America’s Next Top Model: Let’s ignore the beauty of Bali and bicker instead

Another recap of America’s Next Top Model, everybody! Now with exotic locations but the very same amount of squabbling.

Model House is full of candles. Given the collective intelligence of the group, I immediately think “deathtrap.”

Nina is happy because she finally got best photo. At last she believes she could be America’s Next Top Model! And then, you know, do whatever models do after the show. Jeremy disses Chris’s photo (rightly so) in his interview and Chris in turn doesn’t think much of the borderline leopard-humping in Jeremy’s photo. Marvin has a sad and goes off by himself.


Tyra appears! The models report that Marvin is sad and Tyra, ever aware of other peoples’ feelings in a completely unselfish way, goes to talk him through it. Quick: Name seventeen people you would rather have come to talk you through a rough time than Tyra. On my list were Janice Dickinson, Lady Gaga, and Vlad the Impaler. (Providing you didn’t offend him, Vlad gave some very proactive life-coaching advice. And he never said “tooch.”)

The other models leap up and rush over to watch this intensely private, filmed-from-multiple-angles moment. DO NOT LEAP AND RUSH WHEN THERE ARE A BAJILLION CANDLES ON THE FLOOR, MODELS. -

See? Deathtrap.

Renee is not used to seeing men cry, and Marvin is crying a lot. He’s flipping out because he can’t believe that he, a janitor’s son, is here, and is worried that he’s wasting his chance because he’s in the bottom all the time. Tyra tells him to be proud of who he is: Someone Who Was Picked By Tyra.

Tyra asks the models how they like Bali and tells them that her two-month vacation there changed her life. Then she leans forward to dispense wisdom: “You don’t choose Bali; Bali chooses you.” Funny how Bali mostly chooses people who have the financial resources to travel to Bali.

Cory says he’s heard that Bali is a place where it’s easier to get in touch with your more spiritual side. I am, here and now, putting $20 on that table that says we will have a particularly lunkheaded spiritually themed challenge and/or photo shoot before this trip is done.

Tyra says she has great things planned for the models to experience. Shit’s gonna get cray. Time for a check-in! Renee is frustrated with her performance thus far. She wants better photos. Jourdan says that before this competition she had no self-esteem. That’s quite a turnaround. Jourdan says her ex-husband used to tell her awful lies about her, but now she knows she has what it takes.

Cory says he feels like the black sheep. I’m assuming it’s because he’s the only one with adult social skills, but Tyra assumes it’s because he’s the only “gay male” in the group. (Um, is there something we don’t know about one of the ladies?) Cory says he’s learned a lot (black sheep!) about passing judgment on people without getting to know them. Cory thanks Tyra on behalf of the gay community for her influence. Fine. Jeremy says he’s slowly getting better, and Tyra says he needs to figure out how to do high fashion with his hunkola body. Aw, man, Nina doesn’t even get to talk. Tyra says she needs to keep working her awkwardness for high fashion blah.

Chris says he’s jealous of all the friendships in the group. Have you tried not being a dick? I know he had a rough upbringing, but it is possible to watch people and adjust your behavior. Nina say “He’s my guy” and Chris – or editing – brushes it off. Chris classily takes this moment of Nina trying to emotionally support him yet again as an opportunity to bitch about her a) not wanting him to be mean to her whenever he feels like it and b) wanting him to give some emotional support in return. What a demanding bitch, right?

Renee, in an interview, notes that Chris is the one who’s a selfish dick. Nina, back in the room, tearily says she didn’t know Chris felt that way. Please, Nina, please. Take this painful moment in. Even if Chris liked you back, you’d find yourself a rival of P.R. Maven Kelly Cutrone and she would cut you with a jagged “punk rock” branded keychain.

Outside, (did Tyra walk out of the house like a normal person, or was she engulfed in white light and bodily assumed into Model Nirvana?) Cory, Renee, and Jourdan talk about Nina and Chris. Renee interviews that she wants to shove “the biggest piece of poop” into Chris’s mouth, because that’s all that ever comes out. It may not be the most sophisticated metaphor this show has ever come up with, but it certainly is evocative.

Jourdan doesn’t like the fact that Chris only has self-pitying sob stories and suckage, and then is all fake nice in front of Tyra. Nina joins them, and the others try to impress upon her the notion that, yes, Chris is a douche and is not going to stop being a douche. Nina, who just got slagged off to her face in front of Tyra, doesn’t want to believe that Chris is really that bad a person. Oh, for Chrissakes, Nina, he isn’t even that hot. Renee wants Nina to grow some balls, stand up for herself, and focus on moving up in the competition.

