Luckily, Kesse, age twenty-one, from North Little Rock, Arkansas, does not portray herself like the rest of the streetlight people living just to find emotion, except that she totally does: "small-town girl" is how she introduces herself as well. Ebony, age eighteen, from Cumberland, Maryland, tells us that this is her "first time anywhere west of Maryland." Which has pretty much restricted her movement since her mid-'80s birth to a lovely rest stop off of I-95 called Maryland House (a place so sharply remembered in my road-trippin' family's collective memory that, according to my mother, it was the first place she was glad would be spared when she found out that half of Delaware and southward would be safe from scaaaaaaary weeeeeeeather in The Day After Tomorrow) and, maybe, I guess, like, Poland.
The competition doesn't accept men, so let's just face it when we say that Justine doesn't have a prayer.
America's Last Top Model Adrianne, age twenty, is a tall, competition-winning brunette from Joliet, Illinois, and she does endear us to her immediately by nasally drawling (you'll decide it's cute too right now if you like the feeling that comes from being on the right side of history), "I'm with my kind. A bunch of Amazon women with big feet, and I feel like I finally fit in for once." The same sentiment with opposite humility is offered by Natalie, age twenty-one, from Riverside, California, who shares with us her hopes that all of the girls were going to be "short and fat and ugly." Which would always happen in a modeling competition. This fall on UPN: Pig Party. Twenty-five frat guys woo one wiener dog to the [insert Greek letters, here...at the college I went to, coed a cappella groups were the fraternities] formal, only to taunt and harass her once she's arrived. Steal my idea and I'll have your fucking head, Fleiss. And stop self-Googling in the middle of the night. It's embarrassing.
Nighttime in L.A., which is exactly like daytime except cooler by exactly one degree. A casting director named Michelle Mock (which I won't do, because I'm certain she's lovely) sits at the head of a long banquet table in what I think we're being told is still the Mondrian. She tells the 20 Semi-finalists how special they are, seeing as she and her esteemed colleagues "watched so many tapes. I mean, thousands." Do they really have to watch every one? Because it's really mean of those girls who secretly, deep down inside know they won't win to send in a tape. I mean, carp on all I want after a particularly boozy karaoke rendition of "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" that I'm a natural for American Idol, I'm...not. But I am pretty freakin' good. I even remember to throw in the wry but forceful "Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Elton John!" from the far superior George Michael live version, even if I'm singing it by myself. ["Which is why you're not a natural for American Idol: you're too good." -- Wing Chun] Michelle reminds us of the rules at this point in the game: "But remember. There's only room for ten in the house. So that means ten of you guys will be going with us to New York and ten will be returning home." Ooooh. Bad cop.