Saturday, 6 October 2012

Queen Herod

The Final: 1st October 2012

Previously on BintModel: everything. An entire series, in fact. They went to Dubai, then they went to the Top Model house, then they went to the hairdressers, then they went to cry in the confessional booth, then they went feral at each other, and slowly but surely they all went home. All of them, that is, except three: Bloody Anita, the worst person in the entire world; Emma, who's nice but dull; and Letitia, the one with big tits who cries a lot. Tonight: one of them will be crowned BintModel, and the reaction will probably be a hearty shrug from the universe.


We're still in Canada, as the aerial photography indicates, and the show decides to rub salt into the wound by showing us Lisa's final moments before going home, in which she is genuinely pleased for the girls who made the final and congratulates them. Oh, Lisa. Truly, you are too nice a person for reality television. Emma interviews that she can't believe Lisa's gone home, while Anita sits with terrible posture and says that she's going to miss Lisa so much. Letitia cries (I know, shocking isn't it?) that there are people who think she shouldn't have stayed. And to be fair, I do think that, but then I think that about all three of the finalists, who are some of the most mediocre models I've ever seen, even by this show's standards. Bloody Anita interviews that Letitia keeps scraping through and she doesn't understand how. Well, Bloody Anita, now you know how we felt having to put up with you for an entire series. I'm not proud of it, but I actually flipped the bird at my television at this point. I'm so glad that, one way or another, I am officially done with Bloody Anita after this episode.

There is an Elle mail waiting on the bed, which Bloody Anita reads: "Hello to my final three. Congratulations on getting this far - get a good night's sleep as tomorrow you'll have all eyes on you. Lots of love, Elle x" Oh, lots of love, is it now? Someone's getting a bit over-familiar.

The next day, hair and make-up people come to the penthouse to get the girls all styled up for their next assignment - but the final three don't actually know what they're doing. (Feel free to interpret that sentence as you see fit.) It is quite bonkers make-up, so it's obviously something high fashion. Emma interviews that Bloody Anita is her strongest competition, so she needs to watch out for her. Bloody Anita interviews that her biggest competition is Emma. Letitia just thinks she's competing against two really strong people. Gosh, it's almost like Letitia is some sort of underdog, isn't it? I wonder why they'd want us to think that about her. (Spoiler: she wins.)[I know that this isn't the home of logic, but Letitia has never had top photo. She's not an underdog. She's just... Well.. You know - Helen]

The girls troop out into a waiting car and are ferried to their next assignment: a rather lovely, but cold-looking beach. "I wish I'd brought a bigger coat," frets Bloody Anita. Elle turns up wrapped in a blanket and informs them all that they are at the Scarborough Bluffs, where they'll be doing a shoot inspired by Canada's rich history. I wonder if they'll be pretending it is actually Scarborough, given Canada's rich history of pretending to be other places for film and television locations. Elle continues that she's excited to be working with them on set, and that all the judges will be watching closely, so the girls must remember everything they've been taught over the last 12 weeks. I'm struggling to think what that might be, to be honest. All I can come up with is "don't squint" for Bloody Anita, "have smaller boobs" for Letitia and "look less like Letitia" for Emma. Still, it's all valuable advice, I suppose. They'll also be working with a horse called Sisco. Then Elle breaks the bad news: after this shoot, somebody will be going home.

Bloody Anita interviews that she can't believe this is the last photoshoot of the whole competition, and that she just wants to go further and win the whole thing. However, she cautions, if she doesn't produce a good picture here, she's going to be gone. She poses with Sisco. Elle reminds Bloody Anita of the importance of finding her light. The photographer asks for a little bit more expression. Tyson tells her not to be afraid to try something new. Bloody Anita responds to this by pretending the horse is a male model and getting all intimate with it. There's a lot to be said for playing to your strengths, right? Whitney thinks Bloody Anita looks a little rigid, but Julien thinks she still looks good. I can't believe Whitney Port of all people ended up being the voice of this blog as far as Bloody Anita is concerned; I feel slightly dirty about having this spiritual connection with her now [I'm still laughing that she called someone else rigid - Helen]. Elle goes over and physically places Bloody Anita into a pose. I feel like that really can't be a good thing at this stage of the contest. In the final few frames, Elle encourages Bloody Anita to do whatever she feels like; she does so, and the photographer reminds her to make sure it's feminine. The final few shots seem to impress, and Elle tells Bloody Anita she's very happy for her, and gives her the blanket. Bloody Anita interviews that she'll be annoyed if she leaves now and she doesn't think she should. She's clearly about to say "I'm the best one here" and stops herself just in time, replacing it with "I've been doing really well". Snerk.

