Renee, Jaslene and Dionne's attempt to band together against Natasha to prove she's the weakest contestant and get her ousted may have worked better had they actually addressed her modeling instead of talking like some catty high-schoolers engaged in cafeteria politics, chiding her enigmatic persona and calling her perky personality fake. But they'd spent a recent evening in a bar seething because she wouldn't give them her life story and no one knew her husband's name. After tonight, Nata has convinced me that she isn't fake. Though her incessant "I'm so beautiful and talented" mantra is equal parts comical and egotistical, I have to admire her confidence and her refusal to let the others' negativity and jealousy get under her skin. It just doesn't faze her at all. (Seriously, the fact that she can essentially make out with and nuzzle her cell phone - ew - in front of the remaining ladies and millions of TV viewers while engrossed in more baby talk with her husband - ew - takes some serious cojones.)
So, despite a horrible penultimate photo shoot and some harsh criticism from her fellow wannabes, she wasn't crushed. She even thanked the girls for their critiques! That refusal to be influenced by them - as well as the judges' taking her season-long modeling repertoire into consideration - saved her tonight.
As for who wasn't saved--well, that would be Dionne. Aside from lacking the pictures, facial expressions and poses, she apparently was unaware what other factors are at play in this competition. During the challenge with the Aborigines, in which each girl combined dance (though only Natasha actually moved her feet), body art/paint and narration to awkwardly reenact their personal histories, Dionne became hilariously indignant at the very idea. "I don't wanna do no damn dance! Tell what story?" (That somehow segued into some TMI material.) Then the clincher: "What happened to me in the past, I mean, I don't feel that that's relevant." Oh dear. Clearly she's unfamiliar with Tyra's quest to turn distraught, gangly girls with painful upbringings into eloquent, emotionally balanced swans. This modeling competition is about more than your looks.
Renee understood the crux of the dance/story challenge and won some pearl jewelry. That executive decision came from Seventeen magazine's Carissa Rosenberg, who, despite being entertainment director, somehow found herself not reviewing music or movies but in the middle of the woods watching skinny girls explain the stripes, dots and hearts painted on their bodies. Well, I shouldn't joke: I think Renee won because she was specific about her pain - childhood abuse, apparently - and her triumph over that would be a heartening story for the magazine (or exploitative and intrusive, depending). Renee also won this week's photo shoot, which involved incorporating Aboriginal dances into a high fashion photo.
NeNe also had the winning line of the evening: Regarding Natasha, she said, "She's a sweet girl but I think she's a few fries short of a Happy Meal."
The season finale is next week, everyone, and it looks like the final feat is another commercial, specifically a "My Life as a CoverGirl" shoot. That should be interesting, considering two of the remaining three ladies have major speech/accent issues. Case in point: Jaslene didn't think she "brung" it tonight. Well she better do so next week.