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Past Season Discussion: A Jaunt on the Ol' Hamster Cycle

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I see there are threads for past contestant discussion, but not one for past season discussion, so voila!  (I was inspired to start this thread by the new(-to-me) realization that cycles 1-12 are now available on Amazon prime streaming video, and I started flipping through cycle 1 videos and was accosted by in-your-face printed wrap dresses, midriff-baring shirts, and horrible frosty eyeshadow and lipstick (mostly from Adrienne).  Fashion from 2003 looks so dated now!)

 

In your opinion, what were the show's best seasons?  Worst seasons?  Most ridiculous seasons?  Best or most memorable photo shoots?  Most ridiculous photoshoots?  Eliminations?  Moments?

 

For me:  Cycles 1-3 are the best seasons.  The show took itself sort of seriously, and Tyra's egomania hadn't engulfed all other lifeforms completely yet.  Every cycle after that has gotten progressively more ridiculous (though among the post-cycle 2 seasons, I hold some fondness for cycles 6, 11, 13, 15, and the all star season).  The worst seasons in my opinion have been 4, 7, 14, and 19.  I've only seen bits and pieces of cycle 20, and I'm not planning to watch cycle 21 during its initial run (though I may check out highlights later).

 

As far as photoshoots go, I actually liked the simple photoshoots that were done in earlier cycles - the ones in which the contestants who decided to pursue a career in modeling after the show could legitimately use in their post-show portfolios.  I remember liking the snake beauty shots in cycle 1 and the black and white beauty shots in cycle 2 (and I think I saw an episode of cycle 20 with contestants posing while lying in grass, and those photos were actually really nice).  There have been so many bad photoshoots in my opinion that it's hard to pick the worst - though I'll go ahead now and grant a three-way tie to the Covergirl spacesuits ads, wacky hair beauty shots, and romance novel cover shoot all from the horrible cycle 7.

 

My favorite show moments?  I love the hamsters who stand up to Tyra or blatantly act contrarily to the role Tyra wants hamsters to portray (that is, the role of the overly-enthusiastic, obsequious airhead who's just SO grateful to be here and wants to win SO badly).   So for that reason, I love Elyse's confessionals and snarky comments, Tiffany's joking at her elimination (and Tyra's subsequent meltdown), Celia's disruption of judging panel, and Bre's refusal to participate in Tyra's goodbye ritual during her All Stars stint.

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I'll have to review the past seasons to refresh my memory, but I am so with you on the ridiculous photoshoots. Why would ANYONE want to photograph someone in a skydiving simulator? You may as well shoot someone on a Tilt-a-Whirl if you want gyroface. 

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My favorite show moments?  I love the hamsters who stand up to Tyra or blatantly act contrarily to the role Tyra wants hamsters to portray (that is, the role of the overly-enthusiastic, obsequious airhead who's just SO grateful to be here and wants to win SO badly).   So for that reason, I love Elyse's confessionals and snarky comments, Tiffany's joking at her elimination (and Tyra's subsequent meltdown), Celia's disruption of judging panel, and Bre's refusal to participate in Tyra's goodbye ritual during her All Stars stint.

 

Don't forget C9 Victoria who took off her heels at panel which apparently Tyra took as a potential assault threat or C12 Natalie's exit which was never aired but apparently Natalie had some choice words before her departure.

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There was also a hamster during the British Invasion cycle who threatened to physically harm Kelly Cutrone (which I wish she had actually done), and stormed out of the judging room yelling expletives. She had short blonde hair and was quite modelesque. Glad she quit that bitch.

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I know that of the original 16 cycles, Cycle 7 is often considered the worst. I don't disagree that 7 wasn't bad, but I would prefer to watch it over a few others..:

 

11. This, to me, is the absolute low point (before all-stars). I was so bored by this. Everyone but Analeigh is super annoying to me. The only things I remember from that cycle is the catharsis of Clarke breaking down at her elimination, Tyra saying "Elina, what a little...stiff girl" when she clearly wanted to say "bitch," and Analeigh messing up and calling it wetslacks. Otherwise, I found very little worthwhile in that cycle.

 

13. Yawn. I loved Nicole and Erin. I thought Laura was likeable. But otherwise the whole thing kinda felt pointless to me.

 

1. My opinion on this might not count, because I haven't actually sat down and watched the whole thing. I just can't. Not only is there, as mentioned above, terrible fashion, but it's so thrown together that I just feel embarrassed about the whole thing. The few shining moments "the Ginselle," "he was lustin'," "how excellent," "shitslice," just don't make it worth it for me.

