America's Next Top Model Recap: We Are Eternally Disappointed That The Bats Are Not Cricket Bats

Last Week:
America’s Next Top Model was preempted for some Katy Perry nonsense. I ask you. But you don’t make it as a regular Top Model viewer without some serious tolerance for nonsense, so we persevere.

Bali!
The models re-enter Modelland and look at Jourdan’s best photo. And then they throw more shade over it than a parasol convention. For some reason, the Powers that Be have written “It’s all about the Pow! Pow! Beautiful Goddess” across Jourdan’s photo.

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Because what these stupid “living images” need is more crap going on in them. Jourdan reminds us that Nina and Jeremy went home, and then invites Cory to share the Tyra Suite because they were both close to Nina. I call editing hijinks! We certainly saw the Cory-Nina connection, but Nina and Jourdan? Either Jourdan’s moments of friendliness have been completely edited out or she’s so delusion that she made up closeness out of Nina being Not Renee. Actually, either is entirely possible. Or both. Cory confirms that Jourdan had an authentic relationship with Nina, so boo on you, editors.

The models lament that Jeremy and Nina are not the ones who should have gone home, which is pretty much what everyone has said after every elimination since the dawn of the show, but Chris gets all huffy and confrontationally asks if they’re implying (no, he doesn’t use the word “implying”) that he should have gone home instead. Wherever would you get that idea, Sunshine? Renee is tired enough of all this to give him an “uh-huh,” which is awesomely subtitled “Um-hmmm.” To each his spelling conventions.

Renee and Cory and Jourdan all accuse Chris of faking his teary goodbye to Nina – since he had been going out of his way to be a douche to her for the past few weeks, it’s not a bad theory – and Cory can’t stand it that Chris has gotten this far when he’s such a phony. Oh, Cory. Still so new to the world of fashion. Renee says to Chris that there’s a special place in Hell for fakers like Chris. Cory yells at Chris for sucking all of Nina’s energy and then being a dick to her for weeks on end, while Chris claims to not even know how he was being a jerk. This is beyond a dysfunctional upbringing at this point. Has Chris been bonked on the head?

Chris, who is apparently completely incapable of self-examination, says that anything he says will just make everyone yell at him, so whatever. He says he doesn’t know how to take this – “this,” being everyone else in the house saying he was mean to the woman who was nicest to him – and interprets it as the others wanting to take him out of the competition in an unfair way.

Chris then launches into the Platonic ideal of a Reality Show statement – say it with me – “I’m not here to make friends.”

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Just once, I want someone to be there to make friends. Can we do that? Can we set up a reality show that has a fake competition, but really the winner is the one who makes the most actual friends? Also, when anyone says “I’m not here to make friends,” a trap door immediately opens under his feet.

Chris yells that Renee should have gone home long ago and then does that thing where you get so deep into the emotion of an argument that your mouth runs way ahead of your brain and suddenly he’s admitting that he was in the bottom for three weeks and, yes, he probably should have gone home but DOESN’T NEED ANYBODY AND HE KNOWS WHO HE IS SO LEAVE HIM ALONE. For some reason, it does not blow the group away with flawless logic.

Chris goes off on his own and interviews that he can’t see why everyone gangs up on him. (It’s because you’re a dick to people and don’t seem to notice.) And now he says he doesn’t believe in himself and it’s affecting his shoots. Marvin hasn’t been involved in the last argument and Chris buttonholes him and starts confiding in him. Chris says that when people “verbally attack” him he just sees his mom doing the same thing. Marvin can’t figure out why the hell he’s getting a big does of feelings from Chris, with whom he has never been close, and is deeply uncomfortable. Marvin says he’ll manipulate Chris to win the competition if he has to.
Jourdan says that Chris can’t bring the baggage of his past into this competition. Um.

Tyra Mail!
“Only the strong will Smize,” says digital Tyra.

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Marvin sweetly explains to us that this might remind one of the phrase “only the strong will survive,” so he’s thinking fitness. Thanks, Marvin. Marvin and Renee wake up together and Renee seems to be getting used to the idea of them as a couple – they’re speculating on what their baby would look like . She says Marvin has an amazing energy, but she’s here to win this for her grandma.

Beach!
Rob Evans and Cycle 19 winner Laura James are here. Oh how nice, they’re actually letting her speak this time. Laura is here to introduce some Top Model-themed fitness challenges, with the boys competing against the boys and Renee and Jourdan competing against each other. Oh, lord, I think Tyra’s coming out with a fitness book. The challenges are:

  • Jab-Jump-Pose
  • H2T Jump Rope, which makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER
  • Be on Top Run

I will not make filthy jokes about the Be on Top Run. I will not make filthy jokes about the Be on Top Run. I will not make filthy jokes about the Be on Top Run. Anyway, the Be on Top Run involves running up a huge outdoor staircase with 197 steps, so there’s some real potential for injury there. Thanks, Tyra! Rob helpfully explains that whoever can do the exercises the fastest probably has the advantage.

