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ANTM Cycle 9: More Chicago Flavor!

By Peter Mavrik in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 25, 2007 3:15PM

2007_09_topmodel2.jpgClear your schedules for tomorrow evening, divas and ... divos ... America's Next Top Model continues. God, why do we love this show so much?

Could it be the two Jays, the worst-coiffed menz (with a z) on television? There's Ms. Jay, a runway coach to the stars, second to none. And Mr. Jay, the brilliant art director of the various photo shoots that move the girls ever forward in their quest for the title. These two are the yin to each other's yang. But nobody seems to have a comb for their hair.

Maybe it's the Tyrant herself, Miss Banks if you're nasty. She's arguably the most successful supermodel-turned-talk-show-host that earned her title (and her coin) through hard work in stilettos and a heck of a lot of good DNA. But genetics don't make you a success, and her head for business has obviously carried her this far. Are we attracted to her strength or her hair?

Or maybe it's just the girls. Getting to know a cast of thirteen women as they go behind the curtains in the world of the modeling is pretty damn fascinating. ANTM is a reality show built on an industry that is full of tricks and secrets. Peeling back the veil is interesting, entertaining, and often more humanizing that we expect. It's not earth shattering stuff, but when we want that, we watch Frontline. Just not on Wednesday night. Wednesday's at 7 p.m. are for ANTM.

2007_09_topmodel1.jpgThe kick-off show was only an hour this cycle, compared to the usual two-hour squeal-fest of previous seasons. We didn't miss the extra hour. Thirty-three girls began their top-model journey in Puerto Rico, boarding a cruise ship for a week. As usual there were comic riffs and tears, walking class with Miss Jay, catty comments thrown around, secrets revealed only to the camera, and a runway show where the girls had to model life jackets. Even Chicago's very own Jaslene Gonzalez, winner of Cycle 8, made an appearance.

When it came down to the final selections, we were happy to once again see a Chicago girl in the running. Ebony, 20, who seems to be a bit razor sharp with her comebacks, ended up making it in the final 13 despite being dissed by nearly all of the girls during panel. In one of those touching ANTM moments (complete with somber music) she shared with the panel that her mom was on drugs and that she was raised by her grandmother. Was that why she was picked? Does hardship make you a strong model?

We're going to keep a close eye on Ebony as ANTM Cycle 9 continues and our addiction to the show takes over. As always, the question that looms in our minds is, Who will be America's Next Top Model?

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