Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Cutting Edge: Canada's Next Top Model, Season Two, Episode Three

Thanks to the awesomelicious Stephanie as usual for the recap! (To follow after the clips)

This episode is chock full of stank. There's a term in Canadian broadcasting that explains this episode: CanCon. The Canadian government has a policy that the airwaves need to dedicate a certain percentage of time to homegrown content. This episode of CNTM should satisfy the CanCon requirement for the rest of the summer – you could not pack any more Canadian content in if you brought in a Mountie and maple syrup.

The girls are shunted off to the Hershey Centre, an arena in nearby Mississauga, where they are put on skates and partnered up with members of a local hockey team. This, apparently, is where the girls are going to hone their runway skills, because in Canada we skate down OUR catwalks. Miss Jay wobbles in from the sidelines on skates, and if you listened closely you could hear the sound of regret – regret for not reading the small type of his contract. A few skating lessons with the hockey team end in a free-for-all pose-off. Mo goes down and stays down… until after the commercial break, when we see she's fine. Once the carpet gets rolled out onto the ice, we learn that Rebecca has scoliosis and puts special effort into keeping her posture under control. Cory has a crying stint, which she attributes to PTSD from some undisclosed past event. Jay joins in on the medical theme, with his chemo-styled headscarf.

Stacey McKenzie arrives as a segue to the MuchMusic TV studio for a competitive walk-off in front of an audience of teens. MuchMusic is the Canadian equivalent of MTV, except it still shows music videos – ha ha. Jay Manual is from Toronto, after all, and gets a decent reaction, but the studio audience reacts more to Jay Alexander. Our ladies are dressed in pink cat suit and veils, and given cheesy household props to model, such as a frying pan, toilet brush, or a Swiffer (trademark registered!!!). Since this runway training episode has little connection to anything useful, the girl climb down a set of stairs, dance around, and wave their cleaning products. The process makes a mockery of runway; the audience knows it, and so does Miss Jay.

Tara is declared the winner of the challenge and receives a diamond watch in return, which of course she taunts the others with. They retaliate in the camera closet. Also, the girls make a photo album of each other, but use a crack shot to represent their favorite person to hate.

Next we're off to a greenhouse to meet Nolé Marin for a commercial for Venus Breeze razors (trademark registered!!!). The script they need to memorize is the length of a short story, so no surprise that the girls have trouble. Oh, Brit-Brit, where are you now? Mo has trouble hiding her British/Island/something accent, which seems like a strange thing to ask given last season's pro melting pot policy. Rebecca says she has a bad memory, but more pressing is that Nolé doesn't like her speaking voice. Tia reveals she has dyslexia and cries over horrible memories of... something. Here we can see that some girls get better support than others, because Nolé also has dyslexia. Steff is in trouble again because she needs cue cards, however since the final commercial edits together single phrases from each girl, that shouldn't have been a big deal. Tara is a complete train wreck – no voice, no memory, no personality. Ironically, when I watched the episode the very next commercial they showed was for Venus Breeze razors, and it was the standard beach version, NOT the one filmed in the greenhouse.

Jay Alexander acts as guest judge at elimination and the girls have to navigate the entrance stairs in tight pencil skirts. Since they all fail miserably, Miss Jay tries to show them how it's all done. Sadly, even the expert can't save this one and I feel sorry for him. Jay Manuel begins judging and declares that everyone was horrible. Tara is saved by the MuchMusic walk-off. Next are Cori, Sinead, Rebecca, Mo ("Pick an accent when you do a commercial"), and Tia. Gina and Steff are last up. Steff is visibly pissed off that she is in the bottom. PISSED. OFF. Gina may be an actress but may not be a model. Steff could have showed her personality in the commercial but she fell flat. Gina is called forward. Last week Steff showed us why she's super cool, and she leaves with more of the same. Citing "three strikes you're out", she comes back to hug Tia then walks off. Lessons learned tonight: (1) Everybody on the show is saddled with some sort of medical or psychological problem. (2) If they hand you a toilet brush and tell you to work it, be very very suspicious.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Squid and the Whale: Canada's Next Top Model, Season Two, Episode Two

Thanks to the ultra sexy Stephanie for the awesome recap!

