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Thursday September 18, 2008 12:46 am

America’s Next Top Model Cycle 11: You’re Beautiful, Now Change

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What is traditionally one of my favorite parts of was once again tainted by an overdramatic – and unnecessary – Tyra performance. Couldn’t she just let the makeover episode speak for itself? Couldn’t she let the cameras focus on the actual competitors?

When the girls returned home from the last elimination, they were surprised to find their head judge waiting inside for them. While there was a purpose for Tyra’s presence, the hostess used the opportunity to display her tiara and her lame acting skills. After explaining how she and her mother “made over” her modeling career (she turned to Sports Ilustrated when she was deemed too fat by high-fashion designers), she then told the ladies that it was time for their makeovers.

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America’s Next Top Model

But if you thought that announcement would just end with a few excited screams, you’d be wrong. Before Tyra could specify the changes the girls were to expect, Miss J came out dressed as Snow White’s evil stepmother. The queen then handed the drama queen a poisoned apple which caused her to faint. Cue . Thanks to his powerful kiss, “Prince Couture” (I’m not joking) was able to bring the princess back to life. Unfortunately, the awakened beauty was too woozy to go on. No model makeover info for them!

The next day, the models made the high-anticipated salon trek for their redos. And while the girls weren’t allowed mirrors to preview the styling process, the viewers at home got mirrors of their own. Tyra (dressed as a good witch) appeared to us in the corner of our screens and kindly guided us along in the process.

America's Next Top Model's Brittany

As expected, a few tears were shed during the restyling process. But thankfully, there were no attitudes. Marjorie went from a hideous white blonde to a nice brown. Joslyn was given longer, textured hair a la Solange Knowles. Samantha’s mall look was made edgier with a shorter, angled cut. Hannah was transformed from a mousy girl with long hair to a cute girl with chin-length hair. McKey’s bright red hair ‘do was made a very dark black. Meanwhile, Sheena said goodbye to Kimora Lee Simmons and hello to highlighted Tyra-esque locks.

Ironically, it was a girl near the top of the pack who was most bothered by her transformation. After admitting to Jay that she was very careful about her image, the Angelina Jolie look-alike had the most dramatic change in the bunch. Her brown locks were given a thick and wavy red weave. Although she still looked gorgeous (it would be hard for her not to), Elina teared up during the process. Despite Jay’s words of wisdom, she had a hard time letting go.

Later, the 12 ladies were given a special late-night assignment. It was time for their after-hours-CoverGirl-challenge-at-Walmart! Woo hoo! Inside the retail giant, CG rep Crissy Barker (Nigel’s wife), explained that the girls were there to promote the TruBlend products. After a quick makeup application, the models would have to improvise a 30-second spot effectively explaining the line.

Overall, the girls did a surprisingly decent job for their first attempt at a commercial. Granted, Analeigh did say “Yo” and Marjorie said “Walgreens” – but it really could have been worse. In the end, Hannah was chosen as the winner. Thanks to her articulate and bubbly shoot, she got the chance to have her video on the cosmetic company’s website and her still picture on the store’s CG page. She also received a $1000 gift card.

America's Next Top Model's Elina

For this week’s photo shoot, the models were taken to a Malibu beach house. Swimsuit time! Although Jay was there to greet the women, he presented the ladies a small surprise. The training wheels were coming off early in this competition. In hopes of testing their abilities, Jay wasn’t going to stand around to give them advice this time. The contestants would have to rely solely on their photographer and their swimsuit designer (former supermodel Susan Holmes).

While I’m sure Jay would have provided useful tips, I don’t know that the end results would have been any different. Ice skater Analeigh struggled to think outside the box. Isis gave a limited range of shots. Sheena appeared relaxed and serene. Brittany failed to look present in her film. McKey delivered strong poses to match her strong hair. Meanwhile, Hannah had difficulty trying to relax.

When it came time for the evaluations, Elina was chosen as this week’s winner. The judges loved her “stunning” and “racially-ambiguous” photo. They also appreciated that she was able to deliver despite her feelings toward her new hair. Lauren Brie with her Caridee-esque shot came in second while Samantha and her “gorgeous” pic came in third.

Falling in this week’s Bottom Two were Brittany and Analeigh. Despite Brittany’s undeniable beauty, the judges were having a hard time detecting her “Wow” factor. They just didn’t feel a connection with her photos. Meanwhile, Analeigh was simply not living up to their high expectations. Although she should have some sort of physical advantage given her ice skating skills, she simply wasn’t quite there yet.

In the end, the judges apparently chose to lower their expectations…a bit. LOSER: Brittany

(You can read next week’s episode here.)
(You can review last week’s episode here.)

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