 

15. Am I supposed to like Ann? Is Ann supposed to be the girl from 90's movies? The second coming of Shandi? I guess I didn't really "get" Cycle 15. I didn't really like or hate anyone, except for Liz, who is The Worst.

 

With that out of the way, I think I have a few unpopular opinions on my favorites, as well. Yes, I love 3 and 6, as does everyone else. But I also enjoy:

 

9. Despite the obviously flawed outcome, I actually enjoy Cycle 9. Once you get to the top 6, you actually have 5 really great options. Lisa has proven her worth post-show, Heather took great photos and was a great role model, Bianca is unbelievably gorgeous (and has been successful), Jenah was immensely talented on the show, Chantal I didn't enjoy at the time but can now see why she was good (and I think her post-show work in Mexico has been impressive). If it weren't for Saleisha, the crop of models this time around would have been phenomenal.

 

5. So many people hate this one and I don't understand why! I think I like it because I really like both of the final two, for as annoying as Nicole can be. She's really had some success, too, and still looks amazing. I love the petty drama of this season--granola bars! red bulls! nightlights! God don't like ugly! Yes, in that way, it's kind of a knock-off of Cycle 3, but who doesn't enjoy a knock-off of a damn good thing?

 

16. Yes, at this late date, I really thought the show was turning around. There were some interesting photoshoots with great results (lions, bees, the one where be-freckled Dominique went home, blondes vs. brunettes, virtually anything they did in Morocco). Brittani, to me, is among the very top tier of winners, with Molly, Hannah, and Kasia producing strong challenges. Mikeala was gorgeous. Monique was hilarious. I thought we were starting to look up.

 

Yeah. Sorry, it's been a while since I talked top model. Guess I had a lot to say.

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There was also a hamster during the British Invasion cycle who threatened to physically harm Kelly Cutrone (which I wish she had actually done), and stormed out of the judging room yelling expletives. She had short blonde hair and was quite modelesque. Glad she quit that bitch.

 

That was Louise, who had a hair-trigger temper that made for awesome TV.  (I was rewatching bits of that cycle and came across the horrible Kris Jenner photoshoot with the contestants posing as babies on Kris Jenner's lap...ewww!)

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I love the Brit invasion cycle.  I was actually rooting more for the Brit girls than the US girls. 

 

Ahhh, Shandie.  She was one of the first ugly/pretty contestants to get really featured.  I know it's horrible that when she slept with that dude then confessed to her boyfriend on the phone, I laughed at his long-distance shrieking.  I know, it's mean.  I also loved seeing Kim in her "Veronica Mars" bit part as the car rental gal.  

 

Good times.

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My favorite cycle is cycle 6 with crazy Jade and hula dancing Furonda, followed by cycle 8 with Jael being pushed into the pool by 50 Cent, cycle 4 with drunk Brittany, fat elephant Keenyah, and Tyra's smackdown of Tiffany, and cycle 5 with the fight over granola bars and old Lisa talking to Cousin It while drunk. The show went downhill fast after the one where Saleisha won.

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We need more Jade in our lives. I have always been surprised that Jade hasn't tried to capitalize on her ANTM fame to appear on other trashy reality shows. I could easily see her in stuff like "Celebrity Rehab", "Celebrity Apprentice", "Surreal Life" or "I am a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here Kazakhstan Edition". Jade's agent needs to send her out on reality show castings more.

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I like C6 the most. It brings a smile to my facazz every time I think about it.

I have to agree. Not only was it entertaining, minus Gina (how on EARTH did the producers think she was stable enough for any show?!), but it had the best two models in the finale - for ANTBF (America's Next Top Best Friend).

Not only that, but the hamsters apparently traveled back in time to pose on a relative of a dinosaur.

Oh, and Furonda's tiara.

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I liked the short season. I think most of them were amazing.

And S12, because I adore Allison. And I love to see Angelea get her comeuppance. For the most part I like the All-Star season (except Tyro-maniac inserting her stupid 'Pot Ledom' in the hamsters songs.

I'm not real big on the season's w/Whitney, Saleisha, Jasleen, or Niama. I stopped watching aft US vs UK

I detest S7, but not because of the twins. I like Michelle & Amanda, and thought Michelle esp has great raw talent. But I could not stand Melrose or whiney ass "my hair" Jaeda.

I also like McKee's season & thought they were all very good - esp Margery.

