Saturday, 8 September 2012

Toy story

Top 7: 3rd September 2012

Previously on BintModel: water, water, everywhere, and not a drop that you'd want to drink because it had models' feet trudging through it. Yuck. Then some model cock turned up at the photoshoot and Bloody Anita behaved exactly the way that you'd expect Bloody Anita to behave in such a situation, which means that Madeleine had a point after all in that truth-telling game a couple of weeks back. Letitia had a cry, Jennifer got eliminated, and Voice of Fearne pretends that we call a catwalk a "runway" in this country when we clearly do not.

This week: more manufactured drama! Broken down dolls! Nicky Johnston, whom Helen likes but I do not! And the judges run out of patience at this week's elimination, which presumably means Madeleine's going home since she's been in the bottom two for the last two weeks, like NICE SPOILER THERE GUYS. Sheesh.

Titles. Be the one, be the one, be the one *sneeze*.

The mournful piano of recurring failure scores the proceedings as Madeleine reminds us that she was in the bottom two again last week, but vows that she's going to keep fighting for it, no matter how much they put her down. We see the girls trudging to the house with their suitcases (why must they do this every week? This isn't The Apprentice. Whatever happened to "the girl whose name I do not call must immediately return home and pack your bags"?) [I like to imagine someone refused to leave and it got messy - Helen] while Emma interviews that everyone is getting stronger as the competition goes on. Risikat interviews that she came here wanting to win, and she wants to really bring it this week so she won't have to go home. So presumably we now know who gets first call-out as well, and we're only two minutes into the episode. Frankly, we don't really need to see the rest of it. Why don't we just switch over now and watch Revenge?

Elle Mail arrives: "Hi Girls, do you think you're news worthy models? You'll find out tomorrow. Love Elle x" I know that attacking the grammar of the Elle Mail is really going for the low-hanging fruit, but: newsworthy is one word, not two (I would have accepted a hyphen, but anything else is pushing it) and why do they always capitalise girls? Emma thinks they will be reading the news or possibly being the news. Yes, Emma, you will be reading the news. They've sacked Kay Burley and you're filling in until they hire a replacement, since the bosses at Sky News figured you couldn't actually be any worse than she was. Letitia simpterviews that she's feeling "run-down" at the moment because people are being mean and not just telling her she's pretty all the time, and that she hopes tomorrow isn't a speaking challenge because she's got a sore throat. She says as much to the girls, all of whom appear to be rapidly tiring of her shit (hooray!) and tell her to get the fuck over it. Bloody Anita interviews that Letitia's just out for sympathy all the time, and that she's a baby, and Bloody Anita hasn't got any sympathy for her. I feel this sort of stance is becoming a recurring theme of Bloody Anita's interviews, and normally I'd approve, but she's such a relentlessly awful human being that I just can't. Besides, I don't remember Bloody Anita being above trawling for sympathy when she was telling everyone that Madeleine was being OMG SO MEAN to her.

The next day, the girls troop out, not really knowing what their challenge is going to be. They are taken to a small studio and met by Gordon Smart, showbiz editor of The Sun. Look, here's a picture of him with Noel Fielding! To be honest, all that does is make me think slightly less of Noel Fielding.[It comes to something when your parody twitter account is more self aware than you - Helen] He tells them that to become a celebrated supermodel, they need to have a personality and a presence to match their looks. And failing that, they need a sex tape. He tells them that they're going to need to write a 60-second piece to camera about the rivals. Bloody Anita interviews that this is just going to bring out all the dirt, trying to downplay her joy that they've finally been given a challenge that plays directly into her skillset: that of being foul. They've got an hour to do it, and when they return, Gordon wants to see which of them he's going to talk about on the radio (they let him on the radio? With that monotone?) or write about in the paper. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that the answer is NONE OF THEM.

