Upfront Follies: Models and Dolls

Jaslene_z_topmodel8_240At the upfront for The CW, and UPN before it, attendees can always count on a parade of Top Models at some point during the presentation. And so it was again Thursday, with an added bonus. A couple, actually.

The number of Top Model contestants on stage was smaller this time; past years have featured every one of that season's finalists, but this time we got only four: "plus-sized" contestants Whitney and Diana (sporting jet-black hair) along with the two finalists, Natasha and winner Jaslene. Last season's winner, Caridee English, was also there with host/executive producer Tyra Banks.

Ah, but they weren't the only former contestants in the building at Madison Square Garden. The network had what it called a "trend gallery" set up outside the theater, explicating all the things its 18- to 34-year-old viewers really, really like (living green and socially networking and whatnot). A stage sat at one end, with artists putting finishing touches on good-sized canvases, a DJ spinning music -- and several former ANTM finalists working it like a runway.

I saw cycle two contestant April -- who made a return appearance on the show a couple weeks ago -- and cycle six's supremely confident Jade, and it frankly made me a little sad. Not too many people, distracted by Crackberries and shmoozing and free smoothies, seemed to be paying attention.

In keeping with CW/WB/UPN tradition, the upfront kicked off with a musical number. Ladies and gentlemen, the Pussycat Dolls, with new member Asia! Hard to tell if anyone's mic, aside from that of frontwoman Nicole Scherzinger, was actually on; there were a couple moments that it looked like the other Dolls were supposed to be singing backup but weren't moving their mouths. Just saying.

The C-dub has renewed The Search for the Next Doll for next season, and apparently it could go on for some time. Fun fact: Back before they started making records, the Pussycat Dolls were a 12-woman troupe, the network's Dawn Ostroff said after the presentation. Maybe they can be like a female Menudo -- when one or more of them decide to move on, others just pop up to take their place.

Yeah, I know. It's a scary thought to me too.