Edited by roamyn
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I'm sorry if this this is not the right place, but while wanting to check the name of a contestant from last season I fell upon this horrible news regarding Mirjana

 

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2972699/America-s-Model-contestant-shot-dead-opened-door-gang-killers-murdered-drug-dealer-boyfriend-roommate-ISIS-style.html

 

We already have a thread for this here, but yes, very sad indeed.

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As the series comes to a close, Report Cards are in! Cycle 22's report card is only a midterm report, but I can't imagine it's going to improve or possibly get any worse.

Grades are given for Cohesion (editing, consistency and interest of storylines), Relevance (quality of shoots, teaches and challenges), Result (quality of winner), Potential (quality of overall cast modeling potential), Entertainment (humor, drama, fun) and Coherence (elimination order based on comparison of who was/should have been Filler, Midcard or Contenders).

Data is then averaged into a cumulative grade and ranked. In ascending order, we have:

22. Allstars: D+
Cohesion: F
Relevance: D+
Winner (Angelea-cum-Lisa): D
Potential: C-
Entertainment: C
Coherence: D

I recall enjoying Allstars at the time, but that was only because I was excited to see a select few (namely Kayla, Allison and Isis) returning for another shot. In practice, the Cycle was a total disaster. Too many hamsters were brought back for sheer drama potential rather than modeling skills, resulting in a poor overall cast, the shoots didn't focus on modeling and ranged from hokey ("branding" shoot, Reality TV stars, terrible final Covergirl shoot) to only mediocre (Olympians, Express, Stilts), and Angelea managed to single-handedly cast a shadow over the entire season: her DQ threw off the Cohesion, created uncomfortable drama with the others that ruined the Entertainment, and, like a cockroach, obliterated the elimination order. Technically "winning" made me dock points off Lisa, who wasn't even a good winner in her own right. The season left a sour taste in my mouth, and really marked the beginning of the end for the series.

21. Cycle 22: C-
Cohesion: D-
Relevance: D
Result (Lacey or Nyle): B
Potential: C
Entertainment: D
Coherence: C+

In terms of Entertainment and Cohesive storylines, this cycle has been a huge bust. The shoots have been terrible, the challenges irrelevant, and the cast is extremely unlikeable. The overall Elimination Order is defensible, especially since so many of these hamsters suck that it's difficult to get worked up over any injustices, and assuming Nyle or Lacey will win gives the Cycle a positive boost, but overall, a definitive low to be ending the series with. (Note: a win by anybody other than Lacey or Nyle will drop this season to the bottom).

20. Cycle 14: C-
Cohesion: D+
Relevance: A-
Result (Krista): B-
Potential: D+
Entertainment: D
Coherence: F

Once upon a time during Cycle 14 I thought the show had officially jumped the shark. The episodes were dull, the drama was so overwrought that the fighting barely made sense episode-to-episode, and over half of the cast didn't look like models. The photoshoots, in isolation, were actually impeccable, hence the A- for Relevance: the Sheep, Shadow, Period, NYC Covergirl, Custo Barcelona and Faux Fashion shoots were solid. However, the models completing them were so unfortunate that it felt like a total waste. Where the Cycle really went off the rails is the Elimination Order. Angelea, Alasia, Brenda and Anslee were unquestionably kept past their expiration dates due to their drama potential, while girls with moderate potential (Gabrielle, Tatianna, Ren, Simone) were picked off early. Raina's portfolio is a highpoint of the season, but unfortunately she lost to a solid B- winner.

19. British Invasion: C
Cohesion: C-
Relevance: C
Result (Sophie): B-
Potential: C
Entertainment: C-
Coherence: C

The idea was solid: transplant known quantities from the franchise's sister series, throw in 7 new faces, and see what happens. Unfortunately, they chose the British girls based on the drama potential from their original seasons (everybody but Catherine started shit during their cycles) and 7 US girls who struggled, resulting in a weak cast. None of the British girls delivered on their drama potential except Louise who was gone quickly, resulting in a dull season. The elimination order had issues, while the good photoshoots (Hats/Cars, Trendy.com, Canada) were weighed down by some truly unfortunate ones (Silkworms, Historical Figures, Estelle, Kris Jenner). Sophie was a middling model and much more likeable here than her British season, but her win felt like an afterthought after AzMarie self-destructed and Alisha quit.

 

18. Cycle 7: C
Cohesion: C+
Relevance: C
Result (CariDee): C
Potential: C
Entertainment: C-
Coherence: B-

This cycle was fairly middling across the board. It maintained the camp from the first 6 seasons, but was the first real hitch in the casting department. The girls were either obnoxious or dull, with very few having any legitimate model potential. The shoots were pitiful (Covergirls in Space, Model Stereotypes, Romance Covers with freaking Fabio), the winner really declined post-show, and it was the first time in the show’s history that I wasn’t excited each Wednesday night at 8. IIRC, this was the first Cycle after the infamous writer’s strike, and it shows: the storylines weren’t cohesive week-to-week and the entertainment factor took a huge hit.