Everyone gets writing. Gordon comes to talk to Risikat, and asks her if it's like being back at school. Hey yeah, remember that time in Environmental Studies when the teacher made us all write a bitchy essay about our classmates? Risikat modestly tells Gordon that what she's going to write about is "kind of funny". Roxanne is nervous about being too honest and upsetting people. Emma says that this is her chance to show everyone that she's got a personality, because no one is able to see past her prettiness. Yeah, that must be so awful for you. Bloody Anita has written about the first day when they all met, which Gordon thinks is "pretty ballsy". Madeleine knows that everyone already hates her, so she doesn't really care about this challenge. Letitia is worried what people might say because they might be MEAN. Jeez, get over it already, Taylor Swift. Gordon thinks the wording is important, because if they stumble over their words, they'll lose their confidence.

They go into the Room Of Bitch, and see a big screen, so they realise they'll all be watching each other. Frankly, I would've assumed this from the get-go - it's a basic staple of the genre, surely? Lisa admits that the thought had crossed her mind that they'd see the videos at panel, but she didn't think they'd be watching it live. Roxanne interviews that she doesn't care what they think about her, because they're not really friends, they're just in a competition together. She's up first, being broadcast from the most craptacular CGI "studio". As my boyfriend said, "it's nice to know that Lord Fear's mountain from Knightmare is still being used for something." Roxanne gives a fairly wooden rundown of the others, saying that Letitia acts like she's all innocent, but she isn't, and she doesn't have a thick enough skin, while Emma is bland, Madeleine is clever and gives no fucks, and Roxanne is here to win. Gordon says that Roxanne's delivery was poor, and she needs to have a lot more presence. Roxanne goes into the Room Of Bitch and sees the screen that everyone was just watching her on, at which point the penny drops and she cracks up. She asks if anyone's upset by what she said, and Emma pulls a "no" face that is clearly actually a "yes" face. Roxy tells her that she only said about Emma being bland because they don't really talk. Letitia assures Roxanne that she's totally fine with everything, and that she knows she can make it in the industry and that's what matters. Bloody Anita interviews that it was very awkward in there and she could tell Letitia was about to cry, and she was thinking "don't cry on camera, Letitia, not again". Can we replace Bloody Anita as designated narrator now? I'm fed up of hearing about everything from her perspective.

Bloody Anita is next, and her account of the first day is that Madeleine rubbed up "some of the girls" the wrong way. Yes, YOU. She then asks if Madeleine can "redeem herself" and get on the girls' good sides. Oh, go fuck yourself, you self-important trout. She's rattling through it at a rate of knots, which Gordon thinks makes it all hard to digest. Madeleine thinks that Anita was playing it safe and going for cheap shots. Lisa's delivery is better, but Gordon thinks she was "too nice", although that's not necessarily a criticism. Emma's is kind of weird, and seems to be done in the style of a CBeebies birthdays segment. Sample: "she's French, she's mad, she knows how to throw a paddy - it's Maddy!" Madeleine openly laughs at this and thinks Emma is probably madder than she is. Gordon thinks Emma was forgettable. Risikat is pretty good at it - she actually has the cadence a showbiz reporter and looks very relaxed. Her piece is catty, but the good sort of catty that makes the other girls laugh. Best of all, she completely makes up a story about the Top Model house being the victim of "a thief with big thighs" just to get all the other girls arguing about who that might be - which is exactly what happens. If it were up to me, Risikat would totally win this challenge for that gold-standard piece of trolling alone. I'm also enjoying Gordon Smart delivering his verdicts to the studio team in charge of the sound and visuals, all of whom seem not to care in the slightest.

Madeleine's is full of attitude, and she calls Letitia a crybaby. "Why does she always do that?" Letitia sobs, answering her own question. Roxanne tells her that she feels this need to have everything sugarcoated, which won't work in the modelling industry. Letitia hits back that she's "not a crybaby - I just cry!" Well, that's a debate-winner. Bloody Anita tells Letitia that the industry will eat her up alive, and Letitia retorts that she can't help it if her physical response is to cry. Risikat tries to be diplomatic about it, saying that Letitia gets upset about small things - and the fact that she's reacting so emotionally to this criticism is kind of backing up Madeleine's viewpoint. Letitia tells them that she does get upset about things, but normally she'd "have her mum to talk to", again accidentally undermining her own argument to the point that Risikat has to turn away so that Letitia can't see her laughing. Risikat is so amazing in this episode. Then it's Letitia's turn, and she calls Madeleine "the Marmite of the house" (OMG RACIST) and then goes full-on diabetes talking about how Roxanne is an amazing mother and a strong woman. Roxanne feels slightly bad about what she said about Letitia, and now I'm wondering if this was Letitia's plan all along and she's secretly a cunning schemer. I hope so, I think I like that version of Letitia a lot more than the wet, simpering one.

