Dear heavens, we are on Episode Nine. It still doesn’t make any sense that this is happening. However, if we will recall, last week’s episode was so transcendently nutball that it filled the whole universe with happiness. And so we cling to the impossible hope that they can keep to the same standard without anybody exploding.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
This week is titled The Guy or Girl Who Came Back, extra-spoiling last week’s preview spoiler, but who cares? We all smell blood in the water. Or at least concealer.
There’s so much cray to get to that we don’t even have a “Previously on…” We just leap straight in to the models coming home to see Lacey’s winning (again!) doll picture up.
It has Kelly’s “Favorite Picture of the season” comment on it, which tells us two things: 1) There is a production assistant whose job it is to IMMEDIATELY relay distilled judges’ comments to another production assistant whose job it is to get those sumbitches up on the winning photo and 2) none of these people actually use the ridiculous “cycle” terminology.
Mamé is just a wee bit annoyed that Lacey won. I get it; I can think of other seasons (and judging moods) when Mamé would have dominated. Lacey is, of course, happy with her three-peat.
There are only seven models left after last week’s double elimination. Justin says it’s down to the wire. He also reminds us that his parents were not crazy about the idea of him becoming a model instead of studying to be a doctor or lawyer. We all give back to the world in different ways, Justin’s mom and dad!
Hadassah notes that Bello left on bad terms with her (though we really saw a cooling more than a break) and acted a little weird as he stormed out. I don’t know. I favor good sportsmanship, but I kind of get the appeal of SCREW THIS, I LOST, NO HUGGING.
Hadassah wishes Bello had left on better terms and also thinks everyone underestimates her. Mikey gives her one of his patented sociopathic pep talks, telling her that Bello won’t take care of her and she won’t take care of Bello and she should just take care of herself.
Hadassah talks about having grown up with wealth and then and losing it all. She says that after her family lost their upper-class lifestyle, she got a job and used the money to buy presents for her siblings, telling them the gifts were from her mom. She says that $100,000 prize would be fun to bring home. Oh, my, look who’s getting a redemption edit.
Lacey gets a new #TyTyTip: Tyra says that success creates jealousy and Lacey is a threat now, and she shouldn’t let the others get to her. The only problem with this #TyTyTip is that Lacey has been a threat for a while now and also that there is so much going on this week that we don’t even have time to get to people being jealous. But sound advice!
It’s Go-See Week! Oh, hurrah, and callooh callay! Go-See Week is always a treat. It’s the week of dealing with real fashion industry folks, and so Devin tells us for the 666th time that he is signed to six different modeling agencies around the world. Lacey says that Devin is arrogant and annoying. Devin illustrates this point by shouting that he’s been on casting calls for major magazines and then continuing to brag and scream as he goes up the stairs.
And here we are at NEXT Model Management! Alexis Borges disappoints me to no end by not dressing up like a Mafia don this time. He is, however, wearing a collar that suggests that he expects to be garotted at any moment, so I don’t think he’s left the Pretend Cosa Nostra entirely.
He says the models look like real models now. Time to see if they can act like real models and book some real jobs. Nyle thinks this is a great opportunity to meet designers and prove himself as an actual working model.
It’s also a great opportunity to mess with people’s heads! In a moment that would be a truly amazing surprise had the show itself not spoiled it twice already, we learn that the current models will each be paired with an eliminated model. Wow, are the current models deliciously pissed. Bello announces that he’s back.
Each current model will pick an eliminee and they will work together and also live together because all the eliminated models are coming back into the Model House tonight. This is a smart producing move. Why not maximize potential model fights?
Also – holy biscuits – one current model will be eliminated and one of the executed models will rise up to take his or her place in the competition. This is a very broad allusion to the Cathar belief that one must live an exemplary life on earth to escape the cycle of rebirth and become a purely spiritual being, and that an imperfect life busts you back down into the world of matter, but of course you knew that. Tyra isn’t coy when it comes to the Cathars.
The only downside to this is that Stefano is back. I am extremely concerned about the possibility of Team Douchebag roaring back into our lives.
Kelly repeats the information that each current model will choose a dinged model to work with, one current model will go home, and one of the eliminated contestants will replace him or her. I guess if we’re all still watching the show, we can’t blame the producers for assuming that we might not catch on to key concepts very quickly.