 

17. Cycle 9: C
Cohesion: C
Relevance: B+
Result (Saleisha): F
Potential: A+
Entertainment: C-
Coherence: D-

First of all, did anything of interest ever even happen this Cycle? I know Bianca caused some garden-variety drama, but it felt like a nonstarter all season. The shoots and challenges were solid, with the only real weakpoint being the mid-season Covergirl shoot, but what truly destroyed this Cycle’s rewatch potential is the elimination order. Featuring one of the best casts in ANTM history with Jenah, Lisa, Ebony, Chantal, Victoria, Heather and Sarah, SALEISHA won based on a pre-existing relationship with Tyra after sucking the Tootie all season long. The ending alone took a solidly midcard season and completely trashed it.

 

16. Cycle 8: C+
Cohesion: C
Relevance: C
Result (Jaslene): A
Potential: C+
Entertainment: C+
Coherence: D+

Where Cycle 9 lost traction with a poor winner, Cycle 8 was redeemed by a great one. Unfortunately, a good ending to a season can’t erase its other flaws. Cycle 8’s elimination order dragged far too much drama-producing deadweight overseas (Jael, Dionne, Renee), with Brittany and Samantha eliminated too soon. The cast was weak, elevated only by a small handful of aforementioned contenders with a slew of midcard filler (i.e. Felicia, Sarah, Cassandra). The shoots bordered on silly (Political debates! Superself names! Highschool stereotypes! Dress in drag! Weak Covergirl shoot!), dragging down some of the great ones (Crimescene, Swimwear). The drama was to a point where people like Renee made the season dark and unenjoyable. Overall, the fact that Natasha of all people fully deserved 2nd place should tell you all you need to know about this Cycle.

 

15. College Edition: C+
Cohesion: C-
Relevance: B
Result (Laura): B
Potential: B-
Entertainment: D-
Coherence: B-

Wake me up when it’s over, mmkay? This was the most dull-as-dishwater season of any show ever. Even the drama, which should be delicious, featured the unhealthy Victoria, uncomfortable bullying of Leila, and a slew of unlikeable loudmouths. Partially redeemed by decent shoots, a decent cast, a decent winner, fan-vote novelty and a solid elimination order (thanks for bringing Leila back, voters!), the season isn’t quite bottom-of-the-barrel, but I would be hardpressed to find reasons of ever rewatching it.

 

14. Cycle 21: B-
Cohesion: B-
Relevance: B
Result (Keith): B-
Potential: B
Entertainment: C
Coherence: C+

It wasn’t that bad, especially compared to most post-Allstars seasons. The storylines tended to make sense week-to-week (Adam is an alcoholic! Lenox is a trainwreck! Will is gay and has no abs! Mirjana and Matthew! Mirjana and Denzel!), the photoshoots weren’t halfbad (in fact, I didn’t actively dislike any of them), and Keith was a defensible winner, despite being consistently outperformed by Lenox and Will. The cast also wasn’t too bad, although shuffling around the elimination order (bye, Adam!) would have helped. Overall, the season was a bit on the dull side, but by no means bad.

 

13. Cycle 4: B-
Cohesion: B
Relevance: C+
Result (Naima): C
Potential: C+
Entertainment: A
Coherence: C

This season still featured some of the magic of its first 3 cycles – it was deliciously campy, fun (those panel challenges!), and was cohesive week to week. However, this is where the casts stopped looking like models and the judges appeared to be on crack. The winner sucked (Michelle, Brittany, Christina or Michelle, please. Even Beerweave would have made a great winner), a bunch of the girls were pretty rough looking (Noelle, Sarah, Tatiana, post-gain Keenyah and Brita) and some stellar shoots (1-800-Flowers, Kloofing, Lubriderm) were weighed down by some truly terrible ones (GotBlackface?, worst Covergirl shoot to date) or great ideas on a budget (Zodiac, Deadly Sins).

