As we have been, we go barreling back into the action without so much as a “Previously on…”
Mamé won “Best Performance” last week, which even the models persist in calling Best Photo. Heh. Mamé also reminds us that she’s the Challenge Queen. Mamé’s #TyTyTip is that she only gives “just enough” in shoots but commands when she walks into the room. On the next shoot, Mamé is to practice commanding and pushing through.
The models marvel over their Top-Five-ness. Mikey says he’s the only male in his family to graduate high school and not go to prison. Which is indeed an impressive achievement of will. Now, instead of resting on that forever, why not try not being a dick to women?
I feel like we’re seeing an editing dilemma with Mikey. On the one hand, he needs to get a came-from-nothing redemption edit if he makes it to the finals. On the other hand, he continues to act like a dirtball. So we’ll be getting a bit of each tonight, which is maddening.
Mamé says that with just five models left, it’s like they’re marooned on an island together and only have each other to lean on. It also means you only have each other to eat, Mamé, so focus and stay sharp.
The contestants decide to brainstorm what to do, as Tyra, in a sequence from last week’s panel that we did not get to see, tells the models that she wants them to be entrepreneurs. (Mamé actually signs this plan of talking out their ideas to Nyle, thank goodness.) Tyra says they need to start selling stuff because there’s only so long you can model, and I am impressed with this burst of honesty and practicality. One can fault Tyra Banks for many things, but not for finding post-modeling endeavors and learning how to monetize herself.
This start-a-business challenge, however, makes no goddamned sense. Instead of letting the models actually take time to think of something realish and talk about that, Kelly Cutrone shows up the next morning with a rolling cart of third-grade craft supplies.
And then she also has some apparently random stuff for them to be passionate about and sell. It’s just weird and so transparently faked-up that it doesn’t make sense that this is a thing for which the models should get judged. Unless they’re really getting judged on their ability to produce general bullshittery, in which case, fine.
The models need to prepare a “visual presentation” with their stupid stupid product placement phones. The prize is $2,500 to start one’s own business, which is going to be money really well spent considering the fact that the models are just this moment deciding what their businesses will be. Also, what the hell kind of business can you start with $2,500? Can you even start a popsicle stand with that? Kelly says it “twenty-five hundred dollars” real fast so that maybe people will hear $25,000, which is at least a reasonable amount for a business that needs prototyping, but no. It’s $2,500. They’re giving the models the equivalent of a year’s gym membership. Maybe this is some sort of Trump challenge where you have to explain how going bankrupt is secretly awesome.
The models have four hours to do the whole challenge, including thinking up their product lines and taking their stupid photos on their stupid phones and putting glitter on their posterboard, so we’re pretty much generating the next crop of Teslas here. The challenge of thinking real hard about your business and your brand also has to include a panoramic selfie and a double-exposure picture, because Tyra has given up on this show and is trying to make the rest of us give up on life. Mikey and Mamé cuddle and take pictures of their feet.
Devin, as you knew he would, talks to himself while experimenting with some sort of cologne.
Mamé says this is some amazing seed money, which it is not. And I guess it makes sense not to give them any real seed money because the models do not give even a fraction of a fuck about the random products they’re pitching. Mikey, who is casually spraying paint onto a tank top with no thought whatsoever, says that Devin is not thinking seriously about the challenge. Devin runs around the pool and eats potato chips, but at least in Devin’s mind, that seems to have a purpose. We also are reminded that Mikey and Devin are no longer pals and have not made up after last week’s harsh words. Mikey says he’s disappointed.
OK, you guys, this is going to hurt, so I’m going to suggest you take a few deep breaths and maybe slap yourself in the face a few times and set up an intravenous nutrient drip to get your system ready for it. Tyra is about to make us watch Shark Tank with models and we all know that it’s Shark Tank with models and even I know it’s Shark Tank with models and I’ve never even seen Shark Tank, but what Tyra welcomes us to is a fake show called Fierce-a-Preneurs
Hoo, boy. I knew what was coming and it still knocked the wind out of me. Everybody OK? Breathe. Walk it off. Go ahead and cry if you need to. If you have friends who watch Top Model, maybe do a few check-ins to make sure they’re OK and not curled up in the backs of their closets given over to despair. Not that they could be blamed for such a thing. We couldn’t call it Ty Ty Tank or Shark Tynk or For Chrissakes, Just Tell Us Your Stupid Fake Business Idea. No, we had to go with Fierce-a-Preneurs.
