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America’s Next Top Model 9 Finale: Breakdowns, Slip-Ups, and Top Modelsby Phil Kural -- 12/13/2007
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This season, we saw some girls exceed and soar, while others never got off the ground. Three have made it to the finals, and one will be crowned America’s Next Top Model. Will it be Chantal, the bubbly blonde from Texas? She proved from the start that she is a beauty to be reckoned with, but after a video shoot that landed her in the bottom two, the judges wondered if the Barbie blonde can be extraordinary. Then there’s Saleisha, the California girl with confidence. She rattled her competition by winning the first two challenges, but relied on her commercial look. Can she prove she’s a model ready for the next level? Finally, there’s Jenah, the photogenic tomboy from Connecticut. She’s full of sarcasm, and the judges have been put off by her attitude. Can she turn on the charm and prove she’s there to win? Let’s find out!
The girls get home from Bianca’s elimination and have Tyra mail waiting for them. It says that this competition is ripe for the picking, so now it’s time to show their flavor. Saleisha comments that she has made it this far and can’t believe what a long journey it has been. Jenah tells Saleisha that if she’s in the bottom two with her, that she’ll (Jenah) be going home. Then she comments to the camera that going home at this point isn’t an option – she has hung on this long, so she doesn’t want to go home now.
In the morning, the girls arrive at the shoot and meet up with Jay. He tells them it’s time for a Cover Girl print ad and commercial, in which the winner will have the print ad run nationally. It’s for a lip gloss, of course. Isn’t the final photo always for a lip gloss? Jaslene comes in to give the girls advice, and I love it – she looks great! Chantal comments that she wants to be in Jaslene’s shoes – literally – they are yellow with cute straps! Saleisha says she’s taking it all in, as we see them go through makeup. Jenah is nervous and knows that this will be a real ad, so it’s terrifying and exciting at the same time. Please – you’re toast, Jenah!
Chantal is up first and she looks amazing! Jay thinks that she sounds too rehearsed and wants her to sound more “conversation.” She does just that and it sounds much better. Chantal feels like a Cover Girl is friendly, like her. In comes Jenah next, and she’s made up like a man, so I’m thinking sabotage right out of the gate. She freezes when the camera begins to run, and when Jay gets frustrated enough to say she might need to use cue cards, it straightens her right out and she does it correctly. Jenah thinks she did the best she could, but I’m not impressed. Jay thinks that people will see her a bitchy, and that she really has to work on that.
Saleisha is last and stumbles right off with her lines. Jay is disappointed and she continues to mess up. She can’t get it down and by the time it’s take 12, she begins to cry. Jay has a talk with her and she starts again, and this time – much better. She steps off the shoot and does her photo next and I have to say she looks like a drag queen. [Associate Editor’s note: Not like that ever hurt anyone on this show – look who won last cycle.] Chantal does her photo, too, and looks great, while Jenah’s hair looks like a rat’s nest in her photo. She’s worried about panel, but says that whatever happens, happens!
Tyra welcomes the girls and says that it’s time to narrow them down to two. The two finalists will be walking in a Qi Gang fashion show, and he’s the special guest judge. Saleisha comes up first and Tyra asks her who has the most potential of the final three. She says that she does. The least potential? Jenah. Even though she takes great photos, she has no personality.
Chantal is next, and asked who has the most potential. She thinks she does. The least? Jenah, since she doesn’t think she’d want her little sister looking up to her, since Jenah thinks she’s better than people. Jenah, of course, thinks she has the most potential, and Chantal has the least since she’s amateur. I can’t argue with that! Jenah says she’s different, but she thinks that people will look up to her since she’s real.
Now it’s time to judge the commercials and photos. Saleisha was tangerine splash, and the judges are impressed, even though Jay says it took 20 takes. Her photo is happy and believable. However, Tyra says that she continues to have only one smile. Chantal is next. Her commercial is great and Nigel thinks it’s sincere and Twiggy finds it charming. Her photo is okay, and Tyra is happy with it. Jay says that she has the girl-next-door quality.
Finally, we have Jenah, who the judges feel was making fun of the commercial the whole time. Nigel doesn’t think that she believes in herself and Jenah says that nobody understand her, and she’s not mean and doesn’t think she’s better than anyone. Tyra plays Oprah and digs, asking what’s going on. Jenah finally cries and says she hates that she’s being judged. Tyra tells her it’s okay, and continues to console. I wish Maury were here. The judges look at Jenah’s photo and I appreciate that they fixed her teeth, which is good. The judges aren’t so sure. Time to deliberate!
The judges feel like Saleisha is listening to them and taking it all in. She’s a Cover Girl to a T. She doesn’t have high fashion down yet, though. Jenah managed to do a 180 at judging, and Nigel thinks that she really meant her apology. She has some issues and she’s dealing with them, although Tyra admits that she takes the best photos. Chantal has the whole package. She’s the most flexible, but she is the most amateur as well. She doesn’t know what she’s doing.
The girls come back in. Tyra says it’s time to narrow it down to two, and the first name called is Chantal! She says she’s been dreaming about this moment for a long time, as the other two step forward. Tyra says that Saleisha came into the competition and had the modeling experience, but she still had girls who had little experience, like Jenah, stomp all over her. However, there is something very special in her that all the judges see. Jenah came in with hardly any experience and took great photos that rival models today. They know now who she is. But who is going home? The final photo goes to… Saleisha! Tyra tells Jenah that she could have a career one day, and then sends her on her way, out into the world to fend for herself.
Jenah says that she hopes she made a breakthrough at panel. She was scared of coming across the wrong way, and wanted to win the whole thing – she knows she came so far. There was a lot of pressure on her, and she’s sad that she didn’t come out on top. She has nothing to be ashamed of, though. Portfolio-wise, I think she has the best of the season!
The next day, the final two girls meet up with Ann Shoket from Seventeen magazine. They are told that the pictures they take today will appear on the cover of Seventeen. Saleisha says that she likes Chantal, but she’s still her competition, so she has to win. Chantal tells the camera that she came so far and knows that nothing can stop her now. On that note, they are done. Okay, that segment was pointless.1 2 Next-->
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