 

12. Cycle 11: B
Cohesion: B-
Relevance: A
Result (McKey): B
Potential: B
Entertainment: C+
Coherence: B

Much like its winner: Meh. There’s a reason this one is smack-dab in the middle of the rankings and, indeed, the series. While the photoshoots were uniformly fantastic (even the cheeseballs like the Fiercee Awards and Natural Disasters managed to come across editorial), the cast was middling, and featured a few too many drama queens (namely Samantha, Hannah, Sheena, Joslyn, Elina, Clark, ShaRaun, Nikeysha) which made the season rather exhausting. The elimination order was mostly fine. I’d remove Samantha from the top 5 and replace her with Isis, and kick out Joslyn instead of Brittany on week 3, but overall, this was a perfectly milquetoast season.

 

11. Cycle 10: B
Cohesion: B
Relevance: B+
Result (Whitney): C-
Potential: A+
Entertainment: A-
Coherence: D

This season was actually a lot of fun. The drama was lighthearted and sporadic (cups of coffee! Alarm clocks! Breast milk! Barbie dolls!) rather than sinister and dark like some other seasons, and the cast was extremely solid, producing 3 of the series’ most high-fashion candidates (Fatima, Anya, Katarzyna). The elimination order had some problems overall, but that would just be finetuning since a majority of the cast was runway-ready. Dominique made for a quirky, loveable villain, and the Battle of the Blondes, culminating with the laidback, chill Anya defeating the tiresome complainer Whitney made for the perf—oh, wait. Right. That’s unfortunate, but still a decent season.

 

10. Cycle 12: B
Cohesion: B-
Relevance: B-
Result (Teyona): B
Potential: B+
Entertainment: B-
Coherence: A+

With mostly B’s across the board, this is a season with really nothing to complain about. The storylines flowed (but weren’t riveting television), the photoshoots weren’t laughworthy (although the constant groupshots got tiring), the winner was a solid model (but not the best), the cast was “good” (with few real standouts), and the season was enjoyable for the virtue of being above critique, despite being kind of dull/very dull. A damn-near perfect elimination order made the season a welcome counterpoint to the preceding Cycles 9, 10 and 11. (I concede that Tahlia sucked as a model, but she was needed to inject some life into the season, and although Natalie was unfairly eliminated, she was facing a very solid Top 6). It also produced my all-time favorite hamster, which should only require one guess as to who.

 

9. Cycle 20: B
Cohesion: B+
Relevance: C-
Result (Jourdan): B+
Potential: B+
Entertainment: B
Coherence: A

Cycle 20 was a shining beacon of hope in a post-Allstars era. Tyra’s first tryst with adding guys to the competition was an unqualified success. It provided structure to the episodes, a raison-d’étre for the season, and produced drama and entertainment that was new and refreshing without being over-the-top (sadly, this largely capitulated by the beginning of Season 21 and went completely bust by 22, but I digress). Although the photoshoots needed some improvement, the winner was solid, I have no complaints with the elimination order (despite wanting a Renee v. Jourdan finale), and, aside from the first four casualties, the cast was pretty damn solid. The best part about it is that the season made sense as a whole. The relationships (Renee v. Jourdan, Renee and Marvin, Chris and Nina, Jeremy and Jourdan) made the season cohesive and entertaining, and after the dullness of Allstars-onward, made me excited for the show again.

 

8. Cycle 13: B
Cohesion: B
Relevance: B+
Result (Nicole): A
Potential: A-
Entertainment: B-
Coherence: C-

I quite enjoyed this season. And, give me a F4 of Brittany, Rae, Nicole and Erin and this would easily be a Top 5 Cycle. Overall, Tyra found a crop of great girls, strong photoshoots, and a top-notch winner. Unfortunately, the episodes were bland and the season lacked an overarching storyline: the girls being short and Erin as a “villain” didn’t quite do it for me. Sundai overstayed her welcome, Brittany was robbed, and Laura was a cute girl but not really a model. Overall, a decent season.

 

7. Cycle 5: B+
Cohesion: B
Relevance: C+
Result (Nicole): A-
Potential: B-
Entertainment: A-
Coherence: A

Strangely, I don’t reflect on this season with fondness. Yet, it earned a solid B+ rating thanks to a great winner, a defensible elimination order (I would’ve liked Coryn to replace Bre in the F4) and being pretty damn entertaining week to week: Kim v. Bre! Bre v. Nicole! Jayla v. Nik! Jayla v. Everybody! Cassandra v. Her hair! Lisa v. alcohol! It had some horrible shoots (Fashion Victim, Phonebooth, Vargas Pinups) and a bland, short crop of models, but it was actually quite a trip to watch, and transitioned nicely from Cycle 4 to Cycle 6.

