Well folks, the time has come to crown another winner on America's Next Top Model. While I'd like to say it's been one hell of a season, it really hasn't been. As I got the chance to re-watch some of the episodes on MTV this past weekend, it occurred to me just how much this cycle didn't live up to the Top Model standard we've come to expect. The models were pretty but not nearly as likable as other years and the judges really started to bug me with how they treated some of the girls. Nonetheless, here we are at the final episode and we're left to choose between Saleisha, Chantal and Jenah. So let's get to the recap.
With victory in sight, the three remaining girls reflected on their time in the competition and their expectations for the final two. It was interesting to hear Jenah tell Saleisha that she expected to go home if it was between them in the final two but she wasn't at all concerned about rival blonde Chantal. Based on looks alone Chantal blows Jenah away and when it comes to personality, the girl needs to learn that sometimes you just need to know when to tone it down.
After a night of breathing easy and basking in the glory of making it this far, the girls had a meeting with Mr. J and the Cover Girl rep to shoot their commercials. Before they could get in front of the cameras, Jaslene (last year's winner) came out and was supposed to offer the girls some tips but instead seemed to ramble on about how much things change once you go on Top Model.
Anyhow, this year the girls were promoting some sort of fruity lip gloss concoction and each was assigned a different fruit flavor. Chantal was given lemon, Saleisha got tangerine, and Jenah got berry splash. Chantal nailed her spot in just a few takes. Saleisha had a rough start, broke down a bit, and then went back in front of the camera to give it her all. Jenah eventually got her lines down but gave off an attitude that didn't sit well with Mr. J.
When it was time to face the judges, the girls were asked to prove how well they know their competition but in reality, Tyra just wanted to create some friction by having the girls announce who the weakest link was. Both Saleisha and Chantal said they felt Jenah didn't have what it takes to be a Cover Girl and Chantal went so far as to say that she wouldn't want her younger sister looking up to Jenah. Although I can find Jenah to be a little (well, a lot) bitchy at times, that comment was totally uncalled for. While Jenah may not have that "Covergirl attitude", she's by no means a bad person or a bad role model. I completely agreed with her statement that just because she isn't always "spewing rainbows" (that was hilarious) it doesn't mean that younger girls can't look up to her. If anything, it makes her more relatable. It's obvious that the attitude she gives off comes from her insecurities and the need to put up a front for others. Two psych s in college taught me that!
Despite already having been insulted by her fellow models, as Jenah stepped forward it was the judges' turn to rip her a new one, and did they ever! Tyra seized the opportunity to exploit Jenah's vulnerable state and broke her down to tears trying to explore the childhood trauma that made her into this person. Before Tyra announced who would be moving onto the final two, they cut to commercial where we were treated to the finished product of the Cover Girl ad and yet another Jaslene commercial. Although normally I wouldn't point out the commercial breaks, I noticed that in the finished product Saleisha seemed to get the most camera time. Could this be a sign of who the victor will be?
Returning from the break, the judges discussed who would be moving on to walk the runway in the final fashion show. Chantal was the first girl told that she was moving on. When it was down to Saleisha and Jenah, I don't think anyone could've doubted that Saleisha would be the one joining Chantal. Jenah's prediction of the bottow two came true and she was sent home.
For the remainder of the episode, Saleisha and Chantal prepared for their final walk and the inevitable crowning of this cycle's winner. They received a pep talk from a representative at Seventeen Magazine before heading off to meet with Mr. and Miss J about the planned fashion show. I have to say I didn't like the show being staged for television without an audience, that was half the fun! That extra surge of nerves you get being in front of spectators just can't be duplicated. It felt like one last audition...not a show.
While the models prepared for the show, Tyra dropped by to check and wish the girls luck. When it came time to do their thing, based on looks alone it seemed like Saleisha was rockin' it out. Then, when one of the performers tripped on Chantal's dress the winner of this season became crystal clear. But you never can tell.
Following the show, it was time for the girls to face the judges one last time. Before they could deliberate, the panel went over every single shot in each of the girl's portfolios just to show how much they've progressed over the last few weeks. Saleisha and Chantal were then sent away so the judges could discuss and finally pick a winner. As they talked about each models strengths and weaknesses, it seemed that the final fashion show wasn't going to sway their decision and that most of the judges wanted Chantal because of her high-fashion figure. However, my earlier prediction after seeing the commercial turned out to be correct and Tyra awarded Saleisha the title of cycle 9's Top Model.
So there ya have it ladies and gents, another cycle is over.