'America's Next Top Model': "Mama's in Charge Today"

Katarzyna_topmodel10_240 Last week on 'America's Next Top Model', Lauren Frankenwalked her way back to the States after she and the rest of the ladies murdered la lingua Italiana in a Cover Girl commercial. This week, Tyra reminds us that she too is a Noted Fashion Photographer. And I don't have to tell you that girlfriend wants to be on top.

Whitney bemoans last week's poor performance and panel, while Fatima finds a way to praise herself while tearing Katarzyna down: she says Kat should be "behind a desk...an accountant." And while the judges are hard on Katarzyna's perceived lack of personality, I would far rather spend a day on set with it than with Fatima's personality. I'm just saying. Mona Tyra Mail reveals that the girls must "fight for the masses" if they want to "pose for the classes." Anya, unsurprisingly, is stumped (but this time I'm with her.) The models are bused to ancient ruins where they watch a reenactment of a gladiator battle. Oooooooookay. Alex Mariotti, a yummy instructor from the Gladiator School of Rome (seriously?) trains them to fight, 300-style, while still looking graceful. Dominique hopes she gets to kick Whitney's butt. She's just joking. No she's not. Yes she is. No she's not. But instead she fights Fatima, about whom she's just as pleasant.

Whitney_topmodel10_240 The girls change into, essentially, leather bikinis and boots and get photo instruction from Les Jays. Their sparring partner is a large, hairless man in shinguards. Oooh, and each girl only gets five frames. Anya's scapulas actually appear more dangerous than the huge sword she's wielding. Katarzyna struggles under the weight of her own sword. Whitney's body language is great but her face looks really presentational to me. Fatima, thank god, is more covered up than the rest of the girls - her body makes me a tiny bit uncomfortable - and is too nervous to connect with her poses. Dominique does some really strange kung fu poses. The challenge winner receives 1000 euros (I know, but it's actually more in dollars) for a shopping spree. In a bitchy twist, the winner can either spend the money all herself, or pick a friend to bring with her - but challenge winner Whitney decides to take Anya along for the ride.

Back at l'appartemento, Mona Tyra Mail reveals that the girls' "inexperience should be a thing of the past." Oh my god, she's making them turn tricks!? No, that can't be it. Mr. Jay greets the models at a castle adorned with frescoes dating back to the Renaissance. And speaking of dating back to the Renaissance, Tyra is here! With a camera! Katarzyna is the first victim, and she tries to follow Tyra's instructions to be - and I quote - an "exaggeration of an Italian Renaissance woman who went to the club up on Sunset Boulevard." Well, of course. And you know Tyra is more than happy to demonstrate exaggeration. Katarzyna nerves herself out during her shoot. Oh! And Dominique is dressed as Cruella DeVil! Amaaaaazing. She has no trouble exaggerating, as we well know, and performs a sort of Miss Havisham vogue that Tyra is all about. It was, as Dominique recounts, "a slap in the face to everyone else in America." Wait, what? Up next, Fatima kicks absolute butt at her shoot. She looks like something out of a Cecil Beaton photograph, all long neck and hyperextended arms and perfect profile. Mr. Jay takes back every nasty thing he ever said about her. Whitney sticks her bazooms out a little too much, and Jay correctly diagnoses her as Mae West. As always, it's too much pageant and not enough editorial. And my darling Anya can do such amazing broken-doll things with her body that even Tyra is impressed with her modeling prowess.

Tyrabanks_topmodel10_240 Panel! I wonder if, as guest photographer, Tyra gets two votes this week? Oh, hell, she probably always gets two votes. She greets the models with a suave "bon soir" before realizing that she means "buona sera." And you'll never guess what Noted Fashion Photographer they got to sit on panel in Noted Fashion Photographer Tyra's place! Anya is up first, and her shoot is so incredibly editorial and European. (Of course, Tyra takes complete credit for the quality of the photo.) Fatima's photo is graceful and lovely but not quite as visceral to me as Anya's. Dominique shows up at panel in leggings and a crotch-length, off-the-shoulder....I don't know. But her photo is lovely, all angles, and she knows exactly where to hit the light. Katarzyna is technically perfect but just not exciting. This photo is going to send her home, I fear. She just can't push through that wall, and it's so disappointing. She has so much potential, but she doesn't improve from week to week. Whitney's photo is so much better than her shoot led me to believe - she finally hits some good angles with her body - but her face just isn't strong. Unsurprisingly, it's Katarzyna and Whitney in the bottom two; however, Whitney's challenge-winner status keeps her around for one more week.

Next week it's a battle of the egos: Noted Fashion Photographer Nigel Barker versus DominiqueDominiqueDominique. Two will enter but, God willing, only one will leave.

I couldn't be more disappointed to see Katarzyna go, and I know I'm not alone. Why is Dominique still there? And what is with Nigel's persistent dislike of Anya? What happened on that nude photo shoot?