 

6. Cycle 16: B+
Cohesion: C+
Relevance: A+
Result (Brittani): A-
Potential: A-
Entertainment: B
Coherence: A

Something always felt hollow about this season for me. It wasn’t particularly engaging, and I never found a character that I could really sink my teeth into. That said, Tyra took elements of “high fashion” Cycle 15 and turned them up a notch for this season. Every single photoshoot was GREAT, the cast was almost perfect, and was eliminated each week accordingly to their performance. Did Alexandria overstay her welcome? Perhaps, but even she produced a solid body of work, and is instrumental in earning a “B” in Entertainment for what was otherwise a dull season. It’s a shame that such a solid season was the gatekeeper for the series decline.

 

5. Cycle 1: B+
Cohesion: A
Relevance: B
Result (Adrianne): B+
Potential: C+
Entertainment: B+
Coherence: B+

Cycle 1 will always be fresh, raw and a standalone in the series. Evaluating it afterwards, especially in comparison to other seasons, reveals some of its flaws (weak cast, cheap shoots), but it is such a unique cycle that it is inherently entertaining. The elimination order was solid, the winner was solid, and the crop of characters (namely Robin and Elyse with assists from Shannon, Ebony and Adrianne) kept the season engaging and consistently entertaining. The franchise owes itself to Cycle 1.

 

4. Cycle 3: B+
Cohesion: A+
Relevance: A
Result (Eva): C+
Potential: B
Entertainment: A
Coherence: B

Cycle 3 was an absolute hoot. It kept the level of fashion from Cycle 2 (Verragio! Dooney & Bourke! Real go-sees!) but injected some of the crazy that was in store in Cycle 4. The drama was positively delectable, the weekly storylines were always revisited and carried forward, and the viewer got a great sense of who each model was. I didn’t personally enjoy the winner, thought Nicole was robbed, and truth-be-told, the cast was weaker than some of the more recent ones. That said, Cycle 3 was the first one that I watched live, and will always hold a special place in my heart.

 

3. Cycle 2: A-
Cohesion: A
Relevance: A+
Result (Yoanna): B
Potential: B+
Entertainment: B
Coherence: A+

Cycle 2 took the formula set out in Cycle 1, but had the budget to see it through: the shoots were insanely high-fashion, and even the more bland ones (Steve Madden) were realistic and fair. The cast was solid, but more importantly, were eliminated in a near-perfect order, culminating in one of the strongest Final 4’s in the series’ history. Although the season is often considered boring (hence a “B” for Entertainment), storylines consisted over the whole season (Shandi’s metamorphosis, Yoanna’s weight, Mercedes’ lupus, Camille’s overconfidence), resulting in a Cycle more documentary in nature than reality show. Overall, it is a rare gem with no shortage of class and relevance.

 

2. Cycle 15: A-
Cohesion: B+
Relevance: A-
Result (Ann): A-
Potential: A
Entertainment: B+
Coherence: B+

As the first to be billed the “high fashion” cycle, Cycle 15 actually delivered. From start-to-finish, there was a focus on actual fashion, with challenges, shoots and guests from the real fashion world. Even the shoots that I wish had been a little stronger (Mermaids, Designers) had a leg planted in fashion and made sense as part of the overall season. Not only was the winner solid, but the entire Final 4 would have made for a fantastic winner. None of the hamsters were duplicated: Ann was on a journey of self-confidence, Chelsey was the determined fashionista, Kayla confronted her past, while Jane struggled to break down Tyra’s bias against her. Chris was hilarious, Esther adorable, Kacey perfectly ridiculous, and Rhianna the only model eliminated too early. I can see how some may find the Season boring, but because I love Chelsey (who narrated much of the Cycle), I saw the overall season as a rising of a dream, only to be snatched away by somebody with “the look”. The “high fashion” cycle thusly ended as a microcosm for the fashion world.

 

1. Cycle 6: A
Cohesion: A+
Relevance: A-
Result (Danielle): A+
Potential: A
Entertainment: A+
Coherence: A

Cycle 6 was absolutely flawless. It took the fashion of Cycles 1 and 2, the drama of 4 and 5, and perfected the marriage attempted in Cycle 3 by casting stronger models and voila: you have the unquestionably strongest season of the franchise. Every model in the Top 7 had a compelling storyline, they ranged from loveable (Joanie, Danielle) to absolutely ridiculous (JADE, Furonda), and aside from the stellar Mollie Sue, were eliminated in a defensible order. The editing was a masterpiece (“Definitely not a question!”), even the weaker shoots (Ice Queens, Fairytales) were solid, and the commercial shoot, which I normally dislike, still puts me in stitches. Add all this together, shake it up, pour out the most likeable, glamazon of a winner who is still consistently working today, and you get a solid-A season start to finish.

