‘Australia’s Next Top Model’ Live Blog: Episode 09

Are you ready to hear the depressing tones of Denis Carnahan’s contemporary-rock let down “Different World“, the ballad which signifies the end of another girl’s Australia’s Next Top Model? Me neither. Nor will I ever be (it’s a terrible song). But, like babyfaced Ashley and the other eliminated natural beauties ousted before her, time is up for another contestant. On that atypically gloomy note, tune in for another episode of ANTM at 7.30pm AEST of Fox8 and another live blog.

7:30pm: The episode begins with a quick reflection on last week’s episode where a devastated Ashley left in a river of tears, Shanali scored with the Photo Of The Week, and the girls got some much-needed hunk access thanks to a cameo from the Stenmark Twins. This week they’ll undergo high-pressure tasks like wearing Sunglass Head’s luxe designs and will have the chance to appear in a Cosmo spread. Cue opening credits.

7:31pm:: The girls flop about in the Model Mansion sipping tea, theorising on the next photo shoot and receiving “Jen Mail”. The Jen Mail alludes to their world “being turned upside down” and the next challenge to “come at you from all angles”. Their immediate guesses include “Skydiving!”, “rock climbing!” and in another great case of Aspiring Top Models say the darnedest things Jade yells “trapezium!” as a suggestion. “Dude, that’s a shape” says me and Melissa simultaneously.

7:33pm: The girls head to the destination of their first challenge. It’s a studio for that fashionable anti-gravity yoga where participants dangle from sheets attached to the ceiling. I’m actually desperate to try it. Duckie is nervous and for good reason. She’s not exactly coordination personified – a fact a ballet task in a previous week made abundantly clear.

7:35pm: After scarfing a large breakfast Dajana is worried she’ll be the first contender in the history of Australia’s Next Top Model to turbo spew on camera. The instructor is impressed by Abbie, meanwhile Duckie all but fistpumps when she executes a messy backflip. I want to try this anti-gravity yoga immediately.

7:37pm Post-yoga in various states of zen, the girls meet Sunglass Head for their next challenge. Sunglass Head tasks them with replicating looks from his Spring/Summer 2013 collection. The hook is, they will be timed on how quickly they can put the look together from INSIDE A PHONE BOOTH with another girl AT THE SAME TIME. It’s like the Clark Kent-to-Superman metamorphosis meets Cinderella meets Colin Farrell in Phone Booth.

7:39pm: After being dubbed the winner of the yoga-dangle challenge Abbie is told she will have two bites of the cherry at transforming into Alex Perry-clad superman, giving her a distinct advantage over the other girls. Before they start, Sunglass Head tells the girls “ruin my clothes and jail’s gonna seem like a party,” as if that’s a relatable barometer of fear for any of these pretty young girls. Fortunately these girls are so slender the phone booths seem relatively spacious. In fact Dajana notes that she’s happy to be paired with Shanali because “she’s one of the skinnier girls”.

7:41pm: There’s some palpable anxiety surrounding the chic thigh-high lace up boots accompanying the Alex Perry frocks. “Suck it up, honey” Sunglass Head suggests with a Care Factor of exactly Zero when one of the girls vocalises her boot-related concerns.

7:43pm: Mouthy broad Dajana actually dares to question the quality of Sunglass Head’s craftsmanship, which will more than likely result in the immediate halt of her future in Australian fashion. “You can say anything, just don’t slag my clothing,” he says grinning with lasers shooting out his eyeballs.

7:46pm: Abbie is the first girl from group one to successfully finish this exercise in what I am coining ‘cram glam’, putting her in good stead for the second round.

7:47pm: Group Two is shut into their cramped quarters and phone booth one, Jade and Shannon, cleverly begin by attacking the component with the highest degree of difficulty, the shoe fetishists wet dream. The wiser, more experienced Abbie takes the same tack this time around. Poor little Melissa struggles with an inert boot zipper.

7:51pm: The pressure’s on as all four girls wiggle into their dresses and – hopelessly in the case of Melissa – frantically lace themselves into the boots, but yet again Abbie emerges first, leaping out the door for her second consecutive Challenge victory. Her prize is high tea and a tea leaf reading at a hotel. She chooses to take Duckie as her date.

[NOTE: I have to wonder if this is a prize or a ruse to test whether Abbie and Duckie will lay into the fresh scones and cream (as I would like to do by biting the television screen) or if they will shun carbs like all good models?

Carbs be damned, the girls smash their three-tiered tea accompaniments with gusto and the kindly clairvoyant named Lyndall informs Abbie she has a “very positive cup”.

7:54pm: Meanwhile, back at Model Manor, Dajana is sweating over the ‘cheeky’ crack she made about the quality of Alex Perry’s clothes in the heat of the challenge. Sunglass Head doesn’t take himself too seriously (for example, we know he doesn’t mind us referring to him – affectionately – as Sunglass Head), but he doesn’t take kindly to people who insult his clothes. Right now, unless Dajana has a magical photo shoot, I’d say Dajana: you’re going home.

[Full disclosure, I just wanted to shoehorn the new Drake song somewhere into this live blog for no other reason than because it is incredible.]

7:59pm: Didier Cohen swings by the Model Mansion with a few platters of sushi and the pretext of “getting to know you guys better” which is Tyra Banks-speak for “let’s make you cry.” It’s good television.

8:00pm: Sure enough, Jade reveals she was a naughty teenager until she left school and worked in a Costa Rican mission and had a mountain-top epiphany. Shannon reveals that she’s been experiencing some homesickness, which Dids also suffers from. Abbie already has a damp tissue balled in her hand and weeps as she talks about wishing she was short like the other girls at school. Dajana just wants her parents to be proud and Duckie is inspired by her sister who requires full time care. The bonding session ends with an all-in “hug it out” moment. Ari Gold would be proud/very freaked out.

8:11pm: It’s Photo Shoot day and, Didier-engineered catharsis complete, the girls roll up to the Cosmopolitan Magazine offices. Richard Freeman will be the photographer for the shoot where the models will be positioned in front of a three way mirror. Duckie and Abbie do alright but lack variation, Jade is praised by all for “coming alive” in front of the camera. Melissa doesn’t know how to use her body. Shanali struggles with the mirrors whereas Dajana works them to her advantage and the photographer loves it. Shannon is overthinking it and it shows.

8:20pm: Panel time! Abbie is first to be appraised and the judges are into it. Cha Cha Dawes, who features for the first time this episode, compares her shot to a previous ANTM winner Montana Cox. Next is Melissa who looks amazing but is criticised by Didi for her lack of movement in front of the camera. Luckily she’s traffic-stopping stunning.

8:24pm: Shannon fails to move anyone while Jade “nailed this brief”, according to the Cosmo editor (Sunglass Head “hates it”). The judges are bummed about Shanali’s effort and Duckie pulled out a winner. Dajana steps up with a nervous grin. She’s clearly aware she’s walking into the devil’s punchbowl and immediately apologises for being a mouthy mole. “Watch what you say,” Sunglass Head warns her. Luckily she’s nailed the photo.

8:24pm: The panel deliberates and it’s time for the verdict. Dajana takes out Photo Of The Week. Duckie, Abbie, Jade and Melissa all go through to the next round, leaving Shanali and Shannon in the bottom two. Okay, there is only one outcome for this situation and it has to be saving Shanali…. Right?…

8:30pm: After an intolerably long and nail biting pause J-Hawk reveals that Shanali will stay in the competition for another week, meaning it’s time for Shannon to pack her bags, write a heartfelt note for the remaining girls in red texta and is driven away from her modeling dreams in a Nissan sedan. Till next week…