"America's Next Top Model: College Edition" looks a lot like one of VH1's "Charm School" programs. Thirty college students wearing shorty-shorts with tees torn and mutilated to show as much skin as possible arrive at an ivy-covered sorority house. Instead of attending etiquette lessons and having boozy brawls, the models walk the runway and pose for a photo shoot. "ANTM" is back with a rebooted format!The intro for
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The lameness of Cycle 18's viral video challenge infected this cycle. Tyra Banks explains the new show elements with a skit featuring an annoying bearded guy dressed as a girl. The two have a totes annoying convo about giving the show an H2T, head to toe, makeover and doing a college edition. Instead of using that time to meet the new cast or models, Tyra reminds viewers that she is and always will be the star of the show.
Although the casting changes sounded horrible, the new crew looks fun and exciting. Kelly Cutrone, Tyra, Rob Evans, and the viewers judge this cycle. Evans, a supermodel and former boxer, replaces "noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker" as the resident straight guy. Smart and charming with a hint of streetwise grittiness, Evans has an irresistible, almost David Beckham-like quality. His interactions with the models sizzle without exuding a creepy factor like Barker sometimes did.
Johnny Wujek, Katy Perry's stylist, joins the cast as creative director for the photo shoots. Anybody who is responsible for her surreal outfits should have awesome ideas for photo shoots. His upbeat attitude is a nice contrast to Kelly's sharp comments.
Fashion blogger Bryanboy is responsible for filtering the social media aspect of the show, but he is missing from the premiere. Tyra shares some viewer comments with the models, but Bryanboy should have appeared via Skype or creative editing because the social media aspect falls flat without him.
Social media plays a huge role in this cycle, but it is as awkward and out of place as Zack Morris's giant cell phone in "Saved by the Bell." The voting portion is already over, and all the hype about the fourth judge emphasizes the weird timing. What's the point?
Thirteen models remain after the elimination. Although Tyra likes to celebrate unconventional beauty, she exploits stereotypes by dividing them into three groups: Sporty Fierce, Geek Chic, and Awesome. They seem happy to play along with this attempt to manufacture rivalries like those that naturally formed during early cycles. Is the Sporty Fierce gang supposed to steal Awesome's mirrors?
"America's Next Top Model: College Edition" is livelier than recent cycles. The models are a diverse group that will be fun to watch as long as the social media component does not take over.
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