Nina knows she has a pattern of believing in people who probably don’t deserve it, and it has gotten her [bleeped] over before. Nina! You’re 18! You can spot and break this pattern now, or you can break it in your late 30s, or you can break it never. Guess which option will be the most fun for you in the long run?

Nina says she just wishes Chris knew she cared about him. He does, Nina: That’s why he knows he can treat you badly. It’s what dickheads do. Again: Learn this now and your life will be the better for it.

Nina says she loves Chris… As a friend. Oh, Christ.

Speaking of doomed relationships, Marvin and Renee are spooning again. Marvin asks Renee why she doesn’t like kissing him as much as he likes kissing her, and she says she does.

FOUL! This is from the same footage we saw last week, with Jeremy peeking over his pillow and everything. Marvin kisses Renee in front of Jeremy, who says they’re cute. Um.

Renee and Marvin don’t annoy Jeremy, but Chris does. Jeremy describes some weird whose-shoulder-is-in-front-of-whose macho posturing thing that happened when they first arrived in Bali. Jeremy and Chris rehash it at the pool. Chris, not threatened at all so why would you even think that, says that Jeremy tries to use his muscles for everything. He also thinks that Jeremy is not appropriately humble as a contestant who has been eliminated and come back. Even Renee, no stranger to stupid fights, can’t believe how stupid this fight is.

Cory hilariously interviews that he stays out of it, clutches his pearls, pops up some imaginary popcorn and enjoys the fighting. Amen, Cory. -

The show suggests the hashtag #BoyDrama for talking about this fight on Twitter. (Seriously, whichever producer is championing this: Stop it. Stop it right now. This is the least hip thing you could be doing. You know how when your grandma calls you about an article she saw in Parade and it gave her a great idea for something you could put in the show? That is what you are doing with the hashtag suggestions. #JustSaying)

Jeremy interviews that he wanted to hit Chris, and Chris interviews that Jeremy would get eliminated if he did it, so fine. Back at the pool Chris powerwhines that everyone in the house keeps finding reasons to hate him and he can do no right. Chris: Have you tried not being a dick? The other models are loving this fight so much that they are literally hanging out of the windows to watch.

Jeremy says he was Chris’s last actual friend in the house and now Jeremy, too, is pissed off. Chris floats in the pool in the crucifixion position as we go to commercials.

Rice paddies!
Marvin takes a moment to appreciate how stunning the view is. The rice paddies have thousands of years of history, economy, and social changes wrapped up in them, and Tyra has chosen an appropriate theme for the models to reflect all that: Green. The models will be wearing green clothes. Sigh.

At least we have two Indonesian designers. One is Oka Diputura, who seems jolly and, oh, barf, we have a child designer. I’m sorry, but Tyra has an amazing child on about every third or fourth cycle and it is always…mildly impressive, I guess, but not any more interesting in the long run than a grown-ass whatever-it-is. And like this show needs more stuntcasting.

This child is Rafi Ridwan. He’s 11, and he’s fine. Tyra says he’s also deaf and an “amazing prodigy.” OK, great. Rafi is a genuinely impressive child. How is this not a dick move to Oka Diputura, who merely spent years studying and practicing his craft? It doesn’t matter anyway, because the show never tells us which designs are whose. Charming.

Haaaa! Tyra is still pretending she is a makeup artist. -

We see Marvin patiently letting her put blush on him, his face full of the knowledge that she is making him look like the dummy from Magic.

Marvin totally blabs to Tyra that he and Renee have been cuddling and Cory tells Tyra that they are now “Marnee.” Cory, I love you, but can we please stop giving couples compound names now? It is the worst. You too, fandoms. Renee has a perfect strained smile on her face as Marvin tells Tyra about their romance.

Cory interviews that he imposed “Marnee” on them because they are canoodly and attached at the hip just like a celebrity couple. Cory says he’s going to be hashtagging “Marnee” everywhere and, goddammit, the show leaps in and suggests #Marnee. Please, Grandma, can’t you tell me about Huey Long again instead?

Renee is not into their compound name or into people knowing she likes Marvin. Uh, it’s a bit late for that, Renee. And dating someone but deciding that you’re so much cooler than that person that you don’t want anyone to know about it is one of the all-time dick dating moves. If you can’t be honest about whom and what you love, you are not a functioning grown-up. I own and enjoy both Aqua albums. See? Not so hard. You just let the scorn wash over you and go back to whatever makes your heart a little warmer and your brain a little happier. Marvin, you should drop her ass.

