The Skinny: Cycle 17 of “America’s Next Top Model” started as most of the seasons before it have, with the 14 contestants moving into their living quarters. The two main differences: (1) No Tyra to welcome them. (2) They were able to start the smack-talking before their competition even arrived.
The Drama: The ladies in the house were not happy to have Camille McDonald in their spot. When Bianca saw her picture hanging on the wall, she said, “This is who I don’t want to see.” According to Bianca, the two have a history. Here’s hoping we find out more about that soon.
The Challenge: Jay Manuel entered the mansion and announced that their first shoot was starting immediately…in the backyard. That should have been the first clue that this challenge was going to disappoint. What Jay described as a shoot to capture their “larger-than-life” personalities, fell flat. Where were the harnesses, the heights, the creepy creatures, the crazy uncomfortable clothes? Nowhere. What Jay considered “larger than life” consisted of the “country” model holding a fishing rod. Inevitably, there were some tears from cycle 1’s Shannon Stewart, who doesn’t mind skimpy clothing, as long as it’s not lace. She refuses to model anything that even resembles underwear. Oh, and Bianca served up a little attitude when the stylists put red tracks in her hair. Go figure.
The Judging: Nicki Minaj joined the panel of Nigel Barker (nice hair), André Leon Talley and Tyra Banks. Anyone who’s been to Los Angeles knows that the temperature often drops at night. That may explain why Nicki was completely covered from the neck down in an outfit that could have easily been mistaken for a pair of pajamas; but she can do that ‘cause she’s Nicki.
The contestants walked out to cheering fans. Well, 13 of them did. Alexandria Everett, from cycle 16, had a few expletives hurled at her. However, most of the ladies received positive feedback. Tyra called Camille “divalicious.” She described Bianca as “the loud-and-sassy, fun b!tch." André deemed Isis King a "mermaid" and Angelea Preston “Beverly Hood.” (That’s a compliment.)
The Elimination: The contestants, who were likely all relieved to find out the eliminations weren’t in a public arena, were judged on more than just their photos. Miss Jay Alexander and the other Jay questioned members of the audience about their favorite ladies. Unfortunately for Brittany Brower, the fans didn’t remember her from cycle 4, so she was the first one out.
The Future?: Bre Scullark, who is now rooming with Bianca in Chicago, didn’t bother to tell her BFF that she was also appearing on the All-Star season. Will the pressure of the competition strain their friendship? Hopefully, they’ll survive, but their relationship will likely cause some drama in the house.
—Tracy L. Scott