We join the girls in the bus on the ride home from last week's panel, and they're all rattled by Bre's dismissal. Lisa is mourning the loss of someone to control Bianca, Alexandria is stunned that she made it, but off-kilter after being called "a reality show contestant trying to model" by Tyra (um, pot, kettle much?), and Shannon thinks that the judges' instruction to her to be "edgier" means "raunchier"--and she assures us that that is not who she is. Whatever, Shannon...I was supporting you through UndieGate, but now you're just being dumb.
Bianca is worried that she now has an even bigger target on her back, and apparently she's addressing that worry by picking a fight with Alexandria about the shower. (In Bianca's defense, Alex does that hateful thing where you say something snide but end it with "honey." So I'm now Team Bianca.) The shower altercation ends without fisticuffs, however, so we can all rest easy.
Tyra Mail! "If it doesn't make dollars, it doesn't make sense." I wonder who writes these? Do you think this is a particular job, or is it just some woebegone PA who cranks them out in between sourcing suspender vendors for Tyra's weird panel outfits? Lisa says, "I only do this to make hundreds and hundreds of dollars," and I genuinely can't tell if she's making a joke, or if she's truly thinking in terms of hundreds, not thousands. Kayla laughs, so I guess it's supposed to be a joke?
Oh, lord, now Kayla and Bianca are telling each other their strengths and weaknesses while doing hair and makeup in the mirror. Bianca to Kayla: her strength is that she's a really good model, but her weakness is that she has a boring personality. Kayla to Bianca: her strength is that she's memorable, but her weakness is that she's a bitch, and "bitches never win." Bianca scoffs at this, saying, "In whose world?" In confessional, Kayla worries that she's not standing out, even though she was likeable enough (or, more likely, available enough) to be chosen for the All Star season.
Nigel greets us "on the historic rooftop of the Roosevelt Hotel" to introduce the next challenge...designing one's own signature fragrance! Um, wha? According to Kayla, "anyone who's anyone has their own signature fragrance." It's true--mine is vodka, with top notes of Cheetos. The guest judge is a man with the unlikely name of Ben Bennett, and he owns a fragrance company. The girls all walk inside to see a range of essential oils arrayed before them, and get to sniffing.
They all had to choose a name for their fragrance, and I think this is a great opportunity for a game, don't you? Match the All-Star in column A to her fragrance name in column B! Answers will be in the first comment of this post.
1. Lisa A. Smitten
2. Laura B. Honey Blood
3. Dominique C. Candid
4. Shannon D. Love
5. Angelea E. Diamondatrix
6. Allison F. Free
7. Kayla G. Neon
8. Bianca H. Angelea
9. Alex I. Survivor
Some of the girls are clinging to their "branding" words, which just goes to show that they're taking this whole thing more seriously than Tyra did. Others got more creative, with dubious results. But all of them happily combine a few scents, and explain their fragrance names to BenBen--who clearly could give two shits, but has the patience of a saint. When we get to Alex, apparently she'll be testing that patience by taking forever to pick her oils. First they show BenBen asking her what scent she's looking for, and she replies idly, "Oh, I'm just testing everything." Cut to the girls looking bored while the Foley guy cuts in a ticking clock sound.
At last, Alex is done, and Nigel comes back to tell the girls what's next. They will be "launching" their fragrance to the public (and, I assume, trying to sell it? so basically, being an ANTM All-Star qualifies you to be one of those perfume ladies in the mall?) that evening. At this news, only Shannon jumps up and shrieks, waving her arms in the air. No one else reacts, apparently not feeling that this warrants such excitement. Nigel goes on to explain that no, they won't be perfume ladies--their scents will be infused into bath products, and they'll be selling those products while reclining in bathtubs. Their fans will decide who wins, and the winner gets immunity.
As the girls get dressed and dolled up, none of them seem very keen on this, but Bianca is on a tear. She insists (I think rightly) that a professional model/actress/whatever would never do this, and what's more, Tyra would never do this. "Do you see how she conducts herself? She's a businesswoman. A lady." Bianca feels that sitting in a tub in a swimsuit is degrading, and that no one will respect her as a model if this is what she does. Um, sweetie, you agreed to go on ANTM: All-Stars--I think that ship has sailed.
Lisa basically tells her she's not wrong, but she has to suck it up because she's here, and she's totally replaceable. While doing this, Lisa appears to be preparing for another football game, because she has painted about an inch of black under each of her eyelids. Only now do I realize that the girls are doing their own hair and makeup, rather than being styled by Tyra's team. I guess this is so that they can each choose the look for their "signature" scent?
