Five reasons America's Next Top Model has gone completely cuckoo...
5. Upon arrival, Ms. and Mr. Jay greeted the girls and said that Tyra couldn't make it, then played a video that Tyra had made for them. Oh, but, HEY, THERE'S TYRA WALKING INTO THE ROOM! Yeah, I wasn't fooled.

4. Tyra seems to be modeling herself after Oprah, trying to be both tough-love-giver and modeling fairy godmother. I can't stand Oprah, so this is going to be hard to handle. I think I might mute Tyra in future episodes, although I'll still be seeing her widened, faux-earnest eyes while she makes the girls cry.

3. The girls were subjected to a "press conference" in the first episode. It was, in a word, ridiculous, especially since the girls hadn't had any media training, and I have no idea what it was attempting to prove.

2. The girls were told they were going bald for a photo shoot. Cut to shocked silence. "Oh, just kidding, you'll be wearing bald caps!" Um, I saw that one coming from a mile away.

1 1/2. One contestant, Wendy, is from New Orleans, which I think is really cool, especially in light of the fact that she doesn't know where half of her family is. However, Tyra already made her cry once, and while Wendy is pretty, I feel like Tyra's going to milk her for all the social issues she can. And I think that's kind of exploitative.

1. One contestant is 26, one is 25, and several are 24. Um, hello! In the real world, 26-year-old models marry Italian playboys and sail off on their yachts, because their careers are over. Not that America's Next Top Model has ever been realistic.

...but five reasons I'll still be watching it
5. They may have picked a ballsy New Yorker, several naive young things from Bumblefuck, and the preacher's daughter, but thank god the gay-bashing, liberal-hating 18-year-old Texan cheerleader didn't make the final cut.

4. Janice Dickinson isn't back as a judge (it's still Twiggy), but she showed up in the press conference bit and was her usual crazy self. I hope this isn't the last we'll see of her.

3. Real model Eve showed up to assist with the bald-head-application and lend much-needed street cred to the show.

2. There's a contestant named Furonda, whose name reminds me of LaFawnduh from Napoleon Dynamite, and then I laugh. But, seriously, she's fierce.

1. Um, have you seen the girls? If not, go here. They all look absolutely stunning on the website, and I'd say 90% of them turned out a flawless bald picture. Yes, that's a bald picture, people. I might be sticking my foot in my mouth a few weeks from now, but I think these are some of the best girls they've ever had on the show. I can't wait to see who wins.

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