The judges appraise Bloody Anita's work on the horsey shoot. Julien thinks that you'd never know that she doesn't know anything about fashion or modelling. He's impressed that she doesn't look cold. Whitney thinks Bloody Anita did amazing. Ly. Amazingly. God, why does everyone on television struggle with adverbs?

Commercials. Pretty much entirely cats, chocolate and make-up. Such is the life of a modern woman.

Emma is next, vowing that she doesn't want to go home, but she's feeling the pressure. Elle introduces Emma to the fit-for-the-1970s photographer, Gabor Jurina (who also shot the girls for the hypothetical Fashion magazine cover at Top 5, so it seems odd that they're pretending they've never met), and Gabor tells her to think goddess, princess, strong. Emma seems to get this pretty well, from the way she's posing. Again, Elle comes and moves her into position so perhaps it wasn't such a terrible thing when she did it to Bloody Anita. The wind appears to be in Emma's favour as well, catching her hair very well. Emma walks with the horse, and pets it on the nose. It looks like a decently diverse shoot, so well done Emma. She gets a group hug from the judges, and then gets her turn with the blanket. Emma interviews that it's a sad moment to have done her final shoot on the show, and hopes she's done enough to make the final two.

The judges look at her pictures, and Whitney thinks she looks gorgeous, and again you can't see the cold. Elle thinks there's an American Vogue feel to them, while Julien thinks Emma's taken on board all the criticism about being too quiet, and was really alive on the shoot.

Finally we have Letitia, who admits to feeling nervous with all the pressure and having just recently been in the bottom two. Gabor wants her to interact more with the horse, and Letitia's a little bit hesitant, with Whitney noting that if Letitia isn't being given step-by-step instructions, then she doesn't really know what to do. However, eventually there's a breakthrough - Elle thinks she's gorgeous, and Whitney says "you can't teach beauty, but you can teach how to model" - which is fair enough, but wasn't that the whole point of this show? Shouldn't Letitia be perhaps a little bit more knowledgeable at this point? Again, the wind cooperates and Letitia gets the money shot, the hug from Elle, and the blanket. Tyson gives her a piggyback back to the trailers, and Letitia interviews that she hopes she did well, but she thinks the others probably did better.

They look at her pictures - Whitney thinks that Letitia is stunning, but that she needs constant direction. Julien agrees, but he thinks that when the pictures are great, they're great. Whitney thinks she's the most unique-looking, and Elle says Letitia is somebody that she really wants to know.

The girls sit in what appears to be some sort of beach hut awaiting their fate. Letitia is close to tears. I really need a macro for that at this point.

The judges deliberate on the beach. Elle thinks Emma worked beautifully, and Julien thinks she was professional and natural and acted like a model, but Whitney thinks they mustn't forget that she hasn't always had the biggest personality in front of them. Julien: "Well, not everybody's got the personality of Tyson Beckford." AHAHAHAHAHAHA. Letitia was hard to work with, and Julien thinks she hasn't mastered the art of acting like a model, but Tyson thinks that can be taught. Yes, but SHE SHOULD HAVE LEARNT BY NOW. Why can they not hear me when I yell at the television? Why was Lisa sent home for "you keep doing the same thing with your face" but Letitia remains despite "you do not know how to model yet"? This show is so infuriating sometimes. Whitney thinks they  need to compare them to each other, and Letitia has the most natural beauty. Julien thinks they've found someone with the actual potential to be a supermodel. Finally, we have Bloody Anita, who is full of confidence, and Whitney thinks she looked great in person, but then going through the pictures: *pulls face*. Tyson thinks the poses were great, but the face wasn't great. Julien thinks she's unique and "exotic", which...choose your words carefully, Julien, I beg of you.

