So, we're in San Juan, where the thirty-three semi finalists have arrived for the "adventure of a lifetime." They are on a bus, where tour guide Gregorio Cuevas tells them they have a big surprise in store, and then asks them to put on blindfolds. The safe word is "shenis." Jessica, 23, from Brooklyn, notes how funny it was to have thirty-three girls trying to walk in blindfolds and heels. I would like to do that and put them all in a room with no doors. And then, still blindfolded, the girls stand before one Miss J. Alexander, who is dressed like Captain Merrill Stubing of The Love Boat. I know that Miss J. is sitting at home and reading this with satisfaction, thinking that this is the gayest thing I've seen all week. However, at the moment, I'm on a plane home from Los Angeles, where I just saw Rufus Wainwright sing Judy Garland at the Hollywood Bowl. So, from my perspective, Miss J. looks like Rambo right about now.
Many of the blindfolded girls seem to recognize Miss J. by his voice. He tells them that a top model must be ready to travel anywhere, anytime, and then instructs them to take off their blindfolds and look at their home for the next week. It's a big-ass cruise ship. Instantly I thought of that Dateline or Primetime Live report about how people go missing on cruise ships and are never found, and I got really, really excited. Marvita, 23, from Anchorage, tells us that she was excited when she saw that boat, because she's poor. Just wait until you get some one-on-one time with Kathie Lee, Marvita! Then you can never again say that you're poor in spirit. Heather, 21, from Valparaiso, Indiana, says that she's awestruck, and hopes that she doesn't look like a total idiot around Miss J. When in Rome, I say. Miss J. tells them that at the end of the trip, only 13 will be going into the Top Model house. And of course, despite that "you're all winners" crap that Tyra sometimes likes to spew, there is only one winner. Ebony, 20, from Chicago, says that she honestly doesn't feel like she has any competition. Some of the girls are cute, she admits, but she's fierce and cute too. And, also, has a stank attitude. But we'll get to that later.
The girls board the ship, which is enormous. Mila, 20, from Boston (woo!), says that being America's Next Top Model would be so fun, and she'd be really good at it. Mila would also be really good at being a jack-o-lantern, given her very round head. Miss J. points out that there's a rock-climbing wall, an ice skating rink, several swimming pools, and a mini golf course. Where's the bowling alley? Where's Isaac the bartender? I demand a refund! Miss J. reminds the girls that this isn't a party cruise; it's a competition. Chantal, 19, from Austin, says that she's not worried, because she has something no other girl has. She doesn't know what it is, but there's something. That inspires confidence.