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It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's 'Top Model'

(Posted September 22, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

LOS ANGELES ( All hail Tyra Banks, whose amazing stunt on daytime TV yesterday left me all psyched up for the fifth season of "America's Top Model" tonight. On her talk show, dubbed "Tyra," the supermodel let another woman feel her boobies, administer a mammogram and, finally, deem those ta-tas to be 200 percent natural, girl! Because fake breasts? That's just not how Tyra rolls.

Welcome to season five, episode one, of "Top Model," which stretches over two hours and will, when it ends, leave us with 12 new "diamonds in the rough." At stake: representation with the Ford agency, a spread in Elle magazine, a cover spot on Elle Girl and a $100,000 contract with Cover Girl.

First we need to get through 36 semi-finalists. Immediately, we learn that Susanna is 19 and kind of small and an utter black hole of negativity who has no friends. For the love of St. Jude, just let the girl win.

Once the girls are assembled for the first time, on a pretty hotel balcony in Beverly Hills, the cattiness starts apace. Here comes photo shoot director Jay Manuel to introduce himself and let the entire she-wolf pack bask in his fabulousness. A herd of spaghetti arms and legs immediately flies toward Jay. They're just so excited to, like, be there, you know?

Before the contestants can even retire to their hotel to snipe at each other over how to make Ramen noodles, they get a challenge: Pose for "Miss J. Alexander," runway guru, show judge, and the only man who can really walk in high heels. Before anyone can register just how confusing that all is, enter Tyra Banks. (Cue screams! All right, stop. Somewhere nearby a bunch of voles and shrews just dropped dead.)

Finally, comes the show's signature milieu: the now-famous March of the Skinnies, in which we get to meet each and every tiny girl with outsized dreams and a mama who didn't love her, oh no, she didn't. Each contender clomps up to Tyra's judging table, across that cold, unforgiving hardwood floor, clad only in a bikini, bowing and scraping and moaning that Tyra is the whole reason each of them is there.

First up: Bre, who, despite the fact that she's occasionally too lazy to bathe, does not smell like the cheese. After being declared powder fresh, off she goes. She's followed, in rapid -- very rapid -- succession, by Kyle, heretofore to be referred to only as Li'l Miss Dairy Queen; Kim, whose short hair, agro walk and linebacker pose earn her comparisons to a football player; and Jayla, who immediately announces that she's a Jehovah's Witness and a fornicator.

After a slight pause so that the girls can go to the grocery store and get Nicole some Chapstick forthwith, we get more hardwood stompers. This time we're introduced to Nik, a girl with ridiculously gorgeous eyes and killer mystery hair that temporarily baffles the panel; Diane, the lone fat girl whose job requires routine trips into the 'hood; Susanna, whom we can't trash anymore because she's missing part of her breast; Cassandra, the Texas pageant queen; and Ashley, who reveals her secret to success. Her family has a "pretty gene."

There are others, including Nicole, an English-rose type with a flair for complaints; Coryn, who needs to get herself to the eyebrow plucker pronto; and Ebony, who cannot stop saying, "Don't get it twisted."

More, more, more contestants: April, whose fake eyelashes can double as moustaches; Whitney, proudly representing Future Farmers of America; Lisa, an Angelino with physics-defying, Karen Black-style eyeballs and yet another sob story about a feckless mom; and Boonville's own Sarah, who cannot walk and do anything else at the same time. But Sarah also has, as she puts it, "big-ass lips," which will keep her in the running.

The first task for our hotties: strut the catwalk in a fashion show -- for the losers. Only 20 models get to perform. The rest get eliminated and get to cheer on their betters from the cheap seats.

Poor sad Susanna is put out of her misery immediately, eliminated and forlorn, along with 15 other runners-up.

Kim frightens J. Alexander with a rather unique catwalk.

Sarah nearly breaks her neck wearing a pair of high heels. A pattern begins to emerge.

The next day, it's one-on-one time. Each remaining contestant gets to lock herself in a room with Tyra and say something -- anything -- to convince the host not to eliminate her. Regina, a lovely redhead with a large ass, says she feels most alive when she's modeling. Another girl compares herself to a forest fire. Still other aspiring models parade through Tyra's room and cry their eyes out.

Seven more girls get axed, including April the fake eyelash lady and Regina of the Large Buttocks. Remaining: Cassandra, Nic, Kyle, Ashley, Bre, Kim, Sarah, Jayla, Coryn, Nicole, Diane, Lisa and Ebony.

At this point we get the requisite tour about town. Robin Leach arrives to squire our beauties around Beverly Hills and then drop them at their new home, which is stuffed chock full of shoes, and baby tees that say "G-Unit," and perfume and pillows and -- eeeee! It's just so amazing!

The contestants don't get much time before their next challenge: another fashion show. This time it's part of a celebrity party, one hosted by Life and Style magazine. The girls get picked up in a white stretch Ford SUV limo, whose insides are decorated entirely in pink, reminding us of a large vagina on wheels.

Tori Spelling shows up to the party. We see no other celebrities.

But then it gets even better. The "Top Model" producers have created a labyrinth of a runway, basically designed so that the contestants will slam into each other. It's all in good fun.

Rap star Nate Dogg emcees, wearing a head bandana so natty it can practically catwalk on its own. Kim fumbles her way through the exciting new world of makeup. Sarah nearly breaks her neck on the thanks to another towering pair of heels, but Nate Dogg saves the day, declaring, "She still fine. Mmm mmm mmm."

In the limo on the way home, Kim, who has mentioned about eight times that she's a lesbian, tells Sarah she's beautiful. The two of them proceed to make out; Nicole labels the whole thing as "Models Gone Wild."

Yet another challenge stretches before the models the next day: they must dress up as superheroes and flit about with the help of a strong cable, pretending to fly and rescue people. They must also impress Nigel Barker, a foxy British photographer who gets to leer at each contestant as she lolls about dangling from the wire. Poor Coryn must conquer a fear of heights but ends up coming out ahead, thanks to an athletic figure and an energetic approach to boot.

Now only 12 girls can remain to follow Tyra on this "journey" toward glamour and a Cover Girl contract. They're all herded into the final judging room, where they meet Twiggy and pretend to know who she is. Twiggy replaces Janice Dickenson.

By the end we've whittled things down to stumblin' Sarah and Ashley, who seems a bit surprised to be in the Bottom Two. Where is her pretty gene now? In the end the judges give Sarah a second chance to put her, er, better foot forward. And Ashley, blessed as she is with Sharon Stone looks, is sent packing.

"To be crushed, it sucks and to be crushed first, it sucks," Ashley says before she leaves.

Nay, nay, nay. What really sucks? Getting your hair cut off when you love it so. According to the teaser, that's what's coming for at least one aspiring model next week.

Leslie Gornstein lives in Los Angeles and will always -- always -- root for the lone fat girl. Go, fat girl, go.

Source: Zap2it

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