Because she won last week, Lacey chooses her partner first. She chooses Stefano. WHAT?! She says it’s because he’s such a great model. WHAT?! Lacey, what are you doing?!
Nyle chooses Delanie.
Justin chooses Dustin, clearly just to make us happy as we recite their rhyming names and skip around the neighborhood.
Mikey chooses Ashley, and good on him for resisting an impulse to neg her. Kelly calls it a conjugal go-see.
Hadassah chooses… Ava. OOOOOOOH, Bello is pissed. OK, but for real: I don’t care how deep your friendship is. If you are choosing another human being to help you get to several specific places and then return to another place within a particular amount of time and your choices are Ava and Bello, there is no contest. Ava is the only one who will reliably get you back to the right place at the right time and will not at any point end up hanging from the Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica pier, weeping and singing “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls.
Bello says this has opened his eyes as to who his friends were. And you’re going to love hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiim.
Mamé chooses Courtney, which means Bello is the last to be picked. Bello announces to the room that it’s surprising that he’s last, but it’s fine. He says now he can see how a lot of people on the show are “fraudulent,” and looks askance at Hadassah. Then he goes to join his partner, who yet again is Devin. Devin is not into this bit of Karma, but he knows he has to focus.
The models have drivers because there is not enough insurance in the world to release them onto the streets in cars that they are steering themselves. They have four go-sees to get to and they must be back on time or they’ll be disqualified. The models are reminded that they are in Los Angeles, so they should not get cute with estimating drive times. Indeed, an acceptable strategy for making sure you’re on time would be to go outside and then turn right around and go back to home base.
OK, time to rush around a city! Dustin and Justin pick the strategy of going to the farthest location first. Mamé correctly says that L.A. traffic is terrible and also that she picked Courtney because she’ll let Mamé take the lead. That’s some good strategizing, Mamé. They hit Koco Blaq, which has some swimwear for them. The designers love Mame’s walk and I can’t pay attention to Courtney’s walk because her swimsuit is a giant tiki head on her torso.
It is bold and edgy and I shall not be purchasing one.
Lacey and Stefano walk in some formal wear at Idan Cohen. The publicist (The publicist?) notes that Lacey has trouble with the length of her gown, and thus would not get booked.
Bello and Devin and Hadassah and Ava all show up to Idan Cohen at the same time. Bello freaks. Ava and Hadassah manage to commandeer an entire elevator and rush in and announce that they’re next. Bello and Devin, who just sprinted up six flights of stairs, decide not to wait around and go 20 minutes away to the next place. That seems like a terrible strategy.
For some reason, their driver isn’t right there? Or drops them off somewhere weird? Bello and Devin walk around on the sidewalk looking lost. Bello interviews that he could see why the judges thought he lost passion, but he does have passion, and he’s going to show them that he has passion, mostly by saying the word “passion” twelve thousand times. Back in the moment, Bello speaks Spanish to someone to get him and Devin back on the right track, and Devin is delighted.
Back at Idan Cohen, the publicist (!) says Hadassah looks high-end, but Ava needs help on her runway walk. Mikey and Ashley happily reunite and cuddle and take selfies in their car and, lest you were worried he had reformed, Mikey charmingly suggests using part of their time to find a cheap hotel.
Dude, if you’re going to joke about it, at least joke about somewhere nice. Bello and Devin have burned an hour of their time and they haven’t hit one go-see yet.
Dustin and Justin hit Tumbler & Tipsy and the creative director, who says it us a “fun party brand” loves them. Delanie says it might be challenging to work with Nyle. Feh. Poor Nyle is dressed in Hammer pants AGAIN.
People! This is not a trend that needs to return unless it is to cheer us up during the actual apocalypse – and the Tumbler & Tipsy guy loves him.
At Artistix jeans, Bello is deemed too short for runway. Devin has the “wrong look” for them. It feels just the teensiest bit off the way the designer says it, but I can’t say which kind. That must be a sucky part of modeling – people can reject you for gross reasons but claim it’s just about the right look.