Gordon comes in to meet the girls, and tells them that they need to learn to take criticism because not everyone's always going to like them. One girl stood out, and will win some one-to-one time with Elle. The winner is, of course, Risikat, although her response is that she doesn't really know what she's supposed to talk about. Heh.

Ad break. More haircare, make-up and cat food. What judgements should we make about this show's demographic?

The next day, an Elle Mail reveals that Elle's on her way to the house to meet Risikat, and everyone panics that the place isn't tidy enough to receive a supermodel. Risikat says that she's nervous. Emma thinks this will be a huge advantage because Elle will know Risikat better afterwards. Elle swaggers in and demands to be shown around. They show her the kitchen, and she's impressed that they've done the washing up. Risikat offers Elle some tea, and Elle's all "what a good hostess!" As the tour continues into the bedroom, Bloody Anita runs ahead to pick up her crap off the floor, but Elle catches her in the act. Then Elle takes Risikat off to the garden for a private chat while the others look on enviously from upstairs. Risikat tells Elle that she's not sure what she needs to work on to do better in the competition, and Elle tells her that she needs passion and fire, because that what attracts people. Elle adds that Risikat needs to appeal to women, because they're the ones who buy the products, and so many people get that part of the job wrong - including Elle herself back in the day, she admits. Risikat asks if she can walk for Elle to get some advice on what she needs to improve - Elle tells her she has a great walk, but needs the same energy in her pictures. Then Risikat enquires what sort of modelling she's best suited to, and Elle tells her that she would work in high-fashion as long as she keeps her hair short and her body lean. Elle gives her a bit of a posing lesson. This does appear to have actually been a very useful prize. The chat session ends with Elle and Risikat hugging, which sends all the voyeurs upstairs into paroxysms of jealousy.

Before leaving, Elle tells the girls that she's organised a little treat for them since it's a lovely sunny day - her "friends" from the Aussie Barbecue Company are coming over to do lunch. The rest of the afternoon is given over to barbecue food and a pool party, which the girls agree is much-needed after yesterday's events, and everyone seems to be friends again, more or less. Bloody Anita attempts to paint Letitia vs Madeleine as the big hatemance of the house, presumably to cover her own tracks. Risikat hopes that this new-found bonhomie is the shape of things to come. Unlikely, but we can dream.

Elle Mail! "Hi Girls, I hope you've enjoyed your afternoon off, but now it's time to dive back into the toy box for your next photoshoot. Be ready early tomorrow. Love Elle x" They seize on the word "dive" rather than "toy box" for some reason. Madeleine interviews that it's important for her to do well as she's been in two bottom twos in a row.

The next day the girls are taken to east London where they're met by Nicky Johnston, who tells them the theme of this week's shoot is broken dolls - no cutesy Barbies, we're talking the bottom of the Victorian toy box. Madeleine thinks this is something she can do, while Bloody Anita thinks this is not her thing at all. Nicky warns them all that they need to be capable of taking direction at this stage in the game, then sends them all off to hair and make-up.

The girls chat about how tough the competition is getting as they have their hair and make-up done. Lisa's the first one to get her look finished - all pale face, red cheeks and exaggerated eyebrows - and everyone laughs at how funny she looks, presumably not quite twigging that they're all going to look like that today. Risikat is hoping she can apply Elle's tips to the shoot and really bring it this week. Nicky interviews that they need to get it instantly, because there are so many props to work with.

