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Gals and guys edition of ‘ANTM’ off to a contentious start

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THE REMAINING finalists possess striking good looks.

“America’s Next Top Model’s” decision to open its competition to prospective male models has excited some viewers and dismayed others. Which side will win the most adherents? We recently caught the new “combined” edition’s first (two-hour) telecast on the ETC channel, and can share these initial notes:

Thirty-five women and men were chosen as semi-finalists, but the list was swiftly cut down in two speedy tranches until only eight women and eight men remained as finalists.

Just before the final cut transpired, the transgender bet opted to leave the tilt due to the disorienting effects of the hormonal treatment she was undergoing to prepare herself for eventual gender alteration.

The remaining finalists possess striking good looks, but some of the male bets are turning out to be too determined to make a strong impression for the show’s good. They get into tiffs with the other contenders, and have to awkwardly apologize to get the show back on even keel.

In addition, some female finalists are also coming on strong, so each week’s challenge may be dicier and even nastier than expected.

Probably related to this is the new edition’s unusual emphasis on some contestants’ dramatic “back stories” or personal issues that have made them all the more determined to win the tilt’s top prize.

Some of the emotional tales are too turgidly lush to take and thus come off as “emotional blackmail” intended to make viewers favor one bet over the other.

Well, you can’t blame the “confessional” contestants for trying!

As for the plus factor that the tilt’s inclusion of male bets is providing, the premiere telecast of the “mixed” edition suggests that it may not turn out to be that big an advantage.

True, the show’s target viewership, women and gays, would see the guys as additional eye candy, but their occasional tiffs and bickering could dilute their “macho” appeal!

As for the female bets, they too seem to be more “colorful” than usual this season, so we could be in for a decidedly combustible competition. Will that be “combat catnip” enough to keep people watching the long-running show?

Clearly, recent innovations are moves in that direction, as are other brainstorms like making this season’s bets walk a catwalk which is actually perpendicular to the ground!

That’s right, the end of a more recent telecast previewed such a fashion phenomenon, with the models strapped to harnesses that enabled them to walk down the side of a tall building while remaining upright and doing their best to retain their composure as they executed their modeling moves!

Finally, flash-forwarding really far into the future now, bets are already being taken on the gender of the competition’s eventual winner—will one of the female models win, or will a guy end up beating them at their own game?

We’re sticking our neck out and predicting that a woman will win, partly because there isn’t a clear frontrunner among the guys just yet—and mainly due to the fact that, as the program concedes, male models (with a few exceptions) have yet to make as much money or get as much exposure as their female counterparts.

So, it’s quite possible that, after the current “gals and guys” edition, the show’s next versions will revert back to its original format because, in the modeling world, girls really get to have the most exposure— and fun!

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