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November 05, 2011  | by: Dania McDermott
America's Next Top Model, All Star Edition

America's Next Top Model, All Star Edition

Following a disappointing series of initial installments, this week kicked off the 8th episode of America’s Next Top Model All Stars – unarguably the most entertaining segment yet.

Given the previous week’s double elimination of Kayla and Bianca, the quasi-competition is finally starting to feel…well, like a competition. As the bed of twice-hopefuls are snipped off like old tresses on makeover week, it becomes easier to assess their strengths. And, better yet, their weaknesses.

Increasingly involved challenges only heighten the drama: This week the remaining seven were tasked with writing song lyrics to accompany pre-selected music tracks. But that’s just the first half.

Tyra & Keenan Cam(eo) It Up

Tyra & Keenan Cam(eo) It Up

Top Model alum were also asked to “sell it” via viral video. Lending their respective expertise, cameos were provided by YouTube flavor-of-the-month, Keenan Cahill, and resident cam-whore-in-charge, Tyra Banks. Stepping on to lend his music video know-how, rapper Game served as this week’s guest judge.

So what did the girls do?

Season 1 vet Shannon served up “World Go Round,” a country pop tribute to the second most important man in her life, her husband (God Is Eternally First).  Despite the song’s sweet melody (and Shannon’s resemblance to Faith Hill), the judges felt she didn’t express enough emotional dimension in the video, which was pared down so much (sheer white curtains and Shannon were the only props) that a dynamic performance was key.

Country gal Laura also brought a down-home swag to her song, “Southern Sweet Girl,” a kitschy pop tune which was “cute,” but hardly mind-blowing. As André Leon Talley wryly described it, Laura’s animated performance made for a “fun, giddy and charming” video  – but not much else.

Tranny-fierce Dominique, season 10, offered viewers “Tooch ya Booty,” an obvious play on Tyra’s coining of the phrase, and a sound opportunity for back-arching booty movements.  And nothing spells ‘booty tooch’ like a former Top Model contestant whose perfectly highlighted mane and shimmery gold dress earn her the alias, “J-Yonce.”

But none of the girls were more excited by the assignment than last week’s challenge winner, Lisa.  A bonafide musician since her stint on cycle 5 of ANTM, the dynamic and oft-obnoxious contestant had a personal stake in being the true star of this week’s task. To that effect, she produced the aptly titled, “I Be Like Whoa!” – an in-your-face, pseudo hip-hop effort that rapper and guest-judge, Game apparently wants on his iPod.

Angelea, the “alcoholic aunt” of the bunch who never ceases to garner a laugh — whether or not she intends to — wrote the spirited “I’m Here” about battling her oppressors. Unfortunately, the vacant expression,  fleeting eye-contact  and constant head-bucking she relied on destroyed what otherwise should have been a powerful performance. The judges’ verdict? She failed to make them believe.

"Go Go Go"

"Go Go Go"

Alexandria,  who viewers may sooner recognize as “that skanky bitch from last season,” floundered through the video for her dance track, “Go Go Go.” Situated in (and on) a flashy car, her blatant apprehension and mechanical movements failed to move the judges, who only wanted her to go go go home.

Allison, the doe-eyed blonde whose internet fame led to being cast on cycle 12, seemed the most primed for disaster when faced with this week’s challenge.  Noting that she wanted to stop being such “an observer” at the show’s start, the typically awkward and demure All Star wowed the panel with the oddly titled  “Underwater.” A quiet pop song about her deceased father, Allison’s video required very little effort – a swing, those big eyes and an ethereal backdrop combined for what can best be described as “Goldfrapp-lite.” Or, as Game gushed, “You are weird, and it is the greatest thing in the world for you.”

Whether it was the ringing endorsement from a fairly popular rapper, or plain ol’ shock that the girl who often lacks “presence” at judging was able to push through, Allison won the challenge. Lisa placed second. And with Alexandria finally sent home, remaining All Stars Shannon, Dominique, Laura, and Angelea will really have to outshine one another going into the next challenge.

Or will they? Based on this week’s output, we hold these truths to be self-evident: Shannon’s still too occupied by her rigid Christianity to take any meaningful risks and therefore, will not win; Angelea’s still too awkward and unsettled in her own skin and, as a result, produces inconsistent photos. In 3 words, she can’t win.

Laura: The Wild Card

Laura: The Wild Card

Then there’s the wild card: Laura. Not quite as country as she was on her first appearance, she no longer has any distinguishing traits which separate her from the pack. She does, however, manage to take consistent photos (and Top Model has had its share of WTF moments when that final photo is revealed). Therefore, she stands a chance at being in the final 3, but in all likelihood, will not win.

Potential

Potential Final 3?

That leaves Allison, Lisa and Dominique as the forerunners most likely to vie for the All Star title and all of its resultant goodies – one of which is a “shot” at being a correspondent for Extra. But by definition, a “shot” offers no guarantee. Producers may worry that Dominique isn’t friendly enough, Lisa isn’t refined enough, and Allison isn’t commanding enough – but that’s just speculation.

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