Friday, November 20, 2015




Catherine Cabanela
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
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Two big questions plague viewers of America's Next Top Model for this episode, "Finale Part 1: The Girl Who Made a Splash": First, will Tyra take us to the brink of revealing the two finalists, but then leave us hanging by our fingernails at the end of the hour like ... they ... always ... do? Second, did Mame finally fall prey to Manwhore Mikey's charm and end up swapping spit (and perhaps other biologicals) with him, and will she tell Justin? The preview suggests an awkward reunion between the handsome twosome, but we all know how that goes. Tease, tease, tease, followed by hyped-up bull.

I predict we'll be left hanging about the top two, and I'm totally comfortable eating crow (as long as it's dipped in chocolate) if they announce the finalists before the curtain falls. As for the Mikey-Mame-Justin love triangle, I really don't care, but it could prove interesting. I like interesting.

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The Models Will Endure a Game Changing Pimp-Off

At the end of "The Guy Who was a Mama's Boy," Tyra sprung this bag of poo at the models: they have to create their own campaign to convince Tyra to choose them for the final round. There will be one boy and one girl in that final round, so Lacey goes head-to-head (or, shall we say, H2T?) with Mame, and Mikey is left to duke it out with Nyle.

This should be interesting for a couple of reasons. At this point, it's really anyone's game. Mame photographs well and has great rapport with industry representatives, but she also has a history of choking during presentations. Lacey, on the other hand, has been plagued by the recurring fish lips hooker face.

As for the boys, everybody loves Nyle when he presents because he's got lots of personality. He's also drop-dead beauti-licious, drama-free and he's tight with his mom. Mikey, on the other hand, depends on his hair to get him through, but the camera loves him. He has a sympathetic backstory and is charming in a hustler kind of way.

What's at stake for Tyra is making this last competition end with a bang rather than a whimper. When all is said and done, she also has to choose which model(s) will best represent ANTM, NEXT Model Management, NYLON magazine and Zappos. Good luck, girlie girl.

Hello Again, Mame, Nyle, Mikey and Lacey

Okay, so everybody spends the first segment of the episode, per usual, talking about the previous shoot. We've seen the final four of other cycles be much more freaked-out at this stage, but these four seem to take it in stride, or perhaps they just hide it well. Adding men to the competition has decreased the tension because the models want to impress each other. True, there's been drama in past boy-girl seasons, but I think overall it's been a calming factor. The romance aspect provides some distraction and emotional support between opposite sex model pairings that wasn't there when it was all women competing. Who wouldn't want to cuddle up with a sexy model after a tough day under the bright lights? Pick me, baby.

Time to Shoot Your Fashion Spread for NYLON Magazine

Yu Tsai meets the models at the parking lot of an empty high school accompanied by Mark Hunter, The Cobrasnake Photographer, and NYLON Creative Director J. Errico. Yu announces that from this point forward, there will be no challenges and no scoring. The assignment today is to shoot the spread for NYLON magazine. Whoever wins the title of America's Last Top Model will see today's spread splashed across that magazine for real, no more mock-ups.

What the Hell is Mikey Doing Climbing the Fence?

So, I guess this is the photo shoot. Mikey and Nyle are shot hanging off a chain link fence like they are breaking into it, but they are talking very casually, so it seems like this isn't the real deal. Mikey struggles to get his body and his face to match. Oh no. Nyle is kicking ass and taking names. Yu says a fire has been lit under Lacey's butt because she's coming alive like never before. She does have a problem shirking her oversexed blow-up doll affect during her shoot. Then it's Mame's turn and she's doing great until Lacey steals the photographer's attention by posing with a puppy ... and Cobrasnake starts shooting her. Mame's pissed, but she should be thanking Lacey because this motivates Mame to get a ton of smoking hot shots in the swimming pool.

#DontTellJustin

Oh no. Back at the mansion, the models chill in the hot tub. That's when the elephant in the room gets addressed. Mikey and Mame are joking around about what she's going to tell Justin regarind getting cozy with Mikey.

Mikey plays it cool, joking about texting Mame while she's with Justin:" #DontTellJustin!" As expected, he's only thinking about himself. It must not have occurred to him that Butter-Wouldn't-Melt-In-Her-Mouth Ashley will also be returning. Mikey's a manwhore, but I really don't think he would want to hurt Sweet little Ashley.

Zappos Couture Photoshoot at the Four Aces Hotel

This is the final shoot of the episode and it's the most important one of the entire America's Next Top Model franchise. Like the previous photo shoot, what is captured today on film will be used by Zappos Couture in their ad campaign. Hey, has anyone ever seen (in real life) one of these ad campaigns that emerge from an ANTM photo shoot? I never have, though I haven't really looked. I digress.

