With Cycle 20 of the show 90s Supermodel phenom Tyra Banks made up in her kitchen, America's Next Top Model, looming I feel it necessary to rank every season to date...meaning ALL 19 CYCLES (!) As to why the Cycles will be where they are, I explain in what I consider to be thorough detail.
The system will be 19-1 meaning "Most deplorable" to "Best cycle"...play rough and get it on!
19. America's Next Top Model: College Edition (C 19)- Yes, it seems a tad predictable to place the most recent cycle dead last, but Cycle 19 was met with...negative reception from even the show's most die-hard fans. Oh who the fuck am I kidding; the show was raked over the coals deservedly. Although the show's been redesigned every now and then, this felt like a bastardization like I'd never seen.
ANTM regulars, Jay Manuel (creative director), J. Alexander (runway diva coach extraordinaire) and Nigel Barker (panelist from C 2- C 18) were given the heave ho. Social media was incorporated as a "4th judge" and had a glorified Facebook spokesperson in fashion blogger Bryanboy. Although, that was not the worst addition; that distinct honor goes to replacing Jay Manuel...with Katy Perry's bitch, Johnny Wujek. He earned my ire every time he glazed over and bitched about contestant Victoria Henley and her "back story" she had for every photo shoot (Yes, she represented evangelical nutcase "ground zero" Liberty University [online university], but any person who creates a "back story" for every character in her photo shoots should've gotten more credit.)
Compound with that a 1-10 grading scale; boring judge add-on Rob Evans; contestant Leila Goldkuhl getting ousted twice [she would finish 3rd, overall] and contestants Nastasia Scott and Kiara Belen finishing 4th and 2nd respectively (Despite the fact neither of their photos were good at any point in the competition) and C 19 left a terrible taste in my mouth.
18. America's Next Top Model: All Stars (C 17)- If it weren't for the fact that most of the contestants who came back were actually recognizable, this cycle was just terrible in the end. Apart from having to shill the "ANTM Fragrance" Dreams Come True, C 17 was overshadowed by bitching and moaning. C 12 favorite, Allison Harvard, got screwed out of the title again.
But most damning of all was the controversial "disappearance" of C 14 representative, Angelea Preston. Miss "Hood! 716! Buffalo!" ended up in the Top 3 fashion show where she and Allison worked it out the best. Then she was disqualified and the final panel was re-shot in Los Angeles...after Angelea had actually won the show! Supposedly, she had spoiled her victory over Facebook and Twitter, but in an interview with Sire Says [http://www.siresays.com/2013/01/angeleaprestoninterview.html] Angelea firmly denied that she spoiled her victory.
C 5 representative, Lisa D'Amato was named the winner after...something dethroned Angelea. Although a C 16 contestant on the show nearly made the whole thing un-watchable much like her original cycle she poisoned with her presence...
17. America's Next Top Model (C 16)- Alexandria Everett somehow became one of the least liked contestants in my eyes in only an episode. Her "alpha" declarations were proof positive that arrogance is not screened for contestants of the show. How her arrogant ass got 4th place is beyond me to this day.
Other reasons why this cycle was off? Well...2 things; 1. The "Ford Warriors in Pink" incident. Eventual winner of C 16, Brittani Kline did the right thing at the wrong place. After the challenge in collaboration with cause against breast cancer, "Warriors in Pink" which Alexandria inexplicably won alongside a 2012 Ford Focus, Brittani lead the group sentiment that Alexandria was the wrong victor; cut to Tyra scolding Brittani for calling a bitch out on the job and revealing that she has been outvoted in the past alluding to C 3 when Toccara Jones was ousted; eep. It made for excellent drama but it completely dragged the show down.
2. Eventual runner-up Molly O'Connell's follicle debacle. O_O She had every right to complain about the hair she was given in the makeovers.
16. America's Next Top Model: British Invasion (C 18)- One of the more intriguing concepts in ANTM anthology; pit 7 American hopefuls with 7 veterans of Britain's Next Top Model. This should have been flawless in execution; however, drama quickly took over again...even though the first major outburst was kind of deserved.
In episode 3, the girls worked with nefarious fashion personality (And part time folkloric monster) Kelly Cutrone in a team stylized ad try for British online retailer, very.com. British contender and runner up of Britain's Next Top Model C 3, Louise Watts, spoke out against Cutrone's condescending demeanor during that episode's judging. Eventually, the scolding against Watts became too much for her to put up with and she abruptly quit the show. Playing Devil's Advocate for a bit, there is a difference between est. boss(client)/employee dynamics without being retched about it. Cutrone wasn't hired to be the "Paula Abdul*" of ANTM (*"Paula Abdul" = "Too nice judge"*) but acting lurid to a contestant no matter how skilled is downright unacceptable.
