wanna be on top

Top Model Recap: Chasing Waterfalls

<em>Top Model</em> contestants, pre-waterfall.
Top Model contestants, pre-waterfall. Photo: Angelo Sgambeti/The CW

Kiara opens this week’s episode by proclaiming, out of nowhere, that she’d kill a person in order to win this cycle of Top Model. Frustratingly, this doesn’t lead into a debate about the ethics of reality-television-related murder, or a reenactment of the seminal Cameron Diaz classic The Box. It just leads to more complaining from Kristin, who hates all the contestants and isn’t afraid to incessantly harp on it. She is joined by Laura (a frustrating development, as Laura has been much more even-keeled in the past) in her frustration at Leila for returning to the competition, claiming that it wasn’t fair: (1) Yes, it was, and (2) even if it wasn’t, it’s reality television. There are no rules.

The girls meet Johnny and Cedella “Daughter of Bob” Marley at the beach; they’ll be modeling her swimsuits while posing with dolphins. Okay, I’m not a member of PETA or anything (to put it in perspective, I was sorely tempted by an Arby’s commercial that aired during this episode), but the shoot seems unkind to the dolphins, especially when Leila’s dolphin gets so scared that it slaps its fin into her leg, leaving a welt. This doesn’t stop Leila from getting the win (even though Laura’s shoot ended up being accidentally topless). Kristin sulks. Speaking of Kristin, someday Tyra will have to reconcile her firm anti-bullying stance with the fact that she executive-produces a television show where girls are terrible to each other for no reason.

This week’s photo shoot takes place in the same waterfalls where Tyra’s first-ever swimsuit calendar was shot, and Tyra herself is the photographer. She comes zooming in on a Jet Ski, yelling about “fierce water Jamaican warrior princesses,” and assigns each girl a weird (warrior-related?) theme. Laura gets shells, Leilia is wood, Kristin is fabric, Nastasia is pipes, and Kiara is metal. Believe it or not, it makes even less sense when you’re seeing the final pictures, especially since the styling looks like it’s right out of the dollar store. Kristin is wearing a shower curtain, and Leila has a basket on her head. It’s very strange. Nastasia can’t hear any of the direction Tyra gives her, but she pushes through the shoot anyway, while Kiara is fierce right from the beginning. Laura has to pose with water falling directly in her face, which seems unfair, and Kristin’s shower curtain pulls her head back repeatedly. To no one’s surprise, Leila is a superstar from her first frame to her last.

Let’s pause for a minute here and talk about Rob Evans (not the felony-assault arrest warrant, which is an entirely different level of disturbing). Is it safe to call him the worst judge in Top Model history? His credentials start and stop at being an attractive man who’s presumably spent a good deal of his life looking at attractive women, and it’s really starting to show in his critiques. Kelly finally calls him out on his repetition this week, after he told two girls that they got “better and better each week.” They bicker like kindergarteners about it, which would be off-putting under most circumstances, but Kelly’s absolutely in the right here. More and more, Rob comes off like nothing more than a token hot straight man sent in for ratings; this could also explain how rabidly Top Model retweets people’s Twitter posts about how sexy Rob is. Come watch Top Model! We have straight dudes now! Ugh.

At panel, we learn that one of the reasons why dolphins figure so prominently in this week’s challenge is that they’re a lifelong fear of Tyra’s. She explains, “I have dreams where I am in a swimming pool and dolphins are banging me. Well … not banging me.” Leila (who’s called first with a truly, truly stunning shot), Nastasia, and Kiara are in the top this week; Tyra even tells Kiara that she’s going to blow up her picture and hang it in the “salon” of her home. Laura and Kristin don’t fare as well and are in the bottom two. Kelly tells Kristin that she looks like “a girl who ran away from the convent and dropped some mushrooms with her boyfriend and is hanging out in the rocks.” Aside from the fact that I’m not sure one can drop mushrooms, it’s a pretty accurate analysis, and Kristin is the eliminated girl this week.

We’re down to the final four! My guess is that Leila and Laura will be the final two, and from there, it’s anybody’s game.