Jourdan totally thinks she can beat Renee. Cory knows that everyone is his competition, but he especially wants to beat Chris. Chris has been re-bleached, I think, and looks pretty ragged.

OH, GOD, it’s not even a book. Laura announces that the winner will be in the “Fierce Model” workout video with her and Rob. My price for recapping that video is A Whole Bunch.

Jab-Jump-Pose happens in the surf because ratings and I’m already annoyed because they’re not jumping, they’re dropping for push-ups.

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And there’s no posing. It’s the jab-drop-push-up, and that’s it. Also, while I have the DVR paused, I’ll note that Chris does his push-ups with his butt in the air. Marvin wins it.

SERIOUSLY, THERE IS NO JUMPING AND NO POSING. That is so annoying. Jourdan says she needs to step up her game, but Renee wins it.

H2T Jump Rope is just jumping rope. Way to brand, Tyra. Chris is really bad at it. Renee kicks ass at the rope jumping. She and Cory win it. Jourdan hates life, but at least she’s wearing some awesome aqua socks.

Holy crap, the surface that they run across to get to the stairs looks really wet. This is no longer just joke-dangerous. Renee has earned a 3-second head start for her previous wins…But she put so much into those wins that now she’s exhausted. We see Renee hitting a higher flight of the stairs on all fours. Renee sees Jourdan gaining and finds the strength of hatred deep in her soul. She grabs the medal and hits the deck.

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Jourdan is also not doing well – she says she’s so exhausted that she’s lightheaded and can’t see. Way to promote important fitness values, Tyra. Remember, kids: Always work out until you’ve done actual physical damage. Renee’s counter-theory is that Jourdan has worked out to the point of being overdramatic. The medic pronounces Jourdan OK.

Time for the boys! Marvin is first, and gets a three-second head start over Cory, who gets another three-second head start over Chris. Chris may be screwed. Marvin is worried because he has yet to win a challenge at all. Cory feels optimistic. Rob yells the o in “Go!’ with a diphthong, which is kind of delightful. Marvin wins it! This is his first challenge win AND he and Renee are going to be in the fitness video together. That’s some serious potential for either on-set romance or massive awkwardness, depending on the time lag. My price for recapping the fitness video goes down by one penny. Chris refers to Marvin and Renee by their stupid portmanteau couple name and my price rockets back up.

Chris is bummed that he has an 8 for his challenge score, but everyone has an 8, 9, or 10, so whatever.

Aquatonic Spa!
Marvin and Renee are there to recuperate and also gloat as the challenge winners. Marvin tries to kiss a clearly uncomfortable Renee. I think she doesn’t like kissing with the cameras there, for which it’s tough to blame her, but she also interviews that she worries that she won’t be focused on the competition if she’s in a relationship. Renee seems to warm up later and she and Marvin appear to be having fun, but I’d have way fewer willies about this if Marvin would pay attention to her don’t-touch-me-right-now signals. He mostly ignores them.

Tyra Mail!
“By now, you should get your shot right off the bat. Love, Tyra”

Oh, please let there be cricket bats involved. Cory almost breezes through his theory that they may only have one take for their photo because he’s so focused on getting Chris the hell out of Modelland. Everybody goes to bed, with Renee and Marvin sharing and Cory and Jourdan sharing and Chris on his own.

And then there is porno music as we see Renee and Marvin’s sheets moving in the darkness. Because Top Model is about fake modeling, not privacy or discretion. Chris says that Renee and Marvin are disgusting, but they also make him jealous. He hopes they’ll focus on each other more than on the competition and will get knocked out.

Morning!
The models eat delicious fresh fruit and Cory asks Marvin and Renee if they “got fonkay.” Prepare for way more information than you wanted, Cory. Renee says she’s still tired and Marvin machos that he did his job, then. Barf. Cory has a frustration interview where he talks about being the only gay one in the house and missing his boyfriend while listening to those to take the edge off, apparently quite a lot. This leads into an adorable Skype session with Cory’s boyfriend, and thanks, show, for showing Cory being gay, athletic, happy and still in the running for America’s Next Top Model.

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Temple!
Jourdan notes that the temple area is beautiful, but she hears something squealing almost like a pig, and then we see seventeen jillion bazillion bats. Johnny Wujek welcomes us to the Bat Temple. THIS IS IT! THIS IS THE SACRILEGE I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR. I knew Tyra couldn’t go to Bali without a ham-fisted Day-Glo colorizing and smizing of something spiritual. Y’all owe me $20.