Koco Blaq loves Hadassah. Delanie forgets her bag at a go-see and then forgets her portfolio in the car, but yeah, Nyle will be the challenging one to work with here. Courtney walks too strangely for the Tumblr & Tipsy guy, but he loves Mamé’s walk. Courtney says that it’s her signature walk. Good for her.
In their car, Justin and Dustin hit Peak Mellow. Time may have actually slowed down.
Mikey and Ashley are at go-see #3 at Idan Cohen with 50 minutes to go. Justin and Dustin arrive at the same place and decide they can’t wait and so they interrupt to just say hello. …And then they ask if they can just walk for them, jumping ahead of Mikey and Ashley. Daaamn. Mikey understandably says some bleeped and blurred out thing in his interview. The publicist says it was disruptive and she wouldn’t have booked them anyway because she hasn’t seen them in their brand’s clothes.
Nyle and Delanie have only hit three go-sees, but Nyle wisely suggests going back on time. He has done his research and watched the show. Mikey and Ashley, in their car, have leis on for no discernible reason.
Stefano and Lacey get back to home base with time to spare! Enjoy that nice, long chat with Stefano, Lacey! Stefano thinks everyone else will be late and disqualified. Mamé and Courtney, who have not watched the show, try for go-see #4.
Delanie and Nyle return on time. Bello and Devin are freaking out and stuck in traffic, as are Justin and Dustin and Courtney and Mamé. They have not learned the rule of making sure you’re on time in Los Angeles: Double the time a sane person would think it should take to get there and then add 30 minutes.
Bello and Devin have three minutes left again! Did Bello erase their go-sees? At the two-minute mark Bello makes the decision to get out of the car at a red light and run for it! He says does this because clearly he has passion. Devin jogs behind him, bitching all the way. Bello sprints in and makes it on time. Devin, annoyed to the very core of his being at Bello, takes the elevator and also makes it on time. Mamé and Courtney are 14 minutes late.
Mikey and Nyle booked all three of the go-sees they made it to. Hadassah made it to four and booked three. Dustin and Justin also booked three out of four, but are dinged for their unprofessional “bum rush.”
Stefano booked two out of three, Devin one out of three, and Bello – oh, man – booked zero out of three. Mamé booked all four… But was disqualified for tardiness. The purest heartbreak of go-see day.
Kelly reiterates that based on her scores and the feedback from the designers, Mamé would have won handily, but due to her disqualification, the win goes to Hadassah. Hadassah wins clothes from the three designers she booked and will be walking in a runway show. Ava looks genuinely happy for her.
Kelly reminds us again that one of these eliminated serpents will swallow one of the current competitors, and now they’ll all go back to sleep in the same place, so have a restful night!
Ava and Delanie look really happy to be back. The challenge scores are up when the models get home. Hadassah is irked. She thought she would have a 10 as the winner, but it’s a 9. Mikey and Nyle also have 9s, and there’s a huge middle field of 8s: Justin, Dustin, Stefano, Lacey, Delanie, and Mamé. Ava, Ashley and Devin have 7s and Bello – Ouch! – has a 6. Bello is having a tough return week.
Hadassah is pissed about her score, but Mamé isn’t crazy about her 8 either. The guys call Hadassah to move her stuff so everyone can reshuffle and figure out how they’ll all fit in the beds again.
Oy, DMA is back. Evidently the editors are tired of them too; we get shots of a hug and of Devin saying DMA is back, and then we’re pretty much done with them. Look on my works, ye Models, and despair!
Yu Tsai is here, and so is his dog, a French bulldog named Soy.
Aww. He says that owners and dogs begin to look alike, and so the models will be posing with dogs who look like them. OH, SWEET ANUBIS, YES! Even though the premise makes zero sense, this will be awesome.
And hey, as another surprise, Yu Tsai will be the photographer. Yes, I think it is safe to say that this cycle is being done on a bit of a budget.
Hadassah gets Norma Jean, a show poodle who doesn’t look like Hadassah, but does have a definite pageant vibe. Hadassah gets a curly-furry white coat to enhance the resemblance.
I just realized that all the dogs in Best in Show are probably dead. Let’s all take a moment to sit quietly.
Hadassah seems to do well in the shoot and also to connect in a good way with her dog. Norma Jean the show poodle seems perfectly happy to be there, like she does these shoots all the time.
