Last night’s season finale of America’s Next Top Model put the two finalists, Ann Ward and Chelsey Hersley, head-to-head at a CoverGirl commerical shoot and a Roberto Cavalli runway show in Milan. ANTM has always been more of a reality circus than a legitimate modeling competition, but things took a different turn this time around. It took her 15 seasons, but it looks like Tyra Banks finally crowned a real winner.
1. ANN WARD WINS!
For the first time in the show’s fifteen season run, America’s Next Top Model crowned a winner with the potential to be more than a brand ambassador for the reality modeling competition: Ann Ward might become a real model. Though the 6’2" model’s oversized eyes, long nose, and thin lips seem to be at odds with the conventional look favored by ANTM’s CoverGirl sponsor, Ann was a favorite with this season’s star-studded guest judges. Patrick Demarchelier made it clear that he "love[d] that girl," and Ann Ward was awarded Best Photo for the first five weeks in a row with the input of fashion industry big shots.
2. Hurray for Andre Leon Talley!
The Vogue Editor-at-Large is fun to watch, but his tenure at ANTM is about more than just good television. Andre Leon Talley legitimized ANTM, forcing Tyra Banks to step it up. The other judges cower beneath ALT’s stature in the fashion world, and thanks to his influence, Tyra Banks has toned down the campy antics and focused on high fashion. I’d bet a good amount of money that ALT pulled the strings that landed appearances by this season’s prominent guest judges - Cynthia Rowley, Diane Von Furstenberg, Patrick Demarchelier, Roberto Cavalli – not to mention…
3. This season’s winner can look forward to more than a feature in Seventeen Magazine.
Apart from a contract with IMG Models and a couple of CoverGirl spots, Ann won an editorial spread in Vogue Italia and the cover of the magazine’s Beauty in Vogue. The Top Model winner is a natural in front of the camera, and the esteemed fashion mag is the perfect place for her to show off her chops and snag some career-boosting attention.
4. Ugh, Chelsey Hersley.
Losing finalist Chelsey Hersley didn’t waste any time after the finale aired last night: an article posted on People.com early this morning quotes Chelsey complaining about the final decision: "I’m really upset. I feel cheated. I feel like I have the whole package, what it takes to be America’s Next Top Model and I don’t think Ann does." In earlier seasons, when Tyra was more preoccupied with creating addictive television than finding legitimate modeling talent, Chelsey might have been a shoo-in, but she doesn’t hold a candle to Ann when there’s a Vogue Italia spread at stake. Chelsey looks like a plainer, more drab version of Lara Stone, and, realistically, as a 22-year-old, she’s too old to start a modelling career. I’m sure she was disappointed by her loss, but publicly bad-mouthing the winner proves that Chelsey doesn’t have the "whole package" – she has a bad attitude.
1. Ugh, Chelsey Hersley instead of Jane.
Chelsey Hersely had no business in the finale, the final showdown should have been between Ann and eliminated contestant Jane Randall. With an expected but still exquisite look, she can move from high-fashion to commercial jobs and possesses an easy grace. Jane was the only contestant that could have given the awkward-looking and socially uneasy Ann a run for her money.
2. Jay Manuel
Jay Manuel has been the creative director of ANTM’s photoshoots since the beginning of time, but his fake tan and patronizing manner have overstayed their welcome. Jay needs to go.
1. Dear Tyra, I can’t help but "smize" when I think about you
Tyra might be over-the-top ridiculous, inane, and self-satisfied, but she’s got me under her spell. She’s the reason I’ve stuck with ANTM so long, and she’s the reason I’ll be back next season.