'America's Next Top Model': Revenge of the ninja warrior pint-size princess

nicole_antm13_cirque.jpgSome viewers may not have caught it, but what was really ironic about this week's "America's Next Top Model" was the Dove commercial that aired during the show. The ad shows flashes of magazine models and the fashion world flying by a young girl: billboards, runway shows, a tall pair of shoes. The conclusion is how these images can affect a young girl's self-esteem.

It reminds me how "ANTM" has the same target audience as the Dove ad but yet Tyra never goes on about self-esteem (other than to trumpet how healthy her own is). She's rather spend her time picking away at the girls' outfits or Sundai's accessories.

Fighting the doubt

This episode is called "Petite Ninja Warriors." It starts off with Nicole crying because Tyra told her she lost her magic during the Cirque du Soleil shoot. Remember her chin shot?

Kara comes up with an idea. She wants to create an "America's Next Top Model" musical.  Rae joins in and starts to sing a song about Laura and her country life. When the camera is on Laura I can't help but notice the bruises on her legs?.Kara talks smack about Nicole saying "she has the social grace of a fetus." I wonder if Kara realized her voice is just as annoying as Nicole's but then I get distracted because Tyra Mail has arrived.

Tyra Mail reads: How driven are you? We will find out tomorrow."

Go-carts have appeared in the Short Model House. The giddy shorties get anxious for a race but it turns into another meeting at Wilhelmina Models instead.

The art of dueling

laurenshiohama.jpgSitting with Sean Patterson is petite model Lauren Shiohama. She's 5'7" (to me that isn't that short) but the girls are inspired and awe at her anyways. Side note on Lauren: I think she overly prepared her lines and when speaking to the girls and the camera she came off way too know-it-all and oh-my-God-like-totally.

The duo gives the eight hopefuls a task. Attend five go-sees in four hours. Even in New York City with the MTA transit it would be a challenge, so I am intrigued. The girls are put into pairs to experience the day-in-the-life-of-a-real-model. Which is odd, because for go-sees and castings you do not attend in pairs. It's a solo activity.

By the way, Lauren should have done the go-see challenge with the girls and teach them a thing-or-two about how to prepare for certain castings. Each go-see is different and preparing is important. For the jewelry go-see it is better to pull back the hair, but for a clothing designer it is best to brush the hair out and make it look pretty. This prep would have been a nice thing to see before they entered the room, instead of just rushing in all flustered.

The pairs are: Nicole and Laura. Sundai and Rae. Jennifer and Erin. Brittany and Kara.

With a map of Los Angeles in hand, they all race towards silver cars that I don't feel got enough product placement and if I was the car brand I'd feel ripped off. What kind of car was it?  Anyone?

Sundai is annoyed right away that Rae drives extremely slow and blames it on her being a mother.

Brittany and Kara arrive at jeweler Neil Lane first; Sundai and Rae are forced to wait their turn outside the store.

Inside, the unpierced Kara gets a lesson on how it is a MUST that models have their ears pieced. Just having a long neck isn't enough. Brittany brings her personality forward commenting on the gorgeous dangling diamond earrings that she is wearing and gets a thumbs-up as a model Neil would book.

Sundai and Rae enter the jewelry store. Neil later comments that Sundai doesn't have confidence and he isn't sure if Rae could pull off a runway show.

trinaturk.jpgThe go-see edits are so fast that it's hard to catch the names of clothing designers Rozae Nichols and Trina Turk, but when the camera cuts to designer Nichols, she doesn't think it is professional of Brittany to put the shoes on the table when she is done wearing them. However she thinks Nicole would be fitting for the collection and Laura has an edge she likes.

Usually, a go-see is based on showing that you have the ability to fit the vibe of the brand, wear the jewelry, the clothing, etc. and fit the image and personality of that brand and product.

You show your portfolio, have a photo snapped, leave a comp card and say "Thank you for your time."

However, the pint-size hustlers get an additional curveball thrown at them: they also have to read a script for a commercial at the advertising agency Wongdoody. The objective is to read with an accent. Sundai lacks an accent and does a shy girl's voice instead, Laura presents her "hood-rat" persona the best a southern girl can. Rae does her native Minnesotan accent and scares everyone when she sounds like Sarah Palin instead. You betcha.

The first to arrive back at Wilhelmina are Nicole and Laura with 15 minutes left to wipe the sweat off their faces. In come the other pairs, but not Sundai and Rae. They are in traffic, late, and the wrinkles on Sundai's forehead tell us she is ready to beat-the-crap-out-of-Rae and her driving. I wonder why Sundai didn't take the wheel in the first place?

Being late is not accepted by Sean Patterson and his sidekick Lauren, so Sundai and Rae are dismissed from the room in a harsh tone, punished for being late.

Sean and his Lauren tell the girls what stood out from the feedback they got from the designers they met with. Jennifer should go lighter on her eye makeup. Laura has a lot of range and the designers were pleased. Brittany is robotic. Kara came off scruffy but has a strong walk. Erin has a good walk but is very timid. Nicole's face is perfectly sculpted.

Nicole wins the challenge and will appear in a TV commercial as well as being gifted with a piece from each designer.

Erin supposes that the go-see challenge is contrived (sure, Erin, even though they've done it all 12 previous seasons too) and Nicole was "planned to win," and Nicole is fierce in saying, "No I earned this."

Slice the competition to shreds

Back at the Short Model House, Kara stresses how much she hates Nicole. Sundai also talks some smack about Nicole and I worry our half-pint is getting influenced by Kara's negativity.

Tyra Mail reads: Float like a butterfly to pose  like me ... ya'all should use a secret weapon."

The girls scream: "Victora's Secret!"

Turns out it is not angel wings on their back, instead it is a huge amount of fabric. In superhero cape form, with a sword or weapon in hand, flying in the air, for the Warrior Princess Photo shoot.

It reminds me of Halloween, or body doubling for Uma Thurman in the "Kill Bill." Laura says that the harness hurts. The makeup isn't nearly as heavy as previous shoots and the hair is more simple and natural, but almost looking greasy. The girls practice moving their bodies with a weapon like ninjas and prepare to be harnessed and put in the air.

nicole_antm13_ninja.jpgIt is the first time we see Jay help with posing, instead of letting the girls wing it. As he reminds Nicole to be aware of her arms while holding the sword and not let the fabric of the cape cover her face.

Jennifer has a strong shoot and Jay is impressed and doesn't mention her eye once. Here's everyone is over it by now and has moved on. Jay comments with delight that Erin looks like an elf in the air, Laura looks long and although she is struggling with her props she does well. While Kara gets her makeup done, Nicole comments that Kara's face looks "burnt to a crisp." Sundai, who has thrown in her lot with Kara, arches her eyebrows with at Nicole.

I think that Sundai has chosen the wrong girl to be friends with.

This week, Jessica White -- who has been in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue seven times -- gets involved with the judging. When Nigel says that Jennifer "didn't look long enough," Jessica speaks up saying "I don't think she needs to look taller, it's about movement." At last!

Sundai's legs look long and she has created her Sundai side-angle favorite pose again. It is good to know your good angle, but don't use it as a crutch. I want Sundai's personality to come through in her photos and it never seems to make it.  

Nicole is a double winner this week, with her name being called first.

BFFs Kara and Sundai are in the Bottom Two and Kara is sent home. She cries and says her modeling dreams are over. So much for Kara's ambition and determination.