Hey, Jez Smith is back on! He’s done a fine job taking photos in past cycles, I think. Johnny Wujek, ever flowing with insights, tells the models they are in an amazing rice field and they should embrace the environment.

Marvin poses with a basket on his head. Oh, God, are they using actual locals as colorful background scenery? -

I am uncomfortable.

Tyra finishes ruining Renee’s makeup and asks her to pose. Renee has a different basket on her head. She looks regal and elegant, like Tyra told her to be. Chris bitches that this is not America’s Next Top Dater, and he is tired of Marvin and Renee. Useless Johnny Wujek says that Renee has trouble standing out.

Marvin says that Chris’s modeling is good, but he’s isolating himself. Correct. Tyra checks out Cory’s planned poses and he’s killing it. And then it zombies back up, so he kills it again during his actual shoot.

America's Next Top Model Recap: Let's Ignore The Beauty Of Bali And Bicker Instead

Johnny says Cory nailed the shot in five seconds. Cory says he’s just going to be Fierce Cory and stop trying to be someone else’s idea of masculine. They love him.

Oh, poor Jourdan. She looks like they made her wear a bag of leaves. And a comical Victorian ladies’ hatbasket on her head. She stumbles at one point and everyone reacts like she just jostled the gyroscope bomb. She explains that she almost fell into some nasty water that has a lot of cobra feces in it. Who wants rice?

Tyra ruins Chris’s makeup as he says he’s nervous. Chris, ever the diplomat, comes into the shoot pissy and then bitches about his constraining outfit. Chris has the biggest basket of all! But he can’t enjoy it. He says he hates it when he gets restrained. Chris is tired of all the things and feelings he doesn’t like. Johnny Wujek doesn’t like Chris’s energy and says he has no learning curve. Today we are all Johnny Wujek.

OH, MY GOD. Nina is trying to counsel Chris through it. Nina, the phrase you’re looking for, if any at all, is “suck it up, Chris!” It’s possible that Nina is disoriented because she has been dressed as the Pollen Fairy. -

Nina, in her interview, wonders why she’s helping Chris when he’s clueless and it’s a one-way street. So do we, Nina!

Nina’s basket is a hat-Chinese-lantern-basket. Jez thinks she’s posing too weird and awkward.

Jeremy also gets the giant macho basket. We watch him pose as we listen to Chris bitch about what’s wrong with Jeremy.

Tyra says the models would normally go home after the shoot, but tonight they are going to the “artistic, jungle, wonderful spiritual colony of Bali,” Ubud. They will be having their “Bali chooses you” experience. And there’s no challenge this week! I think someone made a deal with the Bali tourism bureau! Well played; I totally want to go.

Nina, Renee, Cory, and Chris went to see a shaman healer, which Nina says she really needed.

Jourdan and the others get to hang out with monkeys that are just casually all over the place! Pretty awesome.

Everyone shows up at the elephant safari park, apparently to sleep, but there’s only one bed. Renee is freaked out because she’s been having dreams about elephants and now there’s an elephant right there. Even Chris is filled with a childlike joy because it is a freaking elephant. Jourdan is either moved or frightened to tears.

We learn that there are two pull-out couches in addition to the bed. Jeremy chivalrously suggests that the girls take the bed and the boys take the pull-out couches. Cory further suggests that he sleep with Nina and Jourdan so Renee can cuddle with Marvin. Chris feels left out because no one has mentioned him by name in the sleeping arrangements, even though one might conclude that he’s included in the general category of “the boys.” He pissies around the apartment, bitching all the way. Cory points out that this is ridiculous, because they are being spoiled rotten right now. Chris says this is “horrible” and comes back in to make things more difficult. Chris ends up with his own couchbed, and it looks like Jeremy is on a regular couch.

Nina says that Chris is isolated because nobody wants to be around his bad energy. Good, Nina! Good!

Elephant Safari Park!
Renee still can’t believe she woke up in a room with elephants outside. Nina walks around with her mouth open in unashamed wonder. Good for both of them. Could this get any better? Yes! Baby elephant! How cool. The models gingerly touch (or don’t touch) the elephants. Chris, who has figured out nothing about trunks, tries to throw food straight into an elephant’s mouth. Chris takes a moment to pissyface about that too. Whoa – the elephant baby is only four days old.