Edited by Oholibamah
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Wow, Oholibamah, that breakdown was awesome! Thank you! I've never seen such an in-depth analysis of the show. You could, like, publish that. I love it.

Just one little thing to fix: Cycle 13, it was Jennifer and not Rae who was in the top 4. I wish it were Rae. She was gorgeous. I loved that cycle. So much beauty.

I am in agreement; I think C6 may have been the best ever, with Sara Albert possibly being my favorite hamster of the entire series. I'm so bummed the show was cancelled, but I think it jumped the shark not with the All-Star cycle, but with C19 when they cleaned house of Nigel & Mr Jay, brought in the God-awful Johhny Wujek and Bryanboi, and introduced the social media component. I think C19-C22 were in a class of their own awfulness, and don't even deserve to be ranked with the others. (I'm bummed it's cancelled because I believe they could have turned it around, the way they did after C13). I actually loved the British Invasion cycle. I thought it had a ton of beauty and talent and it was pretty much the only cycle where the girl I wanted to win actually won.

Aside from the unmentionable cycles 19-22, I think my least favorite cycle was C12. It just felt so blah and boring and uninspired. I didn't like anyone. I didn't feel like there was anyone to root for. Animat was gorgeous, and probably should have won on that alone, but man was she a bitch. Celia, with her awesome Kentucky clothes, was way too mature looking, and I wasn't as impressed with Natalie as I think I was supposed to be. I actually liked the red-haired plus-sized girl who was dating a race-car driver (her name escapes me), but she was eliminated early. I know we've seen the awful weight gain narrative in the past, with Keenyah and Anchal, but it just seemed sad, and not amusing, with London this time.

I also strongly disliked cycles four and five. I felt like there was no one to root for in either, except for Brita, who left first in C4. Cycle nine was the first one I watched "live," and I was really disappointed with it. There seemed to be no energy to it. The All-Star cycle was not good. Brittany from C4 and Bre from C5 came back looking 100 years old. Shannon from C1 looked around 80. This made it hard to judge the contestants against each other. And WTF was up with that ending? Angelea should never have gotten as far as she did.

As far as C7, I actually liked it. I thought there were a bunch of strong contenders. The Top 3 were good, as well as the twins, Brooke, and Monique. I also thought Kari was really interesting. Pretty much my favorite part of C7 was that the Top 2 were so similar looking, that it really did come down to the details, which I enjoyed. In retrospect, I think the judges got it wrong. At the time, I thought they got it right.

I was kind of agnostic toward cycles 14, 15, and 16. I was rooting for Tatiana, Jane, and Molly, respectively. Looking back, Molly was spoiled and had issues. I should have gone for Monique for the win, although Brittani was probably the better model. And, if there was ever a model that made me super unhappy aesthetically, it was C16's Kasia. I don't know what it was, but I hated her look--her face and her body, but mostly her face. Ugh.

C1 was fun. It was funny how Tyra kept referring to them as up-and-coming "supermodels." I think Katie might have been an overlooked beauty.

I really liked cycles 10 and 11. There was so much beauty and so many interesting back stories there. Sam, the first runner-up from C11, was one of my all-time favorites.

I loved me some cycles two and three! The glory days. So much to look at. The motorcycle shoot in Japan in S3 was perhaps my favorite shoot ever. Regarding C3, I think Jennipher and Kristi were both sent home too early. I could have lived without Amanda. And Ann had a horrible personality. She really lost her noodle at the end there, and took it out on Eva, who didn't deserve it. Haha, Eva won, so boo-yeah Ann!

Aside from C6, C8 was my favorite. I just loved the conglomeration of contestants. I also loved the candy-coated photo shoot. "Some people have war in their countries." -Natasha

You guys, I'm gonna miss this show! I love it.

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My ranking of all the cycles (best to worst):

1) Cycle 6 (had Jade and Furonda providing comic relief, enjoyed the overseas destination: Thailand, and a successful winner: Danielle).

2) Cycle 4 (Winner Naima wasn't so great but had some epic moments like Tyra going postal on beer weave Tiffany, and hilarious contestants like drunk girl Brittany, elephant Keenyah, and flesh eating disease Michelle).

3) Cycle 3 (great overseas destination: Japan, great drama with Eva, Yaya, Ann, and one of my favorite hamsters of all-time, almost-blind Amanda).

4) Cycle 5 (good winner Nicole, some nice drama caused by old Lisa and Bre, good photoshoots, and love the Wildboys episode where Lisa pissed in a diaper).