I know that Tyra is very, very proud to have learned about the intensive branding that has killed her perfect show, but isn’t there somebody in her organization who’s willing to tell her that naming things generally involves a coherent idea instead of just slapping a word that is vaguely associated with you onto some entirely unrelated thing? I realize that whoever truth-tells to Tyra will get fired, but won’t someone save the rest of us? I don’t want to live in a world where we have to pretend that smizeshield wipers are a thing.
There is a panel of judges who include Kelly and Tyra, but also some female businesswomen because we’re still pretending that paying Tyra $14.95 a month to sell cosmetics in her multi-level marketing scheme is empowering to the young, cash-strapped women she’s targeting. So welcome Alli Webb, the founder of those blowout stores that I still walk past and think “Really? Just blow drying?”
Also we have the woman who wins for Most Delightful Rhyming Hyhenated Name of the Century: Marie-Pier St-Hilaire. You guys, why have we not dropped everything and devoted our lives to thinking of adventures for her to have? Oh, she is also Tyra’s best friend. Got it. Plenty of adventure happening there already. We will, of course, be plugging Marie-Pier St-Hilaire’s business, because Tyra makes sure that her show makes sure that the people around her get paid.
Marie-Pier St-Hilaire, whose name I will be skipping rope to in seconds, has some sort of weird business that involves training centers for, Tyra claims, anything you want to learn, whether that’s becoming a sommelier or starting a computer company. OH, REALLY? Challenge accepted, Marie-Pier St-Hilaire. Teach me how to be a hang-gliding pirate.
Mikey spots that the judges are Tyra and Kelly and two other women and tells us that he “specializes in the older woman field,” so he should be at an advantage. Sweet Kali, how have you let the world come to this instead of simply destroying it? Mikey winks at the camera and I immediately receive thousands of e-mails from numerous clumps of earth asking me to stop calling Mikey a dirtball.
Mikey’s company is “Tocks.” Which are his hastily, randomly spray-painted tank tops and mismatched socks.
I would dearly love it if he had made “tocks” by sewing socks to tank tops or cutting little tank top silhouettes into socks, but it’s nothing even remotely clever. It’s just that he wants to sell tank tops and also sell completely unrelated socks. Which means so much because he has worn these things! To be clear: Tocks are not new things. “Tocks” is a company that sells tank tops, but then also sell socks. And does not sell clocks.
Tyra likes Mikey’s panoramic picture of tank tops strewn all over the pool area. I guess the tank tops are meant to be relaxing. He’s also going to save money by having artists he knows do the work. And not pay them? Mikey says that as a nod to his past, he wants to make his products affordable; he’s only going to be charging $20 for a tank top. (In comparison, tank tops are $7.00 at Old Navy and about $10.00 at Costco.) Kelly loves Mikey’s concept and calls him “authentic,” which is just the tiniest bit condescending. Mikey says he was inspired by Zappos and the ideas in Hsieh’s book. Well played plugging one of the show’s product-placement businesses and also Tyra’s friend, Mikey. I’ll give you that. Tyra is impressed. I am not.
Devin introduces a fragrance line called Emotions, because of course he does.
Devin has a really good logo and way better presentation materials than Mikey, but he’s weird and unfocused and makes the disastrous mistake of letting the judges test out the fragrances that he just mixed himself like 10 minutes ago. Kelly says they all smell the same. Devin devins around and sillies it up to make up for it. Devin says he has a hazel eye on his logo and points to the golden pupil on it. Aww. Kelly wackys along, saying Devin’s fragrance is making her crazy. Long story short, it doesn’t go well. Tyra says that a product line called “Emotions” has nothing to do with who Devin is as a brand, which is ridiculous, because Devin is a walking bundle of raw emotions. The slogan for his fragrances should be “I finally bottled them up.”
Oh, poor Devin. It’s a last-minute made-up product and, while his presentation wasn’t good, it feels like he’s getting dinged on some random stuff. But also his presentation blew, so we will not mourn too deeply.
Remember how we worried week after week that Lacey would destroy herself by revealing that she’s too smart? This is the week she starts to blow it. Lacey thought about the challenge and thought about what she, personally, could realistically do, and then she came out and told Tyra et al that she wanted to put out a book – one that does not involve superpowered models living on islands. I was briefly concerned that Tyra would set Lacey on fire.
