America's Next Top Model 4, Episode 12: The Final Examby Phil Kural -- 05/20/2005
Previously, it was Brittany that got the ax and left us with three girls trying to be our next top model. There’s Cassie, who has the walk and the pictures, but is a little low in the confidence department. She will have to prove herself and that she can get over her nerves if she wants to win. Then there is Naima, the reformed party girl that is embracing her new dignified self. Her new found focus has helped her win challenge after challenge. Now she has to keep it together and bring what she is keeping in, out. Last, but not least, is Keenyah, who was confident from the start. However, sometimes that converted to arrogance. Her sheer determination has helped her to keep her eye on the prize. However, she’s had some problems with her figure that have really started to get to her and the judges. Will her appetite to win make the judges want to make her the winner? This is going to be good!
We're still in South Africa. The three remaining girls take a moment to look at some birds and reflect. Keenyah says that each girl now has to prove themselves. Tyra says that with three girls left, she wants to have a one-on-one with each of them, and first is Kahlen. Could someone explain to me why Tyra calls of each of them by "Miss?" I don't get that. Kahlen tells Tyra that she's always had people telling her that she would never be a model, but it's something that she wants and she's driven towards it. Naima is next, and tells Tyra that she went from hating herself, to not having enough time to worry about the past and hatred. Keenyah tells Tyra that now it's every man for themselves, and goes into her eating fixation again, and how she wants to make better choices. Tyra tells her that she herself couldn't follow the rules, and had to reroute her career from high fashion to mainstream, but she was lucky enough to already be a supermodel at that point. Keenyah's not that lucky, so she has to make the right choices.
The girls get some Tyra mail that tells them to be ready in the morning for double jeopardy. When they arrive, Jay Manuel is waiting for them, and he tells them that today they will be shooting a commercial for Cover Girl and also taking their headshot. For the winner, this shoot will be the beginning of their campaign. They meet their director and photographer, and each girl starts to memorize their lines in makeup. Kahlen is nervous and doesn’t want to go home for not having confidence. Keenyah says that she has something that Kahlen and Naima don't have, and that's confidence. Naima says she's not quiet, she's a mystery, but can pinpoint why she was one of the last girls called at the previous elimination.
First is the runway shoot, and Keenyah says she was rocking it. Naima says that Keenyah has this attitude change all of a sudden that's making her look arrogant. Jay is getting fed up with her winking at the end of the runway. Kahlen thinks all this is madness, while Naima says that she wants to deliver the lines flawlessly. Keenyah fumbles with her lines, but Kahlen doesn't do any better. This is too much for her all at once.
Now it's time for beauty shots. Keenyah is nervous, and Jay says that once she smiled, it stuck. Naima feels that this is her "make or break" shot, and knows she has to do well. Kahlen knows she has to do well too, since she fumbled on the commercial. Jay tries to tell her how to "bam bam" pose, and before you know it, about three other people are helping him demonstrate. Classic. With that, the Cover Girl shoot is over!
At home, the girls get Tyra mail saying that someone is going home tomorrow. Keenyah feels that Naima is her biggest competition, and don't realize what the judges see in her that they think she's so special. Damn, Keenyah is being a bitch tonight! Naima realizes what the judges wanted out of her -- they wanted her! Keenyah says Kahlen is sliding, while Kahlen thinks that her performance wasn't outstanding, and that she'll be the one going home.
Tyra welcomes the girls, and tells them it's time for the 12th cut. They are reminded of the prizes and introduced to the judges, including guest judge, Gretha Scholtz, designer of a bathing suit line that the girls will be modeling in the final fashion show. They will model three different lines. The girls are told for this elimination, they will be judged on three things. First is their commercial. Second is their runway walk, and finally, how they did in their beauty shot. The judges take a look at the commercial, and honestly, all the girls look and sound great. Kahlen is probably the weakest, but she still looks amazing.
Naima is first in front of the judges, and Janice calls her walk "gumby." They look at her shot, and while Nigel and Janice love it, Nole' doesn't think it's a slam dunk. However, he feels she was the spice in the commercial. Tyra says she was shocked and didn't realize Naima had all that in her. Keenyah does her walk next, and everyone agrees it needs work. Her shot looks great, but Janice wants more neck. Tyra likes it, and Janice adds that Keenyah was mediocre in the commercial, yet Nigel loved it. Kahlen is last and they critique her walk first, saying she needs to work on the face while she's working. Her shot this week is phenomenal. Everyone is shocked at how great it came out, but Tyra wonders what's going on since she's not so impressed. In the commercial, she is a little stale and played it safe. Uh-oh. I don't like how this is going.
The judges deliberate. Nigel feels that Naima did well, and delivered this week. Tyra loved her in the commercial, while Janice says that she needs more of something. Kahlen looked scared, but can stomp it out on the runway. However, Tyra says that as a spokes model, Kahlen scares her. Keenyah nailed the commercial, but Janice says she's not high fashion at all, and needs to lose weight. Here we go again!
The girls come back in and Tyra says that one of them will be winning the competition soon, but someone is going home now. One of them just isn't making the grade. The first name called -- is Naima. Tyra tells her that she started out with everything to hide, but has opened a door to her heart and soul. Keenyah and Kahlen step up. Tyra only has one photo, so the girl not called will have to get the hell out. She has the girls face one another. She tells Kahlen that Keenyah has exactly what she needs. Keenyah demands attention, and has high self esteem. Keenyah looks at Kahlen and is told that she has exactly what she needs. Kahlen can pose her ass off and do any emotion needed. She also has a presence on the runway. The judges debated over this one, but the name called....is Kahlen! As she cries her tears of relief, Keenyah sheds her tears and gives her hugs. She's shocked, and thought that when Tyra said one of them had more potential, and one was stronger -- that she was talking about her. She knows she has the potential, and will take the advice the judges have given her and be a success, unless she gets fatter. Ha! I can't believe she said that.
