Tyra Banks is the model guide

Las Vegas, NV — “VEGAS, BABY!” Devin shrieks. You know what that means. The America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) contestants are heading to Sin City to pursue their modeling careers and undergo a slew of new challenges set forth by the queen of smize*, Tyra Banks.

This is cycle* 22, so if you haven’t heard of ANTM yet, it’s about time. Just in case you’re a little lost, here is some backstory: Tyra Banks started this crazy ride back in 2003 with 10 cycle-one finalists that were eliminated one-by-one each week until there was only one model left standing: America’s top model, if you will or, America’s next top model, since it takes a while to get her career going. It’s slightly ambiguous, but that’s the way Tyra likes it. Since that first season, Banks has worked to provide unexpected and entertaining variations on this basic premise. Cycle 13 featured a cast of comparably “short” models giving the writers inspiration for three amazing taglines that they could not decide between. Instead, they simply merged them into one: “The Lineup Is 5’ 7” And Under. Not The Usual Suspects. BOOK ‘EM!” Five cycles later, “British Invasion” brought us a competition within a competition as seven American contestants and seven British contestants vied for the overall title. And then there was the revolutionary cycle 20 “Guys & Girls: Who Will Dominate?” which introduced male models into the mix. This addition has stuck. Cycle 20, 21, and now 22 have all included male models in their casting. I guess the introduction of romantic drama is good for ratings. Who would’ve thought?

This season has pushed the cast to their limits. Even living with other models in a single mansion can be a feat of psychological willpower. The cast is varied, featuring two pageant queens, two high school students, a shaggy-haired womanizer, and a whole lot of crazies. Within the first week, cliques formed and confrontations abounded. From dirty dishes to bathroom walk-ins, there were plenty of reasons for individuals to butt heads. Not literally though, because, as faithful ANTM fans will remember, Romeo got kicked out of the competition for doing just that in cycle 21. While some of the cast are prone to fights, there are always a few that keep the peace, or at least minimize the damage. Nyle is one of these voices of reason. He was born deaf and communicates with the others by signing with an interpreter or by texting over a phone. He is always able to get into the middle of these senseless verbal smack downs and remind everyone of what is really important.

We are now down to the final six: Mamé, Hadassah, Mikey, Lacey, Nyle, and Devin. The previous week, 18-year-old Dustin was brought back into the competition after being eliminated previously (just go with it) and Devin was almost eliminated after delivering a divisive photograph at the previous photoshoot. Tyra will always love the uniqueness of Devin’s look, but the other judges, while intrigued at first, are growing tired of his immaturity on set.

This week’s shoot moved away from the classic photoshoot and had the models act in a music video promoting TYRA Beauty “cosmetics experience.” TYRA Beauty is a direct-selling cosmetics business enabling self-funded individuals to begin a career as a Beautytainer*. The music video is set to the TYRA Beauty theme song “BOOTYful.” “Not beautiful, ‘BOOTY-ful’” Tyra explains to the contestants. A couple of the performances stood out. For instance, despite his hearing impairment, Nyle had an incredible and unique performance in the music video by signing the lyrics to the beat of the song. He studied the lyrics and the beats (which he felt through headphones) in parallel in order to feel how the words might sound and impressed the judges with his ability to not only participate, but to excel in the music video shoot. Meanwhile, Mikey’s “rocker” energy and hair flips earned him major points with the judges. As for high-schooler Dustin, the judges cited his inability to take direction and his timidity as reasons for his lackluster performance. As a result, Dustin was sent home again, just one week after being offered a second chance.

Beautytainer: “Fierce, independent sales reps who share and sell TYRA Beauty”.
Cycle: The term used to describe a season of America’s Next Top Model since the rate at which they are produced is faster than a classic season.
Smize: A modeling technique wherein the model smiles with their eyes and not their lips.