Ha! Bello gets Sky, a Husky with the same piercing blue eyes.
Well played. The husky isn’t very focused, but Bello seems fine. Haaa, the crew has dog toys that they shake to get the canine models to look in the right direction.
We see Bello and Hadassah getting into a tiff during someone else’s shoot. Bello accuses Hadassah of ruining the friendship he thought they had. Hadassah says Bello is hitting the point beyond forgiveness. Bello says he was her one friend in the house and now it’s gone. Is this really over her not picking him, or did a model fight somehow not make it onto the show?
Nyle… Gets Sky also? WTF? Yes, Nyle has blue eyes, but we couldn’t think of any other dogs? Mamé tells Nyle he did a good job, then uses slashing motions to indicate that she doesn’t want him to get best photo.
EEEEEE all is forgiven, producers! This whole shoot happened so they could sit Mikey next to Kyburg, an Afghan hound. It may be the best, funniest thing you have seen in your life.
I already have to rewind this and watch it again. Kyburg is lovely and expressive and Mikey has zero sense of humor about it. Yu Tsai says Mikey gives the same damn face week after week. Truth.
Ashley gets Mini, a Chihuahua who looks nothing like her. This premise has fallen down really quickly. Did another shoot fall through? But Ashley is wearing some Chihuahua colors and does her best to doe out her eyes to match Mini’s expression – she’s game about it.
Lucien the pit bull is with Dustin.
I love Lucien. Yu Tsai says Dustin embodies the spirit of a dog. It’s pretty cute. …And Justin gets the same dog. OK, for real, what the hell? There is some vague talk of Dustin and Justin both getting Lucien because the dog is so relaxed, but that still makes no sense. Justin likes Lucien, but he keeps picking him up and it doesn’t look great. Yu Tsai, ever helpful, literally lies down and goes fetal instead of giving Justin any real direction.
Lucien leaves the shoot and Yu Tsai says Justin is not one with the dog Then he tells Justin to just chill on the couch with him.
Mamé gets Jag, a gorgeous Doberman, and they look great together.
Delanie gets Norma Jean, and we really whip past her shoot. She’s not getting back in. Ava gets the Chihuahua again. She drives Yu Tsai up the walls because she’s supposed to be drinking tea and keeps blocking her face with the cup. Ava says she doesn’t know how to drink tea.
Devin, in shorts again, gets Benny, an insane-looking Chinese crested.
It looks nothing like him, but I love that dog. It’s got heart and moxie. Still, it’s pretty insulting. It’s essentially saying “Hey, Devin, we just matched you with the weirdest-looking dog we could find! Ha, ha!” Devin takes on the challenge with good spirits, and is sweet to Benny.
Lacey gets William, an Old English Sheepdog, and they’re going to do fine together. Stefano gets Kyburg the Afghan and a shaggy vest. I can’t believe we’re even pretending that the Afghan is anyone’s match but Mikey’s.
Courtney gets Benny the crested – Because why stop being insulting about the models’ looks? – and some humiliating pigtails.
Courtney is nervous about doing well enough to stay, and Hadassah says that she’s just been skating by the whole time. Bello, who has stolen one of Rhoda’s headscarves, says that he’s in a worse position because Bello.
Hadassah tells Bello she doesn’t like his tone and doesn’t know why he’s looking for drama. Oh, dear, he goes straight into grandstanding mode, which he still isn’t good at. He says he is PASSIONATE their friendship, and that he has drained some of his PASSION for the competition because he’s been defending her. Hadassah won’t be drawn into this fight, and good for her. Hadassah is getting much savvier about staying out of the cray.
With the replacement gimmick, only seven will continue on to becoming America’s Next Top Model. Goddammit, seven again.
Stefano says he has what it takes to be America’s Next Top Model and he has an edge. Which he maybe should have whipped out back in Week Four when he was the second person eliminated. Bello vows that when he comes back, we’ll get a whole new taste of crazy. Yasssss. Also: Smart. Bello knows that his best chance for getting back in is promising a ton of camera-friendly house drama and model fights.
You guys, I cannot wait to see these dog photos. I have not been this delighted with a shoot the whole cycle. It’s not the legendary shoot where the models were forced to wallow around in a giant Greek salad…
…but it’s still awful damn good.
