As America's Next Top Model's 21st cycle unfolds, we've decided to take a look at previous seasons to see how often Tyra and her ever-changing panel of judges choose the right model. As anyone who has watched the show throughout the years (and the marathons every time they're on TV) knows, the model you spend all season rooting for rarely wins, no matter how much she deserves to.
Who Won: Adrianne Curry
Should Have Won: Adrianne Curry
If only Tyra's first season were a sign of things to come. She picked it right. Adrianne had that special blend of being cool, a good model, and reality TV perfection (which is essential for a first season). She went on to become a "star" on Vh1's CelebReality, and we continued to grow up watching the ups and downs of her relationship with a Brady. That sort of contribution to our adolescence is invaluable.
Who Won: Yoanna House
Should Have Won: Mercedes Scelba-Shorte
Mercedes was perfect! She was such a great model, she had the cutest personality, and she was owning the competition while suffering with Lupus. Her final photo and her Billie Holiday photo are some of our favorite in ANTM history.
Who Won: Eva Pigford
Should Have Won: Toccara Jones, Yaya DaCosta
Eva was okay, but we loved Toccara. She left too soon, and we began to root for Eva. Looking back on this cycle now though, it's hard not to feel like Yaya is sort of like ANTM's Jennifer Hudson -- she lost, but has the best career possibly out of any of the girls.
Getty Images/Getty Images
Who Won: Naima Mora
Should Have Won: Kahlen Rondot
This is a no brainer. Kahlen was perfect. Naima was a good model, okay, sure. But she was quiet and enigmatic. Kahlen was shy, but adorable and relatable. And, if we're being frank, a far superior model.
Who Won: Nicole Linklater
Should Have Won: Bre Scullark (or Nik Pace)
We loved Bre. We still love Bre. She will always be one of our favorites. We rooted for Nik after Bre was eliminated, but Tyra didn't seem to care and picked the annoying and whiny Nicole.
Who Won: Danielle (Dani) Evans
Should Have Won: Joanie Dodds
This makes us uncomfortable to say, because we really like both girls here. This was one of the rare instances where we would have been happy regardless of who won. For some reason, we always remember this as the cycle that Joanie won though. Clearly she left the stronger impression (although we'll never forget Dani's photo on top of the elephant, while she was sick).
Who Won: CariDee English
Should Have Won: CariDee English
We felt really bad when Melrose lost because she was consistently good. She tried so hard to be perfect. Sure, she wasn't the most likable, but she was undeniably a good model. But CariDee had the whole package. She was likable and could model. We would have been happy if one of the twins won too though (just saying...).
Who Won: Jaslene Gonzalez
Should Have Won: Renee Alway
We were rooting for Renee from the very beginning. When she came in third place, we obviously started supporting Jaslene just to prevent the bizarre Natasha from winning. Deep down though, we still feel wronged by Renee's elimination.
Who Won: Saleisha Stowers
Should Have Won: Jenah Doucette
We never liked Saleisha. She kind of looked like Rihanna if Rihanna were on Disney. We were never into it. Chantal similarly had sanitized feel to her. Jenah shined as the only normal, likable girl in the cycle. She was a great model too!
Who Won: Whitney Thompson
Should Have Won: Anya Kop
This is one that outrages us still. Whitney was unlikable and even the judges thought so for most of the season. She just happened to get farther than any other plus-sized model, so they let her win. Everybody knows that Anya ran that cycle as if she were already a professional. Her photo shoot with Nigel? Her Sprite campaign? And don't even get us started on the injustice of eliminating Tiffani Thiessen-lookalike Katarzyna. How did they pick Whitney?
Who Won: McKey Sullivan
Should Have Won: McKey Sullivan
Girl was flawless. She was tall, stunning, poised, and had a lovely personality. Honorable mention to Analeigh Tipton though for doing her thing and having a great career.
Getty Images/Getty Images
Who Won: Teyona Anderson
Should Have Won: Allison Harvard
Allison. Our favorite contestant in the history of ANTM. This one hurts. We're not quite ready to talk about it.
Who Won: Nicole Fox
Should Have Won: Nicole Fox
We loved Nicole and we loved runner-up Laura Kirkpatrick. Tyra didn't have the chance to mess this cycle up.
Who Won: Krista White
Should Have Won: Raina Hein
Raina has been working more than anyone else from this cycle -- we've been seeing her pop up on commercials, and a working model is a successful one. Overall, we didn't really like this cycle.
Who Won: Ann Ward
Should Have Won: Kayla Ferrel
First of all, Ann's runway walk was not good. Chelsey and Jane were both good models, but there was something about Kayla that we were consistently drawn to. She somehow looked like a classic beauty, yet edgy and modern. She was fieeeeerce.