And now the models will ride on elephants! Jourdan and Nina are on one, Jeremy and Cory are on another, Renee and Marvin are on a third, and Chris has his own. Chris is bummed because he doesn’t have someone to experience Bali with. Dude, you could be on an Elephant Ride of Friendship/Repressed Love with Nina if you had taken the minimal effort of not being a dick to her. And not even always not being a dick to her. If you had gone not-dick instead of dick maybe a third of the times when you chose to be a dick, you would have an elephant buddy now. This is such an obvious lesson – why didn’t the producers suggest #ElephantDick?

And now the models are on the backs of elephants in the wild splendor of a rainforest. Surely they will take a moment to absorb all the new sights and sounds… No, they’re all just yelling at Marvin and Renee to kiss. Models? Are you sure you don’t want to take a moment to appreciate the wild splendor of the – no? Fine. Marvin wants to kiss, but Renee says she hates PDA. Get your story straight, Renee. Marvin kisses Renee – kind of not cool if she really doesn’t want to – and Renee totally fish-kisses him. Cory says they’re finally comfortable kissing in front of the family. Eh.

Marvin says he’ll remember this forever. At least he’s being appreciative of the not-entirely-willing kiss.

Skull Mail!
The missive of doom says no one is safe and the models wonder if it’s going to be a double elimination. Nina interviews that Chris wasn’t confident during his shoot and pissed off his photographer. She thinks Chris should go home. Daaaaamn. I think Nina’s got it.

(But Chris makes for drama and Kelly Cutrone is doodling her first name and his last name and “P.R. Maven” on the cover of her history notebook, so we’ll see.)

Tyra asks the models if Bali has chosen them yet. Grab the reins on that figure of speech, Tyra – it’s getting away from you. Tyra notes that there is no challenge score, so it’s all about the photos this week. Whoa! It is a double elimination. Could we have more gimmicks this season, please?

Marvin looks great. Tyra says he is a man. 9-9-9!

Renee looks relaxed and natural to Rob, but boring and sad to Kelly. Tyra says it’s princess-regal, not queen-regal. 7-7-10. -

Jourdan’s picture inspires a bickering match between Rob and Kelly over whether she’s overmodeling. Tyra gives Jourdan her highest praise and tells her it looks like a Tyra picture. 9-10-7.

Cory looks fantastic. Rob maintains, continuing his argument, that you don’t need to be super high fashion in a gorgeous natural setting. That said: Cory looks amazing. Give the man his due. 9-9-6. Aw, Rob, that 6 was a jerk move.

Holy crap, Nina doesn’t even look like a person. Which is not to say that her picture is bad, just that she’s incredibly stylized. She looks like a porcelain thistle doll. Kelly Cutrone decides to use an actual kind of doll for her description of Nina and calls her a Russian nesting doll. Kelly’s not into the weird face she’s making. Rob and Tyra don’t think she’s working her weirdo dress. 6-8-6. Uh-oh.

Chris looks scared as he walks up. Rob likes the shot. Kelly can’t get behind it. Huh. I guess she saw last week’s footage. 7-8-8.

Oh, wow, Jeremy is boring. -

Rob calls him a commercial model, not a top model. (Which for Tyra is usually an insult, but the practical Rob says there’s a lot of money to be made there.) Kelly says Jeremy looks like he found that shirt on the ground. Tyra says if he just loses a little of his muscle bulk, he’ll match his more interesting face. 7-7-7.

Time to add in the social media scores! Man, I miss the days when whacked-out, overtired judges would just make completely irrational decisions on their own.

Best Photo:

Runner up:


Chris, Jeremy, and Nina are left standing before Tyra! And she only has one photo in her hands!

Chris is in his own way! And that angers Tyra because he is such a strong model. Tyra has no idea why Nina is standing there after such strong weeks leading up to this. And Jeremy has an amazing body, but can’t work it.

Pointless number flipping!

Aw, man, Nina is knocked out first. You can do well in life without this show, Nina. Take your hula hoops and your life lesson in not dealing with dickheads and run far, far away. Chris gives Nina a hug. Aw, Cory is super sad that she’s leaving. Chris tells Nina that if he stays in the competition, he will win it for her. Meh.

More pointless number flipping!

And Jeremy is out! Yup, drama-manufacturing Chris is still in on the show. Who could have predicted it? Tyra gives Nina and Jeremy their hugs and pep talks. Chris tells his fans to take a chance. Nina says she has wanted this since she was eight. She says she’ll keep going and maybe this is the right path for her.

Next Week!
Chris and Cory scream at each other. Team Cory! Jourdan thinks she’s going to pass out. We see bugs! And apparently there’s a bat-themed shoot that freaks out Chris. I am so there! See you then!

TV Show: America's Next Top Model

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