Finally, Tyra chose fourteen unique girls to be finalists in this shorty season: Jennifer, Erin, Rachel, Lulu, Rae, Ashley, Brittany, Bianca, Courtney, Kara, Lisa, Nicole, Sundai, and Laura, who was bawling even then. And this is a bit of revisionist history, because of course Crazy Amber was chosen as a finalist but then turned out to be a performance artist or whatever who outsmarted the system, so on the first episode it was announced that Lisa would be appearing in her stead. Not all the sequins on your exceptionally shiny blazer can make me forget that, Tyra.
The final fourteen showed up in L.A. so that the process of torturing them for our enjoyment could begin. They were surprised with the news that the very first order of business would be their makeovers. Er, Ty-overs. Little did we know that Ty-over was the first step on the path to smize. (And speaking of... how can there be no mentioning of smizing in this entire clip show?) Stylist to the stars Sally Hershberger worked on some of the girls herself. Tyra tells us that Lisa got her hair chopped off, but in reality it looks exactly the same. This fits her position as instant bootee. Nicole hoped that her hair would be shaved, but there's no way anyone with a brain would get rid of that gorgeous mane of red hair. Tyra told us that Nicole would get a giant fro, which she did for a minute. But then, of course, she has the ability to wash and dry her own hair, so it looked relatively tame in the coming weeks. Nicole really did sound completely baked when she was first on the show, and told us in deadpan monotone that she liked her fierce do, and looked like a wild animal in heels.
And then, bonus! The makeovers were so transforming that Nicole was having trouble remembering some of the girls' names. She tells us that she's not so great with names in the first place, so made up some monikers that suited the girls a bit better. Lisa was "Smush," because of her lips. Laura was "Kentucky." That's like a Flavor of Love name, right there. Rae, ever stuck in the literal, was "Athletic Blonde Mother." Brittany was "Creepy Mermaid Girl." Why, you may ask? Nicole says, "Immediately, she just creeped me out. I love it." Rachel was "Nerdy Girl." She would of course soon come to be known as "Girl Who Got Booted Mid-Episode." Sundai interviews, "Nicole is... a weirdo." Nicole tells Jay that she loves her hair, and that it makes her look like Bozo the Clown. She interviews that sometimes she doesn't know why she thinks the things she thinks. It's just instinctive. I do enjoy Nicole, but can maybe see why she had to have lunch in a bathroom stall once in a while.