Who Won: Brittani Kline
Should Have Won: Hannah Jones
Were we the only ones who didn't hate Alexandria? We would have been happy if she won, but instead we were left with Brittani. She was a fine model, but on a personal level, we just stopped liking her after that meltdown in panel. Hannah also reminded us a lot of Analeigh from cycle 12, so we had a soft spot for her.
Who Won: Lisa D'Amato
Should Have Won: Allison Harvard
TWICE? REALLY? Allison, who broke our hearts when she was runner-up in cycle 12, admits that it sucks to be runner-up twice. She should have won. Twice. She's the best. We'll never be ready to talk about this.
Who Won: Sophie Sumner
Should Have Won: ...Annaliese Dayes? ...Laura LaFrate? Maybe Sophie?
This is one of those cycles that had three great girls at the end. At one point or another, we rooted for all of them to win. We're happy Sophie won because she was a cutie, but we loved Annaliese way more throughout the competition. She was like a Spice Girl and a model all in one.
Who Won: Laura James
Should Have Won: Leila Goldkuhl
Laura is a fantastic model -- let's just get that out of the way up front. Leila was eliminated, because Tyra rarely makes good decisions, and brought back by the fans who loved her. Clearly she was a fan-favorite and she should have won. Leila was definitely better than runner-up Kiara.
Who Won: Jourdan Miller
Should Have Won: Renee Bhagwandeen
Our friend texted within the first episode of ANTM 2.0 saying she couldn't stand the girl who was married and divorced at 18. And she never really made us like her more. On the other hand, from the moment Renee was shown in the casting episode, she had our vote. We were gung-ho from the get-go. Sure, Cory and Marvin were fantastic, but personally we're still rooting for the girls.
Will Tyra make the right choice in Cycle 21?
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
The single girl is by no means the new girl in town. In fact, as a culture, we’re kind of obsessed with her.
She’s been the subject of chatter throughout 2011 and 2012. Women’s magazines have catered to the single girl by creating lists of cities most likely to end her unaccompanied plight or techniques for keeping a boyfriend. When that didn’t stick and the collective started to realize “Single Girl” wasn’t an affliction to be cured, but rather a state of being to be acknowledged, we switched to praising her for her strength and for changing the makeup of the single man and traditional relationships, like in Kate Bolick’s 2011 Atlantic cover story. The U.S. Census bureau reported that a record 17.8 million women were living on their own in 2011, bringing some much needed numerical support to this supposed phenomenon. Plus, women's health issues were some of the most hotly debated topics in the 2012 presidential election. But throughout all of this, we’re often talking about the upper echelon of single-ladydom – the benefits of being on one’s own, kicking ass and taking names in what used to be a “man’s world,” so to speak. But in 2012, the topic of the single girl reached new levels of legitimacy, especially on television.
The exalted (and equally despised, as Fox News recently reminded us) Single Girl of cultural note gained layers and stages within her seemingly one-note solo path. The most notable layer being that of the Poor, Single Girl life stage.
Series like HBO’s Girls, CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, Fox’s New Girl, and even reality shows like Bravo’s Gallery Girls bring the plight of the broke girl into homes across the country. (In its heyday, Sex and the City may have been all about the single girl, but certainly never the financially strapped one.) It brings into relief the fact that women exist in this space where our hair isn’t always perfect. Our makeup doesn’t look like it does in the movies. Our socks don’t always match and sometimes we struggle to pay the gas bill. It’s not just a punchline and it doesn’t make us deadbeats or outliers, it’s simply a life stage. Bringing that fact into the stark light of television for the masses brings an air of legitimacy to what is very much a reality for many girls in the no-man’s land between college and middle age.
When it comes in the form of Zooey Deschanel’s doe-eyed New Girl, the pop culture advent isn’t universally embraced. The polka-dot-loving, grade-school-sing-a-long, Christmas-morning-pajama-loving girl becomes a beacon of infantilism. In fact, Deschanel’s on-screen and off-screen personas are to blame for the notion “that it's never been easier, more fun or more acceptable to remain locked in the warm, comfy embrace of childhood,” according to a Jezebel post by Girls writer Deborah Schoeneman.
PHOTOS: Zooey Deschanel Fashion Flipbook
But in Season 2 of the Fox series, Deschanel’s Jess added another characteristic to her former Manic Pixie Dream girl: a lack of cash flow. Jess lost her job, and with it, her schoolgirl antics. She became a penniless weirdo struggling to find a sliver of happiness in a reality that just handed her a fresh dose of harsh reality. This manifested itself in Jess’ multi-episode quest to displace her unhappiness by finding an emotion-free sex-friend set-up with a Creed fan, which took over and let the foundation of the problem take a back seat until Episode 7, when Jess’ financial constraints finally caught up to her. Schmidt cut off the gas to the apartment and Jess finally had to face the music and get a job that probably wasn’t going to pay her big bucks so she could suffer along with the rest of us.