And now I need to take a moment to feel bad for the bats and the temple and anyone who just wanted to go to the freaking bat temple today without this nonsense splashed all over it. You’re welcome, sincere spiritual pilgrims who came here for death rites! Love, stompy Americans.

Johnny is holding a bat that is none too happy about it and tells the models that they will be posing with bats.

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I think the bats look kind of awesome, but Marvin says they freak him out because he grew up so poor that they had rats in their home, and that bats look like rats with wings. Which they absolutely do not, but I’ll cut him some slack on that one.

Johnny also tells them that, like bats, they’ll be hanging upside-down. And just like that, this show has won my heart again. Such sublime magic, so quickly. Thank you, sadistic producers, wherever you are.

The photographer is Jez Smith again because I guess they didn’t want to spring for two tickets to Bali. Jez Smith says this shoot is going to be about core strength, and Johnny Wujek, ever striving for new heights of uselessness, says that the models will be wrapped in fabric for “bat chic.”

Jourdan knows she needs to do well because she wants to keep traveling the world after this. Chris tries to chat with his makeup artists as they dab a makeup mask on him. He rambles that he has to do well but he hasn’t gotten best photo since the “Fields of Fashion” shoot but that just goes to show that he can do well so there.

Cory, with a surprisingly laserlike focus of hatred, says that none of the people he likes can screw up because they need to get Chris off the show. Cory, be cool! Marvin says that when he wins the competition he’ll take care of Renee. Marvin’s confidence is up. Jourdan wonders, with just a hint of joy in her eyes, what will happen to either Marvin or Renee if the other gets eliminated.

Marvin is the first to go upside-down, and mentions that he’s creeped out by the bats’ skin wings. Fair enough. He’s wrapped in sort of a cocoon with a floaty wingy flap and, wow, did something else fall through this week? It’s a little weird. Marvin seems to be doing fine, though. Marvin says he feels really good and even tried a Cory pose and says he understands why Cory likes androgynous poses. Renee also thinks Marvin looks good and thinks the two of them can be on top this week. Well, not at the same time, as I’m sure they have discovered.

Aw, man. Jourdan doesn’t get a bat mask – just some extremely smoky eyes. We’ll call them charred eyes.

America's Next Top Model Recap: We Are Eternally Disappointed That The Bats Are Not Cricket Bats

I’m sure the girls feel relieved by this, but I think they’ve been shortchanged. If there’s ever a chance to have a full-on bat mask, DEMAND your full-on bat mask. That’s my rule, anyway. And it has served me well everywhere in life but at the bank.

They keep yelling at Jourdan to open her eyes at first, then Jez and Johnny say she’s gorgeous. Renee has some serious core strength! …But the blood is rushing to her head. She says she’s feeling bad, but doesn’t want to say anything about it. Marvin worries about her. Useless Johnny Wujek says he’s worried about her performance, but not so much that he tries, you know, giving her useful advice. Renee interviews that she “thinks” she passed out as we see the guys pull her down and say her name 3,000 times to try to wake her up. Marvin and Renee both worry that she didn’t get a good shot.

Dramatic commercial break! Personal to whomever at DSW Shoe Warehouse hired the “social media guru” who suggested #Shoelover as a fun, hip hashtag: 1) No, there is nothing hip about corporate suggested hashtags and 2) Enjoy your company’s sudden intersection with the fetish community!

OK, let’s get back to the show.

Renee, in marked contrast to Jourdan, who says she’s going to pass out a lot when she gets stressed out, does seem to have actually passed out. Like with little memory gaps and everything. Renee keeps insisting that she’s OK, also in marked contrast to Jourdan. Chris says Renee was being overdramatic. He also says he’s in survival mode and has nothing to go home to, so it’s time to step it up and take it to the next level and did he read a book of reality show clichés to take his mind off of Marvin and Renee bonking or what? In spite of his power clichés, however, Chris is just hanging there with his arms over (under?) his head. As in not doing one other thing – just hanging there with his arms hanging even lower.

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Johnny and Jez ask him to do literally anything else and he yells “I’m trying to be a bat!” They take him down and tell him to be a model, not a bat, then put him back up, to moderately better results.

Cory accurately bitches that it doesn’t matter that Chris’s shoot got all weird, because if he even got one really good shot, they can use it. Nevertheless, Cory is in high spirits as he comes on to the set. Jez tells him not to be too feminine. Cory tries to give them masculinity blended with what he already does. Jez says Cory is being risky and won’t appeal to men. Chris hopes Cory will screw up because Chris needs someone else to screw up or he’ll go home.

