Tuesday, March 13, 2007

They're Off and Meowing!

Oh, Search for the Next Doll, how art thou like America's Next Top Model? Let me count the ways:

1. Both shows are like watching porn movies. You really just want to see the photo shoots and performances so you sit through the rest until you get to the good parts. And with the Pussycat Dolls, when you get to the performances, it actually is kinda like porn, so this analogy really works, with all due respect to the porn industry.

2. Both shows are hosted by icons of their industries. I might debate Robin Antin's iconic status but as Next Doll is trying to make us believe that the Pussycat Dolls are some enormously influential cultural force (I believe Mark McGrath referred to them as "the biggest girl group of all time" with which I might beg to differ), we'll let them run with that. However, Robin's understated and downright chilly demeanor is no match for Tyra's faked orgasms of interest in her models. Robin lacks Tyra's narcissism, but she also lacks the joy that goes along with it. Crack a smile, woman! Tyra may only be smiling because she sees herself in all of her girls, but at least she looks happy in her own reflection!

3. As second-in-commands, Top Model has a snarky, platinum blond creative director in Jay and Next Doll has a snarky, bald choreographer in Mikey. Mirroring their commanders, Jay seems like a warm snuggly puppy compared to Mikey's cold, wet, and dead-fish personality.

4. On both shows, the contestants must share a lavishly decorated home (and by lavish, I mean abundant furniture and decor from IKEA) and scream wildly upon first sight of every pillow, faucet, and doorknob. Extra points for the Next Doll's house: no pictures of Tyra AND they have a dance studio. Score!!

5. Both shows give instructions as to next tasks via mail. Top Model has the now legendary Tyra Mail while Next Doll just has generic Mail. However, Next Doll smartly anticipated the potential low I.Q. of their girls and their mail is actually a video with someone spelling out the details of the coming activities as opposed to Top Model's producers still having yet to understand that their girls just cannot decipher any code or riddle.

6. In this particular season, both shows have a young mother who has weepily left behind her toddler so she can spend the entire season crying about how she's pursuing the dream of being a (fashion) model or (sex) dancer/singer for the benefit of her child. I think we all know how I feel about this.

7. Both shows attempt to teach their girls something concrete (walking!) or conceptual (confidence!) and then put them up to a challenge that reflects all they have learned from the day's hard work. Both shows declare a winner of said challenge, but ah, Next Doll has gone all Project Runway on us and declared that the winner of the challenge will be "safe" from that week's elimination.

8. Both shows take great pains to introduce their judges and offer some biographical data. Mercifully, Next Doll only has three to get through. And no judge on Top Model has ever had as much plastic surgery as Lil' Kim. No prizes for Next Doll to announce (we all seem to be clear on the one), but that means no waiting for Tyra to announce what we've already heard one million times while we watch the models react as if they're hearing them for the first time, every single time.

9. Of course, both shows have judges' deliberations! And of course, both shows will have mine. So for this week's dolls:

Melissa R.: Not as strong as I might have liked, but I still think she's got what they're looking for.

Brittany: A fine nuance and distinction, to be sure, but I do agree that her sexy dancing was actually LESS classy than the Dolls. Plus her attempting that solo vocal run kinda blew. You're outta there!

Asia: This chick is a Knicks girl!? Screw the Pussycat Dolls--the Knicks City Dancers, baby!!

Sisely: I know this girl can sing and maybe last night's song wasn't the best for her voice and maybe she's not the best dancer, but there's something about her that makes me think she's gonna KICK IT. Soon.

Anastasia: I'm just gonna start calling her the Towering Inferno cuz she is so damn tall and hot. She could use a little more chutzpah on stage, but with some work, she could be a burning building of a force to be reckoned with.

Mariela: She's the fab ballet dancer I adore for no other reason than that's she the fab ballet dancer I adore. Oooh--circular logic!

Chelsea: Surprisingly good singer. Not surprisingly bad dancer.

Melissa S. Eh. That's all I want to say about her. So I'll say it again. Eh.

Jamie: There is something about this girl that I lovelovelove. She's just cute and kicky and I want her to win. And yeah, she's pretty good at the dancing and the singing, but really, one should win just for kickiness, shouldn't one?

10. Both shows dramatically call out the names of those who get to remain on the show for at least one more week. Models get their photos handed to them. Dolls, don't forget those boas! Models hear "You are still in the running towards becoming America's Next Top Model." Dolls hear "Congratulations." Someone's getting the short end of the stick here.

11. Both shows make a ginormous deal of pointing out the flaws and mistakes of the last two girls to be called, one of whom is getting the high-heeled boot. I like to call the last two girls "bottom feeders."

12. And finally, we come to the ceremonial closing of each week's episodes. When a Top Model has to hit the road, she is directed to "pack up her belongings and go home." A rejected Doll is told she "will not be the next Pussycat Doll. Please hang up your boa." Hugs all around for both models and dolls alike. Can you feel the love tonight?

At the end of a Top Model post, I always tell readers that until next week, they are still in the running towards becoming the next top model! I believe it is time for what will be my weekly Doll closing, in honor of my love for the song Buttons as well as my burgeoning obsession with the boas:

Until next week, loosen up those buttons and fling those pink boas, baby!

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