Of course Girls has been throwing down the broke lady gauntlet since day one. Lena Dunham’s Hannah is cut off by her parents, sending her on a journey through awful job interviews, thankless jobs, unpaid internships, and uncomfortable discussions about where she’s going to get money for her next rent payment. The series brings into focus a range of circumstances that might befall a single, broke girl living in Brooklyn, and the diverting and rarely blissful moments that help to distract from the truth of her precarious lifestyle. It’s cathartic for those living the awful (and sometimes awesome) truth, and comprehensive enough to allow for audiences at different life stages to embrace the reality they may not know themselves.
PHOTOS: Girls' Hannah and Adam, Plus 11 Other Hot and Horrifying Sex Scenes
But the broke girl isn’t a phenomenon pegged to the folks willing to shell out 15 bucks a month for HBO or risk the virus-ridden expanse of pirated Internet television. Even sweeping, broadcast audiences get a watered-down, broad stroke version of the broke girl thanks to Whitney Cummings' 2 Broke Girls sitcom. However, Max and Caroline get a punchline-chasing raw deal. It’s one thing to be broke and scraping by, allowing oneself to be tempted by the evil incarnate that is a pre-approved credit card, it’s quite another to dine out at a soup kitchen to save some dough. However, CBS’ broke girls have done both in Season 2 of the hit series. But broad strokes or not, the series is bringing the plight of the poor girl into the larger pop culture consuming consciousness.
Of course, the true mark of the poor girl as a trend is that she’s even infiltrated the realm of reality television. It’s a place that generally embraces personalities in three distinct categories: the rich and/or famous, the ridiculous and wacky, or the suckers competing for some overblown prize. Gallery Girls is admittedly a subject for hate-watching, but its content raised a question about this “poor girl” trend. Could it be a real movement in television?
Yes, it could. Not everyone in Bravo’s set of art-world ladies treads the broke girl line, but for the most part, finance as a struggle is a recurring theme for the series. Freelance photographer Angela Pham has to supplement her sporadic income with a waitressing job and modeling jobs here and there. Gallery owners Chantal Chadwick and Claudia Martinez Reardon struggle to pay the bills for their business and Reardon frets about making good on a business loan from her parents. Kerri Lisa works two full-time jobs in order to pursue her art world dreams… and keep her dream apartment in the West Village. By most stretches of the imagination, these reality starlets aren’t exactly the picture of the broke girl that we’ve come to expect (how many struggling ladies can drape themselves in such luxurious couture?), but the way in which their struggles are picked out and emphasized in the editing room before the episodes hit the television is an indication of the stories audiences are seeking.
It’s not enough for a post-graduate girl to be fun and fancy-free, wearing high-wasted pinstripe skirts and twirling her hair. That’s not what a “girl” is anymore. In 2012, the definition in popular culture evolved and diversified. Girls, in the non-pig-tail-appropriate sense of the word, became pre-adults, with all the faculties of a full-fledged grownup, but none of the practical experience. She’s a gawky fawn, learning to stand on her own two feet. Every once in a while, she won’t have enough dough for the electricity bill. She’ll hoof it home to mom and dad to get a short-term loan to stay afloat. She’ll accept a series of odd jobs to stay in the black. But all the while she’s growing; she’s working toward something other than a big, handsome man to hold her hand. Television series like Girls and New Girl have taken even the most adorable little lady off her pedestal, bringing her down to the level at which we feel free to explore, dissect, judge, and be entertained by her journey to full-on adulthood.
It’s a product of a changing environment – Pew Research reports that the number of nuptials has decreased by 29 percent since 1960, the average marrying age has risen from early 20s to 26.5 for women, and since the early ‘90s U.S. Census data has shown that there are more women than men attending college. That girl isn’t an anomaly and she isn’t hiding. She’s sitting next to you on the subway. She’s unavoidable. But the shift is also a product of acknowledgement. Every time audiences tune into one of these shows touting a broke girl heroine, they’re buying in. They’re accepting this financially-challenged, almost-adult. She’s not a stoned slacker or lost little lady. She’s a human, dealing with the struggles of early adulthood and she’s getting there.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: Patrick McElhenney/FOX; Cliff Lipson/CBS]
Does Fox's Lady Night Have a Lady Problem?
What Louis C.K. Said to Lena Dunham at the Emmys
Lena Dunham is Writing a Book, Vying to Be 'A Voice of a Generation'
You Might Also Like:
Chris Brown Makes NSFW Poop-Related Insults, Deletes Twitter Account
’Liz & Dick’ Is Bad in the Worst Possible Way: Review