Skull Mail!
Everyone is freaked out about this panel. Renee is still feeling bad and she and Marvin cuddle. So many people are rooting for Chris to go home that we’re all pretty sure he will not.

Panel!
Tyra poses right-side up in lingerie and a cape.

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I love how she won’t submit herself to the indignities she inflicts on the contestants. I would also very much like to see what happens when a new producer suggest that she does.

Tyra and Jourdan have matching outfits. Hello, Best Photo Bait.

Tyra says that last week was difficult because two people went home. Just as we think she’s leading into one of those segments where she’s Saint Tyra the Empath, she says it will be difficult again this week. Dang. Another double elimination. This Cycle is Twist and Gimmick City.

All the judges love Jourdan’s shot, but I’m sorry y’all: She looks like a uvula. 9-9-10.

Cory looks dreamy and fantastic, but Rob says he’s too feminine. Um. Rob says he’s talking to Cory as a male model who understands what you have to do to sell yourself in the business, but he really dances along an uncomfortable line that we’ve seen in weeks past of Rob maybe not being cool with someone who isn’t traditionally masculine or with The Gay in general. Rob says that if Cory walks into a shoot, they’ll assume he’s the make-up artist, and Kelly Cutrone, in what is not quite the rousing call for toppling silly gender-binary norms that one might hope for, shouts “It depends on the brand!” Still, at least she’s trying.

Cory – Whoa! – stops the judges’ debate so he can say his piece. He says he loves his androgyny, and the androgyny of other role-model models his what sparked Cory’s passion for modeling in the first place. Tyra stops it all and says Cory will polarize people, but also the he’s the only one giving her an H-to-T pose, and she loves it. He looks, I wish to stress, terrific, and there is NO BRAND involved in this week’s shoot, so why should we assume that isn’t what the client might want? Rob assumes that very thing and gives Cory a 6. Fuck you, Rob. That’s essentially a deliberate attempt to tank Cory, which he’s done twice now. 8-10-6.

Renee has a good body to Rob, but Kelly says she looked like a tangled kite.

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Tyra says it’s amateur. Uh-oh. Tyra also imitates new models by imitating them screaming in delight at meeting Tyra. It’s those little moments of naked psyche that are the most satisfying, aren’t they? 7-7-7. Uh-oh.

Rob is not impressed with Chris’s pose. And, wow, I guess Kelly’s crush is over. She says Chris looks like a toddler who escaped with a Halloween costume. Tyra likes his face, but it’s not enough. We’re all cool if I don’t ever recap what Bryanboy says, right? 7-8-8.

Kelly says Marvin looks like a castle’s chief bat who can turn into a hot guy. Oh, heavens, Tyra is so inspired by Marvin’s face that she falls out of her chair in an extended moment of Tyra Comedy. 9-9-9.

Time to add up the scores! And, yup, Tyra only has three photos. This is a weird cycle.

Best Photo:
Jourdan!

Tyra reminds us of Jourdan’s personal hardships. Hello, returning story arc! Tyra also gives Jourdan a color. WHAT? She says the Jourdan’s color is an orange, and that it is called “Sunrise Smize,” and that everyone rooting for Jourdan will be “rocking” Sunrise Smize. Has anyone told Tyra that we don’t all watch this on giant screens in stadiums together? That feels like an important piece of information she hasn’t been clued into.

Assigning the models with a signature (Tyra-branded) color might be the most pointless thing that has ever happened on Top Model. And that is a stratospherically high bar. Well done, I guess.

Runner Up:
Marvin!

Tyra reminds us that he is the son of a janitor and gives Marvin “Booch Blue.” This is beneath us all.

Three models stand before Tyra. But she only has one photo! Chris has potential but got weaker and weaker! Cory is beautiful and androgynous and creates polarity! Is he ahead of his time? Renee is beautiful, but hasn’t mastered her face! Can she?

The first obsolete model:
Renee. Aww, that’s too bad. Cory cries and Marvin hugs her and cries. She says she’ll miss Marvin. But you’ll be together again for the fitness video, you crazy kids. FIND AND COVER THE CAMERAS THIS TIME.

And the third finalist is…
Cory! Oh, yay. He is assigned Fierce Fuchsia, which I’d be offended by if the other colors weren’t equally ridiculous.

Chris in his departing interview still can’t figure out why he’s always the bad guy, and I can’t figure out why I never saw the Vanilla Ice resemblance until his photo montage.

Next week:
We bring back some of the fallen models! Jourdan is not pleased! Cory has to make out with Jourdan for a shoot! And Tyra makes an announcement that also displeases Jourdan. Oh, I am so there. See you then!

TV Show: America's Next Top Model

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