Off they go to a "red carpet" event, which means a gaggle of mallrat ANTM fans who seem delighted to be spritzed with various perfumes. (What must that room smell like? Nine different scents, plus sweaty fans and hot lights? Ugh.) They are greeted by ANTM winner and working actress "Eva Marcelle," whom you may remember was just Eva Pigford on her cycle. (She was the little short one with the beautiful cat-eyes, who had to pose with a tarantula on her face.) It is worth noting that Eva's hair is now platinum white. Eva interviews a couple of them halfheartedly, and then Laura reminds us that this is for immunity.
The girls shmooze their fans for a bit, and then we see each of them settling into their tubs (which have some rose petals scattered in the water, so you know it's a Fancy Modeling Bathtub). Lisa is standing in her tub dancing and shouting, Kayla is having trouble figuring out how to be "free" in her tub, and Allison is still trying to explain her fragrance name to her perplexed but cheerful fans. We cut to Eva and Nigel noting that, whether you like Lisa or hate her, you always hear her (because she's so loud), which apparently makes her a good spokesperson. Well, yes, as long as you're not concerned with your brand's reputation--Ed Hardy, anyone? Cut to Bianca, sneering at Lisa's display and explaining to some guys that getting in the tub is "not her thing." Nigel comes over and asks her to pose a la her fragrance, and even dabbles his fingers in the water to encourage her, but she is not having it.
More shots of random tubs, and then Nigel is quizzing Shannon about her fragrance name, and why it suits her. I won't give anything away here...but I will say that Nigel winds up reclining in the tub, fully dressed. (I suspect a number of the people at this party have imbibed a bit more than is strictly necessary.) Then we're done, and all the girls are given purple babydoll robes to put on over their suits on what is now clearly a freezing, windy, rooftop. Eva announces the winner, who is, of course--Lisa. She's thrilled to have her own fragrance produced, and even more so to have immunity at panel! That means her aged meth-face is with us for another week, and some poor shmuck is going home. I will now attempt to predict the future: the bottom two will be Bianca for attitude, and Kayla for personality, and Kayla will go home because she's boring and not "free" enough.
Time for the photo shoot! Mr. Jay meets them on the street and tells them that he has something fun planned--and then a biker dude on a motorcycle with those high handlebars (and flames painted on the tank) pulls around the corner. The girls are going to be riding "all over Hollywood" on the back of the bike, and are meant to be emulating the personas of larger-than-life reality stars like Snooki (Jersey Shore) and NeNe Leakes (Real Housewives of Atlanta). Alex, not unreasonably, takes umbrage at this, because she was just told last week that she looked like a reality star, and it was a bad thing.
As the girls get into hair and makeup, it becomes clear that they are in fact being styled as either Snooki or NeNe as their model, rather than simply thinking "reality breakout star." Kayla's excited to play Snooki and show everyone that she can be a fun party girl, while Shannon's all, "I don't watch the show, and have no clue what I'm going to do." I'm giggling at all the poufs.
Laura appears to be NeNe, with a heavy sideswept bang and a fur vest. She's having fun with it, and we finally get to see a little of a Laura photo shoot! This also lets us see that they are not exactly "riding on" the motorcycle...well, they're on the bike, but the bike is on a flatbed truck, so that the photographer can stand next to the bike and shoot.
Next up is Snooki Kayla, whose hair looks great in the pouf and who could be a Russian mail order bride. Alas, she's distracted and flustered by dudes catcalling her on the street as they go by, and she forgets her playful posing. The photographer is bored and frustrated and says she wasted his time. Nene Angelea is excited as "the po-lice" ride up, sirens blaring, but Jay says her posing is too toned down.
Back in hair & makeup, Lisa finds out that she'll be doing Nene, but she has no clue what that means, since she's not an RHOA fan. Bianca helps her out with a half-decent Nene impersonation (but why are you helping her, Bianca?), but tells the confessional that she doesn't see why some of the girls claim to want to be in the business, but don't watch television. Then she tells Lisa that she's done helping, because she just remembered this is a competition. (My point exactly!) She's done enough, though, and Lisa walks onto set in character, which is a little creepy. Jay addresses her as Lisa and she says, "It's NeNe, and black girls don't go on motorcycles, 'cause my hair, honey." She's climbing all over the bike, grabbing the "driver," and hooting and hollering as is her wont. Jay eats it up. Sigh.
Snooki Allison is slathered in black eyeliner like she's Avril Lavigne, and Jay seems happy, but we don't see many shots. Snooki Dominique is also going for it, including a cool shot where she's standing on the bike and reaching around the biker for the handlebars. Back at the ranch, Bianca has acquired a jar of pickles, which any Jersey Shore fan will tell you is Snooki's favorite treat. The other girls see it and start planning to use pickles in their photos, but Bianca tells them to step off, as it was her idea. ("I'm mostly hungry," Allison says plaintively.)
