Jun 24, 2021
America's Next Top Model Recap: Finale Part II, The Actual Finale
Previously On America’s Next Top Model!
There were two guys and one girl left: Marvin (Booch Blue), Jourdan, (Sunrise Smize), and Cory (Fierce Fuchsia). Cory had the most fallen models come back as his completely useless catwalk crew, Marvin had a fair amount, and Jourdan had two guys who admitted they don’t actually like her.
We were allll the way up to 20 minutes before the start of Final Catwalk when Tyra and the judges came in and announced that only two of our finalists will actually be competing and one is getting eliminated RIGHT NOW. That also means that someone’s catwalk crew is finding out that they won’t be winning $1,000 each RIGHT NOW. The judges are making their decision based on the Guess shoot…And the results are in.
Cory asks “Why now?”
Because the show is bringing back the incandescent evil planning of the old days, Cory, and it is a wise move. Tension Music starts as Tyra goes into her elimination spiel. She notes that the two finalists who aren’t eliminated will be “stomping to the death” on the catwalk tonight. God, wouldn’t this be an exciting show if that were a literal statement?
More tension music and… Jourdan is in the running! Was anyone surprised by that? No. Moving on. Tyra says “Congratulations, Jourdan, you are a real finalist.” Ooh, burn.
The remaining finalist is… (Pointless number flipping…)
Aw, man. That sucks for poor Cory, who put in a great run. And who now has to walk in the show anyway. He says all he can do now is model his ass off. That’s the spirit! Tyra hugs him and tells him that coming this far is huge. And then she says, and I quote:
“LGBT. Holla, holla, holla. Hero.” So, you know, adjust your Pride float signs accordingly. Cory gets his photo montage and is relieved to not have to pretend to butch out anymore.
And, because every moment is secretly about Tyra, she lets us know that what just happened to Cory – getting eliminated 15 minutes before a show, not getting used to cheaply up someone’s LGBT street cred – also happened to Tyra. As above, so below. It was at the Versace show in Paris. She was in full hair and makeup and had to walk past all the other models…and go home. As Cory tries to collect himself without even a minute of Tyra not talking, she tells us that we have to get up when we’re knocked down and make our dreams come true. Even when the model who just crushed us will not shut up for 30 seconds so we can pull it together in peace.
Tyra smiles and heads out with the judges, and the remaining catwalk crews admire the photos of the top two and try not to gloat over the fact that their odds of winning the thousand smackers just went up. Kanani notes that there hasn’t been a Hispanic winner since Jaslene in Cycle 8, so she hopes Marvin can pull this off. Marvin thinks it would be awesome to be the first guy winner.
Chris tries to pep talk Jourdan and just ends up being kind of creepy and in her face.
He says they want it to be a guy winner; don’t give it to them. Jourdan says she needs to give 1,000 percent and more, apparently because she didn’t give it back in math class. She says she won’t let a boy steal the title of America’s Next Top Model.
The crowd cheers for Tyra as she comes out to welcome then in Indonesian. Someone in the crowd has a sign that says “186 Countries.” What? Tyra informs us that they’re in The Beatiful Garden of Good Fortune… And it will be a good fortune for only one of the models. Let’s start the show!
Yay, fire dancers! They’re whirling fire around like flaming Ninas! Why do we not get to see more of the really interesting parts? Useless Johnny Wujek, dressed to the nines in another fucking homemade trucker hat, informs us that Laura from Cycle 19 will be walking in the show, so szzzzzzzzz. Laura tells the models to not forget to be fierce and smize. Johnny tells them to remember to stay in character and keep the “theatrics” going to go along with the film they shot. Good heavens, I’d forgotten about the film. Doubtless the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has not, though.
Cory is trying to regain composure even though this was a truly suckola surprise, and Laura tells him that he’s going to be amazing. Bold words from a woman who seems to have been dressed with a black Christmas wreath of doom on her chest.
Cory wishes he had a little more time to process this, which, yeah.
