk? You are being APPRAISED AS MODELS, for fuck's sake. They're not going to ask you for your thoughts on the global economy or the US election, are they?

Alecia asks Lisa what sort of career she wants to have, and Lisa says she wants to do edgy editorial, but she'd be willing to do anything. She walks for them, and Alecia thinks she has great energy and personality, but she'd like to see that personality come out more in her pictures. Back in the stewing room, Letitia thinks very hard about which of her two catwalks to do. Emma suggest that she does a sophisticated one. Excellent backhanded burn on Letitia's other catwalk style there, which I'm assuming Emma categorises as Letitia's "underclass" walk. Risikat goes in next, and says that she has done some modelling (I assume she means prior to the competition), but she doesn't think it gave her any "benefit". I wonder if she means "advantage" here, or if she's just picking a really bad time to criticise the modelling industry as a whole. Alecia loves Risikat's Revlon shot, and Matti likes her versatility, that she can do beauty and also edginess. After she leaves, however, he thinks her walk needs tightening.

Emma goes in next, and is asked for her age and her height. She walks for Matti and Alecia, and Alecia tells her that she has "a beautiful beauty face" but that at 5'8", she's a little on the short side for booking catwalk shows. After she goes, Matti thinks she's more of a print and beauty girl. Anita goes in, and her walk is shit so she has to do it again. They like it better the second time, and Matti thinks she might be the dark horse of the competition. In that she's totally pony, perhaps. Finally, Letitia goes in, and is asked if she's modelled professionally before (she hasn't). Alecia asks her to walk for them and Letitia's immediately all "IF IT'S SHIT I'M REALLY SORRY", which I'm sure creates an excellent first impression. Alecia likes the confidence in her eyes, and her energy, and Matti thinks that as she matures (yeah, that'll happen) Letitia will grow in confidence.

The second go-see takes them to a warehouse, where a psychopath is waiting for them with a chainsaw. No, just kidding: it's actually Bernadette Morra, editor of the imaginatively-titled Fashion magazine. They're going to do "a cover try" today, and there's no hair and make-up beyond what the girls can quickly sort out for themselves beforehand. "This is actually tough," whispers Lisa to Risikat, conspiratorially. Bloody Anita goes first, and the photographer Gabor Jurina seems impressed, though Bernadette observes that "what's really concerning me is the face". Ha! Unfortunately she only means that Anita isn't smiling, which she eventually manages to do. Letitia goes next and gets off to a good start, though Bernadette gets worried when Letitia's attempts at a sexy pose become "another magazine, not ours". Gabor reminds Letitia that her target market is women. Lisa is not given the wind machine because of her hair, and Gabor likes her smile, but he and Bernadette want her to smile rather than pout. Backstage, Lisa predicts that they'll love Emma because she has a gorgeous smile (at this point, I officially declare Lisa far too nice a person to be on this show) and she's pretty much on the money with that one. Finally, Risikat who also gets a good reception, and Bernadette loves her "natural giggle".

Results time: Anita didn't give them the smile they wanted, Letitia has a "California athleticism" about her which isn't right for their product, Lisa had good body awareness and got that it was about a cover, Emma has a million dollar smile but just needs to work in front of the mirror on her body shape, and Risikat did a great job and has won the challenge. She's won some new clothes from Pink Tartan, whatever that is.

Back at the apartment, a rack of clothes awaits Risikat, and on one of the hangers is an Elle Mail, which Lisa reads: "You've already tasted the heights of Toronto, now it's time to experience the Falls." Bloody Anita, because she's an idiot, thinks this means bungee jumping rather than the more obvious link of Niagara Falls.

Adverts. I love that a commercial for the DVD of Glee season three on a Sky channel promotes it as being "uninterrupted!" Way to endorse your own scheduling decisions, Sky.

Early the next morning, the girls get up and get in the car to head to Niagara Falls, which looks awesome. Emma interviews that it's like a dream place - the sort of thing you hear about but never imagine you'll actually get to see. After being dropped off by their driver, they're met by Whitney, who's with their client for the day, creative director at Miss Selfridge, Yasmin Yusuf. Yasmin tells them they're there to shoot the Autumn/Winter campaign, and sends them off to hair and make-up. Lisa interviews that she's nervous, because it's a job for a massive client, while Anita frets that Whitney is the one overseeing things because she's the one who keeps calling her out for being squinty. Also, there are some nice close-ups of Tresemme products to keep the sponsors happy.

