Super mogul model time, guys! That was theme of this carnival show. Tyra ascended her Harvard Business School mountain top, handed down amazing, nonsensical nicknames to highlight the contestants' attributes. Sidebar: I have to say when I entered into this I was ready to hate hard on Tyra. I have to say, she is kind of incredible. She's maternal and quirky and a little bit brilliant and absolutely, delightfully bats**t. I also think she can shoot fire out of her eyeballs. She's like a fairy tale villain that are you're always secretly rooting for. Anyway, Tyra donned a canary yellow cape, and called all her subjects, aka "intoxibellas" to inspire them to channel their inner empire builder bequeathing bizarre-o names like Zagalicious (Laura, the self-professed dance pirate), Illuminata (Sophie), 30 Never (creepily over-sexy baby, Eboni), and my personal favorite, Next Doorsia (Kyle, I guess the ginger Joey Potter).
All of this was leading up a photo shoot challenge starring Kelly Cutrone's model animosity. Let's talk about Kelly Cutrone for a hot second first, because let's face it, she was the star of this episode. It kind of made me sad, though. We're supposed to buy her as this cutthroat, intimidating publicist person, but there's something about her that doesn't quite sell that. She's eternally frumpy in ill-fitting black clothes. Her burns and bytes never quite land. And her eyes always look mildly terrified. I don't know, maybe it's just me. In fact I think it might be. But there is not an ounce of intimidation about her. I enjoy her when she's kind of terrorizing vapid, little good-for-nothings like Lauren Conrad, but she's really only at her best when her opponents are weak. And it makes me sad because this persona that you know she's struggled to embody and project is a bit transparent, and built on her own insecurity. She loves the publicist/model power play. She loves having the upper hand, but it often slaps her in the face.
Okay, I got that off my chest. This challenge took the teams and forced them to conceptualize and execute their own photo shoot. Downtown Julie Brown (Annalise) took the reins for Team Union Jack, albeit a bit unsteadily. Under pressure, she was a bit puppy-like: skittish and incapable of making efficient decisions. Seeing this, the Cutrone put on her instigator cape, swooped in, hurled awkward not-quite insults under the ruse of guidance, scaring an already shaky leader and instilling doubt in the team on Annalise's ability to lead the team. Though to be fair, she was a hot mess. The team felt it, and invoked my favorite phenomena in all of Reality Television: metaphor mixing. In countless interview bytes, when prompted to speak about their lack of direction, contestants were pulling all sorts of cats and dogs out of bags and out of the rain. It was a fantastic installment of linguistic genocide, and were I a better reporter, I'd have specific examples. But I am positively exhausted, and have to get up for work in like 15 minutes.
Meanwhile the Yanks, under Azmarie's leadership, were pretty much killing it. They were killing it so hard that there's very little to be said. Azmarie has a bit of a leadership gift. It really was pretty impressive.
Horseplay alert! Angela Chase's mom, Patty, aka, Louise (see: her hair disaster from last week) was caught running by the pool and was reprimanded by the Cutrone for disturbing the energy. This lit a fire inside of Angela Chase's mom, Patty's suddenly very entitled little soul, inspiring a pretty amazing photo, but also unleashing a demon beast who then declared that if she were not placed in the top two that she was walking from the competition. In general, the team was confused about everything: the theme, how to be in pictures, and how to hold flowers. Kelly made some strange comment about one of the prop roses looking like it came from King Kong's garden, which I assume was a dig at the inanimate object for being large, But it wasn't really that big. Other photos from the UK team included Sophie's, Joon from Benny and Joon meets Twiggy look, appropriate for their reluctant 60s mod theme. Annalise attempted to appear footloose and fancy-free by pulling off a mid-leap pose, but ended up looking more like a nervous cricket.
The US showed a little better with their uber glam meets punk rock theme, leading off with newly formed superstar Azmarie who owned her androgynous suit-thing. Though everyone seemed to love Kyle's photo, I think she was channeling a Turtle-Time Ramona Singer, crazy-eyed, uncoordinated and a bit touched in the head. But what do I know? Laura... I don't know, everyone loved what she did with her leg and a shadow and her hair was amazing. And Eboni looked like she wanted to eat the camera.
Then the best thing happened. Judging started, and everything was very happy-go-lucky. Tyra was kind, as were the others. Cat Deeley was a guest judge, and she was embarrassed to criticize anyone for anything. So she was a bit like the sober Paula Abdul. And then it was Angela Chase's mom, Patty's turn. Nigel made an offhand comment about her looking mean because that is his job, and Angela Chase's mom Patty flew off the deep end. See, look! Mixing metaphors is fun! She snapped at everyone who was on the brink of complimenting her, silenced the Cutrone with her insolence, and stomped off stage wailing. It really was very Steel Magnolias. This obviously relieved the judges of having to make a decision. Azmarie was crowned the obvious winner, and everyone was happy. Except for Angela Chases's mom, Patty who we cut to hours later, still throwing a tantrum against a depressing cement wall. Still yelling at the crew who has long since packed up and gone home to their own families about how proud her own family will be of her for coming this far. Yes, Angela Chase's mom, Patty. You have a lot to be proud of.