Lacey’s book is called Small-Town Girl Surviving the Real World.
I am not for a moment saying that I would purchase Lacey’s book; just that she has done some real thinking about who she is and what she might reasonably be able to offer. She says she’ll distribute it in coffee shops, and the judges tell her to think bigger. Tyra tells Lacey how one writes an autobiography, of course. Kelly likes Lacey’s use of the stupid product-placement phone, however, so perhaps all is not lost.
Nyle brings us Sign That! It’s an app where you can learn how to sign fun phrases, based the fact that everyone is always asking Nyle how to sign stuff. It’s a genuinely fun idea.
The ladies like the app and Nyle’s handsome face. …And then Kelly completely torpedoes it. She asks Nyle how much he thinks it would cost to launch the app, and he – BASED ON FOUR HOURS TO PUT HIS PRESENTATION TOGETHER AND NO WAY TO RESEARCH – estimates $100,000. Kelly completely flips her shit and starts snarling that Nyle can’t get a good publicist for $100,000. (Oh. Are you aware that Kelly is a PR Maven? She used to call herself that more in cycles past before she decided to work with being likable.) While we are flipping out over hiring a proper publicist for an app, let’s remember that the seed money Tyra is offering is $2,500.
Nevertheless, this argument from outer space apparently is enough to kill Nyle’s perfectly viable and charming idea and they love Mikey’s company that sells tank tops and socks and nothing is good or makes sense in the world.
Mamé tells us that as Miss Maryland, she’s used to talking in front of groups of students, but this is Tyra and Co and they are intimidating. Mamé says she has no choice but to kill it, but in fact what she does is slowly strangle it. She stumbles so hard that I have watched the episode twice (You’re welcome.) and I am still not entirely sure what Mamé’s business plan was. She seems to be wanting to sell the prefab jewelry that Kelly brought over with the glue and stickers, only Mamé wants to have women make it? And maybe also sell it? And for some reason it’s called “Goddess Tribe,” and Mamé claims it’s a women’s empowerment initiative.
So I think it’s kind of Tyra’s makeup business but with jewelry and less of a pyramid-scheme feel and product names less likely to cause brain bleeding. Which you would think would make Tyra light up and invoke the clause that gives her ownership of any contestant’s ideas, but Mamé is stammering so hard that the whole thing is crashing and burning pretty spectacularly. Kelly points out that Mamé doesn’t connect with women, who would be her market. Mamé beats herself up about it.
Tyra says every idea has legs. (Really?) But only one deserves the win: Mikey’s. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!? His idea was literally tocksucking. This is crazymaking. Tiamat, how do you see this and not rise up with your blazing fire?
Mikey grabs his giant check. Tyra says Mikey was impressive. No. She says he lives his brand. OK, fine. Yes. He says this is a huge opportunity for his family and he’s feeling like everything he’s ever wanted is happening for him now. And mighty Hera stands by and does nothing.
Tyra tells the models to pack warmly for an overnight camp for their high-fashion shoot.
Back at the house, Mikey gets a 10, Lacey a 9, Nyle an 8, Mamé has a 7, and Devin – Ouch! – has a 6.
Yu Tsai greets the models at a cabin in the woods. Their shoot will be called “night creatures.” Which makes no sense, because not a damn one of them gets werewolf makeup.
Mamé tells Mikey he has chicken legs, and Mikey says his are better than hers, and they should compare them to see. How is anybody ever agreeing to have sex with this man?
It’s rainy out, and does look cold. Devin informs us that Nyle and Lacey are cuddling – only cuddling – and he sweetly wants to encourage that. That plotline is a little stunned from being dropped so hard and then suddenly picked up again after all these weeks, but it’ll do. Mikey believes that he and Mamé will also cuddle. Feh. He says he’s down with whatever the cuddling will bring and this is his last chance.
The models have s’mores with Yu Tsai, who says he loves to camp because he did it all the time when he was a biologist. WHAT? I wonder if he used to collect specimens and then scream at them for not lying on the microscope slides the way he wanted them to.