Bloody Anita goes first, and gets the shoot pretty quickly, winning Nicky's approval. She tells him that she was really nervous about this shoot, and Nicky replies "awww" in the sort of way that only a person who really doesn't care can get away with [THIS is why I love him - Helen]. Lisa is next, and has a bit of trouble getting it, with Nicky warning her not to do "sexy eyes" and telling her that she's looking dead in this. As the shoot progresses, however, she starts to get it. Nicky declares that Lisa is very sweet, but needs a lot of direction, and he's not sure how she's going to get on in this industry. After her is Roxanne, whose shoot looks a bit lifeless. Nicky keeps telling her that she looks too pretty, and too glam. At the end of it, Nicky says that she has no personality and a face like a slapped arse. I guess we know who'll be joining Madeleine in the bottom two now.

Adverts. We should buy satchels, because fashion bloggers have them and so does Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and they were made in someone's kitchen and marketed via Google. Well, I'm sold.

After the break, it's Madeleine's turn. She interviews that she was making sure to give her best this week. Nicky tells her he wants lots of personality from her, because the last two didn't have any. Madeleine does some lip puckering and disjointed poses. Nicky seems to like the lips, but asks her to try a few without the strange pout. He says that she brought lots of energy, but he's not sure that she's the best model of the day. Risikat interviews that she felt like someone else during the shoot, and that she thinks the wig made her go mental. It is a pretty creepy wig, it has to be said, though I think the shit-eating grin on Risikat's face is what sells it. She's basically going full-on Black Swan, and it is epic. All we need is for Elle to run on flapping "WHERE'S MY SWEET GIRL?" Nicky thinks her first shot isn't dramatic enough, which Risikat is FURIOUS about, so she goes full-on batshit and terrifying. Nicky gives Risikat the thumbs-up.

Emma is trying very hard not to be boring, but finds it hard to know where to put her legs in her giant blue tutu. She does a good job at looking like a broken ballet girl from a music box, though. She interviews that it was hard to find good positions within the brief, so she experimented, and while she's sure some of them are awful, she hopes there are some good ones in there as well. Nicky says that the only problem with Emma is that she's (wait for it) so pretty that trying to make her look hard and edgy is going to be difficult, should they need to do that at some point. Finally we have Letitia who's determined to be confident and thick-skinned this week. Her shoot is happening somewhere where all the other girls can rubberneck at her, but it doesn't put her off and she delivers some top quality broken harlequin. Nicky tells her she's the best at moving so far, and Risikat scowls. Heh. Emma points out that, as Letitia is the last one to go out, that means the rest of them can't have been very good. Nicky says she was brilliant to work with, and Letitia is very happy with how it went. Overall, he thinks there are some girls left who shouldn't be models, while some have a bright future ahead.

Back at the house, everyone's having a bit of a post-shoot analysis. Bloody Anita humblegloats about how well she did, while Roxanne is nervous about how badly she think she did. Emma interviews that there will only be six people left tomorrow, and she hopes she won't be the one going home. Bloody Anita interviews that, as the group gets smaller, it's increasingly harder to predict who's going home.

Once again, there is no Elle Mail, just the Voice of Fearne to usher in this week's panel. This week's guest judge is supermodel and former M&S harpy Erin O'Connor. Elle is wearing red leather trousers, which is the sort of thing you can only really get away with when you're a supermodel.

Risikat's first this week, and her broken doll shot gets a good reception. Erin thinks she really got into character, but advises Risikat to watch her body because she's not sure this shot was the most flattering position for what she was wearing. Whitney says that this was a hard challenge because it wasn't about being beautiful, but she really likes the energy. Elle thinks Risikat met the spec. Emma is next, and her shot looks like Nicky interrupted her in the middle of a fairly listless game of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes". Elle isn't sure if it's a broken doll, but it's a pretty ballerina. Julien thinks she's fabulous. Erin warns her that the golden rule of modelling is to never let the camera see the bottom of your shoes.

Bloody Anita is next, and her shot looks like Bettie Page recovering after a night on the tiles. Tyson thinks she's into the character and took direction well. Julien loves it because it looks expensive. Erin thinks Bloody Anita is doll-like in real life and used that to her advantage.