The top three stride over to meet with the judges, and Elle tells them they've reached a decision based on today's pictures. She mangles, "the first name of the girl I'm going to call is the girl who's gotten through to the final", and that girl is Emma. Emma is thrilled. Bloody Anita looks sick to her stomach. Hooray! And the second girl joining her in the final is...Letitia. Bloody Anita looks furious. HOORAY! Before the show aired, I genuinely thought Bloody Anita was going to win. I'd even pre-prepared the recap for this episode, which would have been "Bloody Anita wins, fuck this show forever, the end." So while I'm disappointed that now I actually have to do some work, at least the judges finally came to their senses and realised that Bloody Anita is at best a so-so model and sent her packing. If only they'd reached that conclusion about eight episodes ago, I'd have been much happier, but better late than never.

Anyway, Julien advances on Bloody Anita, arms outstretched zombie-fashion, and Bloody Anita sobs that she's gutted. Tee hee hee. She's loved the whole experience, and guarantees us that "you'll see me more". To be fair, love, you've been on Sky Living. I'm not sure it's possible to see you less. We recap Bloody Anita's portfolio which, Revlon shot aside, is atrocious, and she fades out, leaving us with Emma and Letitia. You know, the two girls who looked so alike that Julien told them there was only room for one of them in the competition. Well done Julien. *golf clap* [I enjoyed Anita's last minute bussing more than is decent. It was a wonderful thing - Helen]

Elle tells Emma and Letitia that the judges will be watching them closely tomorrow in their final runway for Pavoni. The twins giggle in an interview that they can't believe that they're the final two, and then they run off down the beach to twirl around with Julien.

It's night-time, and back at Model Hotel, Emma interviews that tomorrow is the biggest day of the whole thing, and they'll be taking part in a show with professional models that will determine the winner. Letitia interviews that she can't explain how much she wants this, and we see her practising her walk. She thinks that people who look like her don't get picked up by agencies, and that's why she's happy to be here. Emma practises her walk as well. Letitia interviews that Emma is tough competition, but people have told her that she's stronger at catwalk, so she might yet have the upper hand.

Commercials. It's odd when they have genuine fashion commercials on this show with real models in them, because it does make you look rather unfavourably at the contestants.

The next day, we see some shots of downtown Toronto, including a street sign that says "One Way Begins", which feels portentous somehow in this context. Letitia apparently slept in her bathrobe. The two finalists get dressed and head in the car to the Pavoni show. Upon arrival, they're greeted by produced Hans Koechling, who shows them to the ice-themed set. First things first, they have to practice by taking off their shows and getting on the runway. They do some walking practice backstage with assistant producer Warren Leacock, who gives Emma and Letitia a lesson in how to strengthen their spines - until he determines that he can't keep looking at Letitia because she has Hypno-Eyes or something. Letitia interviews that she feels nervous and pressured, and that she hopes it won't all get the better of her. Emma says that she's nervous, but she can't wait to get out there because the set and the dresses are amazing. Speaking of which, Emma and Letitia get styled up and then walk for Pavoni, alias Mike Derderian and Gianni Falcone, who look like they just walked off the set of Jersey Shore (incidentally, I'm not saying that this is not an important fashion brand, but if you google "Pavoni" the first page of results is almost entirely coffee machines). Letitia interviews with a chuckle that Emma has all the high-necked dresses, while she's got all the tits-out ones. Fancy that! Emma interviews that, given Letitia's previous criticism for being too sexy, being given all the booby dresses might turn out to be a hindrance. Gianni plays with Letitia's tits as he wrangles her into a dress. Letitia interviews that she has "a woman's figure", and that it's a big deal to have made it this far in the competition without a chest like an ironing board. Emma interviews that she keeps having outbursts of laughter, because she can't quite believe that she's here. I keep having outbursts of laughter, because I can't quite believe that Bloody Anita isn't. Champagne for everyone!

Backstage, Emma and Letitia chat with the real models. A friendly model tells them that the label is quite edgy, which requires a bit of speedy, whereas with gowns you can take your time a bit more. I'm transcribing that for all aspiring models reading this. This information is brought to you free of charge, because I'm nice like that.

