Tyra heads backstage to hug the still-wet finalists, and tells them insincerely that they did a really good job. Or maybe that is sincere for her. At this point, everything she does probably looks and feels fake. The girls really want to debrief the experience, and Tyra clearly can't wait to get out of there. After another wet hug, she flits off in her Mrs. Roper caftan. Nicole interviews that she's nervous for panel. After all she's gone through, she can't imagine not winning. She's tried so hard, and to lose would be the biggest bummer.
And without further ado, we're at panel! Nicole is wearing the pink doily dress, which I did not think boded well for her. However, Laura's face is extra glittery and greasy, so that's no good either. There are prizes: a contract with Wilhelmina Models; a cover and six page spread in Seventeeeeeen Magaziiiiiiiiine; and a $100,000 contract with Cover Girl. There are also judges: Nigel Barker and Miss J. Alexander. There is no guest judge. Suck it, Ann Shoket.
The girls are evaluated on their runway performances. Laura did pretty damn well, according to Miss J. He says he wasn't really surprised, since she always pulls a rabbit out of her hat. And then makes a stew out of it. That's how it is in Kentucky. Tyra was pleasantly surprised by Laura's performance, and says that she walks like a girl who has been doing Paris fashion week for a couple of seasons. And then there's Nicole. At first Tyra was confused about Nicole's lumbering stride, but she says that it was a signature walk. Nigel agrees, and says that if you're confident in the way you walk, pose and model, people will grow to like or love it. Or, at the very least, you won't be ignored.
And then it's time for a photo shoot retrospective. Both girls were fantastic as they reinterpreted baby pictures of themselves. Nicole stepped out and took a risk, and Nigel could see modeling potential. She also modeled H2T, and delivered fire. Laura's picture was stunning, sensitive and gentle according to Nigel. He saw potential for a softer, sexier side. Next, the judges looked at the lengthening shot. Laura's was not such a success. She looks quite short, says Nigel. Nicole was fabulous, though, and looks taller than Tyra. This was the first time that Nigel noticed Nicole's unusual proportions. What unusual proportions? Have we heard about these? Whatever their nature, they worked in this particular photograph. Next, the girls did a photo shoot with Tyra. No, not the blackface one. The scarves one. Laura's photo is one of Miss J.'s favorites. It's sexy but with a little secret. Tyra agrees that Laura worked it with serenity and romanticism, with a little touch of sensuality. Nigel loves the photo as well, and says that it's classically beautiful and that Laura looks like a Greek goddess. In contrast, Miss J. says that Nicole looks like a busted up Tinkerbell in her photo. But he likes it. Tyra had a ball shooting Nicole, and says that she really gives it and gives it and gives it to photographers. And she gave it and gave it and gave it to Tyra.