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'America's Next Top Model' recap: Episode 1

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Girls of America's Next Top Model Cycle 16

© The CW

Tonight's season premiere of America's Next Top Model opens with a very funny sequence featuring Tyra spoofing various stereotypical contestants (check out the video here), before telling us that she's going to pull an Ashton Kutcher and "punk" this cycle's new batch of hopefuls.

The plan is to tell the girls they haven't made it to the next round before revealing that they actually have. "We felt it was time to get real," says Tyra. "The first order of business is rejection." But before that happens, we're introduced to the 14 models who will be battling for the coveted prizes this cycle. They are (in Tyra's words): freckle-faced Dominique, fiercely-real Kasia, petit Ondrei, feisty blonde Alexandria, sexy mama Monique, elegant Nicole, quirky Sara, hippy Hannah, golden-haired Molly, baby-faced Jaclyn, Brittani from the block, regal Dalya, edgy Mikaela, and sassy Angelia.

The girls are gathered into a room and handed envelopes by Mr Jay and Miss Jay - if the envelope contains a photograph then they're through to the competition! If it doesn't, they are going home. A devastated looking group of girls find nothing inside their envelopes and head off to gather their luggage. Tyra pays them a visit and tells them to never give up on their dreams: "The road to success and the top is not a straight line, it's a zig zag." But - surprise! - a curtain behind them falls down to reveal that they're standing inside the Top Model house and everybody has made it though casting week!

Challenge & Photoshoot

Erin Wassan is on hand for the first challenge of the cycle, which involves walking on a 12-inch wide runway over water while encased inside a plastic bubble. The girls will be wearing T by Alexander Wang clothing and jewellery from Erin's collection. Russell James will be photographing the girls backstage while they're getting ready.

We learn a little more about some of the girls while they are being prepped for the catwalk. Alexandria thinks she has natural swag and doesn't care what critiques say; Kasia hopes that she has an advantage because of prior experience but knows that she has to work extra hard as a plus-size model; Jaclyn wants help with her angles; Molly was a "big dork band geek" and considers herself "competitive"; while Angelia grew up in the military and loves the idea of travelling the world modelling.

The majority of girls are able to walk the tiny runway without major mishaps but a couple take a tumble (Ondrei and Dominique) and have difficulty getting back on their feet again. Brittani is praised by everyone for her confident strut, although Erin tells the models afterwards that they were all impressive. Everyone gets a piece of her jewellery as a special gift.

Panel (featuring Erin Wasson as guest judge)

(Click here to see a full gallery of all the final shots).

Alexandria: The judges love the way her bone structure and profile are illuminated by the light, and think the photo is glamorous, edgy and high-fashion. Tyra compares it to a backstage shot of Christy Turlington or Linda Evangelista.

Dalya: Andre and Tyra think her natural beauty shines through, and the pose seems natural (even if she's very aware of the camera) while Tyra says she seems like a model who has a bright future ahead of her.

Nicole (who was discovered on Tyra's website): Andre thinks the image of her staring into a mirror is dramatic but doesn't feel like a backstage moment. Nigel agrees, suggesting her mouth is like a "tight cat's bottom", while Tyra says that Nicole looks young in person but 15 years older on camera.

Sara: Tyra doesn't seem impressed with the tiny plait growing out of Sara's otherwise cropped hair, although she likes the photograph, suggesting that Sara looks like a 19-year-old boy without make-up which is good; Erin thinks she could exude more sexiness.

Ondrei: Nigel jokes that the photo of Ondrei gripping the arms of her chair as she has her hair curled makes it seem like she is sitting in an electric chair, although Tyra likes it, saying it reminds her of a model's first year in Paris when she is nervous.

Angelia: Erin likes the mystery in her photograph (where she is almost hiding behind her hair) but thinks she could shine more; Tyra sees a pretty girl but not necessarily a model, pointing out that models should want girls to admire them rather than boys.

Hannah: Nigel is impressed that although Hannah is surrounded by the other girls in her photo, she still steals the attention. Andre compares her to a young Jennifer Aniston, saying it's like a "budding star coming out".

Kasia: Erin thinks she is bubbly in person but wants more personality to shine through in her photograph. Tyra says Kasia has a "beautiful, luscious body" but it's wasted here; Andre isn't that impressed but wants to see more from her.

Monique: Erin thinks the photograph captures a real moment and she looks wonderful, while Andre can appreciate the excitement and anticipation of a looming fashion show; Nigel thinks her eyes tell a story and he can see an ad campaign in the picture.

Mikaela: Andre sees a potential Vogue Italia cover in the photograph, while Nigel praises her eyebrows, jawline and presence in the photograph. Erin appreciates the beauty of the picture but suggests that Mikaela seems meek and needs to exude more personality.

Dominque: Erin says she would have liked to see more personality, especially considering how well Dominique coped when she fell at runway. Andre thinks she is a great beauty in person but the picture doesn't do much; Tyra thinks she needs an injection of fuel and energy and teases that she has a big makeover planned for her.

Jaclyn: Tyra calls her picture stunning and luscious, but adds that it was the only good photograph among her bunch. She also advises her to use her facial muscles so her face doesn't drag down: "You are capable of excellence."

Molly: Andre's not impressed that her midriff is on display at panel but all the judges agree that her photograph is stunning. Nigel thinks it's one of the best shots, Andre calls it "dynamic", and Erin says she invokes "intense stuff" in her eyes.

Brittani: Nigel calls it a standout picture because it's so unique (the make-up artist is doing a special technique of using eyeliner on the inside rim of the eye). "This is a work of art," agrees Tyra. "This photo is frighteningly beautiful".

The best photo goes to Molly. The call-out order is: Brittani, Alexandria, Mikaela, Dalya, Hannah, Ondrei, Monique, Nicole, Kasia, Jaclyn and Sara, meaning that Dominique and Angelia are in the bottom two. Tyra tells Angelia that she's incredibly beautiful but the judges didn't see any emotion in her photograph, while Dominique is also beautiful and striking but the photograph is just capturing what is "genetically there" rather than what's inside. Angelia is eliminated.

America's Next Top Model airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW

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