The models line up for rehearsal, with Emma and Letitia at the front of the queue. Backstage manager Jeffrey O'Brecht tells them to take their time to avoid having an accident, and warns them to point their toes as they walk down stairs so that they can find the next step. Emma is thrilled that she's opening the show. She walks about, and Hans tells her that she needs her walk to be stronger. Letitia follows, and she gets much the same feedback. Backstage, Emma interviews that this is just the rehearsal, and it's still terrifying. Letitia struggles to find her mark on the catwalk. Afterwards, she gets cross that she slowed down when she was being told to speed up. Emma frets that all the dry ice makes it impossible to see where the steps are, so they're just going to have to guess. She and Letitia have a giggle about this backstage. I realise that they're hardly the two most exciting people in the competition, but it is quite nice to have a final two who genuinely seem to like each other.

Hans asks Warren for his first impression, and Warren practically sings "I love them!" Hans thinks Emma is great when she stops, but when she's walking, "you can't see it in her eyes". Letitia gave more later one, but it took a while to get her warmed up. I think we could've all predicted that outcome before they even arrived.

Make-up! More interviews along the lines of "I can't believe I made it this far". Letitia thinks they've both had interesting journeys, and when one's up, the other is usually down. Emma remembers how they've always been directly compared because of their looks. Letitia thinks it's all going to come down to the catwalk. With one hour to go before the show, people are arriving. Letitia is having trouble fitting into her dress, because boobs. Also, they spelt her name "Leticia" on the clothes rails. Last minute alterations are made, and the judges arrive. Whitney looks like she's dressed for a junior school disco; you think she'd have made a bit more of an effort. Elle thinks it'll be interesting to see how the audience respond to "our girls". It's a fashion show: the audience will respond to everything with studied indifference, surely?

The judges get a round of applause as they enter and take their seats (because this is definitely a real fashion now and not at all one that only exists for the purposes of this programme) and then the show begins. Emma enters, and has mastered a snooty Erin O'Connor look for the end of the catwalk. Letitia then follows, and her dress accentuates her chest to a terrifying degree. She looks rather rigid, I think. Backstage, Emma gets changed but is pleased the judges were cheering. Letitia frets that she tripped over a little bit, but she's got two more goes to get it right. Letitia takes her second turn on the catwalk and is a little but inelegant descending the stairs, and is saddled with a rather cheap-looking gold dress. Then Emma goes again in a rather nicer dress, but her walk is pretty stiff this time. Letitia gets changed backstage and is filmed pretty much naked with her hands over her norks. Classy! The same happens to Emma. It's time for the finale, in which they're wearing gowns and walking arm-in-arm with a male model. Letitia arrives first, and it appears that Emma is late because her partner is just stood there with his arm outstretched, looking a bit awkward. Someone is trying to attach some sort of bracelet to Emma until she realises she's meant to be onstage, swears, and runs on, with Jeffrey telling whoever-it-is just to leave the bracelet, or whatever it was. (I'm so informative.) As much as Emma's poor partner was made to look a bit daft, it sort of works in Emma's favour because all eyes on on her as she appears, so she gets to make a pretty impactful entrance. They walk alongside each other, and they both look pretty good, so it's a hard one to call. The judges give them a standing ovation, and Whitney declares herself "so impressed".

Final commercials. More chocolate and make-up.

When we return, the catwalk show is over, and Voice of Fearne informs us that there is a long wait in store for Letitia and Emma as the judges decide which of them will become BintModel. The judges stand on the catwalk, and Elle says it's difficult to know who their winner is, so they'll have to look over their body of work. I love how she pretends this is a spontaneous decision based on both girls being equally good, rather than something that happens at the end of every cycle across the franchise. Emma is first, and her first shot in Dubai gets rave reviews, with Elle thinking she looks like a young Brooke Shields. Also singled out for praise are her prison picture, and the everyone-wears-the-same-dress one in the launderette, where she received picture of the week. However, Whitney wasn't particularly fond of that one. Then we look at Niagara Falls, where Tyson criticises her lack of extension, but thinks it's a good shot. Finally, the horse shoot on the beach. Julien thinks she's totally professional, and came alive on the shoot. Elle thinks Emma has a model's body, so clothes always look great on her. They consider her work on the catwalk: Elle liked her confidence, and Julien thinks she made the dresses look expensive and desirable. Tyson thinks she owned it at the beginning, but lost it towards the end. Elle says that Emma looks and works like a Top Model, but is she a BintModel? Emma interviews that she's worked so hard, and wants the rest of her life to be like this.