Johnny tells the models to rock those beautiful clothes. Giana tells us via interview that Jourdan is only a “blonde bombshell” who just sits there and takes pretty pictures. THAT’S NOT WHAT A BOMBSHELL IS. Producers, stop feeding the models incorrect terminology. Models, stop saying “bombshell” until you can come back and properly define “vavoom” and/or “oomph.”
Marvin wants to take advantage of this opportunity and not let his family down and we see footage that’s clearly of him being made up like an hour ago. Useless Johnny Wujek yells “Hey, one thing! Remember: Don’t fall.” Thanks, Johnny. Next time also remind them not to think of elephants. Trucker Hat says that if the models do fall, they should fall beautifully. Somehow everyone in Bali resists the urge to sweep him up on their shoulders and keep him as their own. Just barely.
Jourdan reminds us that it’s down to just her and Marvin. I THINK WE’RE CLEAR ON THAT. Jourdan announces that she needs to kill it, and this is what she was born to do.
The catwalk show starts and, yikes, we’re using the locals as props and scenery in a way that makes me uncomfortable again. Marvin refreshes us on the fact that he needs to win this, and he needs to beat Jourdan to do it. Wow, the producers have looked deep within their souls and made some unsparing decisions about how stupid one has to be to still be watching this show. I take umbrage.
Jourdan doesn’t think she can handle it if Marvin wins because she really doesn’t think he’s ready. And she really thinks she is. The judges leap onstage and declare her the winner based on this irrefutable point.
Time to start the show!
No, it isn’t. Of course it isn’t. It’s time to hear about Tyra’s deep and self-reflective spiritual journey in Bali, as documented by the photographs of herself that she still managed to pose for. She says that during her stay in Bali, she grew to understand how “the culture revolves around good vs. evil.” Um. So tonight will be a very special and dramatic fashion show! Because the three finalists made a film that will weave into the story that will happen on the runway tonight!
Jesus H. Christ with a hula hoop, Tyra is STILL talking. She says that every day in the modeling industry, a young girl gets discovered and her life changes…But she is also susceptible to damaging relationships. We get a close shot of Jourdan, classily reminding us of her abusive marriage. Which happened pre-modeling for her, but whatever. It is Tyra’s world. Do not pester her with your silly space-time continuum.
Tyra says that one in four American girls are experiencing damaging relationships right now. The camera searches for young women who are listening earnestly and finds bored ones who would like to see the fashion show already. Hee.
Oh, sweet merciful heavens, the fashion film is called “DangerLove.” I could not be be more delighted. And I look forward to the sequel, DangerField.
OK, so when Tyra says “film,” she means “music video.” First, Jourdan and Marvin are good and they are so happy! They are helpfully labeled “Jourdan” and “Marvin.” She hugs him and then looks wistfully away. Oh, dear, a girl with dreams. Don’t go chasing waterfalls, Jourdan. She runs away in a playful manner. Wow, she slow-motion runs way faster than Marvin. Jourdan is instantly discovered by Rob Evans, who waves her straight into his photo shoot with Cory right that second. Laura from Cycle 19 is replaced and has a moment of mad. Cory gets a caption: “Cory.” He also gets a tiger noise.
Cory and Jourdan immediately start to make out during the photo session, which is just what happens when you drop a girl into your shoot right off the street with no training. Marvin – apparently an extremely slow runner – just now catches up and sees the makeout. Whoopsie!
Flying captions tell us it is one year later. We see sad Jourdan looking sad. Or, if we’re being honest, like she has a persistent light stomachache, but close enough. She is finishing up a photo shoot in which the photographer never seems to suggest that she might want to stop being sad. Arty!
Jourdan leaves her shoot and sees Cory kissing someone else. Kids today. Nobody makes out in private anymore. The moment is awesomely captioned “Betrayal.” Cory rushes up and grabs and rough-kisses Jourdan, but she pulls back and then runs away. And there is Marvin! Who has been standing still for a year? Evidently yes. Jourdan rushes up to him and it’s so right that they don’t need to talk about trust issues or anything – he just embraces her! Marvin brushes back Jourdan’s hair and sees what I think is supposed to be a bruise, but it’s wine-colored, with well-defined edges. Maybe Cory has been putting Colorforms stickers on her.