Hadassah, who won the challenge, looks AMAZING. Mamé is pissed. The picture is genuinely great. Hadassah and Norma Jean are connecting, they both look beautiful, the scene looks elegant, and it’s fun. Well done, Hadassah and Norma Jean.
Devin was pissed that he didn’t get a majestic dog, but the picture is fun. The ladies deem it debonair, but too much eyebrow action. Devin also gets dinged for having a bit of humor in his expression, which feels entirely unfair to me. They gave him the strangest-looking dog they could find. Why should he not react to that?
Mikeys’ shot isn’t great. Again. And yet he keeps getting a pass. Lacey looks gorgeous again.
I hope she and the sheep dog get to work together another time.
Mamé’s photo looks sexy and a little bit bondage. The judges aren’t sure what to do with it. Kelly says she wants to see more Domme in there, but the other judges clutch their pearls at the thought and say that they see plenty.
Justin and Dustin are chastened for go-see crashing again. Justin is not connecting with is dog and is dinged for just looking chill – the exact thing Yu Tsai told him to do. Ah, shades of old-school Mr. Jay.
Nyle and his Husky look fantastic together. They’re mirroring each other and they look engaged and it’s a terrific shot all around.
Well done, Yu Tsai. Props where props are due.
And now we evaluate the previous eliminees. Ashley looks cute, but Tyra says she wants more symmetry with her and Mini. Kelly loves Stefano’s shot.
I do not.
Dustin and his dog are looking at each other. They look like they’re having a wingman conversation, and it’s very appealing. The judges love it.
Courtney’s shot is completely bananas and has a sort of sleazy-uncomfortable perhaps underage American Apparel vibe. The judges, of course, love it.
Delanie is dealt with so quickly that she may not show up if you don’t have HD and an excellent feed. She’s really not coming back. Ava looks great. She’s got a character that Kelly loves and Mini is totally locked into her.
I would very much like to read a droll children’s book about Mini and the lady Ava is playing.
Bello says passion passion passion passion passion. His photo looks great.
That’s a lot of eliminees with strong photos! Awww, yeah, it’s gonna get nuts.
Who will come back into the house?! I want Ava, but she hasn’t been getting any goddamn camera time, so I have concerns.
Since we’re bringing someone into the house, we’re doing a reverse reveal. We take the eliminees from lowest score to highest.
Ashley won’t be coming back, and neither will Delanie, Bello, Courtney, or Ava. Aww. Let’s take a moment to miss the crazy and the awesome that could have been.
Wait. It’s down to Dustin and freaking Stefano?! Arrrrrrgh. So who will return to the house?!?!?!
It’s Dustin! Oh, thank heavens. He’s kinda boring, but at least we don’t have to hear Stefano talk about how he’s the studliest stud on stud island. Also, Dustin was the one cast member who actually made an effort to learn sign language and talk to Nyle, so he will be a solid presence. OK, I take back the boring crack. Welcome back, Dustin!
Dusting gets praise from Tyra for bursting into the go-see now. This topsy-turvy world is hard to get one’s footing in. OK, time to eliminate someone!
Seven models! Six Photos!
Best performance: Nyle! Well done!
Runner up: Hadassah! Way to catch a second wind, Hadassah!
Next is Lacey. She hates being in third place so much. Then Mamé. Then Mikey, for reasons beyond my ken. They’d better have him modeling with Cousin It next week.
Two models left! Justin and Devin! Devin and Justin! Two beautiful models!
And only one of them will be going to… Las Vegas. Oh, marvelous. That is definitely one of the first 300 cities you think of when you think of fashion. This is quite the cost-efficient season, isn’t it?
Devin has amazing looks and a huge personality. Devin interviews that he got dropped from one of his six agencies. Wait, what?
Justin looks great, but is too chill. Which is what he was instructed to do, but whatever!
Justin or Devin! Devin or Justin!
We’ll find out next week! Dick move, show!
But once again we’ll be forgiving them almost immediately because next week is also music video week!
Oh, it’s the most wonderful, most crazyballs week of them all! This is quite a run, Top Model. Clearly you are trying to slay us with raw, shining joy. We can take it. Because we have PASSION. See you next week!