Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ANTM All-Stars: CSI: My Career

Steve Jobs has passed away, and all our smizes are dimmed a bit tonight.  This MacBook-penned blog goes out to him.

The Sorta-Stars come back to the house after judging to be greeted by Allison's winning photo, with the quote "Booty Tooch" boldly emblazoned on it. Stop trying to make "tooch" happen, Tyra.  Angelea is feeling a little low after being in the bottom two with Isis, but is determined to soldier on. Downstairs, Lisa is cracking open the wine (of which there are several bottles on the counter) and we're treated to a flashback from Cycle 5 in which Lisa has a serious conversation with a plant.  But while all the other model wannabes raise a glass, Lisa tells us that she went to Celebrity Rehab and now chooses not to drink. (Er, so are you saying you have a problem or not?)

Mail time! But not TyraMail, real mail. From moms! It's like mail call at camp, with care packages and notes for everyone...except Camille who got "a box full of work." Camille says that at 33, she has more responsibilities than the other girls, and her box was full of bills.  I call shenanigans on that--first of all, if you know you're going to be gone for weeks/months, don't you set up direct deposit? And if not, don't you leave checks with the person at home? There must be someone there, because they JUST SENT YOU A BOX FULL OF BILLS.

The show also doesn't believe Camille, because we move on to Kayla, who's in bed feeling crappy and dizzy. She took 3 [bleeps] and 2 ibuprofen, and now her heart is racing. Laura is concerned, and runs to get the other girls, saying that Kayla took "a lot of medication." I guess it depends what the [bleeps] were, but that doesn't sound like all that much. But Kayla is either genuinely ill, or spiraling into a panic attack, because she starts hyperventilating and Bianca tells the producers it's an emergency. We see a cameraman put down his camera (random boot shot, thank you) and rush to Kayla's side while the music plays urgently. Now there's some other random guy in a red shirt standing about six feet from the bed why Kayla pukes and sobs and gasps for air.  I'm guessing panic attack.  As the ambulance pulls up, we go to commercial!

When we return from commercial, we get to see the footage we just watched, but this time shot in sepia for more drama. The girls are all struggling to look sympathetic and say the right things, but their eyes say, "One down." Fortunately, they don't have to worry long, because here comes Kayla, looking a little bedraggled and sheepish, but walking into the house under her own power. First to see her is Camille, whose face does not change at all when Kayla appears--but when Shannon whoops and cheers, Camille staggers up and gives her a zombie hug.  Kayla tells us she had "cardiac arrhythmia" with no known cause, but it could be stress, caffeine, whatever. She jokes that she'll be eliminated because Tyra will think she's a liability. Don't even say it, Kayla! You will bring the Smizing Fates down upon you!

OK, enough personal stuff. Time for a challenge! The girls are bussed to a sound stage, where they'll be auditioning for a role on CSI.  They are thrilled, but I immediately assume their role will be as the corpse du jour. Anyone want to bet me? Bianca is confident that she can act, but doesn't think the other girls have what it takes. What a novel and unusual statement from Bianca! They get a tour of the CSI set, and Laura's over the moon. We get a glimpse of a very realistic foot sticking out from under a sheet in the morgue as Mr. Jay tells the girls they'll be joined by CSI creator Anthony Zuiker. Can you guess what happens next? Yes! Anthony was hiding under the sheet, and that was HIS foot! I can tell this is not your first rodeo.

The girls are all given a scene to memorize in 30 minutes, so I guess they don't have to play dead bodies this week. Kayla is worried about the medical jargon, in which "half the words are longer than my face." Well, she doesn't have a particularly long face, so she should be OK. Now if she'd said, "than Camille's forehead," well, then we'd be worried. Various girls are nervous/excited/confident.

Camille is first up, and tells us that she's pretty sure she'll be so awesome that they extend the role into a permanent character. Then she hits her mark, and in the smallest voice we've ever heard out of her, begins stumbling over her lines. The camera goes for a close-up of her hands, which are shaking violently. Then we're into a montage of flubs, line breaks, and questionable interpretations.  Let's just say Laura seems way too excited at the prospect of sawing off a corpse's skull. We come back around to Camille, who chokes when it comes to the killer line, "gas chromatagraph mass spectrometer." (Which, OK, is a little evil of the show to give these poor ninnies.)

This leads us into a tongue-twister montage: Dominique goes with "mass grass mass spectro-meter;" Bianca ad-libs "biotin, neosporin" for "barbiturates, methamphetamine;" and Kayla gets meth, but stalls out and needs the coroner's reminder for barbiturates. She then adlibs, "You're a good doctor!" charmingly enough that I would give her the part. They're only playing an intern, anyway. Alex draws a total blank and triest to face-act, which doesn't go well for anyone. It also gives me more time to reflect on how terrible her haircut is. It looks like she hacked it off herself with garden shears.