Then, boring "girl fights" broke out through the entire season; contestant Eboni Davis had to endure those fakakta pigtails given to her as a makeover and eventual winner [and first non-American winner] Sophie Sumner would go on to have one of the weakest winner's portfolio in show anthology. Sorry Sophie; you're a "go-see" queen but your portfolio is just so bland.
Also, ask anybody you know that has watched C 18 and ask them about AzMarie Livingston being eliminated and...well the nice way of saying it is...SHIT WILL GET REAL.
15. America's Next Top Model (C 14)- The reason this cycle ranks so low is because of 2 people; 1. 4th place finisher, Alexandra Underwood. She earned my ire after her disastrous "fake fashion is fierce...PSYCH!" shoot; a Covergirl photo try was atrocious, but she wasn't eliminated and one of the worst photos in ANTM history; the dress made of hair shoot. Why she advanced overseas I will never understand.
2. Eventual winner, Krista White was just bland despite great runway potential. I only liked 2 photos of her in the entire competition. Neither of which was her ad try for Covergirl (i.e.- the crucial photo shoot as a Covergirl contract was part of the prize package.)
Still, the cycle was watchable to me...mainly because I have watched every cycle of the show.
*Fun fact: When Andre Leon Talley assumed the panel spot previously occupied by J. Alexander, we all learned that Vogue personnel are insane!*
14. America's Next Top Model (C 13)- Even though the premise for the cycle was a bit...lacking [C 13 was the "Petite Cycle" where contestants could not be over 5' 7''] and Nicole Fox ended up winning [BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!], the cycle was a nice way for Tyra to relay the message that every model type can be beautiful.
Granted that sounds more like a Dove body wash commercial than a show about modeling...on a TV show that pulls in ratings for the CW.
Apart from that, contestants like Sundai Love, Erin Wagner & Jennifer An [5th, 4th/3rd to double elimination respectively] possessed the most modeling potential. Eventual All-Stars contestant, Laura Kirkpatrick [C 13 runner up] even had some of the strongest shots in the cycle, but apparently if you were called "bloody eyeball" as a child and sound like your blood type is quaaludes, you're ANTM material -_-.
13. America's Next Top Model (Cycle 5)- Four names that made this cycle wonderful. Bre Scullark, Kim Stolz, Nik Pace and Lisa D'Amato. These were contestants that had persona and modeling potential.
The one name that ruined it? Nicole Linkletter; the eventual winner of C 5.
*Fun fact: Cassandra Whitehead became the first contestant to quit the competition over not wanting her hair cut short another inch.*
12. America's Next Top Model (Cycle 15)- This was the Cycle that kicked it up a notch, prize wise. Instead of Seventeen Magazine, the contestants would pose, sashay and "work it!" for a chance to be on Italian Vogue (All you need to know about Italian Vogue or Vogue Italia, is that it is considered the one and only fashion magazine Bible).
Cycle 11 reject, Kacey Leggett returned and even made it to the house where she was eliminated before the top 8...oh well.
A controversy that emerged with the fans was the eventual runner-up Chelsey Hersley and a variant of her makeover. When she was told her gap would be widened by a rather small unit of measurement, fans took to online criticism citing eventual Cycle 6 winner Danielle Evans being told to close her gap.
However, the mainstream controversy emerged with body image; in the casting episode, eventual winner of C 15, Ann Ward's gaunt appearance was so much to where J. Alexander could wrap his hands around her waist. In episode 2, contestant Anamaria Mirdita was slammed for looking too thin in her photograph. When she seemed to scoff at a legitimate concern, she was eliminated.
Personally, Kacey, 3rd place finisher Kayla Ferrel and 5th place finisher Chris White were the best reasons to watch the show. Though credit must be given to Ann for being the first winner of the show from Texas.
11. America's Next Top Model (Cycle 9)- This cycle brings about ugly memories for fans of the show that wanted eventual 5th, 3rd and runner-ups Heather Kuzmich, Jenah Doucette and Chantal Jones respectively to win. Specifically, the close ties eventual winner Saleisha Stowers had with Tyra before the show, leading some to believe that C 9 was rigged.
