ANTM Recap: The Girls Go to Shanghai

The girls of America’s Next Top Model are packing furiously to go to China. Tyra gives them books on China, as I’m sure they’ll be doing tons of sightseeing, as recommended by The Lonely Planet. Thankfully, most of our “models” pick up a few phrases.

Oh, yeah, and there’s a competition. Lisa’s all wigged about being in the bottom 2. Saleisha is all sad about leaving their gorgeous house, but, whatever, we’re going to China!

And in the blink of an eye, they’re there! In Shanghai! In a bus! Squeal!

My favorite line of this episode then comes from above, as if sent by a higher power. It’s Bianca saying: “Everything’s made in China, so I’m thinking shopping!” Spoken like the true American she is.

Chantal thinks being in Shanghai is like being on The Jetsons. Heather thinks it’s like Las Vegas. It’s probably a little bit of both, girls. We’re all winners! Except for the poor sap who gets the boot first and has to take that really, really long flight back, probably in coach class. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Tyra’s Chinese version of TyraMail looks like a takeout menu from one of those Chinese restaurants that also serves pizza, it’s so authentic. I didn’t even pay attention to what the TyraMail said, I was so enamored by its cheesy Chineseness.

Thankfully, I’m jostled awake by the ‘we only have 5 beds, but 6 girls’ plot twist. Heather gets into a snit when Saleisha “I’ve got the big bed” won’t share as Heather’s a girl. We have now confirmed that none of the girls are bi-curious, as that would’ve come up at this point in the cycle for sure. The girls are shocked that Heather is so p-o-ed at not having a place to rest her weary head. So eventually Bianca and Jenah volunteer to share the big bed so that everyone has a place to sleep.

That was a lot of energy spent over, what, one night? I mean, isn’t someone getting the boot here? Five girls, five beds, no problems.

The TyraMail apparently psyched the girls out into thinking there was an acting challenge. Well, it was sort of acting. Their ‘tour guide’ is all of a sudden attacked by martial artists while showing the girls around. I hear that sort of thing happens in China all the time. They all know kung fu there, right?

Turns out our “tour guide” is also a martial artist, and the girls are going to learn some poses & be challenged on them. It is then revealed, after getting into primary-colored Mr. Roboto jackets, that the girls will be posing on wires suspended in mid-air. Can you hear the squeals? Should it really have been that shocking? Have none of these girls seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? Personally, I would’ve rather seen them try to replicate a restaurant fight, but that’s just me.

First up, Chantal vs. Jenah, or as they called it, blonde vs. blonde. Then it’s Lisa vs. Saleisha and finally Heather vs. Bianca. And all of a sudden half of these girls have height problems. Excuse me, but didn’t they pose at the top of a building a few weeks back? Only Ambreal was freaking out then, and now Bianca looks like she’s going to throw up. Heather actually has to talk her down. HEATHER!

Bianca finally does go up in the air & screams to be brought back down immediately, so she’s disqualified. I’m hoping Tyra gives her a big old smackdown for not performing. Heather ends up doing really well & winning the challenge. She gets about $500 to go & shop, and she brings Chantal with her. It is pretty funny to see these two shopping. Heather described it best: “It was like we were giants in a land of little people.”

So this week’s challenge is the Cover Girl commercial & print photo, which seems really early to me. They’re shilling for Queen Latifah’s Queen Collection line of products. It doesn’t really matter which product they’re selling for us, but the girls have to know what they’re selling to become America’s Next Top Model.

Our models perform on a scale of bad to horrid. On the simply bad side are Saleisha and Chantal. I know the point of these commercials is to be ‘real’ but the lighting on these things was like military interrogation lighting. Saleisha looked like she had 5 o’clock shadow and it was hard to tell where Chantal’s skin ended & hair began, for crying out loud.

Bianca and Jenah are in the ‘meh’ category somewhere in between bad & horrid. Bianca’s got hooker lipstick on while Jenah’s roots and big teeth are highlighted nicely. Who thought these girls would look good like this? Can none of the makeup people touch up that girl’s roots? Really? Is there absolutely no time for that? Even while Heather & Chantal were shopping — there had to be some down time then.

And then there’s Lisa & Heather. Lisa looks like she’s going to cry and/or puke throughout the shoot. Heather just keeps making raspberries and scrunching up her face when she screws up. Which is a lot. She also looks a little cross-eyed at times, which is a bit disturbing. Jay ends up feeding Heather lines, which really doesn’t help. I really want to know how many takes she did before they did the line feeding. It’s not like the rest of the girls were nailing it in one take.

And so we go to panel. Tyra tells Lisa if she’s going to cry, just do it & move on, but don’t mess up your makeup. Chantal is likened to Rebecca from Sunnybrook Farm. Thank you Miss Jay. Bianca gets the tiniest of dressing-downs from Miss Jay about not doing the challenge. Miss Jay tells Bianca that if she doesn’t trust people then she’s in the wrong business. Miss Jay also says she was born a queen. You can take that to the bank.

Nigel tells Jenah she’s got no charm. And big teeth. No, Nigel didn’t say anything about the teeth, that would be mean. Nigel also likes Saleshia’s body movements as they add ‘personality,’ but she’s got to watch the squinty smile. Tyra does not like the squinty smile.

And then there’s Heather. They let her have it a bit — telling her that since Jay was feeding her the lines, she should’ve been flawless. Now, from my perspective, it seemed like she got worse with the line reading, but I can see that now, towards the end of the competition, when there are only 3 more episodes left, they should make sure things are fair for all the girls. Um, ok.

So they try the “let’s scare her into doing better” trick & put Heather in the bottom 2 with Lisa. Can they send home not only the challenge winner, but the virtual Godzilla of Cover Girl of the Week? No, no they cannot. See ya, Lisa.

And, yes, I know Godzilla is a Japanese character. And that Mr. Roboto references Japan, not China, and the wonder that is Dennis DeYoung and his ego. I still stand by it.

Only 3 more episodes until we know who we’ll be watching in those Cover Girl ads next Cycle. Looks like it’s Jenah’s turn to have a meltdown on the journey to becoming America’s Next Top Model.