The Tease: 'America's Next Top Model' Cycle 8

Tyrabanks_240 America's Next Top Model should take a page from reality rival American Idol and realize that absence truly makes the heart grow fonder. AI only comes around once a year and creates a frenzy every time. But with ANTM, it just feels like yesterday that psoriasis-conqueror CariDee English was crowned.

It's a little tiring to see the same type of girls who don't try hard enough, are surprised every time they need to get nude/cut their hair, have dead eyes or proclaim that they're not here to make friends. Yawn. I think I've got a bit of Model fatigue. And speaking of fatigues ...

... Wednesday's (Feb. 28) episode begins with the throng of semifinalists attending boot camp, ANTM style. That means the girls have to march in high-heeled boots, wear cute wife beaters and camo capris, ogle Miss J in shorts and have raptures over Tyra Banks mangling quotes from A Few Good Men and Apocalypse Now. Writers, please come back.

Am I the only one over Tyra? Everything comes off as too staged, even though Miss Banks leaves one contestant moved to tears.

So far, it appears that the show delivers the same stuff as previous seasons, which is part of the problem. There are a few entertaining standouts, such as the enthusiastic but rather unfocused Kathleen and crazy Russian chick Natasha, but what's amusing one episode can be grating over an entire series. I'll leave the photo shoot challenge a surprise, but let's just say the girls are sadly uninspired and wouldn't get my vote.

Frankly, I'm just filling my time until the premiere of The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll. That looks like mindless, decadent fun.

Until then, here are first impressions of the 13 model wannabes (proceed no further if you want to be surprised):

Natasha_240_1 Kathleen: Hilarious with her Brooklyn accent and general cluelessness
Sarah: Her look works, but will her know-it-all attitude work against her?
Cassandra: An odd face, but she might be a sleeper. Plus: awesome impressions of Kathleen and Natasha.
Brittany: A sort of prettier Sandra Bernhardt thing going on, but she seem comfortable with herself.
Natasha: Russian mail-order bride overconfident about her prettiness. Her views are amusing, but she may be underestimating the competition (like the ones that "look like boys."
Samantha: Girl has got some eyebrows, but there's something sweetly old-fashioned about her face.
Dionne: She can talk and talk, but can she walk the walk?
Jaslene: Remember her being turned away from last season? Well, she's back and trying to balance her spiciness with a model mentality.
Renee: Frighteningly skinny for having given birth only seven months ago. For her, there's no such thing as friendly competition.
Whitney: A plus-sized model with a bubbly attitude that feels genuine.
Jael: This punk rock nice girl needs to toughen up and learn to enunciate.
Diana: Yes, another plus-sized girl with a confident demeanor. These two just may give the other models some tough competition this year as long as they can avoid giving into the insecurities that eventually befell Tocarra and the other plus-sizes that came before.
Felicia: Very cute with a face that could be effective with makeup.

How do you feel about ANTM? Do you have any clear-cut favorites yet? Did the photo shoot feel flat to you?

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