Apart from a transparent admission on the show [Saleisha had attended Tyra's self esteem camp for young girls, T-Zone.] video sleuths discovered Stowers had appeared in a commercial for the fast food chain, Wendy's around the time C 9 casting had begun. This was brought to the attention of the production team when the show started to air, but Tyra ally Ken Mok relayed that the Wendy's commercial did not violate the "No modeling X months before casting allowed" rule.
However, it was also discovered that long before the Wendy's commercial, Stowers was walking in a fashion show that challenge winners in C 6 were invited to attend.
Apart from "Saleisha-gate", eventual All Stars contestant and 4th place of C 9, Bianca Golden was raked over the coals for her attitude; specifically the interactions between Golden and Kuzmich. Kuzmich has Asperger Syndrome; this stunts her social interaction skills. Golden was a bit perplexed as to how Kuzmich was receiving acclaim for her performances which she felt were lacking. Personally, I liked Bianca as a model more so than Heather.
Watching the cycle again whenever it appears in reruns on Oxygen or Style (Sanction me bitches) I sort of sympathize with Kuzmich. However, as a modeling show [in some degrees, I know] Bianca was just FIIIEEEEEEEEEEERCE!
Also, this line never gets old...
"Check your thighs in the mirror! And I'm done!"
- Bianca Golden [spoken at Saleisha Stowers]
10. America's Next Top Model (Cycle 7)- Yes this is the cycle that had CariDee English take a very deserved victory and even had Eugena Washington turn from arrogant bitch to reformed sass queen AND even had twins Amanda and Michelle Babin compete against each other. What could ruin such a cycle?
One name: Melrose Bickerstaff.
Although Monique Calhoun would be one of the show's biggest bitches, she looked like a fucking saint compared to Melrose. Melrose's brand of arrogance was positively repugnant to watch every week. Eventually, she would produce the worst Covergirl ad try in the history of the show. Cycle 8 runner up Natasha Galkina has the second worst, but Melrose's is just...in a nice way of phrasing it...FUCKING LURID.
9. America's Next Top Model (Cycle 10)- The debut cycle of 3 cycle panelist, Paulina Porizkova, began with a shocking exit. Contestant Kimberly Rydzewski had claimed to want out of the competition for really stupid reasons. Only on Tyra's talk show was it revealed that she had used the show as a form of escapism after her ex-boyfriend committed suicide three months before the competition.
But even that wasn't the start of a deliciously conflicting cycle...
Eventual All-Stars contestant and C 10 4th place finisher Dominique Reighard was framed by the fans as the cycle's villain...mainly for talking. I never saw what they did about Dominique. Even after her fight with contestants Claire Unabia, Lauren Utter [6th place], and even eventual winner Whitney Thompson. However, the most famous exchange between Reighard and Thompson came about when Reighard accused Thompson of being racist towards black people based on the negative interactions they had been having up to that point.
Cut to Lauren's general awkwardness, C 9 reject Marvita Washington placing 10th overall, one of the fiercest contestants Katarzyna Dolinska placing 5th and fans losing their shit when Whitney won the competition instead of Anya Kop.
Credit given to Whitney for being the first plus-sized model to win.
8. America's Next Top Model (Cycle 6)- Despite the fact that this cycle had the wonderful Danielle Evans win and Joanie Dodds becoming the first contestant to reach the finals without an appearance in the bottom 2 and having memorable characters such as Furonda Brasfield, Mollie Sue Steenis-Gondi [one of the few girls who has been in Vogue magazine before Cycles 15-18 made it a prize package], Gina Choe, Brooke Staricha, Nnenna Agba and even Leslie Mancia...one name ruined it all with a brand of arrogance and delusion that borders with the Melrose; Jade Cole.
Even though she was unintentionally hilarious, Jade needed a dose of reality. Sadly, she has yet to receive such treatment.
7. America's Next Top Model (Cycle 4)- Eventual winner Naima Mora, Runner-up Kahlen Rondot, 6th place finisher Michelle Deighton, 4th Place finisher and All-Stars contestant Brittany Brower, Cycle 3 reject turned contestant Tiffany Richardson, attitude queen [but fierce contestant] Brandy Rusher...
The first double elimination of ANTM history...
That infamous teleprompter challenge ["*looks to the left*"]...
The last cycle Janice Dickinson would read contestants to filth...
Rebecca Epley fainting during a panel due to a medical condition from birth...
Tyra shouting her lungs out at Tiffany[*"STOP IT! I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE YELLED AT A GIRL LIKE THIS! I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU; WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU! HOW DARE YOU!"*]
Lluvy Gomez being told her astrological sign photo is the worst in the history of the show [by that point].