In the desert with Yu Tsai at what looks like a rundown skank hole are Editorial Strategist Kevin Bailey and Head of Brand Marketing Melissa Costa from Zappos Couture. The theme of the shoot is luxury travel.

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Lacey Crushes Her Shots, But "Mame, That Bitch is Hot"

Both women look fantastic in their numerous shoots and, man, I want these clothes. Lots of bold colors. That pink cropped swing coat is to die for. There are three or four poses each and both women are on fire, but when they get to the pool shoots, Yu tells the camera that "Mame, that bitch is hot!" He says Lacey was the frontrunner going into the shoot, but, well, you just saw how he's feeling about Mame now. Dang.



Nyle Gives Melissa Butterflies in Her Stomach, and Mikey Chokes


Now it's Nyle in front of the camera and the Zappos brand manager is all aflutter over his poses and his eyes. Mikey struggles like hell for the first half of the shoot, but then he comes back and connects with Melissa to get some bad-ass shots.

Behind the scenes, it's funny to hear all four models assessing their competition every step along the way. Melissa is in love with all four models, so who knows what's going to happen at the end of this episode?

Welcome Back, America's Eliminated Top Models

Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles is the location for the final ANTM runway show, which will feature designs by Rocky Gathercole. The building looks like a sculpture. It reminds me of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, which was designed by Frank Gehry. I've actually been there, so this is personal for me. According to Google, there's a really good reason this looks like the Guggenheim ... the concert hall was also designed by Frank Gehry. Super cool.

Then, guess who arrives at the concert hall in the big black ANTM bus? You got it! Every single eliminated model from Cycle 21. Devin, Justin, Ava, Ashley, Courtney, Hadassah, Dustin, Stefano and Delanie. I don't see Zombieface Bello. He probably decided there are much better ways to spend his time. Frankly, we don't need his drama anyway. Devin will bring that.

Distracting Trouble in Paradise Could Kill the Runway

When the remaining four and the eliminated however-many models mix, there is a great deal of stress because Devin has been flapping his lips about everyone. Mame is getting the iciest shoulder from Justin. Devin, predictably, does his little "I'm the most innocent little puppy in the room" act and it's disgusting. However, I still look at his face and can't get over his amazing bone structure. Mame and Justin finally talk and it gets pretty intense until she says she just wants to get through this runway and then deal with their personal issues. How in the hell is she supposed to focus with this tripe going on in her heart? Good luck, beautiful chocolate mama. Surprisingly, Justin says he could still see them together. Say wha?

As for Mikey, everyone is dissing or avoiding him. Devin hates him. Ashley doesn't have enough self-respect to be angry with him even though she should. Justin tells Mame he would have felt better about Mame cheating if she's done it with Nyle. The fact that it was with Mikey chaps his hide. Mikey looks like he might be suffering from irritable bowl syndrome by the time this reunion gets going.

Hair, Makeup, Swagger and Mom

ANTM Cycle 21 winner Keith Carlos arrives on the scene for a pep talk and some love for the models. Then they all practice their catwalk swagger.

Everyone's ready to puke their guts out when -- surprise -- the final four models' moms appear. I don't know if that would freak me out more or help me gain focus. The clock is ticking down and no announcement has been made yet about which two are the final competitors. Gahhhh. Get it over with, Tyra!

Two minutes left. There's no way they can cram four presentations and photo spread reviews into two minutes. Dammit.

To Be Continued...

Aghhhhhhh! I hate being right. (Not really) Okay, it is what it is. After everything that happened during this episode -- Mikey's body not cooperating, Lacey butting in on Mame's photo shoot, Lacey doing slutty poses, Mame freaking out over the potential ruin of her romance with Justin -- who will Tyra announce as the two final finalists on the final America's Next Top Model catwalk? My esteemed colleague Jennifer Lind-Westbrook has an opinion that you are welcome to, but I want to know how you think ANTM will wrap up.

In our poll about which two will be the last models of the cycle, 55% said Nyle and Lacey, while 34% said Nyle and Mame. Unfortunately, Mikey only got 11% of the 1,037 votes to date. I have to agree that Nyle will be the last man standing. As for the girls ... flip a coin ... but I have more faith in Mame's abilities.

Now it's your turn to vote for who you think will take home the money, the modeling contract with NEXT and the fashion spread with Zappos Couture. Vote in out poll below.



The America's Next Top Model series finale airs Friday, December 4 at 9pm on The CW.

(Images courtesy of The CW)



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