THE SHOW "America's Next Top Model"
WHEN|WHERE Twelfth-season premiere tonight at 8 on CW/11
THE DEAL So just how do you keep one of the hottest competitive reality shows fresh after 11 seasons? Oddly enough, it's by delivering more of the same - more beautiful girls, more exotic locations and more catfights pre-catwalk.
THIS YEAR'S CONTESTANTS The 13 contestants run the gamut from classic beauties to the girl next door. They range in age from 18 to 25 and sport names such as London (who hails from Arlington, Texas), Kortnie and Fo - although an Allison and a Sandra are tucked in for good measure. And while most list "student" as their occupation, they haven't learned anything in Comp 101 that will compare to having Tyra Banks in their faces for failing to live up to her high expectations.
SPECIAL GUESTS On the April 8 episode, the contestants face an acting challenge with Clay Aiken (well, he was in "Spamalot" and appeared on "Scrubs") as their guest judge. One week later, Grammy winner Ciara surprises the models during a photo shoot.
QUOTE "I think the success of the show has less to do with actual fashion and the fashion industry than the fact that it is a Cinderella show," says supermodel Paulina Porizkova, a former Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model and one of the show's judges.
"What little girl doesn't want to be Cinderella? Whether she is from the country or from the big city, every girl wants that. I think [host-judge] Tyra [Banks] very smartly realized that, and that's what makes the show so popular."