Angelea manages to actually say the whole line, more or less, prompting Zuiker to jump up and tell her, "I don't know who you are, but you have the potential to win this whole thing." Guess he doesn't watch the show. But here comes Bre, who tells us she's terrified, but this is of course a set up to show us that she does great.  (One note--about half the girls are opening the file folder they've been given as a prop, which makes me suspect they're reading the lines off the page. I don't have a problem with that if all the girls got to, but the editing is unclear on this point.)  Is Lisa going to bring it home? In fact, no. She flubs her first take and curses, and then we get a "Lisa says [bleep]" montage. I suspect Bre has this one in the bag. Although Lisa does look like a Vegas streetwalker, so maybe she'd be the better choice. Zuiker tells her to be more serious, and she settles down, but tells us in a talking head, "I did as I directed, but that's not acting to me." And there's your problem, Lisa, old girl. Zuiker is now just facepalming in despair.

Jay professes shock at Lisa's poor performance, and then calls all the girls back to tell them that the top two were Bre and Angelea.  And the winner is...Bre! Of course it is. She's the only one who could only pronounce a full sentence. Angelea is bummed, but not too broken up about it.  Let's go home for TyraMail! "When you're a star you have to Express Yourself. Love, Tyra." The girls don't need any help in guessing that they'll be doing a shoot for Express clothing.

Next day, they're assembled at a Beverly Hills mansion that looks like an Italian villa, and seems to be up in the hills. Amazing view of the city. The girls are told that they'll be playing a part in their photos--each will be assigned a role from The Girlfriend, The Flirt, The Cool Chick, or The Socialite. And they'll have an assortment of handsome gentlemen to help fill out the shots. (These men have cheekbones like knives. You could slice cheese on them. Mmm, cheese.)

Angelea goes first, playing the socialite. She tells us that her story is...basically that of Jenny from the Block. Starts out in the 716, and then moves to New York and becomes "a real rich bitch." You know, she's growing on me, this Angelea. She looks great, much more sophisticated than trashy.  Kayla is next, playing the cool chick--but inexplicably they have put her in a giant Russian hat. That is not "cool chick" wear, Express. Come on now. Kayla is flummoxed by trying to work the hat, and also seems to think she's in some sort of reverse Jason Statham movie where if her heartbeat goes above 75, she'll collapse.  Girl, you forgot to eat all day and drank a Red Bull and took a Xanax, and then you felt like shit! You didn't have a heart attack! She's kind of looking like Lacey Schwimmer here, but I don't think she's winning any prizes today.

Allison's turn! She's playing the girlfriend, and the Express director (who's watching the shoot) whispers to Jay, "When she doesn't look at the camera, she's great." That would seem to indicate a flaw in one's modeling, no? I would have assumed they want girls who can look at the camera. That's all we get from Creepy Chan before we're on to Bre, playing the flirt. She's looking a little too serious and poised for some of it, but there's a glimpse of one shot with a real smile that just lights up her face. [Incidentally all the clothes these girls are wearing are ridiculous.]

Dominique's turn--supposedly she's cool chick, but she's dressed like a socialite if you ask me. We get one shot of her while Jay tells her to drop her chin, and then it's on to Bianca playing "the flirt." She says she wants to "push the limit of flirt," which of course is the signal for her shoot to go badly. She's forgetting her light, she's doing fake poses, and Jay is not having it. Lisa watches gleefully from the sidelines.  Jay asks Bianca what the deal is, and she says that the shoot is like stuff she's done before, and that of all the girls here, she is the real model. Jay gives her a "bish, please" look and calls it a day. (But not until he snaps back at her in his own confessional, and then says, "Ooh, that was harsh.")

Will Shannon turn things around? She's the girlfriend, and for the first time we're spared the "Jay argues with her about nudity" scene. She's having fun with her guy (she got the cutest of the 3!), but Jay asks Express Lady, "Is she the type of girl you would book?" and Express Lady says, "Not based on this yet. She skews a little commercial." Are you kidding me? Express Lady, you work for EXPRESS. You are a MALL STORE. Everything in your store is made of polyester! (Not that there's anything wrong with that--but couture, it ain't.)

Laura is adorable! But gets very little screen time to show off her role as the flirt. Seems to be having fun with it, though, and the quotes we get from Jay and Express Lady are "that's very pretty." So yay! On to Alexandria, who's the socialite in a bright red coat. Gotta say, she looks the part in a "Dynasty" way.  Ha! Jay says she's coming off as "madam." That's enough of that. On to Camille, whose theme for the day is "I'm 33 years old." Shut it, grandma! She's worried that Express won't want to hire an old grey mare such as she, and the producers kindly toss in a shot of Express Lady looking dubious. I assume this is meant to herald Camille's eventual win. I think she's also the socialite, but I missed her chyron somewhere. Anyway, we're shown Camille having trouble, but I think that might be a fakeout.

Lisa's turn--Jay mutters to Express Lady, "Now we've got wildfire." Lisa instantly starts explaining her story as "the cool chick" to the three male models, who could not care less if they were being paid to do so. Cut to Lisa in a talking head telling us about how bad-ass she is, but she is wearing a suede blazer in a bad shade of turquoise, which belies her point.  Lisa decided she wants to jump, so she leaps off the steps about a million times while everyone in the Beverly Hills area stares at her, nonplussed. Eventually Express Lady hits on the idea of having the three bored guys pick her up, which seems to go a little better.

