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After so many weeks of teasing with the return of an eliminated model, I had nearly given up on ever finding out who would come back. Luckily, Tyra finally revealed – via that awful number-flipping scoreboard – that Leila would be coming back. Her social media scores ended up less than half a point above Allyssa’s, but that’s enough to come back! I squealed with delight. The remaining models are upset that Leila is coming back because they think that Leila is a fierce competitor. Well, yeah, that’s why she earned social media votes.
There’s still tension between Victoria and the other models, but there’s so much going on in this episode that it’s not dwelled upon for long. Laura thinks that Victoria is the bully because she ignores them all and then plays the victim for the judges. Um, if you’re yelling at someone about her habits, telling her that she’s too weak, talking about her behind her back, making faces behind her at panel, and so on, you’re the bully. The show could be edited in a way to make it look worse, but the evidence the viewer sees is pretty damning. Kristin later notes that Victoria never talks about friends other than her mom, which I had also noticed. Guess that wasn’t just editing; she really doesn’t have friends. She was home-schooled and now goes to an online college, so I guess it makes sense.
The other big news that Tyra has for the models is that they are all going to Jamaica. Why Jamaica? It’s where Tyra shot her first swimsuit calendar. Hmm, that’s not quite why past international destinations that are chosen (usually for their up-and-coming designers or for being fashion capitals). As I’ve noted before, this season is decidedly less high fashion than the last few (two words: swimsuit calendar). Maybe we’ll learn more about Jamaica’s fashion industry shortly (I hope). The girls are very excited to be going; Nastasia has never been out of the country. There’s a really bad graphic to represent the models flying to Jamaica.
Upon arrival, the girls board a bus that is already packed with handsome male models. Kiara has instant chemistry with the man she sits with on the bus, Corey. She notes that this is the first interaction all of the models have had with men in ages, though she’s the only one who goes ga-ga. The male models accompany the ladies on the bus ride to their fabulous villa at Half Moon Resort, where they meet Tyra and eat some lunch. Naturally, the lunch conversation turns to smizing and tooching, so Tyra gives them each individualized advice for how to achieve perfection with her made-up terms. When Tyra tells Kiara that she’s a smizer, Corey agrees. So much flirting! Looks like a vacation love connection.
Jonté, the posing coach, meets with the girls the next day for their first challenge in Jamaica. They must complete a dance hall routine in pairs and have professional dance hall dancers coach them. Because she can tell that there are cliques, Leila pairs with Victoria. Though they seem like they should be pretty awkward, they did all right, perhaps because Victoria danced in a Siamese ballet once (huh?). Guest challenge judge and dance hall musician Konshens noted that it looked like they were having fun. Kristin and Laura do the worst, causing Kristin to give Victoria the death stare as if it’s her fault that they lost. Kiara and Nastasia win, which is fitting because Nastasia is a pop-n-lock dancer and Kiara ended with the splits, though she didn’t mean to. The male models watched the competition, so Corey got to see Kiara’s A-game.
Kristin and Laura become super bitter and record confessional footage that seems as though they’re on a drunken, jealous rant. They figure that Leila shouldn’t be there because she can only take photos, not complete challenges (um, she did better on the challenge than they did). They even harp on Leila’s gap between her front teeth (it’s not her fault that a gap is so in right now, ladies). They also hate Kiara’s photos and think she shouldn’t be there. Holy sore losers, Batman. Basically, I think they’re afraid of the competitions and are just being b-words about it. I really hope that one of them gets sent home soon so they can’t feed off each other’s mean energy.
The photo shoot takes on a river raft in an actual river; surprisingly/disappointingly, no one falls in. The story behind the shoot is that the models are on a river raft with their husband (portrayed by judge Rob Evans, of course), but they’re having a torrid affair with the river raft guide (played by one of the handsome male models they met earlier.) Naturally, Kiara chooses to work with Corey so she can flirt with him some more. She seems distracted from the task, which she puts down to being with two extremely attractive men (to her credit, she has been in a house full of ladies for weeks). Despite already having the love triangle storyline, Victoria further develops her character (again) and decides that she is from an affluent family who wanted her to marry Rob, but now she wants to run off with the local bad boy. Kristin needs a lot of guidance on the shoot; Johnny notes that he’s surprised she’s still there, because she really isn’t growing as the other girls have. Well, Johnny, that’s the problem with this social media judging. She’s too conventionally pretty to fail with the fans.
For panel, all of the models dress in bright sarongs. Maybe because of the heat in Jamaica, Bryanboy appears without a hat made for an old lady (I was really looking forward to seeing a new granny hat). Laura took the advice from last week’s panel and came without makeup. Damn her, she looks gorgeous. Nastasia’s photo wows the judges; though Tyra thinks she swayed into “hoochie-tooch” territory, Rob gives her a 10 and she gets best photo. Laura had good chemistry with the men and showcased her outfit well, so she’s the runner-up. Leila’s face looks vacant, but her tooch pulled her through. Kristin looks like she’s giving Rob a lap dance but she’s still safe. Despite the fact that she was flirting with Corey/the river guide on the shoot, Kiara doesn’t look in love with anyone and her photo lands her in the bottom two. Victoria ends up there with her because Kelly thinks that her photo looks like a poster for a Celine Dion concert in Atlantic City.
It’s an awkward bottom two, one of the first I can remember where the models don’t hold hands because they hate each other so much. Much to the other models’ delight, Victoria is eliminated. Tyra says that she had a lot of promise but she thinks the stress got to her. On the positive side, she’ll get to go home to her mother. I fear that the models will gang up on Leila now that Victoria isn’t their mutual enemy. Because I love Leila, I hope she can tough it out.