And here we are at last, fellow Booty Toochers...we've come down to the final three sad, shopworn girls battling for a crown of tin and paste. Who will be the winner? And can they truly be said to have won?
Our opening montage reminds us of our three choices: Creepy Chan, blonde kewpie doll of enormous eyes and bloodlust; Angelea, angry girl from the 716 who works at a bank, so we know she's classy, even if her Greek extends only to "where is the bathroom?"; and Lisa, a 47-year-old mother of three who, judging by her confessional hairstyle, is apparently hot-rolling her hair for her son Joey's wedding on Long Island this weekend.
We return to the house, where Angelea is giddily crowing, "Final Three! Final Threeeeee!" while Allison looks at her feet and Lisa grudgingly allows herself to be hugged. Then it's time for Lisa's sob story--she has been performing her whole life to "break through the shackles of physical, sexual and mental abuse." She tells us that she's the best she's ever been, and wants to win ANTM to boost her new album and help her charity for abused children.
Angelea tells us that she will fight to the death for this win, and that she sees it as redemptive after her previous loss. To be honest, we don't seem to spend as much time on her story as Lisa's, but then, we've heard it in every single talking head from Angelea, so we're good.
Allison reminds us that she's still recovering from the death of her father (from cancer). She wants to win because she's interested in pursuing a fashion career (though again, she mentions working behind the camera--she doesn't really want this job). Also, I notice that although her eyebrows are bleached the same terrible yellow-white as her hair so that she looks like Powder, in every single one of her portfolio shots, they've darkened her brows to brown. Nice makeover, Tyra.
TyraMail! Up pop three Greek words, which Angelea translates as "easy, breezy, beautiful"--that's right, it's time for the Cover Girl challenge!
Lisa tells us that Angelea is her strongest competition, but she thinks Ang is too fragile to succeed. And then she gives us this life lesson: "When things get hard, you hold onto the handlebars of fierceness and don't let go. She's let go many, many times." Gentle readers, always remember to cling to the handlebars of fierceness, even when you've skidded into the gravel pit of jealousy. (And remember to wear your helmet of confidence.)
Allison says that Lisa's very good, and that it comes down to what the client/judges want. No one has anything nice to say about Allison? Mean!
Another sunny day, which presumably will once again be tough for near-albino Allison. They've gathered at a seaside restaurant for Mr. Jay to instruct them. This year's product is some sort of eyeshadow plus primer in a stick. IntenseBlast? Something. And their photographer is Nikos, who I believe did the salad bowl shoot and loved Allison even though she couldn't open her eyes. The Cover Girl rep is on set, to add to the pressure.
The girls are given "scripts" that fit on an index card, but will no doubt trip everyone up anyway. Lisa's shoot is first, and Cover Girl Lady (henceforth, CGL) seems pleased. Good thing this is for eyeshadow and not lip gloss, because you can see every little wrinkle around her mouth. Now it's time for the commercial--they have a "teleprompter" in the form of a PA with an iPad who's finger-scrolling while the person reads. That can't possibly be helpful, can it? How does the iPad holder know how far he's scrolled?
Lisa has no trouble with the basic text of the commercial, but there's an "Oh, yes!" in the middle of it that's throwing her. No matter how she says it, she sounds insincere. (Honestly, I think that's as much a fault of the writing as the acting.) My TV sound had a momentary glitch on the first take so that I thought she said, "Fuck, yeah!" It should be a warning to Tyra that it seemed perfectly reasonable to me that Lisa would ad lib a swear in her commercial. In the end, it seems like they kind of give up on it, and Lisa's a little deflated, even though CGL tells her good job.
Next is Allison, looking kitted out for the club in a plunging electric blue shift and flatironed hair. Allison is worried because she was the worst at Cover Girl in her last cycle, and once again, she's finding it impossible to open her eyes. It looks like they're standing under the shade of a pergola, so I'm a little surprised--it's not like she's in full sun--but this is her "handicap" to overcome, apparently. In the end, they get some profile shots and then shoot a bunch with her eyes closed. Also, I see in this footage that her eyebrows are still brown, so apparently the ridiculous erased-eyebrow look in confessional is a sneak preview of the runway styling!
Time for Allison's commercial, and she has to emote more. Mr. Jay finds her too introverted and tells her to dial it up to 11--her next take is better. That's all we get, so I guess they're OK with it.
