“America’s Next Top Model” has lasted at this point longer than even Tyra Banks likely thought it would — when you get to 18 seasons (or “cycles,” as the franchise calls them), you really have to start to think up ideas that are going to get people excited beyond just normal casting. Look at two other reality shows that have lasted this long in “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race” — and how they have each tried to shake things up with everything from multiple all-star shows co quasi-celebrities coming on board.
Last season, “Top Model” went the All-Star route for what was a significant improvement for most of the season — at least until neither Tyra Banks nor anyone else decided to explain why Angelea Preston was disqualified and stripped of her title. This time around, the twist is a bit more like a “Fans vs. Favorites” season (which we saw on “Survivor” several seasons ago) with a twist — the contestants who have taken part in this franchise before did so as a part of the British show. With that, you have seven fresh-faced American models squaring off against seven models from the British version of the show trying to make their dreams a reality in America.
Before you discount the premise as a gimmick that illuminates the dying talent pool for young models (mostly because the show has cast so many of them), the British contestants are all bound to be entertaining since producers have already seen footage of what they an do. In addition, we often find international editions of reality franchises (see “The Amazing Race Australia”) to be at times even more entertaining than their American counterparts.
But will British contestants play with young audiences? That may seem like a silly questions, but the Brit-heavy panel on “The X Factor” was largely panned — in particular host Steve Jones, who seemed rather out of touch with how to entertain a U.S. audience. While we love the idea behind the show, the other issue here is merely a lack of hype — we’re literally just finding out about this series, and it premieres in just 19 days on February 29 (replacing the woefully-rated CW series “Remodeled”).
Has “Top Model” started to run out of steam? Considering that the last great cycle was the one that featured petite contestants, we have to say so. However, we are looking at a case here where a network needs some sort of consistency — and since it’s not getting it from anywhere else outside of “The Vampire Diaries” and “Supernatural,” they may as well have Tyra Banks hand out more photos.
Is this show still an experience you look forward to watching?
Photo: The CW