Yu Tsai lies that 10 years ago, people who lived in the area used to disappear and then their body parts would turn up in the woods and the legend is that the guy still lives in the woods and isn’t it sad that Halloween was last week? You would think the models would have a scary shoot because of this story, but no. It is pointless, just like Tocks. I guess they figured out that this wouldn’t air right before Halloween after all during editing and dropped whatever manufactured scary thing was supposed to happen. If there is night-vision footage out there of Tyra in Evil Mountain Man makeup leaping out to terrify the sleeping models, I might be willing to pay for it.
So they’ll be modeling in the woods in complete pitch darkness and they’ll be “turning fear into fashion,” because the industry isn’t psychopathic enough already. The models will only see light when the camera flash goes off, in a powerful reference to the Cathar belief that the universe started when darkness and light collided. Tyra is going deep into her new faith this week. Nyle says it’s no big deal for him to be in the dark because deaf people have heightened vison at night and also Erik Asla is the photographer AGAIN.
Francis Libiran, the designer, is here and we barely even have the strength to plug him. It feels like the entire show is exhausted. Mikey tells us what we just freaking heard about how the shoot will work and the spooky music starts. We see the models in their multilayer clothes in a night vision camera. There will be one flash every three seconds, and Yu Tsai says they can’t see how their new clothes are moving, but of course they will be judged on it, which is obnoxious. In a way, I’m glad that we’re keeping up with the tradition of judging the contestants on things that no real model in the history of time has ever had to do.
Lacey goes first, standing on a box with a fan blowing on her in the cold.
Yu Tsai gives her some useless non-advice “Less salsa dancer! More fashion!” and tells her to take the stick out of her butt. Mamé is pleased that Lacey is rattled because Yu Tsai is being a dick to her for once. Because he has been told to.
Devin is in jeans so skinny they had to plane down his legs to get them in and for some reason there is a stupid flowy fabric drape coming out of his hunting jacket.
Yu Tsai finally notices the safety issues with standing the models on a damn slippery plastic box in the dark and screaming at them to move more. Not that we really adjust for that. He says Devin get so focused that he gets lost and has no new expressions. Nyle also says that Devin has no new faces to make.
Mikey, in French braids again, says Mamé is definitely feeling him and something is going to happen. Blarg. He throws around the ridiculous gossamer plumes coming out of his hunting jacket.
Yu Tsai loves him and you know what? Do your worst, global warming. This world is going to hell.
Yu Tsai says this shoot will be difficult for Nyle, since he’s down two senses. Wouldn’t it have been nice to think about that several weeks earlier in the production? Yu Tsai tries to signal when the flash will go off with his own flashlight, but that ends up blinding poor Nyle and he keeps missing his mark.
Also, Yu Tsai is not flashing the light in anything close to a real rhythm, and he’s doing it at a slightly different moment than the “One, two, three, go!” he’s yelling to Erik Asla, so of course Nyle keeps missing his mark. He’s being given a different mark than the photographer is. Yu Tsai switches to smacking a count on the box – with similar rhythmic challenges – and Nyle works harder. Yu Tsai is at least trying to be helpful here; it’s just that he isn’t. Lacey notices that Nyle seems down. Well, yes. He just got completely screwed out of any chance of a good picture. Devin says he held back his expressions “for Tyra’s sake.” Then he prays for Mamé to screw up.
Mamé says she feels a fire inside of her coming into the shoot. She WILL be America’s Last Top Model. Yu Tsai says she’s killing it and looking incredible.
He says she tamed her dress and is working H-to-T. Once again, it’s all about whether the model is already doing well on his or her own, not about Yu Tsai ever actually helping anybody.
Mikey says he’s trying to be respectful of Justin, but Mamé wants him. Way to strip a gear trying to be respectful, Mikey. Mamé interviews that after the shoot, she just wants to relax and make the best of their suckola sleeping arrangements.
Lacey says she and Nyle immediately agreed to cuddle. Hmmmm.
I really had faith in Mamé right up to the end here, but no: Mikey and Mamé take a corner. All the hairballs in the world are now purged. Poor Devin. This sucks. It’s cold and there are no beds and everyone else is in cuddly pairs, and he out of all of them seems to be trying to make the best of it, but he can’t even get any body heat.
This is such a setup to force the potential pairs together. And to have Tyra or someone burst out and threaten new haircuts, but, again, the show has given up.