Bloody Anita goes first, and photographer Chris Nicholls tells her that she's looking a little worried and needs to keep her look strong. Anita bitches again that Whitney is "not my biggest fan", but is surprised that Whitney is being nice to her. Imagine that: Anita struggling to understand the concept of "basic professionalism". After Anita goes, Whitney tells Yasmin that Anita has always shown tension in her face and that's one thing they've been hard on her about, so hopefully they'll find a photo where it is less of a problem.

Letitia is next and most of her poses look fucking dreadful, but Whitney and the photographer seem to like them, so who really cares what I think? She also appears to be dressed like some sort of pearly queen hooker. I genuinely don't know what the point of this shoot is, if it even has one. At one point she gets soaked by the water. Afterwards, Emma suspects that someone more naturally high-fashion like Lisa may be at an advantage here.

Let's see, shall we? Yasmin loves Lisa's figure, and Whitney and Yasmin really like what she's doing for the shoot. I think she looks a little stiff, but I guess at least she's stiff in an editorial way? (It's times like this when I wish I actually knew anything at all about fashion.) Whitney and Yasmin think she was amazing - Yasmin even says "French Vogue eat your heart out." Lisa interviews that it's every girl for herself at this point.

Risikat is next, dressed like a minor villain from one of The Mummy films and Yasmin and Whitney think she needs to do stronger poses. Risikat admits she started to panic at that point, and Chris tells her that it's looking a little casual. She gets a few decent shots by the end, but Yasmin says later that she'd be worried doing a full shoot with Risikat because she'd really have to work with her. Yes, imagine that, the horror of actually having to do some work. Whitney says that even if you're not excited, you have to pretend to be excited. I think that's what the directors told her before each episode of The Hills.

Finally, we have Emma who says that she felt better every time she looked at the water. Well, I guess that's as good a strategy as any. She gets good feedback from the photographer and from Whitney, who thinks Emma is stronger in photographs than in person and gave a lot of variety.

Shoot over, Whitney arrives in the holding room and says that the girl who they think performed the best gets a helicopter ride around Niagara Falls with a friend, and that girl is Lisa. Lisa picks Anita to accompany her, "because she hasn't won a challenge yet and stuff". I love that. Not because she likes her, not because she deserves it - Anita gets to go out of pity. Letitia interviews that Lisa winning this challenge is a big deal because it means she'll be going straight through this week. OR DOES IT? (Spoiler: it doesn't.)

Lisa and Bloody Anita go up in the helicopter, and of course Bloody Anita is terrified the whole time even though they're only about six feet off the ground most of the time. Bloody Anita. Still, Niagara Falls looks lovely for those who actually appreciate it.

Back at the penthouse, there's Elle Mail, read by Bloody Anita. "Hello Girls, it's time for the judges to come together to see who'll be the first girl to leave Toronto. See you in a few hours when we'll be coming to see you. Love, Elle x" So that's another year where they couldn't be bothered to actually set up a proper judging room in the overseas location, then. Good to know. Risikat admits she doesn't feel confident about the photo shoot but she doesn't feel it's her time to go. Bloody Anita thinks the pressure's off Anita a little bit because she won the magazine cover challenge. Lisa thinks that nobody is safe. Bloody Anita thinks Emma should go, because she hasn't "proved herself" in the competition. Shut up, Bloody Anita.

The judges arrive at the penthouse, along with this week's guest judge, Noted Fashion Photographer Nigel Barker. The girls are perched on upturned logs for the judging, which does not look awkward or uncomfortable at all. First to have her picture appraised is Anita. Whitney claims that Anita had it "within the first shot", which is a direct contrast to what the photographer was saying earlier. So much for continuity. Nigel says there's tension in the face there which she has to learn to get rid of as a model and "chill into it", before adding "there's nothing sexier than control". Sheesh, calm down Christian Grey. Julien thinks she looks incredible. Tyson loves the shot and claims you don't look at Niagara Falls because you just see Anita. What a load of shite. He says she's listened to everything they've said, and this is how far it's gotten her. Except for the part where they're always telling her about the tension in her face, which she still hasn't fixed.

Stupid mid-judging ad break.When will they learn?

Next is Emma. Her shot is pretty great. Whitney loves the way the light catches her face and the wind catches her hair. Tyson thinks it's like she's had years of experience modelling, and she looks flawless. Nigel says that he doesn't necessarily see the girl in the picture in front of him, and that's something she needs to work on. Emma admits she's a completely different person on set, and Nigel tells her she needs to capture that wow factor that you get when Elle Macpherson or Tyra Banks (nice try, Nigel, she's not giving you your job back) walks onto a set. Elle wants Emma to be bringing that all that time at this stage of the competition.