Anything else? Oh yeah...
"OH MY GOD! SHUT UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!"
-Brittany Brower [Spoken to Keenyah Hill]
6. America's Next Top Model (Cycle 2) This cycle was defined by 3 major tropes of the show.
The first being, the metamorphosis of Shandi Sullivan from dorky Walgreens employee to one of the more high-fashion contestants in the history of the show. She also presented one of the most memorable moments when she cheated on her boyfriend at the time, Eric. She slept with one of the Vespa drivers on their go-see challenge; she feels guilt; he utters the words, "...and you threw it all away. You stupid bitch." Sadly, a VH1 retrospective revealed that being on ANTM did her in post airing and had been reduced to the weekly karaoke entertainment for the bar she frequented.
Second, racial identities were being addressed. Xiomara Frans famously bemoaned having to portray legendary model/actress/singer Grace Jones due to being uncomfortable looking darker than she is. Sara Racey-Tabrizi had the intention of portraying Persian women in a better light than she felt was had on her own. April Wilkner never identified with her Japanese heritage despite the fact that she had predominantly Japanese features.
Third, the sheer arrogant but fiercely shady tenure of eventual All-Stars contestant Camille McDonald. This is the woman who was alluded to when C 3 casting emerged when Tyra said, "I don't want to cast another 'black bitch'." Bitchy she may have been, but honey gave some fabulous television. There was the in judging test where she justified an ugly necklace and clashing purse going with the black dress the contestants were forced to change into...because they had circles.
There was the personal style meet with Simon Doonan of Barneys NY where Camille gave the Jamaican pride speech about her outfit; "red is for the blood; green is for the land yellow is for the sun" *Something to that effect.*
Then, there was this legendary quip whilst being surveyed by a fake terrible client...
"Caractere"- "She wants to know why you're walking like that."
"This is my signature walk and this is what's going to make me famous."
-Camille McDonald [spoken to some asshole pretending to be an asshole client.]
Add in the most likable Top 2 in ANTM history, Mercedes Scelba-Shorte and Yoanna House and this was one of the better seasons of the show.
5. America's Next Top Model (Cycle 11)- This cycle has it all; a French immigrant who's a nervous wreck, a Ukrainian born control freak with a penchant for gender neutrality, the fiercest Asian contestant in show history and the series' first transgender contestant who appeared in C 10's first photo shoot as a background model. [These contestants were Marjorie Conrad, Elina Ivanova, Sheena Sakai and Isis King; Sheena and Isis would become All-Stars contestants.]
This cycle had some of the most jaw dropping moments in history; Joslyn Pennywell's elimination; Hannah White being eliminated outside of judging for her runway walk not being up to snuff (And her goddamn reminiscing of Alaska); a political issue themed photo shoot; a runway themed in-judging test whilst wearing clogs!
Compound with that, fights over cultural misunderstandings between Marjorie and Elina and Samantha Potter and Sheena...along with some of the most high fashion shoots in the history of the show, and Cycle 11 ranks this high if only it weren't for Elina turning out to be such a disappointment.
*Fun fact: Contestant Clark Gilmer appeared on an episode of the GSN game show, Baggage. She ended up making it to the final round, but I got too bored to watch the end*
4. America's Next Top Model (Cycle 12)- One name: Allison Harvard. C 12 and All-Stars runner-up! Harvard was originally an internet superstar known as "Creepy Chan". Add her love of nosebleeds [not the type that happened from getting punched in the nose because she thought it was "cheating"] and her sheer modeling fierceness, she has always been a favorite of mine.
That and this cycle's drama was front and center; eventual 4th place finisher Celia Ammerman called out Tahlia Brookins for wanting to quit the show prior to judging. Tyra scolded her because Tahlia did not quit nor did she have the desire to relay her wanting to quit herself...the fight even went on to the next episode! Aminat Ayinde lead the charge of "Team Tahlia" while Natalie Pack lead the charge of "Team Celia". Celia and Tahlia barely said anything to EACH OTHER and THEY were the ones at the center of this. Celia was placed in the bottom 2 for that episode because of what happened at the last panel.
Add in an appearance from Helô Pinheiro AKA "The Girl from Ipanema" and a Carmen Miranda themed photo shoot, this cycle kept my attention.
3. America's Next Top Model (Cycle 1) The O.G. cycle of ANTM. The debut of Janice Dickinson's brash and eccentric self to the American television public. Goddamn was this a good cycle. 10 memorable contestants and some of the most legendary sound bites to date...
"This is not a sorority; this is a modeling competition."