Lacey is shocked that Mamé went and cuddled with Mikey, since Mamé told her that she and Justin are “official.” Mamé tells us that it’s just for warmth. And yet there is Devin, a perfectly viable option who is not being cuddled. Lacey says there was a lot of rustling around over in Mikey and Mamé’s corner. Aw, poor Devin descends into hating this. So do the rest of us, Devin. MAMÉ, YOU HAD SWEET JUSTIN WHO WAS NICE TO YOU. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING?
Devin is so ready to leave the Grabbin’ in the Woods that he runs out the door at like 5:00 in the morning. Mamé says there was no hooking up or breaking boundaries, and that Mikey was there, but he’s not the one. Mikey, ever the gentleman, apologizes to Justin and says it was cold, and they were just cuddling but certainly tries to imply that there was more than that.
Pretty much done with the word “cuddling” for the rest of your life, aren’t you?
Tyra emphasizes how cr-azy the shoot was and how amazing they were to think of it. Let’s look at the pictures. Lacey is in red and looks like an evil flamenco dancer.
Miss J. does some flamenco stomping in a weird way that looks like the moment had already passed but she still went with it and nobody was expecting this particular longish bit of comedy.
Tyra loves Lacey’s face, but not her arm thrown way back behind her head.
Mamé says it was challenging to shoot in the dark. Kelly says Mamé looks like “Maleficent to Magnificent.”
Yeah, I don’t know what that means either. Kelly elaborates that the look is a little Halloween catalog, but Tyra loves it. Tyra is also thrilled that this is Mamé’s test shot and yet she was still giving so much intensity. Witness the rise of Mamé, y’all.
Nyle admits that his shoot was awful because he couldn’t see or hear and the flashlight signal didn’t work. But other than that, you know, totally fair. Tyra tells Nyle, who had no clear way of knowing when the shot would happen, that he needs more dance in his pose.
Kelly says he needs to bring his A-game. Kelly must have really pissed someone off, because she getting her old monster edit this episode. Or maybe this is all there was to choose from.
Tyra calls Braided Mikey “powerful,” and says he gave intensity in every frame.
Kelly says he’s maybe too intense, but Tyra and Miss J. love it. Tyra says Mikey is finally pushing. Mikey lets us all know how awesome he is. Why, vengeful Sekhmet, do you not come and take us?
Devin’s shot isn’t great. Uh-oh. They don’t even bother to add a color splash like they do for all the others.
He’s totally getting spiked. This is a brutal episode for Devin. Kelly says he looks like he’s in a bad movie. Tyra says she loves his relaxed face, but this thing where Tyra is suddenly The Sweet One after another judge’s harsh critique is also a sign that a spiking is underway. In case you were wondering if it still might be a tossup, Kelly calls out Devin for talking like he has a huge career and says his fragrance should be called Delusion. Welp, there you have it. Tyra goes extra-extra nice, and poor Devin knows he’s toast.
Five models! Four photos!
Best Performance: Mikey. ISHTAR, ARE YOU SEEING THIS?!
Runner-up (but loser in recent life choices) : Mamé
Third is Lacey. Which leave Nyle and Devin in the bottom two. Why is Tyra even bothering to do the spiel? Devin has been frustrating because he is so strong and fierce and exaggerated that it’s niche modeling, but then he took her direction this week. Nyle has been doing so well. But he’s slipping. Slipping. Right. So very true.
Devin knows he’s getting axed just as much as we do. …And he does.
Nyle and Devin hug. Nyle is still in the running to becoming America’s Last Top Model. Tyra tells him the competition is getting more difficult. YES, BECAUSE HE HAD TO DO THE LAST SHOOT BY SMELL.
Tyra rubs it in again about Devin taking her notes just a little too late, as in after they had already decided he was off the show, but she tells him that he will take her miraculous teaching out into the world and thus become a truly amazing model. She actually says this:
“Because you discovered something: That that’s not your face.”
Aw, poor Devin. He’s very sad. Devin says he’s disappointed that he wanted to knock Mikey out. So say we all.
We’re down to two boys and two girls, as you knew seventeen weeks ago that we would be.
The models shoot mock covers of Nylon and we’ll see which customers like them. Yu Tsai yells at Lacey not to do “the crazy mouth.” And Tyra tells the models they need love and someone comes in who makes Mamé cry. Uh-oh.
See you there.