And as always,please leave us good reviews on iTunes! Thanks to everyone who has already done so!
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Aaron, Amy, Javier, Max, and Scotty

I'm such a sucker – I checked Wiki CNTM a couple hours before the show aired and they had a summary of the episode already posted! But what a red herring – it was nothing like what really happened and now in hindsight I feel like I was conned by a large marketing machine. You could take this as a sign that the producers are well organized, but wait! When the show starts we see the girls discovering a cold hot tub on the deck, labeled off limits since no one had the foresight to warm it up in advance. Hello? This was filmed in the late winter after all. Duh.

The first Jay-Mail hints at makeovers and the girls are quickly trucked off to Capucci Salon. The product placement trend established last week continues in spades. At the Salon the girls are treated to Nice and Easy hair dye, straight from the package. The colorists at this high-end salon don't create their own color, but pose unnaturally with drugstore boxes and tubes. Halfway through the cuts the girls get Covergirl gift baskets with a note that they have been filled with makeup specially picked for each girl's complexions. I guess they can't be trusted to do it on their own. Or maybe they're just not allowed out.

The makeovers: CNTM changed up the predictable "long-short, blonde-brown switch" routine that ANTM relies on. Two girls with long hair got to keep it: Cori's straight long brown hair simply got bigger and wavier and now she looks like a bartender who might get bigger tips. Jacqueline also got off easy, with her red Felicity hair getting only slightly trimmed and dyed slightly more brown. Two girls with short hair got to stay short: Mo, the only black girl in the competition (since they didn't keep my favorite Regine from ep. 1) got her finger-length hair restyled and now she looks like she has sexy bed-head. Mall model Steff had her neck length blond cut slightly shorter and sharper so that now she has become a ringer for actress Katie Sackhoff on Battlestar Galactica. Two girls got extensions: Tara had her wild kinky hair straightened and got a weave. (Wait, Tara showed a lot of patience with that weave process, maybe she's black, but if she is, she's a Janet Jackson black, not a Samuel L. Jackson black.) Tia has changed from all right to noticeable, mind you in a disconcerting way. She has over-collagened Nata lips, but she also has these big doe eyes (or maybe they're deer-in-the-headlights eyes) that reminds me of the look that all the models had in the Vanity Fair feature recently.

Of course the most drama happened in the group that had their hair cut off. Gina/Melrose had her long blonde straight hair turned into a short brown bob, but she coped and may have been smart enough to expect it. Sinead is getting her long wavy brown hair cut into what Jay called a "Natalie Portman" cut, but really, the idea of a bald Sinead is ironic, don't you think? Sinead starts having flashbacks about her sister's brain tumor and the haircut she had to have. Everyone supports her and she gets through, probably because Jay has already left the building. It was certainly an opportunity for the "models must put aside these emotions" spiel that Ty-Ty might make. Rebecca came in sporting long brown bangs and butt-length hair a la Pussycat Doll Chelsea, and leaves with a shoulder length, bright red bob. It's a disaster, it's so Vidal Sassoon it looks like plastic. She says that if she saw herself walking down the street she would think she was a freak, not high fashion. Shots without makeup look like last season's runway, but the makeup (not her choice – done by professionals) makes her look like an overdone sixties drag queen. Sinead's crying wins her a $5000 Visa for being so "admirable" – turns out she donated her hair to Locks for Love.

Back to the house for two minutes of clips. Tara hates everyone. Everyone hates her. Hate hate hate. The hot tub is ready, but don't get Tara's weave wet.

