CariDee: De Yonker/The CW
Whitney Pastorek
November 16, 2006 AT 05:00 AM EST

”Top Model”: It’s no secret — the acting stinks

A quick point of interest: When I woke up this morning I was in Scotland. Consequently, I hope you’ll pardon any lack of coherence within this recap, and know that if someone were to ask me to talk about deodorant in Catalan right now, it would not be pretty. That’s right: For the first time in TV Watch history, Whitney is experiencing what could best be called empathy. And lemme tell you, niblets: Jet lag is a bigger bitch than Melrose.

Anyhoo. I’m up! I’m up! Here we go! So the six beautiful young ladies in the running to be America’s Next Top Model kicked off this episode still in L.A.! Where they trotted off to a theater for the reward challenge! And I clutched my head and moaned: The dreaded acting portion of our competition was upon us. This episode is frequently one of the more offensive/embarrassing of the lot, and this year’s didn’t disappoint, although I would have paid money to see Anchal back in the competition; her presence would have taken it to some mortifying new extremes.

Now, I spent four years in college doing bizarre acting exercises, so I like to consider myself something of an expert. Yet in all my training, I do not recall ever doing a ”Silly Dilly” exercise (writhe around on the floor and make faces). Additionally, I do not think that any exercise called ”Dump” is healthy. Alas, acting coach Tasha Smith must have trained somewhere different, because before you could say ”Uta Hagen,” she had the girls on stage screaming their guts out. Not sure exactly how it’s going to make you a better model to work yourself into a lather and confess, oh, I don’t know, that you used to be suicidal, but obviously that’s what Tasha was going for. And amidst a flurry of relatively shallow concerns from the group — Melrose works really hard; Michelle doesn’t [F-bombin’] know what she wants to do with her life; Jaeda, shockingly, hates her hair — CariDee dumped the biggest load of all and admitted she’d tried to off herself at some point in the past. There were no specifics, but this revelation was enough to buy us one of those great hand-held-camera-in-the-hallway moments and give the episode something resembling an emotional center. CariDee’s admission also opened her up enough to win the challenge: Her silent film acting was deemed the best, and so she scored a guest spot on One Tree Hill. (I caught a bit of her episode, and it wasn’t bad — certainly not as bad as, you know, One Tree Hill.)

Suddenly, with the flapping of Tyra’s magic flamenco skirts, the girls were whisked overseas to Barcelona, and man is that a gorgeous town. ”Spanish people must go to America and be like, ‘What the hell?”’ cracked Michelle, and I definitely agree. (Ooh, speaking of Spain, if you haven’t seen Volver yet, do so at your earliest convenience; I caught it on the plane today and I would like to give it a thousand besos.) As a bonus, when the Top Model Tour Bus drove through the city, it picked up a series of hirsute, brooding, Spanish male models; one of them was named Nacho, and I wrote it down in all caps because a dude named Nacho is just funny. How could I have known he’d turn out to be the crux of the episode?

The shoot this week was a commercial for Secret (again), requiring the girls to yammer some lines in Catalan (co-official language of Spain) and then make out with their designated male model. Fans of ANTM know that models + foreign language = disaster, and even Melrose, who came the closest (because she works really hard), still sounded like the world’s worst phonetically trained Eponine in a bad cruise-ship version of Les Miz. Sadly, for Jaeda, there was more than just language to overcome — she was teamed up with the notorious Nacho, who at dinner the night before the shoot somehow made it known that he didn’t like black girls. To be fair, we never heard him say this specifically (damn language barrier), but Jaeda came away with this impression, and thus, for the millionth week in a row, Jaeda totally sucked. She couldn’t talk, she couldn’t walk, and while the kiss wasn’t so bad (Did anyone else see Nacho trying to help by feeding her lines? Redemption!), the whole thing was even more proof that this girl has never once belonged here.

But the weirdest part of tonight? Jaeda actually had competition for worst performance. CariDee stumbled around the set like a drunken sailor, couldn’t get a line out without cursing, and then tried to eat her man’s face off. In fact, the only time her jaw wasn’t clenched tight was during the kiss, and that’s because she unhinged it. It was wretched, and the final two came down to my greatest ANTM fear, the one I talked about last week: Talented Girl With One Bad Week vs. Complete Waste of Space.

God bless Tyra (and her secret: armpit fat) — she finally, finally, sent Jaeda packing. Is it just me, or has that girl always looked a little mannish? Hahahaha wheeeeee….

One last note: Things are coming to a head on the Melrose vs. Entire World front. The problem seems to be that she’s no longer just working really hard; now she’s talking about it incessantly. When the judges said her commercial might have been the best in ANTM history, she put on this false humility and informed the room that she’d practiced for an extra two hours to get the language down. This may be true, but we don’t have to hear about it… and the other girls made that explicitly clear between panel and ejection time. ”It’s like you go out of your way to make everybody else look bad,” sniped Eugena, in that sad, gray back room. ”And you are very fake.” Melrose, like the mature young woman she is, naturally told Eugena to shut up. Oh, Mel-Mel… don’t make me hate you, okay?


So what did you think of this week’s ANTM? Were you shocked CariDee was that bad in her commercial? How do you feel about her admission? And what do you think the teaser for next week means for her? Was Melrose out of line at the judging? What do you think of Tyra’s reaction when Jaeda told her what happened at dinner? And which contenders are you betting will be the next to go in the coming weeks?

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