Recap: "What Happens in Vegas", "Fun and Games"


The 13 finalists are selected and head to New York City for their youthful photo shoot in Central Park.


Tyra & Co. have returned for Cycle 12 of America's Next Top Model, where 34 girls were whittled down to a lucky 13 during a trip to Sin City. The finalists move into their swanky, new pad in New York's Upper East Side where the wannabe models tackle their first real photo shoot by trying to capture the innocence of youth.


Cycle 12 starts out just as all prior seasons have - with an outlandish gimmick, of course. This cycle's theme? Roman Goddesses. The 34 contestants arrive at Caesar's Palace of Las Vegas, when from behind a wall of gladiators emerge the two Js, who welcome the girls to the "Temple of Tyra." Vomit. Each girl puts on a tiny white toga-like dress and gold, lace-up shoes to strike their best profile poses followed by a walk down a runway with machines pumping out smoke to create the cloud affect. Forget making it down the runway without stumbling - these girls were lucky if they didn't choke to death with all that smoke in their faces.


But, at last, Tyra makes her over-the-top entrance alongside a bevy of gladiators, and the models immediately become what appears to be 11-year-old girls at a Jonas Brothers concert - complete with tears and outstretched arms.


We slowly begin to meet the wannabes who may or may not make it to be models. Let's just say casting really out did themselves this time around. There are the staples: the cute Southern girl, the plus-sized girl, the girl with a medical impediment, etc. But a few new archetypes have been thrown into the mix, including a tree-hugger, conspiracy theorist and even a scarred burn victim.


A chunk of the girls are sent home after they don't receive a golden crown of leaves a la Caesar, and the remaining gear up for their first photo shoot. Each is assigned a different goddess and tasked with portraying what she represents in their poses - i.e. Goddess of Love, Pride, Madness. But things get heated right off the bat with two girls whom the camera had been focusing on quite a bit: the unbelievably cocky Sandra and the mighty abrasive Angelea (whose fingernails will undoubtedly give me nightmares for weeks to come). A simple eye-roll initiates the battle, but the next thing you know, Jay is breaking up all the hand-flailing and palms getting thrown in faces. Despite what Angelea thinks, this ultimately affects her photo shoot for the worse.


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