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October 6, 2015

'America's Next Top Model' Cycle 16, Season Premiere Recap

by Alaina O'Connor, posted Feb 24th 2011 1:30AM
['America's Next Top Model' - 'Erin Wasson']

Welcome to cycle 16 of 'America's Next Top Model.
It's hard to believe that there's been this many seasons of a show that Tyra Banks still manages to make all about her. Case in point: Tyra's caricatures of various girls from past seasons at the beginning of the episode and her spending way too much time pointing out the couture T-shirt she was wearing. Oh, Tyra. It's OK. We get it.

From the very first moments of the premiere episode, Tyra wanted to make it clear that this cycle was different from the others. First off, this wasn't just any old premiere episode. This time around there was no casting week. I'll repeat that; NO CASTING WEEK. This is a first in 'Top Model' history and quite frankly, I was relieved. It's not that there's anything particularly wrong with casting week, but attempting to generate drama from a few girls who will ultimately stand little to no chance of making it seems like a waste of time.

Still, the more things change, the more they stay the same. All the usual players returned: Mr. Jay and Ms. Jay (who was rocking the most amazing outfit!), the incredibly hot Nigel Barker, and the impossibly fabulous Andre Leon Tally. Plus the prizes: a spread in Italian Vogue, representation by IMG and a contract with Cover Girl.

We're still getting to know the girls, so it's hard to pick out who's the alpha-female, who's the underdog, and who's the wild card, but Tyra gave us cliff notes. She (and the producers) hand picked 14 girls straight off the bat and Tyra made sure to pigeon hole each and every one of them: "sexy mama Monique," "hippie Hannah," "edgy Mikaela," etc. This is something that really bugs me about 'ANTM': Tyra tells these girls who they're supposed to be before they even get a chance to find out for themselves.

The coolest part of this episode was the photos that Russell James (who's shot the models in almost every cycle, and Tyra, of course) did a photo shoot backstage while the girls got ready for their ridiculous walk down the catwalk.

A word on that: There have been many a wacky runway challenge in the 'Top Model' galaxy. The one that most readily comes to mind is the Rachel Roy fashion show of cycle 14, in which the girls walked a runway with pendulums swinging at them from every which way. This time around, the girls walked in an Alexander Wang fashion show with jewelry by model/stylist Erin Wassan, who was also their guest judge, only this time they had to walk a 12-inch runway inside a plastic bubble!

It was pretty incredible to watch and most of the girls did a decent job, save for Ondrei and Monique, who both fell into the water and had to endure cringe-worthy moments of trying (and failing!) to pick themselves up and find dry land. I think I heard Ms. Jay laugh a few times during those embarrassing moments ... or maybe it was me.

Still, that's nothing compared to the most asshole move of the entire episode, when Tyra et al. decided that it would be a good idea to give all the girls envelopes and tell them that if there was a picture inside, they'd move on to the next round -- only to discover that all 14 girls who made it to the show had no pictures. I suppose this was Tyra's way of giving the girls a little taste of rejection. As she reminded us, all the top models have been rejected -- even the queen herself!

But here's my question: what about the other girls who received photos? Perhaps they were ushered to the roof, as opposed to the basement like the girls who stayed, and were told to rappel down the building if they wanted to stay in the competition and come to find out that once they hit the bottom, a van was waiting to take them to the airport.

As for eliminations this week, it came down to Angelia from Miami and freckle-faced Dominique, who earned the right to stay another week despite the fact that her picture wasn't quite up to par.

Other Cycle 16 Observations:

-- We didn't get a chance to get to know the girls too well, but Sarah reminds me of Ren from last cycle -- quirky hipster girl with a rats tail (didn't those die in like 1992, along with fanny packs?) and Hannah is Jennifer Aniston-esque, according to Andre Leon Tally.

-- I have to give it up to Tyra for trying to keep her franchise fresh. It started in cycle 13 with 5-foot 7-inch and under girls; then she took her franchise to the next level with high fashion modeling as the covenant price.

So, what do you guys think? How does cycle 16 stack up to previous cycles? Who do you think will be eliminated next?

'America's Next Top Model' airs Wednesdays at 8PM ET on The CW]

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It was Dominique not Monique who fell in the water and I also was really upset when Tyra lied to the girls about going home. I don't really care if it made the real top 14 sad but what about the girls that were told they made it and didn't, what a mean horrible thing to do to someone. Anyways is it just me or do the girls this season have the most annoying voices hint Hannah and Jaclyn, not to say I don't like them but their voices drive me crazy.

March 02 2011 at 6:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

the real rejected girls who received a photo were fakes.

February 24 2011 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Tyra Banks still manages to make all about her."

1. It's her show, and it's entertaining.
2. It's her show, and it's entertaining.

February 24 2011 at 8:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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