But Jourdan pulls away from the hug. She’s ashamed! And she can’t stop thinking about Cory! So she runs back across the courtyard toward Evil Cory! For Chrissakes, woman, get a scooter or something.
Thank you, Tyra and friends, for this thoughtful meditation on the nature of good and evil as seen through the longstanding pattern of exploitative behavior in the modeling industry.
Finally the show starts! The top three walk out. Jourdan voiceovers that first her character was with Cory (no), and she leaves Marvin and becomes a famous fashion model. She says her character doesn’t know what’s coming, and has clearly been cut off halfway through her explanation of the film. Marvin says he was the only one of the three who showed emotion. Marvin, honey, you were only onscreen for 30 seconds. Cory does a fierce take to the camera from the catwalk and gets his tiger noise again. Ha!
Marvin says it feels good to play the good guy because he is a good guy. OK, then.
Johnny wanly “pumps up” the models and then Laura and this year’s fallen models walk. Cory vows to continue to be a fierce, androgynous male model. We only get a chest-up shot of Mike, so I’m guessing his walk still looks like he’s hauling new tanks for the water cooler.
There are “handmade” glitter-and-marker-on-posterboard signs in the audience that say “Booch Blue” and “Sunrise Smize.” I call bullshit. And now Tyra is holding the “186 Countries” sign. Did she make it?
Marvin reminds us he is a janitor’s son. Jourdan says she feels fierce and sexy. And – Oh, no! – her gown gets caught on her shoe! She stumbles, but keeps going. Johnny, watching on a monitor, yells out “Oh!”
Jourdan gets off the catwalk and asks if anyone saw her stumble. She interviews that if she has to go home, she doesn’t have a Plan B — she doesn’t know if she can start over financially. Dang, Top Model just got real for a second. Marvin says that if Jourdan stumbled and she’s letting it freak her out, that’s good for him as a competitor. He says Jourdan is finally doing badly. Thanks, Good Guy Marvin!
Clothes changes and mild freaking! Useless Johnny Wujek tells people they need to move fast. Marvin was from the Bronx! Jourdan says she wants to win because she wants to help women know that they need to leave abusive relationships. Johnny Wujek asks the models if they remember the story and sends them out.
Phase Two of the Catwalk
Cory walks out in a swanky Indonesian-style jacket and a fake photographer Rob pacing him. Marvin is in a tux and Sarong. Jourdan has apparently been overtaken by and covered in golden fungus. I thought she could run fast. The boys stop at the end of the runway and Jourdan walks up between them. They start to fight over her – have their characters met – but Jourdan is “empowered” now and pushes Cory down. And then she grabs the camera from Rob! She takes pictures of Cory’s humiliation.
Jourdan grabs Marvin “her character’s true love,” and plants a big kiss on him – she says they rehearsed a cheek kiss, but she kisses him for real because she’s here to win this competition. Marvin says he played it off well, but wonders if Jourdan gave him a real kiss to throw him off. I wonder at Tyra’s message to young women. Remember, girls: You’re empowered as long as you have a man to choose.
Side note: By Marvin’s telling, Jourdan’s kiss brings him up to having kissed every woman in this Cycle. Yay?
We get a close shot of the Golden Fungus and it is magically hilarious.
Now some model walking! Jourdan says her cape is actually made out of chains (of golden fungus), and that she just went for it. She informs us that when you have a chance to be America’s Next Top Model, you just have to stomp the crap out of the runway.
Oh, for crying out loud: We see the end of the fashion film, with Jourdan hugging Marvin. And over the hug, the flying captions read, “For every woman, there is hope.” Hope of getting a man, duh, because otherwise you are screwed. Or should just stay with the abusive, cheating one, I guess? Well messaged, Tyra!
Useless Johnny Wujek makes the models do a “2.0” gesture with their fingers for the final walk and OH, MY GOD, THE FRONT TWO AUDIENCE ROWS ARE DOING A COORDINATED CHAIR DANCE TO THE TOP MODEL THEME. God, this cycle is hitting so many highlights of dumbery I’m almost hurting myself. It is fantastic.
