America’s Next Top Model 9, Episode 9: “I’m A Queen Because…”by Phil Kural -- 11/26/2007
Last week, the girls were model muses on the runway and Heather fumbled when she wasn’t able to explain her dress. The judges were pretty harsh on her and she couldn’t handle it. At the photo shoot in the burning desert, some girls sparked creativity and others ran out of gas – Heather, again. The girls were surprised at panel to find out that they would be going to China, but not before one of them went home. That one ended up being Ambreal. Six girls are left; let’s see who bites the dust tonight!
We pick up this week with the girls packing for China. Bianca comments that they are all packing frantically and Heather says she has always wanted to go there. Jenah just throws things in her bag, which is the exact way that I pack too. Lisa dwells on being in the bottom two, saying it came out of nowhere. She knows she’s been strong, but is now fading. The worst part is that the harder she tries, the harder she falls.
Bianca asks Heather to move out of her way so she can get by with her bag. She then tells the camera how annoying Heather is and she hates that she has to baby her. What would Bianca do if Heather were eliminated? She’d have nobody to complain about! Saleisha is ready for China. The girls head out the door, with Heather bringing up the rear.
So the girls get to China that quickly – I love it. They arrive in Shanghai, screaming. They pile into a van and drive around, and here come the dumb comments. Bianca says, “Everything is made in China – I want to shop!” Her next quote is, “I love all the symbols, but I don’t understand them!” Chantal is next with, “I didn’t realize China was going to be so futuristic – I feel like I’m on The Jetsons!” I can’t make this stuff up.
The girls arrive to find Jay Manuel and J. Alexander waiting. Mr. Jay tells the girls that they are in an international market that they one day might be working in. Yeah, right. When they leave China, one girl will be America’s Next Top Model. Bianca tells the camera that she is leaving happy and doesn’t want to go home. Ms. J. sends the girls to their new apartment and wishes them good luck.
When the girls arrive at their new pad, there is Tyra mail waiting that says they are getting close to the end. At this point, the girls run though the house looking for beds. Turns out there are only five beds for six girls – how dramatic! Saleisha lays on the only double bed, which is obviously for two people. Heather doesn’t get a bed and is upset with Saleisha since she won’t share. Saleisha comments that she’ll only share a bed with a male. I guess she has different philosophies for different rooms, since she had no issues with taking a shower with Jenah and Bianca last week. Oh well. Heather is stomping around and is pissed off, while Bianca looks on, loving that Heather is losing it. Heather comments to the camera that the other girls walk over her and don’t take her seriously, but she won’t let it drag her down.
Chantal finally decides to cameo in this episode. She doesn’t like it when girls get ganged up on and that’s how she feels it’s going with Heather. Chantal mediates bedgate 2007 and asks if anyone wants to share the big bed. Bianca and Jenah say it’s fine with them. Bianca tells the camera that she doesn’t like that Heather is 21 and needs someone to stand up for her. Wait a minute. Bianca? Complaining about Heather? I’m so shocked! Tyra mail says that Tyra is sick of the bitchiness and fighting, so it’s time to kick some ass.
The next day, the girls head out to a Shanghai movie studio. Their tour guide, Louis, shows them around, until two other Chinese ninjas come out of the woodwork and attack him. Surprise! He’s not a tour guide, he’s a martial arts expert! This is so ridiculous. Louis tells the girls it’s important to move their bodies, so he will show them basic martial arts forms. Heather is already excited.
Louis shows the girls a bunch of positions using body control. Bianca isn’t happy since they are going too fast, and although she wants to stay positive, she’s sour about the whole thing. When they learn the poses, Louis has the girls change into robes and then tells them they will be using their new positions… while lifted in the air! Bianca covers her mouth as Louis says they will be hoisted into the air by wires and have to do each position as he calls it out. Heather is excited when Louis says that there will only be one winner, while Bianca mulls over her fear of heights.
Jenah and Chantal are first, and Chantal is excited while Jenah is nervous that she can’t remember any of the moves. While in the air both seem to do a good job, but Jenah says it was quite painful. Lisa isn’t happy about being off the ground, but knows it’s a challenge so she has to do it. Saleisha does great with the posing and says she just wouldn’t look down. All the girls think Lisa and Saleisha did a good job.
Now we have Bianca and Heather. As they get ready, Bianca comments that this is the only time Heather can kick her ass. She’s not sure if she can put her trust in strangers to hold her and I think it’s nice that Heather tries to support and help her. Bianca goes as far as to say that she wouldn’t go for a modeling job if it required heights. Louis tells her she will be disqualified if she doesn’t do the challenge, but she’s still not sure what to do.