5) Cycle 8 (some hilarious contestants like Natasha, Jael, Dionne and a great villain Renee, plus our first Latina winner Jaslene. Work!)

6) Cycle 10 (a blah winner Whitney notwithstanding, there are some really high fashion contestants like Katazyna, Fatima and Anya.)

7) Cycle 15 (good winner Ann, some high fashion photoshoots and one of my favorites Jane who was too intelligent for Tyra.)

8) Cycle 7 (a great villain: Melrose, fun overseas location, and the ghost brides final runway!)

9) Cycle 9 (underwhelming winner Saleisha but some memorable hamsters like aespegers Heather, Jenah, exotic dancer Lisa, overseas location China, and "check yo thighs in da mirra!").

10) Cycle 17 all stars (bad winner old Lisa/Angelea whatever, awful photoshoots, but we got to see some all time favorites back in the competition like C4 Brittany, Sheena, Bre and Allison! So it was worth it in the end).

11) Cycle 12 (Allison. Enough said. Otherwise, boring wind tunnel winner Teyona, loud Aminat, old in the face Celia, and I think Tahlia dragged the whole thing down with her self-pity.)

12) Cycle 2 (only saw in recaps but there are some good photoshoots and memorable contestants like April, Shandi, Mercedes and Yoanna).

13) Cycle 11 (a forgettable winner McKey, but some funny hamsters like hoochie Sheena and old beauty queen Joslyn.)

14) Cycle 13 (a great winner Nicole, but the rest were pretty meh.)

15) Cycle 1 (didn't see live, but had a good 2nd runner up Elyse, and a okay winner Adrianne. Drama caused by the religious hamsters Robynn and Shannon was fun.)

16) Cycle 16 (a great bitchy villain Alexandria, and a good winner Brittany, but Molly's grumpiness dragged it down.)

17) Cycle 18 (one of the best winners Sophie, but all the American hamsters sucked except for Azmarie.)

18) Cycle 19 (Only notable for the discovery of Leila. Religious, home schooled Victoria was fun too. Whatever happened to her?)

19) Cycle 14 (The worst of the "regular" cycles. Had a great runner up: Raina, plus Andre Leon Talley, and a fun classic villain Angelea who raised its drama value, but all the rest of the hamsters sucked.)

20) Cycle 20 (the best of the boy/girl cycles, but that's not saying much. At least we had a good winner Jourdan, and some hot guys like Don, Phil, and ice cream truck Mike.)

21) Cycle 21 (some great hamsters like Lennox and Will, hot guys like Matthew, but Denzel, Mirjana and the faked relationship drama sucked all the fun out of it.)

22) Cycle 22 (the worst of the boy/girl cycles. On the bright side, we did have Nyle, Lacey and Mame, but also some of the worst contestants ever like Bello, Devin and Courtney. Awful low budget photo shoots and Las Vegas as "overseas" destination. Enough said.)

Edited by Mattipoo
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Binge watching the All Stars cycle on Oxygen today, can someone please explain to me how Allison originally ended up in third place considering the sheer number of times Lisa and Angelea ended up in the bottom, not to mention their superior attitudes. Just after seeing the show if I ever had a reason to hire any of those girls I'd hire Allison or Laura before the other two. Lisa gets on my last nerve in every talking head. UGH Maybe I'm just biased towards Allison bc I think she should have won her first cycle.

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I can't comment on Lisa but the Angelea thing is baffling beyond words.  For that cycle alone she had no business making it overseas at all.  There was nothing justifying her lasting as long as she did.  Nothing at all...feh.

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I think most of my favorite cycles were cycle 6 and before.  Cycle 11 & 13 were the exceptions.  Cycle 9, 10, 12, 14, 15 and 17 were too obvious for words who was going to win and were biased in favor of certain girls.  There was some bias towards Jennifer and Sundai in cycle 13 (Jennifer should never have gotten as far as she did), but that's another post completely.  I also couldn't watch past All-Stars because the show had gotten SO ridiculous.  In fact, I'd barely even watch All-Stars and there was no way Angelea should have won.  I doubt the whole "escort" drama afterwards was the REAL reason but it was probably part of the reason and the only one they would let come to light because TPTB didn't want to look worse than they already did for letting the show get so far past reality that it was just a blur in the distance. 

Too bad the show was a joke almost from Cycle 1.  Too many girls have said their modeling career was ruined, almost ruined or never even started by going on the show and that, if they had wanted to be taken seriously in the modeling word, they would never have gone on.

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