After 20 seasons, one billion nutty contestants (true fact: if laid end to end, they’d stretch all the way to Modelland and back), gallons of haircut-related tears, myriad delightful variations on “I’m not here to make friends,” countless instances of Tyra Banks randomly slipping into one of her four accents (“vaguely British,” “almost French,” “Oprah,” and “daaa-yum, girl!”), and challenges involving roaches, tarantulas, clouds of pheromone-crazed bees, and Fabio, saying “that crazy thing on America’s Next Top Model” is sort of like talking about suicide in Buffalo—it’s redundant.
And yet! While I would under no circumstances call ANTM‘s 21st cycle “good,” I would call it “kinda great”—mostly because from minute one, it dials the crazy up to 11. There’s a bisexual Wiccan contestant who immediately busts out a crisp pack of brand-new tarot cards. The semi-finalists have to stomp in an EDM-themed runway show. At one point, a voiceover declares that “the toochers and boochers are back,” as if that sentence actually means something in the English language.
So yes—even though the following 10 moments are all naked attempts to grab attention from people just like me (and they indicate, for the nth time, that Top Model has abandoned all pretense at discovering anybody who could viably make a living by posing for cameras, let alone a “top model”), I have to give ANTM an “A” for effort. For a few seasons in the middle of the series’ run, its increasingly colorful antics seemed more desperate than deliciously ridiculous. But adding men to the cast last year really did revitalize the show, and the new season (so far, anyway) is firmly in the “deliciously ridiculous” camp. The proof is in the pot ledoms: READ FULL STORY