Bianca continues to complain the whole time and then finally asks for the wires to be taken off – she doesn’t want to do it. Louis says she’s disqualified and Saleisha tells the camera that she was scared, but still did it. She’s irritated that Bianca didn’t even try. So Heather goes up on her own and does the poses tremendously. To nobody’s surprise, she’s picked as the winner of the challenge and will get to go on a shopping spree that evening with a friend. She chooses Chantal, even though she knows Bianca wants to go shopping – she says it’s tough love and I love it!
Heather and Chantal go shopping that night and Heather says they stick out like sore thumbs. There’s a huge height difference between the girls and the locals and Heather feels like she and Chantal are giants in a world of little people. Chantal is amazed at how much everyone wants to help them and give them good deals. It actually looks like a lot of fun!
At the house, the girls get Tyra mail that says tomorrow they will bring out their inner queen. Christ – that’s every Friday night for me! Anyway, the girls head out the next day with some outfits that describe their personalities. They meet up with Jay Manuel and “Brent from Cover Girl.” Brent tells the girls that they will be shooting a print ad and commercial for Cover Girl’s Queen line. They’ll have a script to follow, but will have to add something about themselves as well, to make it their own. Jay wants each girl to show that she can be a Cover Girl. Lisa is already stressing because she feels everything that has made her strong is out the window and she has to work to get back on top.
The girls practice as they go through hair and makeup and I realize how much I hate Bianca’s voice. Heather is having issues memorizing words again, while Chantal has her own dilemma – she has to wear her own clothes and not designer stuff! Oh Lord. Saleisha is up first.
Of course, Saleisha looks great on film. By the second take, she has the whole thing down. Jay gives her some advice as far as looking endearing and the way she looks around and on the third time – he’s speechless! Jeffrey Chu, the photographer, says that Saleisha is convincing as a Cover Girl and I have to agree with him.
Bianca is up next and she stumbles a little in the commercial. She looks good on camera, but sounds like crap. Her reason that she’s a queen is believable and her photo shoot seems to go well. That being said, I just couldn’t see her as a Cover Girl.
Heather is third and I have to say she looks very whimsical in her commercial. She’s exaggerating her lines though, and continues to mess up, making faces every time. She looks great, but can’t land the lines. Jay even goes as far as to feed her the lines one by one and she can’t even do that. It’s about performance and Heather doesn’t have it. In her photos, she looks great!
Fourth is Jenah and her hair looks amazing. I really wish they would have done something with her teeth though. Jay thinks that even though she took a ton of takes, Jenah came off as very genuine and endearing. Her photos are good, but nothing about them screams Cover Girl to me.
Next we have Chantal and she looks great! Her outfit and hair remind me of the little girl on the Swiss Miss box. Jay says that her commercial is very “girl next door” and it works for her. He’s happy with it and she looks great. Her photos look amazing, and for the first time, I could really see Chantal making it to the final three!
Lisa goes last and I have to say that she looks amazing. The only problem is that she continually messes up her lines and, every time that happens, she gets more nervous and looks like she is about to cry. Jay tells her that they don’t expect her to be perfect and she’s focused on failing. I hate to say that I agree with Jay, but he’s right. Lisa knows she can do better and, when the commercial is over (since she’s dismissed), she comments that she has to do great during the photo shoot to turn it around.
Once all the girls are finished, Lisa and Saleisha talk. Saleisha says that Lisa always had challenges in her life and tries to tell her how to do better. Lisa isn’t having it and doesn’t want to pay attention, so Saleisha gets up and walks away, saying she won’t help girls that won’t allow her to help them. I think Saleisha thinks she is Oprah. Lisa tells the camera that she’s breaking down at this point and is the only girl that has to sweat right now before panel.
Tyra mail says that someone is going home tomorrow. Lisa says that she wants this so bad and, when Bianca asks her what she’ll do if it’s her going home, Lisa says, “cry.” At least she’s realistic. Lisa mentions to the camera that she knows there’s a model in her, but her confidence is just so low right now. Bianca talks about not being sent home because she was disqualified from the challenge – she won’t let them send her home because of that. Meanwhile, Heather is talking to the camera, saying she has weaknesses and that she loves being there, but there’s a huge chance it’s her going home this week.
Tyra welcomes the girls to panel. She reminds them of the prizes and introduces the judges, including Jeffrey Chu, the director of photography from the Cover Girl commercial shoot. Lisa is up first!
Lisa steps forward and the judges watch her commercial. They can tell she was about to cry the whole way through and Nigel says that she’s the queen of nerves. Tyra says that if you are going to cry, then just do it and let it out. When they look at her photo, Nigel feels it’s charming and real. Tyra adds that Lisa is too self-conscious with critique and I agree.
