This week, the models swap spit (for science), and a stylist glues what looks like an elementary-school-pageant prop to a man's face in my favorite week so far of cycle 21 of America's Next Top Model -The Makeover Episode.
The guys and girls meet consultant Yu Tsai and photographer An Le at Pershing Square for an optical illusion shoot that's a welcome change from past weeks. The models are fully clothed (in some gorgeous fall fashions, at that), and they're posing in challenging sideways and upside-down positions that really force them to model head-to-toe.
Mirjana proves she's SO over Matthew by turning her attentions to Denzel, who needs her comfort after struggling during his shoot and storming off set. Romeo so lacks energy that he asks an assistant to tape his shoes to a pole just to make his shot work. As Adam observes, 'He just kind of laid there like a pregnant penguin.'
Back at the house, the models play a nonsense game of hide-and-seek that finally leads up to the best episode of every ANTM cycle: MAKEOVERS!
Best makeover? Adam. Tyra chooses close-cropped cuts for Ben and Adam. The latter laments '[My hair and I] do everything together. We hang out in the morning, we shower together, we bang chicks together. We lost a good soldier out on that field today.' I'm no physician. But I suspect Adam was storing up excessive reserves of testosterone in his surfer waves, because after being buzzed, he transforms from a fraternity pledge cartoon into a real boy, even video-chatting his parents to show off his makeover.
Most dramatic makeover? Tie. Kari went from being the house sweetheart to, in Tyra's words, a Donatella Versace-Lady Gaga mash-up: platinum blonde hair and eyebrows to match. In shock, she breaks down in front of Miss J, but resolves to be strong and accept it.
Tyra left Denzel with a Party City beard weave he says resembles 'Black Abraham Lincoln,' and by the end of the episode, she requests a do-over in the hopes of finding some false facial hair to better fit his face.
In the category of strangest ANTM product placement in 21 cycles, the models spit into a test tube and, for those who remain in the competition for however long it takes to test DNA, will eventually learn about their heritage in what's sure to be a borderline non-PC photo shoot, courtesy of Ancestry.com. Stay tuned.
My new favorite will-they-won't-they couple is Matthew and Will. After Will's hair is coiffed into a pompadour, Matthew admits 'I like women, but when I look at Will, do I think, Holy **** ... God did something really beautiful with this person?' Yeah!'
After the models dip into the booze supplies and crank the music, Mirjana and Denzel head to the showers, while, as we find out in the too-bright light of a morning hangover, Matthew and Will share a smootch. Matthew maintains it was not sexual, and he simply respects Will. When the other housemates insist Matthew must be bisexual, Will explains the interrogations bring back upsetting memories for him. 'I felt like I was witnessing what happened to me as a child,' he recalls. 'That was a small scale of how LGBT people feel all the time.' Matthew brushes it off: 'I got to make out with the prettiest girl in the house.'
After the makeover (and make-out) drama, panel feels like a let-down.
Ben, who's adopted a new bad boy style, earns praise from Tyra and Kelly, usually a critic: 'I feel like you did a really great job of bringing something extra,' she said, describing what turns out to be this week's winning photo. Tyra gives Lenox this week's only '10,' and she's followed by Will, Raelia and Keith.
Chantelle, who the judges criticized for being too tight and not relaxed enough, winds up in the bottom two with Kari, who earns the final spot with Tyra's warning to embrace her 'freaky' new makeover ... and not lose her neck in photos.
Note: I don't know whether to give credit to the show's editors, or the dark arts, but Romeo is now three-for-three casting a spell on the model who ends up going home. This week, he threatened to put a spell on her to send her home ... and sure enough, Tyra sent her packing.
Next Week: the bigger the shoes, the bigger the fall; the models lip-lock in a game of truth or dare; and pose as what might be black widow spiders licking the nipples of their prey? TBD.