-Ebony Davis [Spoken to Robin Manning]
"*Elyse Sewell's rant against the entire house*"
"Screw waitressing ever again!"
"My grandma always used to tell me
if you don't stand for something,
you will fall for anything."
"Where was your Bible when you were shaking your tits?"
-Janice Dickinson [Spoken to Robin Manning]
Add in a hilarious encounter playing French socialites with "lustful" Parisian men and the metamorphosis of Adrianne Curry from "stoner chick" to a Supermodel [now Comic-Con costumer sensation] and C 1 set the bar for the rest of the cycles and only the 2 cycles below rank with and above C 1.
2. America's Next Top Model (Cycle 8)- All I need to type...Natasha [despite the awful Covergirl ad try], Jael Strauss, Dionne Walters, Renee Alway and C 7 reject turned C 8 winner Jaslene Gonzalez.
Jaslene is legendary for being the first Latina model to win the title and for being the first contestant to win without appearing in the bottom 2 [besting Dodds' achievement].
Dionne is legendary for her persona and her go-see antics asking every Australian designer if she could keep the outfit she was modeling...and for also kissing C 5 alumnae Kim in a photo shoot.
Renee is noted for being a reformed Melrose type. Bitchy at first but when called out for her attitude she eventually toned it down...60%. Better than Melrose, but still stunted. Fierce photos weren't enough to clench victory as she was eliminated in 3rd place for being too old looking.
Natasha was proof that models could be molded on a UPN turned CW program. Known for her infectious persona and her quick study skill she lost the competition
Honorary shout-out to Kathleen DuJour for being the most memorable first cast off ever for her lack of knowledge on how the fur for fur coats and accessories is acquired. See below...
"I don't think you should kill an animal for its fur,
but if it's already dead...you can make a coat [...]
Animals die like people die sometimes
in the jungles, right?"
-Kathleen DuJour over her fur...misconceptions
1. America's Next Top Model (Cycle 3)- Three words...Eva the Diva. Eventual winner, Eva Pigford [now Eva Marcille] came out the gate a winner with the fiercest audition runway EVER. However, her personality had chafed "about 80% of the girls" that had auditioned before her. Eventually Tyra alluded to not wanting to cast "another 'black bitch'" like Camille [and maybe Robin from C 1] during her audition and she softened up enough to channel fierceness throughout the cycle and win.
She is also responsible for these sound bites...
"Toccara comes to all of us saying she feels she's going to win because she got the most applause...
you got applause because your titties were out, girl."
"I don't compare myself to other girls...I'm...I'm Eva!"
Apart from that every other contestant was memorable. Magdalena was the first contestant to be eliminated outside of panel. Leah got a cow for her birthday. Julie was the first East Indian contestant, and was ousted for using this competition to further a career path in fashion merchandising [or fashion manufacturing]. Kristi was a NY Republican who was ousted after her "Carol Burnett" chin was thought to be uncontrollable. Jennipher hated her hometown of Pocatello, Idaho, had hippie length hair and mooned the judges with "ANTM" written on her ass. Kelle was the preppy art gallery owner who couldn't take a good photo to save her ass. Cassie was the stripper whose bulimia while alarming had a lack of cleaning that sparked a vicious verbal sparring after "Clean your shit" was written in a pan of her brownies.
Toccara was and is always "F-A-B-O" and was a beacon of hope for plus-sized model hopefuls. Nicole was the one who alluded to bisexuality in her casting segment, was given red hair and was completely neglected in the Top 6...twice. Norelle was the worst runway walker in show history before Hannah in Cycle 11; she fell during the Heatherette fashion show they were part of and thought Panda Express was Japanese food. Ann was the water polo virtuoso whose beauty couldn't translate to Tyra's film and had been subject to rumors of her wanting Eva sexually. Amanda was the legally blind beauty and mother to Eli whose Nivea themed photo is one of the strongest in show anthology.
Yaya was the Ivy League graduate who despite photographic fierceness turned arrogant by the show's end. She was also noted for wearing the shirt that started the Ann V.S. Cassie fight in the restaurant; All I can do is quote Eva in her segment over the fight in Top Model: Exposed..."Yaya and her 'respeito' t-shirt. Like whatever, dude. It's not that deep."
Eva was the first black winner of the show; the first west coast of the U.S. winner and the shortest winner to date at 5' 6''. Keep in mind C 13 was the "petite cycle" and Nicole was 5' 7''.
Hope this gives enough insight as to how I rank cycles 1-19 of ANTM.