Then we look over Letitia's portfolio. I'm not a big fan of her Dubai picture where she looks kind of angry, but Elle thinks her strength in the picture is impressive. Her jail shoot was too sexy, according to Whitney, but beautiful. Julien thinks she looks like a pop star, but that's what Elle loves about her. In the same-dress shoot, Julien thinks that sometimes she makes things look cheap, but Tyson has no problems with it. He also loved her Niagara Falls picture, but Elle thinks occasionally she's let down by her lack of experience. Finally, the horse on the beach shot, where historical revisionism now declares the Letitia was definitely the strongest in this shoot and needing "a little coercing", as opposed to the opinion at the time where Emma got first call out and everyone thought Letitia was exhausting to work with because she needed so much direction. I mean, it's not like I'm Team Emma or anything (Team Lisa always and forever), but it does feel a little bit like they're squeezing the facts to suit the narrative for a Letitia win here. Julien thinks she looks dark and sultry and romantic and tells a million stories. On the catwalk, she was all bust and minced along like the catwalk like a Hollywood superstar. Julien thinks Emma was like a catwalk model, while Letitia was like a glamour model. "Or! Letitia was like a supermodel," counters Elle. Julien pulls a face. Letitia interviews that she's ready for this, and she knows that the judges can see that in her.

Julien thinks that Emma has the full package, which the others disagree with. "Guys, you don't have to talk to be a model, you just have to look good," Julien says, correctly. The others are all temporarily possessed by Tyra Banks, who is appalled at Julien for going off-message and destroying nine years of carefully-honed bullshit and forces them all to say that you definitely need to talk to be a Top Model. Tyson thinks this is playing into the stereotype of models being dumb - which it isn't, because being quiet doesn't mean being stupid. Frequently, it means precisely the opposite. Whitney protests that Elle or Tyson would never have Made It To Where They Are Today if they didn't have "something up in here", and she doesn't mean their well-honed chests. Elle goes on about having star quality, and that energy that "comes from behind inside your heart, inside your soul" and that makes you a superstar, while the way you look is "just the means of transport". Sure, Elle. Whatever lets you sleep at night. Whitney thinks Letitia had "some pretty pictures" - but does she have the potential to do more. Elle thinks they need to take some time out before she knocks Julien's block off. Sorry, they need some time out to truly reflect on their decision.

An unspecified amount of time later, Emma and Letitia return in their mermaid gowns from the finale. Elle tells them they look beautiful, and they've been fantastic contestants, and that the winner's picture will be shown in ten seconds on the screen next to them. And the winner is...Letitia! Emma applauds for her politely. I realise a lot of people were unhappy with this outcome, and I'm not a huge fan of Letitia either, but it becomes much more pleasing when you think about just how furious Bloody Anita must have been when she found out. Fake snow falls on the catwalk, and Letitia cries (shocker) and hugs Elle. A slightly tearful Emma interviews that it would've been nice to win, but she'll have to settle for being second-best. She's gutted, but it's been an incredible experience and vows to go out there and find herself an agent. We see her portfolio scroll past, and it's pretty nice.

Letitia is overcome, and impressed that these "supermodels and amazing designers" think she has the potential to have a great career. The judges congratulate themselves on their excellent decision making, while Elle muses that Letitia will form her own path in the industry and they "broke the mould" by choosing her. Letitia celebrates being BintModel, and we see her back in London going to see her family, intercut with her highlights from the series. She tells them that she is BintModel, and they're all thrilled. Letitia's mum cries. Well, the apple didn't fall far from that tree.

Next week: a where-are-they-now show telling us what happened to everyone from the first seven cycles, which is curiously not trailed by the continuity announcer. Perhaps nothing happened to them. Anyway, we'll find out with Helen next week, and I'll see you next year if we decide we can put ourselves through this all again. 

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