Bianca bops out to set holding her pickle jar, and Jay is amused but unconvinced. Bianca promises that if it doesn't work, she'll abandon it, but wants to try some, and he lets her. Unfortunately, all of her pickle photos look porny and phallic, and Jay takes it away. We see some more photos, but not a strong reaction from Jay.
NeNe Alex is hating her hair in rehearsal, and in her shoot just gives a thousand versions of the "Oh, no, you di'int" face and finger-wave. Jay hates it: "Who are you waving at? You're riding on a bike." Really, dude? You're upset that she's ruining the verisimilitude of the shoot? OK then. Snooki Shannon actually looks great, like a party girl, but Jay says he's "not seeing Snooki yet." He keeps trying to get her to be more energetic and mix it up, but she fails to show a wild side. And that's a wrap!
Back at the house, the girls are all predicting a double elimination, and Bianca fully expects to be on the chopping block for her bathtub boycott. Kanye West, she tells a nonplussed Allison, "is one of the most candid, outspoken people ever, but you'll never see him in a bathtub." (Here I must confess that I rushed over to Google Images to disprove Bianca's claim, but it's true! No Kanye-in-a-tub shots.) Confident in her closing argument, Bianca is ready for panel.
And here we are! But as the girls come in, they're greeted not by Tyra's weave, but by a squeaky "Walk, bitches, walk." Yes, our guest host this evening is none other than Kathy Griffin! She tells us that Tyra was let go, and they brought Kathy in to show everyone what real modelling's about...and then of course Tyra comes in. Kathy asks, "How'd you get out of your dressing room?" Kathy is wearing too much uneven bronzer, and I'm confused about whether it's bad makeup, lighting, or if that's part of her "costume." Guess we're done with the bit, anyway.
Laura's NeNe has a good vibe--she's giving the camera a sassy side-eye--but they shot her from below and the angle's a bit weird. Angelea is successfully delivering "essence of NeNe," says Nigel. Dominique's Snooki is eye-catching, but the face is a little tweaked. Kathy wishes she'd acted more wasted, and says, "You can act like that. I'm blacked out now. I won't remember any of this tomorrow." Alex's NeNe finger-wag reads well with the panel, but Nigel finds it a bit over-the-top. Lisa, our challenge winner, has worn the most normal outfit I've ever seen her in--looking like that, she could be a successful real estate agent in Escondido! Her NeNe picture looks good, though--her angle is finally great, and her bone structure is on full display.
Kayla's Snooki isn't great--she's too fashiony, and not giving good eye contact. (Actually, one eye is squinting like there's something wrong.) Kayla looks like she's going to cry. Snooki-CreepyChan gets full marks for being both model and messy. Bianca looks beautiful in her photo, but not at all like Snooki--however, she's holding a pickle aloft! I'm glad the pickle is getting work. And now it's time to hear her case for skipping the bathtub. She starts in about "I want to be respected as a model" and Tyra's all, "But you were a model and you came back here?" Bianca starts to get a little teary-eyed as she speechifys, and we cut to the other girls, where Lisa is openly laughing at her while Laura stares blankly into the middle distance, probably thinking about Grandma Wanda Sue. Or maybe barbecue. She looks hungry. Back to Bianca, who trots out her "Beyonce wouldn't do it" argument, and Tyra basically squashes her: "But you're not Beyonce." Tyra tells Bianca that if she were in Bianca's place, she would do the assignment, and she would strive to win it. Bianca is sent back to the group, chastened. Finally, Shannon's photo is pretty but lifeless--her capri-length harem pants are busy but hideous.
Judges go through the photos, but they don't say anything we couldn't guess from the panel critiques. However, it's all worth it just to hear ALT say, "Get yo ass up in the tub!" That alone was worth staying up for.
So who will stay and who will go tonight? Our first reality vixen to be called tonight is...Lisa. Tyra maintains that it's merely coincidental that she has immunity, but I'm skeptical. The first judged girl to be called is...Angelea. Followed by Laura, Alex, Allison, and Dominique. At this point, Tyra calls the remaining three girls forward, and points out that she has only a single photo left to award. Sure enough, this is a double elimination. So we have Shannon, Kayla and Bianca--who's it gonna be? I assume they'll keep Bianca for drama, since they're basically over the other two girls.
But no! They kept Shannon! I confess I'm surprised, but not disappointed. She's still pretty (and still not going to win, but whatever). Tyra looks genuinely sad to lose Bianca, less so to say goodbye to Kayla (whose portfolio review reveals that she has only one expression). Sorry, ladies! But it was nice knowing you.
Next week: music videos! Oh, lord.