Angelea professes her nervousness to Lisa, who looks bored and holds a battery-powered fan to her face. Angelea is in a hot pink dress that is a terrific color for her. Her shoot apparently goes well, because we don't spend much time there. Right on to her commercial, which actually has great energy and appeal, except for something in the middle where she shouts "Frowers!" or something. I can't understand it. Ohh...we get take 7, in which she pronounces "for hours" correctly. And that's the take, so back home for more TyraMail!
The message is "Ciao bella...get ready for a beach day." The girls instantly start trying to puzzle out this message, wondering if they're going to Italy...but no, they're staying in Crete (at a gorgeous beach--seriously, Crete absolutely delivered the money shots for this show) and having their Vogue Italia shoot! We see the ridiculous eyebrow bleaching, which Angelea declares makes her look like Vogue Italia.
Allison is sent into a little crevice in the cliffs, where she poses in a white bikini and has no apparent problems with her eyes. Oh, we quickly rush right on to Lisa in the same bikini and the same crevice. Honestly, you can't see that much of the girls in this position. Angelea poses as well, and we see that they got some ocean shots, too. The camera mostly avoids Angelea's paunch.
Oh, jeez. Mr. Jay explains the runway, including the exciting fact that having three girls walk is an ANTM first (really?). For the final show, the girls will descend into a pool of water, symbolizing their transformation from mortals to goddesses. Then they will fly through the air and walk the runway to the strains of the song they wrote. To fill out the fashion show, they'll be joined by not only local models, but also our last three bootees, Shannon, Dominique and Laura!
Faithful viewers will recall that a few weeks ago, the girls all "designed" their goddess dresses in hopes of making it this far. Now those dresses are ready, and we'll see what on earth their assorted gibberings turned into. Lisa's is, unsurprisingly, a mirrored bustier with a white skirt cut mini-length in front, but with a bridal train behind. It's a skirt mullet. A skullet. She loves it.
Angelea's has a sheer top with lots of gold detailing that seems sort of Egyptian, and has high gold winged shoulders. The rest of the gown is white and clingy, but also has a long train. Allison's is lacy and sheer on top with a chiffony sort of skirt (I can't see if it has a train). Basically, she looks like she's in a wedding gown.
Each of our booted visitors pick a different candidate--or rather, Laura picks Allison ("Go, Allie Cat!"), Shannon picks Lisa, and Dominique picks "each one of these girls is so different." Weird, that doesn't sound like "Angelea." All the girls are also wearing carnival masks, and I believe I just saw Miss Jay marching to his seat in a gladiator helmet with a stiff red mane. As we go to commercial, Angelea starts to cry, getting nervous about the water portion, since she doesn't know how to swim. Girl, think! Are they seriously going to make you SWIM in your FULL-LENGTH GOWN? Don't be an idiot.
Oops--we start, and I'm forced to eat my words a bit--the girls aren't in clothes yet, but in simple white tunics. They actually do swim across a little pool and then step into a circle of curtains, which are raised while the girl is hastily changed and put in a harness to "fly" about eight feet to the runway. At which point the woman is disconnected again and begins her walk. This "show" must have been excruciating for the audience, because there had to be at least 5 minutes to change and then to unhook each girl from the harness, right? Though I notice this girl's hair is dry--I think television tricks may be at work.
Lisa's in a long red wig today. She's swimming underwater and tries to do a dramatic flip, but then her long fake hair gets caught in her mask, she gets lost, and swims into the side of the pool. She pops up, confused, and then carries on her way. Aha! Lisa explains it all to us. When Soggy Lisa steps into the Circle of Changing, the curtains rise and she dashes out the back while a girl in "goddesswear" steps in to take her place. But then Lisa runs away, changes, and comes back to be harnessed, fly, and begin the runway...so what did the other girl do? I'm confused.
Anyway, Lisa is doing her best mime of "walking against the wind," because it's blowing like crazy here on Crete. Her train is all over the place, but she makes it to the end of the runway for the opening beats of "I Be Like Whoa" to start up. She sashays happily up and down the runway while the judges boogie in their seats. Yeah, she's a veritable Terpsichore, people.
Some more generic models go, so we have time to watch Angelea freak out some more. She dives in, has a little panic and comes up with mask askew, but then makes it the rest of the way across the pool. Backstage, she gets popped into her dress and gets hooked up for her "flight." She flaps her arms as though that will help, and her nose is popped in the air as though she's trying to peer under her mask. She gets to the end of the runway and her song starts up: "I Ain't Goin' Nowhere (I'm Here)". Mr. Jay is standing and fist pumping like the Jersey Shore's drag queen cousin.
