Everyone has a guilty-pleasure reality TV show that they watch — it’s true. One such show is the CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” (or ANTM for short). Over the past 18 seasons, the show’s creator, model Tyra Banks, has made some questionable changes to the program, such as firing outspoken former model and ANTM judge Janice Dickinson after four seasons and replacing her with British model Twiggy, or, more recently, forcing the contestants to sing and create their own music videos, regardless of their natural singing ability (or lack thereof).
Having watched the show and all of the changes it has undergone, it’s starting to seem as if Banks has gotten a little too power hungry, letting her “smize” go to her head.
ANTM is now in its 19th season and Banks has made some of the most outrageous changes yet. She calls this season “College Edition,” only accepting contestants who are currently enrolled in a university.
As admirable as it is that Banks wants to show young girls the value of getting an education, asking these women to put their schooling on hold for this competition may not send the right message. Also, some of the contestants are not, in fact, in college but are finishing graduate degrees. Good for them, but they do not belong on the “college edition” of this show.
Banks has also replaced three of the main faces of the program — Jay Manuel (the photo shoot director), Miss J. Alexander (the runway coach) as well as Nigel Barker (one of the judges and frequent photographers) — in an effort to revitalize the show. It is appalling to see people like Manuel, who has been with Banks since the beginning of the show, get booted off.
All three of these gentlemen have tweeted and commented to reporters about supposed “no hard feelings,” but it seems hard to imagine that they are overjoyed with this decision. Johnny Wujek, singer Katy Perry’s stylist, replaced Manuel, who doesn’t seem to have the same rapport with the contestants on photo- shoots. Male model Rob Evans took over Barker’s spot on the judging panel. He now basically serves the purpose of token male eye candy. There has been no word about another runway coach and good thing too; Miss J. would have a diva fit.
The most notable and interesting change to ANTM this season is that fans now have a say in the judging. They are able to vote on contestants’ pictures using social media websites like Facebook, and the CW’s website. This change is exciting, seeing as many fans have been disappointed with some decisions to boot off favorite contestants in the past, but it will also be interesting to see how many problems it causes. There have only been three episodes so far this season, and fans are presumably still taking some time to get used to the social media scoring as part of the judging as well as looking at their pictures on Facebook and seeing viewers’ comments. Something to consider is how this new feature will affect the contestants’ stress levels, now that they have to impress the judges as well as their fans, especially since people can be rather cruel when making online comments about people they don’t know.
With every change and overhaul this show has been through, fans have frequently threatened (to no one in particular) to stop watching the show. Some change is good in life, but sometimes certain things don’t need fixing.
Many will continue to watch this show this season merely out of intrigue — or so they say. In reality, ANTM-ers will be watching this show until Tyra is running the judging panel from her nursing home. You win, Tyra Banks. We’re hooked.
Sokol is a member of the class of 2013.