Want to dance along? Do the “2.0” gesture. Now hands over your head and shake your shoulders! Now hands low and shake your shoulders! Hands up and shake again! Hands low and scrabble around on the floor for your dignity! Too late, it left with the fire dancers.
Renee hugs Marvin and gives him a little kiss. Johnny Wujek says the decision is so hard that he’s glad he’s not on panel. So say we all.
Ayana resort and spa
Marvin stares into space with intensity. Jourdan stares into space with intensity. She wants this. I wish she wasn’t so coy about it.
Whoa! There’s final photo shoot… Shot by Tyra! In front of a Banyan tree. She says this shoot will be not so much about fashion, just really beautiful art pieces. Because Bali. Tyra is also pretending to do their make up again. She dabs lowlights onto Marvin’s abs to make them look more chiseled, but goes a little too far and makes him look like a castaway. Then she puts a stylized “XX” on each of their chests. For 2.0, geddit, geddit? Tyra loves themes.
Tyra makes Marvin ask the tree for permission to be photographed in front of it. See? She’s spiritual. Tyra directs Marvin a lot – with no Johnny in sight. Jourdan watches and sneers that Marvin is having trouble figuring out his body. Oh, were you aware that Jourdan wants to win? Turns out she does. Marvin doesn’t watch Jourdan’s shoot. He feels like he’s done and Bali has chosen him. Jourdan says that her shoot was really amazing and she feels confident.
Marvin and Jourdan have a totally spontaneous conversation in their post-shoot robes about how much they love Tyra. She gives such good direction! They shake hands and hope the best model will win. I don’t think that’s an entirely unselfish sentiment in Jourdan’s mind.
Criminy, we hear about how much Jourdan wants this again. Marvin says he knows he won, but they can’t do anything but wait.
The models are back in their final runway eveningwear. Tyra tells them they are finalists. Oh, really? I wasn’t clear on that. Time to evaluate their body of work!
First catwalk! Tyra describes their characters again. Kelly loved Marvin, and reminds us that he is the son of a janitor. Hey, they all loved Jourdan too. Tyra tells us that Jourdan went from “victim” to “victor” in the story.
So not that this was all a setup or anything, but how were they going to evaluate Cory’s second walk and pose which they knew would end with him being shoved to the ground and humiliated, if he had been one of the top two? I’ll just set that question down over here, shall I?
Oh, and Jourdan kissed Marvin! They like his awkward take to the camera post-kiss. Kelly’s critique of Jourdan’s second walk is, verbatim, “Jourdan, you are like the autumnal queen of effervescent eternal, divine sun.” She left out the fungus, but I feel like that’s implied. Kelly also notes that Jourdan’s legs looked amazing, which hell, yeah, they did. Tyra didn’t like that Jourdan forgot to model and be high-fashion when she took the photo of Cory, who, again, would have been ON THE FLOOR as a competitor had he been one of the top two. Which I’m sure had a totally legitimate chance of happening.
Tyra illustrates how one can humiliate someone by photographing him on the floor while still holding one’s body and face in a high-fashion way. You know, for when that comes up again.
We look back at the fake nail photos again.
Bryanboy gives us the vital piece of information that these are the highest Fetch scores for both finalists in this shoot. And we see the hurled-paint shoots! And the field shoots! We’re just doing random shoots, then? Then the rice paddy shoot. Tyra has come around to Rob’s thinking that sometimes natural poses are better, thus bringing one of the great debates of our time closer to resolution at last. We have to see the Guess shots that we just saw again. Kelly says you don’t want to just pass for a Guess model, you want to be the model that makes the most money for the brand. Which, OK, yeah.
Which brings us to the Tyra shoot, She tells us the banyan tree was sacred. You’re welcome, Bali! Tyra also says the theme of the shoot was being one with nature. What? Jourdan looks like she’s trying to be the figurehead on the bow of a ship, or maybe like she’s getting the “M” part of “YMCA” wrong, but the judges lurve her photo. Tyra says she liked shooting her and Jourdan never stopped modeling.