Off to Studio One, where a platter of squid, crab, octopus, eel, mussels, smelt waits. After the girls stop grossing out, producers put a small octopus on Steff's arm for no reason other than to get her freaked – this was not part of her shoot.Sinead gets an octopus on her head; Rebecca gets some kind of giant smelt; Jacqueline gets caviar eyebrows and an eel on her neck; Steff gets a periwinkle snail shower cap; Mo gets a fish in her hair and seaweed on her neck; Tia gets a crayfish necklace; Cori gets a lobster hat and a seaweed necklace; Tara gets a crab on her head and won't stop complaining about getting her weave wet with crab juice.

Sinead goes shopping with a stylist from the salon and brings back bracelets for everyone. Tara gives her stink eye. Jay has left everyone a black dress to wear to judging.

At judging we are all blinded by Jay's jacket. Wow. It's white with pink and green flowers over it and a pink shirt. Pure upholstery material. It turns out that they all had the same dress, even though they are wearing them all in different ways. They are given 30 seconds to pick accessories from a table. Sinead takes a gold belt and earrings; judges call her photo regal. Jeanne Beker calls it high fashion. Mo takes a black hat and red earrings; judges say her photo has no expression and is blank. Gina wears a beret, making me think she's aware of her Melrose-ness. Jeanne Beker calls her mean looking. Tia thinks sunglasses on her head compliment a cocktail dress. Judges say her photo shows off her "sensual lips". Tia says she liked her baby lobster necklace. Someone says that they're crayfish, not lobsters, to which she answers "well not yet". Crickets. Cori confirms my bartender theory by putting on a cowboy hat with sunglasses (this ain't the Coyote Search, girlfriend). Judges call her Vegas cowboy. Tara goes for pearls and sunglasses on head. Jay does the "You should do this, then do this" trick he learned from Mama Ty Ty. Rebecca has super-styling ability, according to Jay, with her black/white checkered hat and long black necklace. I think she has confirmed her own "freak" prediction, but Jeanne Beker calls her high fashion and haunting, and "good for you for disguising your weak chin". Jacqueline throws a sash around her neck, which is immediately moved by the judges to create an Empire waist. JB calls her face a mask. Steff goes simple with a silver headband. Judges tell her off for freaking out over the octopus, "It costs 20,000/hour to run that set, that would come out of your paycheck…", and everyone seems to forget that it wasn't even part of her photo setup, it was solely done by the producers to make good television. Behind her, Sinead faints. No crew comes running, only the on-air people. If that happened to me I would like to think someone might be more concerned. Does that mean its normal for models to faint – no one reacts? For god's sake, eat something ladies. Fade to commercial.

They come back like nothing happened – Jay: you were "dehydrated, riiiiiigt?" Tormenting Steff continues: Jay says she looks like a linebacker, JB declares, "This shot looks stupid" as if Steff designed it.

In deliberations Paul Alexander calls ugly girls "swamp donkeys". Jeanne Beker says "high fashion" about ten more times, and talks about how fashion should be "elevating", she feels elevated, this girl doesn't elevate her enough. Blah blah blah, Jeanne. Sinead is called first, followed by Rebecca, Tara, Cori, Tia, Mo, and Gina. Steff is told she is not photogenic, while Jacqueline is not memorable. Steff channels pure Starbuck with her cocky "yes sir, no sir" to the criticisms, and Jacqueline is sent home.

Next week, Canadian cliché ice-skating, Mo takes a potentially pelvic bone crunching fall, Miss Jay makes and appearance and the girls learn catwalk.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Canada's Next Top Model, season two, episode one

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Now for the fun part. Stephanie from Canada has awesomely recapped Canada's Next Top Model for us (Thanks Steph!) She is funny, she is sexy, and she will blow your brains out if you don't read her recaps. So do it, bitches, and send her lots of Rotel afterwards, for she is a Rotelmaniac.

If you don't have Canada's Next Top Model like us in America, I have included the youtubes below. Stephanie's recap follows.