Mid-judging advert break. *snarl* Is it just me, or does Blake Lively really look uncannily like turn-of-the-millennium Gwyneth Paltrow in that Hugo Boss fragrance ad?

When we're back, Roxanne is next, and her picture is the definition of couldn't-be-arsed. Whitney thinks Roxanne has a lot of potential, but her lack of self-belief is holding her back. Elle criticises her for being limp rather than broken in her picture. Then it's Letitia's turn, and she tells the panel how the other girls could see her during her shoot, so she made a point of turning it on. Her picture looks...odd, and perhaps not in the intended way. Tyson likes the curly hair on her, and Whitney thinks her face looks possessed in a good way. Then we have Madeleine, who Julien thinks was like a firework when we started, but now she's fizzled out. Erin thinks Madeleine played with her face too much, and she needs to learn the difference between "character-beautiful" and "frightening". Finally there's Lisa, who is very nervous this week because she knows her shoot didn't go so well, even though she enjoyed it. Erin thinks the composition of her body is brilliant, and Lisa breathes a sigh of relief. Julien channels Arlene Phillips to the point that I feel I need to transcribe him verbatim: "You've got the red slippers on, you've tapped them three times, and you end up at the end of the rainbow, but this looks like a collapsed rainbow." The rest of the panel kind of shrugs, which can't be a good sign.

Everyone troops out. Madeleine interviews that she knows inside she's a good model, regardless of what everyone else thinks. Risikat appears to be bitching about her, but in a generic way that never actually specifically names Madeleine, so I'm going to refrain from commenting on this because it has a faint whiff of editing trickery about it.

The panel deliberates. Risikat looks confident and like a top model, and Elle feels like she's really warmed to her after spending more time with her. Emma doesn't look like a broken doll, but she does look like a model. Erin thinks Bloody Anita looks like an actress, while Julien thinks she looks like a Charles Dickens novel. Whitney isn't sure Letitia's picture works, and Erin finds the picture uncomfortable to look at, while Elle notes that she doesn't assume other characters very well. Julien thinks there's something the matter with Roxanne every week, and Erin thinks that this shot would not cut it in the industry. Elle thinks Roxanne has a great face, but she can't stay if she's not delivering. Madeleine's picture gets a general sense of "oh dear" from everyone, with Tyson noting that she should've been harder or scarier. Elle doesn't mind the lip thing, in fact she applauds her for having the balls to try it, but she wonders if Madeleine's cut out for the industry. Lisa's picture is not viewed as a great one, while Julien think she looks like she's in fancy dress. Erin says Lisa needs to learn how to make the hair and costume to avoid being swallowed-up.

There are seven girls in front of Elle, but she only has six pictures in her hands. Picture of the week goes to Risikat. Hooray! Bloody Anita is second. Boo! Emma is third, then Letitia, who promptly goes backstage and cries because Nicky was so happy with her but she only got fourth call-out. At this point I feel the need to invoke the 5G rule: good grief, get a grip, girl. Bloody Anita, to her credit, points out that it doesn't matter because Letitia is still through to next week where she'll have another chance, and Letitia wails that this is why she never allows herself to get her hopes up. Yes, clearly these are the emotions of a woman with low expectations. Lisa is called next, and is warned that it wasn't her best shot, but it was still a good try. She walks in to the holding room looking absolutely flattened, but it turns out she's actually worried about Roxanne and Madeleine. Aw. I love Lisa.

Roxanne and Madeleine are called forward. Elle says it's difficult to see them both there because they're both fabulous, but they're both seeming defeated somehow, and it's showing in their picture. There's only one place left, and they have to give it to the girl who still has a shot of winning - and that girl, of course, is Roxanne. [I am not happy about this and I will be avenged - Helen]

Over shots of her portfolio, Madeleine tells us this is just the beginning and she's so happy to have been a part of this. At least now she won't have to put up with Bloody Anita any more, which is a victory of sorts.

Next week: back-to-back photoshoots! Tarantulas! Bloody Anita kicking off again! I am quite glad I do not have to recap that one. Good luck, Helen...

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