Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ANTM, Everyone Deserves the Same Judging Treatment!

Last week on “America’s Next Top Model,” we witnessed what seems to increasingly be a staple of the series in recent cycles: the out-of-judging panel elimination. Immediately following their stunning makeovers (seriously, that was one of the best rounds of makeovers the show has ever had!), the contestants were asked to pose in a few photos and their performance (i.e. how they handle their new looks in a picture) was critiqued by coach J. Alexander and on-set coordinator Jay Manuel. The one who received the worst critique was immediately ousted from the competition. That unlucky soul was 24 year-old Terra of Arlington, Texas.

I am not really distraught that Terra is gone. She was called last two weeks in a row, and she was definitely the weaker of the sibling pair (incidentally, Terra’s younger half, Chris, is my favorite at the moment). What irks me is the whole concept of the out-of-judging panel elimination. Terra is not the first to fall prey to this tactic. Previous victims include (and do correct me if I have forgotten anyone) Cycle 3’s Magdalena (for producing weak pictures at a preliminary photoshoot in Jamaica), Cycle 11’s Hannah (for having the poorest walk in a runway challenge), Cycle 13’s Rachel (for failing to impress in an interview with a Wilhelmina modeling representative), and now Cycle 15’s Terra. In a sense, the seemingly random, tactless out-of-judging panel cut is a good rendering of how the modeling agency will indeed treat these young women. Throughout their budding careers, they will always be susceptible to rejection from agents and employers who won’t care for how they walk, how they look, how they talk, and numerous other superficial factors relevant to the modeling industry.
That being said, if that’s the persona Tyra Banks wants to embody on her show (as that of the cutthroat industry authority who is always looking for an excuse to trim the fat and send someone packing and crying), then she should embrace it fully. Unfortunately, Tyra instead constantly opts to take on the “big sister” role, as the person who provides kind words of sympathy and a reassuring hug to the ladies who are expelled. However, that is only granted to those whose run comes to an end during an actual judging panel evaluation.
Tyra is never on site for these out-of-judging panel eliminations, and typically the news is left up to someone else to deliver (frequently J. and Jay). If Tyra is going to be ruthless enough to suddenly and without warning dismiss these contestants for such arbitrary reasons, then she needs to have the balls (I mean, the guts? The ovaries?) to be there to do it herself. She should not cowardly send her henchmen to do the job for her. Now, if she still wants to continue to be the big sister, that’s fine; just give EVERYONE the courtesy of some warmth and compassion after crushing their dreams. Do not be a sister to some, but force J. and Jay to be, well, a “bitch” to others.

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