White town cars driving from Pearson airport to downtown Toronto. Mr. Jay brings in the ten girls and does a big "welcome to CNTM", then tells them "there's something important on the other side of this sliding door", and of course they all think it’s Tyra. I did too. Then the door opens and its ten more girls, and they almost cry. I didn't, because the prettier girls were in the 2nd group. Jay introduces Nolé Marin and Stacey Mackenzie, the Amazon-lipped alleged ex-model. A lot of the girls look like bartenders. I take back what I said about them being hotter than last season; they shots I saw must have been AFTER the makeover. All the headshots make the girls look like they have bug eyes and flappy jowls, even when they don't look like that in person.

A few are memorable: Elle is a pure Hooters girl; no two ways around them, I mean it. Jacqueline should be on the Coyote search. Steff is a mall model and you can tell they like her enough to get through, same with Tara. Gina reminds me of Melrose. Rebecca will be nice if you could make her wear some makeup. My clear favorite is Regine (from Montreal of course). Tara, Steff, Gina, Rebecca and Jacqueline make it. Regine doesn't, even though they said they could picture her on runways in Europe. No plus size models even made it to the top 20, let alone top 10.

The house is full of pictures of Jay Manuel – creepy! Not as inspiring as female pics might be, just saying. The kitchen is filled with cheap junk food like Cheetos and frozen pizzas that no one knows how to heat up. The gift baskets on the beds are full of Crest and Olay products – don't hold back on the swag or anything. It's all edited to be product placement after product placement, even later in the shoot.

Shoot 1:
The Nude PhotoThey go to Shmooze (an expensive and cavernous pick-up bar in Toronto), Nolé Marin brings in two male models. Naked chicks with a strategic bolt of cloth, probably a commercial for Olay Ribbons Moisturizer or something. This one girl Mika goes on and on about how her rich dad will disown her for going on the show because he thinks the modeling industry is all a sex ring. Then she does her photos and the comments are that she "pushes the sexual limits" of the shoot, like a true porn star. Everyone else is forgettable.

At the judging when Jay talks about the rewards, he says they're getting a shoot for "Fashion" magazine, which is the biggest Canadian based fashion magazine and published out of Toronto. But when he says it, it sounds like he forgot the word "a" or "some": a spread in some fashion magazine, to be decided later, if we like you.

Jasmine Wasabi/Warsame, Jeanne Beker, the photographer and Jay are the judges. Jeanne (pronounced Jeannie) Beker is the host of several fashion TV shows in Canada, so she goes to every fashion week there is. The funny thing is, she knows nothing about fashion and she's horrible at interviewing, and she only ever gushes over what a fantastic collection she just saw even when it looks like hacked-up cat food. If you look closely you can see the designers rolling their eyes when she approaches them waving the microphone. They tolerate her because somehow she managed to wangle a monopoly on Canadian fashion reporting. (She probably did some favor for Moses Znaimer – google him.)

Let me say again, there are NO plus size models here. The judges go into their deliberations. "These girls need to lose weight, nobody likes a fat model. We need to introduce them to the harsh reality." Now what would Tyra think of that talk? There's one girl who looks like the cover of Shape or Fit magazine, but they say she's too fat and needs to GET TONED! (Did you see Tyra on the cover of Shape? Jay – for shame!) Apparently, "toned" is the new code word for "bulimic". At one point Judge Jasmine says the male model holding one girl's boobs looks like he's touching something nasty.

The girls are all equally crappy at this stage, since they sent my Regine home so soon. The first girl called is no different than the eighth girl called. The last two girls are Mall Model Steff and Porn Star Mika. Jay gives the "Each girl has what the other girl needs" speech, and sends Mika packing. Sorry about that inheritance, Mika. Top Model don't tolerate no porn.

My prediction for the end: Tara. Quote me on it.

Next week: The girls get their makeovers and pose with squid on their heads – I kid you not.