Marvin looks like he’s been photoshopped thinner. Tyra says it’s just the makeup, but the effect is creepy, like his waist is unnaturally small. Tyra says everybody cheats with makeup. Hey, men, aren’t you glad Top Model is bringing the magic of the modeling industry to you too? Rob thinks Marvin’s body looks better. It does not look better, you dysmorphic fashion goons.
Tyra reminds us that we have a man and a woman as finalists. Finally everyone in the viewing audience grasps the gimmick and theme of this cycle. Bryanboy, whose only function on the show is to make Johnny Wujek look like a man with useful and important things to do, tells us that what social media loves about Marvin is and we all fall into deep comas until he is done chattering. Kelly says Marvin is a fresh face. Tyra says he’s a doll at shoots. Rob says Marvin has a bigger chance in the industry than Jourdan does.
There’s debate over whether Marvin wants it more and will really go after it. Rob posits that Jourdan maybe won’t work much because he knows a beautiful model chick who he wondered why she didn’t work more until he got to know her and realized she was dull.
Tyra says she, Tyra, was boring as hell on set because she was so sweet and agreeable with photographers. And then she WAS FIERCE AND KILLED IT during the actual shoot and then she was sweet and compliant again. Like Faulkner novels and other great art, sometimes Top Model features unreliable narrators. Kelly says it’s all about nailing the shot and she doesn’t care who’s quiet and who’s chipper. Tyra wonders if Jourdan has a signature look. Could it happen with the right makeup artists? The men say Marvin is better for Nylon and Bryanboy says Jourdan is more high-fashion. Kelly says Jourdan is better for Nylon. Kelly blahs about how the Nylon brand is about the ingénue freshest hottest newest edgiest coolest most wonderful thing. Hope you got your kickback, Kelly.
But who would get Guess? Kelly informs us that Guess rules the denim world to women, but Marvin could bring them a new profitability for men. Bryanboy says Jourdan is an aspirational image for Guess just as they show the high school picture of her with the fake monobrow. Heh. Tyra pointlessly brings up who has the bigger catwalk crews. Bryanboy, prompted by Tyra says the catwalk crews definitely represent “social media and the fans.” Which is demonstrably wrong, because Jourdan’s Fetch scores are high, and her catwalk crew consists of Chris, who wanted to be peevish and Mike, who wanted the money.
Tyra says this is hard. Oh, were you aware that this is the first time they’ve had a guy and a girl in the finals? Kelly doesn’t give a rat about male or female, she says she cares about money and the business and the industry and the “frickin’ picture.” Bryanboy nods along. Tyra says both finalists can bank and both of them take amazing pictures. So who will be Amercia’s Next Top Model? Who?
Evil Tyra greets the finalists with “We’re nervous, aren’t we?” and reviews all the amazing things that one and only one of them will get. And then Tyra quickly voiceovers like the end of a pharmaceutical ad that they won’t be using Fetch scores for this one. Then why is Bryanboy here? Anyway, they’re being judged on their entire body of work. Let’s pointlessly flip some dramatic numbers!
America’s Next Top Model is…
Jourdan does the happy pageant weep. Marvin says he never thought he would get this shot, and he’s just glad to be there, and he says this is his light at the end of his tunnel and this proves he has a shot in the world. Tyra says he just needs to give it a little bit more time. Marvin says he’s happy and his future looks bright.
Tyra tells Jourdan she wanted a boy to win so bad, but Jourdan killed it on the runway so they had to give it to her. Thank you? Jourdan can’t believe it! She recites the prizes! She’s come so far in a year! We also see that she has an anchor tattooed on her back! Bryanboy is so happy for her he’s doing a little dance, which is the best thing he’s done on the show.
We see Mike and Chris getting $1,000 each from Rob. It is weird and anti-climactic. Chris says he bets Mike feels glad that he switched. Mike’s face registers a solid maybe. This moment seriously looks like the producers forgot about the catwalk prize and just had the editors throw some footage in right before they hit “send.”
But we end on a photo of Jourdan posing with Tyra herself, so we know that all is right with the world.
Who knows what madness and wonder and terrible life lessons next Cycle will bring? I can’t wait.