Last night Melissa – the compelling Melbourne beauty with the doll-like features and forehead for days – was crowned the winner of Australia’s Next Top Model‘s eighth cycle, edging out Shanali and Duckie to take home the spoils of victory, including a Harper’s BAZAAR cover shoot, lifelong friendship with Didier Cohen and a modeling contract. We were there to see it all unfold. Here is a play by play of the live finale.
7:31pm: It begins. The stage is illuminated with Next Top Model branding and Rudimental is involved in getting the audience psyched. The audience is fairly psyched because the finalists emerged wearing ridiculous/fabulous couture outfits involving ostrich feathers. RIP ostriches. All the eliminated contestants are in the house, also looking kewt.

7:39pm: Jen Hawkins calls the judging panel out. Sunglass Head is wearing a gingham tie – very western-luxe. Charlotte Dawson is in a violet coloured evening gown, which Sunglass Head compliments by saying “beautiful dress, Charlotte. Is anything else new?” Because Charlotte’s face is always new. Bless.
7:42pm: When J Hawk introduces Didier Cohen the 16-year-olds in the audience lose their shit. Note: The judges mics are covered in diamantes.
7:45pm: PS Before the show Char Char put me in a head lock. Just casually name dropping, you guys. It was a life highlight.
7:48pm: Time for a package-Foxtel-prepared-earlier of the finalists in their school uniforms (because they are teens with soft youth-skin, remember?) and, credit to their teachers, they didn’t get treated any different from before they became Australia’s Next Top Model finalists. Of course they did. Teachers keep it professional. They should get paid more. #Political
7:52pm: Now we go behind-the-scenes of the Harper’s BAZAAR shoot that the girls did for their cover shoot (if they end up winning). Editor Kellie Hush informs the gals they’ll be wearing Hermes, Christian Dior and Helmut Lang. Chic alert. Fashion lover Shanali rubs her hands together like Mr Burns looking at vests made from puppies. Fact: All three look amazing in these photos.
7:57pm: Sunglass Head interviews Shanali on a podium, asking her about her interest in fashion. Her dream is to “meet Karl Lagerfeld” (get in line, I want to peel off his gloves and see if he is one of Roald Dahl’s witches underneath) and bets his sunblock that she will win tonight. Meanwhile Char Char is on stage with Melissa – her pick to win – and says to Shanali “so you want to meet Karl Lagerfeld? Well you’ve gotten to meet Alex Perry, but that’s not really the same thing, is it?” Then shoots slitty dagger eyes at Sunglass Head. Sunglass Head looks a tad taken aback. LOL it’s getting a little bitchy up in here. And that’s just the judges.
Off-camera Sunglass head just took a spill and almost barrelled off the podium. Charlotte’s all:

8:01pm: The Top 12 (or whatever – who’s counting? I’m having a third *water*) just did a runway show wearing Romance Was Born‘s “Mushroom Magic” collection while Ricki Lee performed and a machine shot bubbles into the crowd. Alright.
8:14pm: It’s time for someone to get eliminated. Shanali goes through. Then Melissa. Australia has voted out Duckie. Awww poor Duckie is in tears, but she’ll be alright.
You know who’s not alright? Poor ‘eat shit’ Sunglass Head who is being tended to with sticking plasters.
This via Charlotte Dawson’s Instagram:
“Paramedics backstage! Looks like @alexperry007 shin modelling career is over”

8:25pm: And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Cirque du Soleil performing Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”.
Not kidding though, it’s pretty awesome. I would go.
My colleague Ash: “I am one hundred per cent going to this.”
8:32pm: Unless FOX8 is going to stretch this thing out with another 23 live performances by Rudimental, we’re about to find out who is winning this son of a gun… First we need to charge into an extensive montage about the past episodes. We “take a look” at the “journeys” of Shanali and Melissa, and it’s 100% stuff I should be reminding you of but it’s HARD and you guys should just go back in time and read all the other live blogs. Just go to the ‘search’ box on the home page and type in “Australia’s Next Top Model”. Thanks guys.
8:40pm: The moment has arrived. J Hawks pulls out the envelope and someone on a timpani pulls out a sweet drum roll. And the winner is… MELISSA.
That’s it. It is time to go home OR go try to photo bomb Didier at the after party. Thanks for tuning in. Now you can tune out.