Back to the house in preparation for judging, and Camille is whining about her age again. Don't care. Kayla is reflecting on the fact that she was in the ER two days ago, while Lisa is showing a bored Shannon her leaping technique.  The future is uncertain!

Time for panel...I'm fast forwarding through Tyra's intro, which is even more overacted than usual in honor of Anthony Zuiker's presence.  Laura is our first up for critique, wearing another Wanda Sue special. This one is...not good. ALT says in a bored voice, "I love the detail at the top." I wonder if this is the week he found out he was being replaced by Kelly Cutrone. [Sidebar: I have high hopes for Kelly to be an AWESOME judge. She was hilarious on "The Hills," and I liked her own show. She could be the Simon Cowell of this panel, if she tries even a little bit.] Laura's picture is adorbs! She's giving the camera a flirty side-eye, and ALT observes that we don't even notice the three guys in the shot with her.

Kayla's photo is next, and she's staring straight into camera, with that stupid hat on like she's a lost Romanov. But Zuiker and Nigel both love it and say she brings the cool. Dominique steps up, takes some gentle ribbing for her performance at the CSI audition, and gets praise for her photo, although I think her face looks bad in it.  Bre's up, and gets a halfhearted "cute, but too commercial" from Nigel. It's definitely not the best shot she took, since she's looking away from camera and you can't see her eyes or smile. The fix is in, I tell ya!

Alexandria looks like a robot in her shot--but I think that might be partially because of the unflattering pantsuit that is too long for her. She looks like Hillary Clinton gone awry. The judges think her pose is strong, but her face is weak. Tyra says the photo isn't speaking to Express's younger demographic. Um, maybe because Alexandria looks like she's 50 years old? If you want young, Tyra, stop casting these girls who are rode hard and put away wet!

Allison's "girlfriend" photo is very cute--she's shot in a 3/4 pose, snuggling with her boyfriend-model and looking away from camera. It really does look like you interrupted a moment of PDA between two college students. Camille's photo is boring as hell--she looks blank, she's not relating to the guys at all, and basically Tyra says she was outshined by her male models.

Time for Lisa, and for some reason we start up a ragtime piano? She plays it cute by backwards-moonwalking onto the runway, but Tyra's not really feeling it. Lisa is also wearing some ginormous pink headwrap/hair bow monstrosity, and it somehow makes her look even more like a meth addict than usual. We start with Lisa's excuses about why she did so poorly on the CSI audition, and Tyra sort of raises an eyebrow but doesn't push. But then we move on to Lisa's photo--they picked one of the shots where the guys are holding her, and she has a wide smile. ALT says that although the pose says "happy," it doesn't really feel happy. And...Lisa starts making excuses again, this time that the male models were hungry and didn't have much energy. Oh, Lisa, you're going to regret that. Nigel picks up the ball and calls her out, so Tyra doesn't have to get bitchy. Zuiker brings a little Hollywood magic to the table: "My way of saying it would be, 'This is my life and my career. Starve. And pose.'"

Bianca walks up (in an insane purple top with giant leg-o-mutton sleeves) and explains that she wanted to give a come-hither look that pulled you into the photo. Nigel seizes on this and says, "That's interesting, because you're not looking at anybody in this shot." Sure enough, her lids are lowered and she's casting her come-hither look at the sidewalk. Bianca is duly chastened.

Angelea looks in-your-face, but pretty great in her photo. ALT tells her she looks like a Russian mail-order bride, and Tyra says she's definitely new money. Ha! That's exactly right, actually. Shannon's turn, and Zuiker loves the motion in her shot. I think her face looks a little blank, but Tyra's happy, and praises her for not only looking great, but displaying her leopard-print bag to great advantage. She says it shows that Shannon's had modeling experience since her first round on the show.

Deliberations! They love Laura, Dominique, Angelea, mostly Allison, think Alex is too old, Bianca and Camille are meh, Lisa's excuses have worn thin, Shannon's skilled but corporate, Bre isn't showing off her full potential.  And they have reached a decision!

First photo called is...Angelea! Worst to first, 716! She's very happy. Runner up is Dominique, followed by Allison, Laura, Kayla, Shannon, Bre, and Bianca. We take a moment when we're down to our last three, who are The Olds: Alex, Camille and Lisa. Alexandria makes it through, so we're down to Lazy vs. Crazy for the final two.  I'm guessing they'll keep Lisa, because she brings more drama.  I refuse to recap Tyra's lecture to the two of them, which seems to go on forever and at one point involves the phrase "her cousin, Excuse Monster." Uh-uh, I don't think so. Let's just cut to the chase. Sure enough, drama beats blah every time--Lisa sticks around one more week. Sorry, Camille! Don't forget to take your box of bills!

And that's another night on the runway--tune in next week for Latoya Jackson! And screaming between Lisa and Bianca!

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