The final two girls head to the top of a mountain, where Kahlen says it feels like she is in heaven. She never thought she would get this far. Naima says she's been supportive of Kahlen this whole time, and Kahlen has supported her, but now it's do or die. Kahlen isn't her friend now, she's her competition. Kahlen is glad to be left with Naima because nobody pushes her more. However, she is there to win. Both of the girls are ready for this one!
Naima and Kahlen meet up with Jay Manuel, who is explaining to them what the final runway show will be like. Kahlen is ready for this, and Jay takes them to the spot where the runway is, but the girls don't see it. They will be working in the water! There is a fountain, and the runway is under the water. It will circle the fountain, and Ms. J. comes out and does a lap to show the girls how it's done. He tells them they better make the water dance when they are out there. Both girls are nervous, and you can tell.
The girls go through hair and makeup, and Tyra comes to visit, telling the girls that they are doing something that not even she has done! She wishes them luck and the stage is set. Neither of the girls is talking to each other, and Jay reminds them not to fall off the runway. What great advice! Naima says that Kahlen is not her only competition -- it's every other girl on that runway, too. Kahlen says that only one of them will win, so she has to hit this one. The girls hit the runway and Naima is first. Her Mohawk is in full gleam, and she feels superhuman. Kahlen heads out second and does her thing. She says she can feel the rush in her heart. Backstage, the girls have to change and Naima says she can see and hear the judges. Kahlen heads back out and she says that when she stomps in the water, not only is she stomping the people that told her she would never be able to do this, but she is stomping on herself for not believing in herself.
The girls then get to walk out together, and Naima says she will show the judges what she has to offer. They both work out and do their last poses, and head out and clap. both of them dance in the water, and then hug backstage. Tyra comes and tells them what a fabulous job they both did, as the girls hug. The girls head home and have a toast. Kahlen tells the camera that overall, she rocked it out, while Naima says that she has a natural ability that Kahlen lacks. They get their Tyra mail, which says the winner will be crowned tomorrow. I have no clue who is going to take this one!
Tyra greets the girls as they head into panel. She tells them it's a special judging day because now they will decide who will be America's Next Top Model. It's time for someone to graduate. They are reminded for the last time what they will win. A contract with Ford Models, a spread in Elle magazine and a $100,000 contract with Cover Girl cosmetics. There will be no guest judge, since the four judges have seen them every week and know who the girls are. So it's just Janice, Nigel, Nole' and Tyra.
Naima is first for evaluation, and Tyra says she was in awe of her on the runway. She says Kahlen was looking fierce. Nole' agrees that Naima commanded respect, while Kahlen was great in the swimsuit. They compare some of the girls’ portfolio shots, starting with week one, the alien shot. Nigel says that they were two of his favorite to work with, and both were interesting. In week two's shot, with the dogs, Kahlen had the best pose, while Naima was mediocre. For the element shot, Kahlen was sexy, but Naima had an edge to her. When the girls did their shot for the seven deadly sins, Kahlen evoked wrath like no other, while Naima could have done more. For their wild kingdom shot, they both did well, and with the dancers, Tyra remarks that they have had two other dancers on the show (Giselle and Yaya), and it was hard for them to break away from that in their shots. However, Naima knows how to do just that. Finally, the judges compare Cover Girl photos. Both girls look great, but Nigel likes Kahlen better.
Kahlen says that she has overcome who she is, and doesn't sit in the corner anymore or feel overlooked. She feels she should win. Naima breaks down, saying she hated the girl she used to be, and when she walked into panel just now, she felt beautiful. Tyra says that both girls proved that models are regular people. With that, they step out and the judges begin to deliberate.
Everyone agrees that Kahlen is beautiful and photogenic, but as a person she is dry. Each of her photos shows versatility, but Nigel says he might be able to find a girl like her anywhere. Tyra says that Kahlen is not just another blonde hair, blue eyed girl. She has an edge about her. Naima rocked the fashion show, and they think she ruled it. Kahlen has a better body of work though. Naima won the exam, and Nole' is getting confused. Tyra's not sure if they pick the girl that did fair all year, but rocked the final exam, or the girl that had straight A's all year, and then failed the final exam. Hmm, that does sound like a tough choice.
The girls come back in. Tyra says only one of them can win, and they have had such different journeys. Naima was solid all season, but not great. For the final exam though, she turned it out. Kahlen takes pictures that rival today's top models. However, in the final, she was solid, but didn't own it. It was the judge's longest deliberation ever. They have come to a decision, though. America's Next Top Model is... Naima! She starts screaming and is speechless. I'm so happy! She hugs Tyra, and Kahlen begins to cry. She says she stepped on the runway and knew she wanted this. Modeling is a way for her to express herself.
Naima hugs all the judges, and says she feels beautiful. Tyra tells the camera that Naima was unique, versatile and edgy, and she embodies the true spirit of a Cover Girl. Naima continues to cry as they take a look at how she got to where she is. She says she had to win to represent more than herself. She's black, Mexican, Irish, and everything else. I don't think she can believe she's a top model now.
Well, I have to admit, when the season began, I had predicted that Naima would be there until the end, and I was right! After I was disappointed with Mercedes and Yaya not winning, it's good to see a favorite pull it out. The right girl won, and I'm happy. Naima is going to be a fabulous top model. Love the Mohawk, love the features, love her! I'll see everyone next season.
Phil Kural is a recent graduate from Temple University, with a degree in journalism. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback that you may have.
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