Halfway through a screener of the two-hour premiere of AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL (premiering tonight at 8 p.m./ET on The CW), a friend who crashed our viewing party said, “My God, these girls are as dumb as they are loud!” Perhaps he was referring to the endless screaching the would-be posers do each time host Tyra Banks enters the room, is mentioned or communicates with the girls via — come on, kids, shout it along with us — “Tyra mail!” Or maybe he was referring to 20-year old Kathleen, who seems incapable of comprehending such high-concept notions as being “anti-fur” during a photo shoot in which the girls are asked to act out political stances.
In either case, our pal is right. But then again, after eight cycles of TOP MODEL, you know what to expect… and whether you love or hate the show, tonight’s episode delivers more of the same. The first hour is devoted to narrowing down a huge field of contenders — each of whom is completely indistinguishable from at least one of their rivals — to a final field of 13. Of course, should you want to skip that process, one could simply look at any of the many ads for the new season which prominently features the chosen baker’s dozen.
The second hours puts the girls through the previously mentioned photo shoot, during which even which coordinator “Mr. J” — not to be confused with gender-bending catwalk expert “Miss J” — is forced to admit to being disappointed in the entire lot of them.
This is not to say that there aren’t bright spots among the incredibly dim bulbs. Forget whiney Jael (who complains about being sick during the shoot, only to be caught moments later giving hula-hoop lessons) and focus on the radiant Whitney. The beauty — one of two girls proudly duking it out in the category of “plus-size” — is sure to be a favorite among viewers, and could well — you heard it hear first! — walk away as the long-running reality hit’s first plus-size winner.
But if you tune in, keep your finger on the volume button of your remote. And in the name of all that is holy, if you even suspect Tyra’s about to put in an appearance, hit mute before the screaming starts.