Allison's turn, and she seems to have confused this with a swimming contest, as she submerges right away and swims underwater all the way across the pool. She's gasping for air a bit as she comes out, but they get her sewn into her dress and she has some graceful poses on the wire. Her gauzy train is practically horizontal (as are the ginormous false eyelashes on her mask), and she tells us that she's almost blown off her stilettos in a couple of spots. I think her "Underwater" song helps her because it gives her a beat to march to--she doesn't look as gawky as she usually does in runway.
Heh. Lisa, in a post-show talking head said, "I think I had an insane runway show." This would be unremarkable except at the moment, she's in a frizzy red fright wig and her eyes are encircled with black like a raccoon, so it's rather more literal than I think she intends. Angelea isn't feeling well, or she's upset, or something (and I see her dress's seam has split), and Lisa gives her a side eye.
OMG! Surprising update! We come back from commercial, not to the girls, but to the panel in L.A., with serious music playing. This is "a special finale being conducted under unusual circumstances." Turns out, after shooting was completed, Nigel tells us, the production team learned information from Angelea that disqualifies her. Shocker! (Is she pregnant? I bet she's pregnant.) WTF??? They don't tell us. They just say that they'll be judging only Allison and Lisa, without Angelea in the mix, and then Mr. Jay says, "You know what, guys? We wish Angelea all the best in all her future endeavors." ALT chimes in, "Oh, absolutely. Absolutely." BUT WHAT IS IT WHAT DID SHE DO TELL ME TELL ME!!!
No such luck. On to final judging with Allison and Lisa, in their finale dresses as though they weren't standing in L.A. I wonder if Lisa got married yet? I see Allison dyed her eyebrows back, at least. Tyra runs down the many prizes waiting for the winner (including spokesmodel for the official ANTM fragrance, "Dream Come True"--Lisa gets a look on her face that says, "Not Neon?"). Who. Is going. To be. America's. Next. Top. Model? (I did that a la Tyra for you.)
The judges loved Allison's swim, but found her walk awkward. Lisa's swim was a disaster, but she "worked the wind" and conquered her dress. Time for Cover Girl commercials! Allison's is pretty good, and they cut in the eyes closed shots so she looks languorous, not suffering from the light. Nigel tells her she looks like she's communicating even through her closed eyelids. ALT wanted even more energy and pop in her articulation. Lisa's commercial is fun and flirty, and ALT loved it. Tyra was not impressed, though, and felt that Lisa's "daring" persona wasn't there. Lisa is practically biting her tongue not to say, "Jay told me to tone it down."
Print ad time! Allison's is first, and to be honest, this isn't a terrific shot, I think. Her eyes are pretty, but her mouth is just sort of agape and her face looks undefined, almost pudgy. Nigel says it's a bit vacant, and Tyra agrees, saying she didn't smize. All the other judges fall in line to agree. Oh, man, tell me Lisa's not going to win this whole thing. SHE'S 103 YEARS OLD, PEOPLE! But her ad is definitely better--she's actually peering out at us from behind her bangs, so you can see only one eye, but it's got a lot of personality. She's rocking the "Modelland" eye.
The judges are going off to deliberate, but it doesn't look good for our Allison. I am shocked that Lisa may take this whole thing home. I was sure we were looking at Angelea. Oh, I have so much Googling to do! Whatever could have disqualified her? Basically, the judges all agree that Allison has this compelling look that sucks people in, but Lisa's an all-round performer.
And the winner is...
Not us, yet, because we have to watch Part 2 of Tyra's crazy-ass Modelland "motion editorial" from last week. (I'd forgotten all about it.) Oh, evil--the final shot of the video will announce the winner of the season.
We start the vid, and once again it's yellow dinosaur-girls and Allison in a cat helmet and Lisa just looking old...and hey, they cut all of Angelea out of the video. She's been fully disappeared. That's what you get for disappointing Tyra.
And the final shot is...Lisa. Ancient, trashy, horse-faced Lisa. Um, congratulations. Good luck with your foul-mouthed correspondent, Extra. Bullet dodged, Allison. Sucks to be you, Angelea.
So goodnight, smizers! I be like whoa at having had you all reading this whole season, and I will leave you with these final words of wisdom...
POT LEDOM is Top Model backwards.
Update: According to Twitter, Angelea really did win, but stupidly couldn't keep her mouth shut on Facebook, so the judges disqualified her and reshot the ending in L.A. Man, if it's true, that is a dumb, dumb way to lose.