We get an abbreviated version of the opening credits, which simply read, "America's Next Top Model. Created by TYRA BANKS." Maybe soon they'll have a cut out of her head bobble across the screen every six seconds, just for emphasis.
Some frenetic music and quick-cut scenes take us to the fashion haven of Los Angeles. A giant sign reading "LAX" indicates that either we're at the airport, or that we should be prepared for the fact that Tyra has been a bit lax about adhering to her diet during the break.
The bitches roll in one by one. Jaeda, eighteen, from Parkersburg, Iowa, is excited, says that this is the opportunity of a lifetime, and sometimes still thinks that this is a dream. You wish, Mister Sister. Next is Becky, twenty-one, from Sierra Village, California, which she says is a small town of only 180 people. No one wants this more than her, she says, so no one's going to get it. She laughs, and so do we, if we've seen the end of the first hour. Next is Evita, twenty, from Gloucester, Virginia, who has been high flying but not adored. She says that she's excited to be there, but also sad, because her kids are at home sick with the flu. We get a photo of two little kids, one an infant and the other one maybe two years old. The two-year old is cute, but the baby...well, looks like a baby. You know, all wrinkly and unable to hold its own head up and shit. Evita tells us that their daddy is not at home either, because he's in Iraq. Oooh, this probably rates at least a 7 on the Tyra Tragedy-O-Meter. Will it be enough to get Evita to the finals? Two kids plus a baby daddy in Iraq plus an incurable reproductive illness would have given her a 9 and made her a sure thing.
The girls head up an escalator, where Miss J. waits and tries to disguise himself by wearing a flight attendant's outfit and holding a sign over his face. Girl, please. CariDee, twenty-one, from Fargo, North Dakota interviews that, "Holy cow! She's so...he...whatever...is so tall!" My boss, who hasn't watched this show since Season 3, was asking me who was on Panel this year and didn't remember who Miss J. was. The only descriptor I could come up with was, "You know, the one who's half a tranny." Miss J. tells the girls that in the modeling business they have to be ready for anything, and so today they'll have their first photo shoot. Monique, nineteen, from Chicago, whom we will all grow to hate presently, says that she wanted to freshen up and get all cute and stuff. There is not enough freshener in the world, honey. Miss J. leads them through the airport and out into the parking lot, where they have to stand in front of a blue wall and give ten poses.