Next is Lisa. Her best shot is not great, and also clearly not her actual best shot. Nigel thinks she's gorgeous and as a striking bone structure, but she's not doing much with it. Whitney thinks her face looks flawless. Tyson thinks she took the easy way out. Elle feels that Lisa can't be wishy-washy with her body, because it makes her look hard. Lisa explains that she was nervous because Miss Selfridge is more of a commercial brand and she wanted to prove that she had enough versatility for them.

After her, we have Risikat whose picture is legitimately awful. Whitney tells her she was pretty much the same in every picture and didn't give them enough options to choose from, and that is bad. Risikat says she felt confident, but then she started to panic. Oddly, Julien really likes the picture and thinks she's made the dress look desirable. Tyson disagrees, and says it looks like she's on a family vacation and someone made her pose. Elle thinks fear got the better of her.

Finally, Letitia. Nigel says he was struck by her bone structure when she walked into the room, but the picture doesn't capture that in the same way. Whitney tells her it doesn't look classy. Julien disagrees - he thinks this is the London look of the moment. Nigel takes issue with this, saying that he's talking about the clothes and not the girl, and the models aren't responsible for the clothes. I'd argue they're responsible for the presentation of the clothes and that Julien's point isn't necessarily that far off the mark. Julien thinks it's a bit sexy and a bit busty, but young girls in London are looking and dressing like that. Nigel gets irate that Letitia is TOO SEXY and needs to tone that down. Elle points out that this has been a recurring criticism of Letitia - how to be sexy in a way that doesn't turn women off.

The girls are dismissed while the judges deliberate. Tyson thinks Anita nailed it, and Elle thinks that people always find her vivacious. Whitney thinks she has "drastically improved". Yes, because she was so drastically dreadful to begin with that she couldn't possibly have become any worse. Emma looks beautiful, but Nigel doesn't remember her as a person. It feels like Nigel is here specifically to embody all of the worst tropes about ANTM, doesn't it? Elle thinks Emma was the one girl who really captured her attention today. Nigel thinks it's about the personality (see?) while Julien thinks looks are far more important. At Lisa's picture, they decide that this is the same look she does on every shoot, which is not particularly true but they seem to have decided the narrative for tonight's elimination before they saw any of the pictures. Elle feels Lisa lacks the courage to explore all of her strengths and beauty. Julien wonders if she's "too strong" to appeal to girls, which: what? Between Letitia being "too sexy" for girls and Lisa being "too strong" for them, it's like this episode is sponsored by Female Self-Loathing or something. Next, Risikat - Nigel thinks there's something cool and different about her, while Whitney thinks she's sliding through. Julien thinks she's beautiful, but that it might not be enough. Finally Letitia, who Nigel really wants to photograph, but Whitney thinks her performance is frequently a let down. Whitney wonders if somehow they've failed her in their feedback. Elle thinks they all have very different opinions on the girls, which she thinks is "a true testament" to their quality. Or to the fact that none of them are very good, considering they had fairly specific criticisms for all of them.

The girls return, and the girl with picture of the week is Bloody Anita. Well, I'm so glad that absolutely none of her dreadful showing at the CN Tower and the magazine shoot had any bearing on the panel whatsoever. We might as well have been watching YouTube videos of kittens for the first half-hour of the episode. Anita leaves the judging room and heads back to the living area, when the camera crew get a serious upskirt as she comes down the stairs. Stay classy, Sky Living. In second place is Emma, and Letitia is called third. So Lisa and Risikat are the bottom two, which is SUCH UTTER HORSESHIT I can't even tell you. Lisa was the client's favourite at the photo shoot, but this apparently means nothing any more. As Letitia troops downstairs, Anita admits she's surprised by this turn of events, and Emma says she's "confused". You and the entire viewing audience, kiddo.

Elle tells Lisa and Risikat they're both in the bottom two for the same reason, which is of course contrived and manufactured drama. Sorry, "when we look at your photographs, there's no wow factor". I don't know where I got that first one from. So who stays? Lisa, thankfully, although neither of these two should be going home at this point. Elle tells Risikat they've loved working with her, and Risikat thanks her for the opportunity and the "most glamorous learning curve any model can get". She's learned so much, but she's upset that the experience is over. We see Risikat's portfolio, which I'd argue is one of the strongest of any of the girls in the competition, but that's no matter at this point: she fades out of the group shot and we're left with Bloody Anita, those two bland girls who I still can't always tell about, and Lisa The Only Remaining Good One Who's Probably Still Going To Get Shafted By This Process Regardless.

Next week: a test of fashion knowledge, a waterside photo shoot with Julien, and Whitney wouldn't want one of the girls to represent her line, ever. Whitney has a line? I guess we'll find out about that next week with Helen.

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