Chantal is next and they watch her commercial. Tyra thinks it’s cute, but she looks like a princess – not a queen. Nigel thinks it’s very her and Tyra feels that she’s a queen because she milks a cow. Chantal, not Tyra. Her photo, because of her outfit, is very down on the farm. Tyra tells Chantal that she needs to learn how to smile in photos, even though her photos are normally very good.
Bianca is called next and they note that she didn’t do the challenge. Bianca says she has issues trusting strangers and Ms. J. tells her she’s in the wrong business. Her commercial is all over the place and is in general a mess. It’s not paced, but Tyra says she looked beautiful in it. Her photo is very standoffish to me, but the judges say it makes her look like a strong black woman.
Next we have Jenah and her main critique from Nigel about her commercial is that it wasn’t sincere at all and there was no charm. Twiggy says she wouldn’t buy the product. In her photo, she looks like a crazy woman. Tyra loves that she went for it and Twiggy seems to be a fan as well. I like it, but she does look crazy.
Saleisha is next and when they watch her commercial, Twiggy says she believes it. Nigel is a huge fan and feels that she really flirted with the camera. He wants that from the rest of the girls as well. In her photo, Tyra says that her smile is off as well because when she smiles, she squints. Saleisha might not be on top like she thinks!
Finally, we have Heather. Her commercial is a huge mess, like we expected it to be. Tyra notes that she couldn’t even mimic the lines when they were fed to her. She insists that she has to be hard and fair on Heather, even though they brought her into the competition knowing that she has Asbergers. Nigel says that she has to focus. When they view her photo though, it’s a different tune. Twiggy says it looks like a new woman and all the judges are in awe at how great she looks. I have to add – Heather looks amazing! Now it’s time for the judges to deliberate and here’s what they have to say:
Nigel thinks that Lisa was weak in the commercial and weak in general. Twiggy thinks that her commercial was a disaster and Tyra is beginning to think that she can’t handle critique, since she wilts every time they say something harsh to her. Ms. J. says that she is still one of his favorite girls.
Chantal is cute to Twiggy and Tyra, while both of them think she had the best commercial. On top of that, they feel her photo was very fluid, but all the judges agree that she still needs work.
Heather looks great in her photo this week, but Twiggy isn’t sure she can hold it together. Nigel adds that it’s disappointing to see her conquer herself. Tyra loves the photo though and had no clue that Heather could pull off the smile and look so sweet.
Then there’s Jenah. Nigel is obviously not happy with her and feels that Jenah is the type of girl that feels she deserves to be there. Tyra begins to wonder if Jenah is even invested in the competition. Uh oh… that could be the kiss of death!
Bianca had no delivery in her commercial this week, but they do like her smile. Nigel says that she has so much more to offer and wants to see it, although he admits that her commercial was really bad.
All the judges feel that Saleisha is very approachable, but Ms. J. just isn’t sure she is getting any better. Nigel says that he can see potential in her and thinks that she is definitely getting better. Tyra says that sometimes it’s the inner beauty that can make you go a long way.
Tyra says there are six girls, but she only has five photos. She tells the girls that this week, collectively, they did really bad. In fact, she tells them they were a mess, but one girl did better than the others and that would be Chantal. Chantal gets her photo and Tyra tells her she did well, but the California looking girl has to be commercial in photos.
Saleisha is called next and Tyra tells her that, from week to week, her spirit is impressing the judges, but she really has to slow down. The next girl called is Bianca, who is told that she needs to work on her fears – her commercial was a wreck, but her photo was great. Jenah is called next and Tyra tells her that the judges want to see the light in her eyes and bounce in her step that they see right now. Heather and Lisa step forward.
Tyra says that the girl whose name she doesn’t call will need to pack her bags and head home. Lisa is told she is beautiful and came into the competition with so much personality that shined on the inside and out. However, the judges now look at her and wonder if she can handle the critique or the reality of the real world. Heather is a girl who comes into panel each week and the judges are so interested in her. She’s so beautiful and has great photos, but she was challenged this week, as far as delivering lines. She couldn’t even mimic them when lines were fed to her. The final photo goes to… Heather!
Lisa gives Tyra a hug and thanks the judges. Tyra tells her that she needs to get some self esteem if she wants to make it in the business. Lisa hugs the other girls and on her way out tells them that they are all beautiful. She tells the camera that it was a leap for her to get this far and doesn’t think anyone would have expected it from her. She’s not leaving a loser and knows that bigger things are coming.
Next week, the girls go on go sees! Chantal comments that Saleisha is kissing ass and we find out that at the photo shoot, Jenah gets lost in the crowd. And so begins the fall of Jenah. First it was Lisa, now it’s Jenah that must fall from grace. Here’s how I’m ranking the girls for next week:
Phil Kural is an office manager at a dental office and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. You can send feedback to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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