Production on America's Next Top Model's 20th cycle wrapped last week.
And the internet has already spoiled the show's eliminations.
Having just about turned its "jumped-the-shark" status into an edgy, fierce photo shoot, Top Model's latest cycle features both girl and guy models competing for the title. of. America's. Next. Top. Model. It's the first time male models have taken part in the show; it's also why Tyra has that Post-it on her face in the above photo.
Like during last cycle's "College Edition," Top Model 20's production involved a public vote.
After each photo shoot, all the model's "best" shots were posted on the CW Network's website, with fans grading their efforts and picking their favorites. In an unsurprising trend, these faves consistently appeared to be the buff, white guys.
A quick primer on how the voting works: Each model's overall average score from the public gets added to a score from each of the judges, Tyra herself, Kelly Cutrone, and sexpot male model Rob Evans — as well as an even-more-arbitrary grade for participation in any given episode's challenge. Once all those marks get combined, it's the model with the lowest total who doesn't get their photo from Tyra and therefore peaces out. (This way the judges/producers can continue wielding influence over the show's eliminations and story lines.)
Cycle 20's first shoot saw the models posing in "unconventional" wedding photos.
Big spoilers ahead — be warned.
To begin with, the show spoiled itself. Of the 16 contestants pictured in the first shoot, only 14 appeared in future photos posted for fans to vote on. That suggests two would-be models (one guy, one girl) fell at the very first hurdle, the modeling equivalent of tripping over as you turn the corner onto the catwalk, basically. Funny, but also sad — especially when it plays out on TV.
All 14 "lucky" models making it past the first elimination took part in all the cycle's other shoots.
During the cycle, that meant they got to pose styled like campy Animorphs-style book covers, while having paint thrown at them, and with an underwhelming Honey Boo Boo "look-alike." Enjoy some of the results:
On one occasion, all the models had to cross-dress. The less said about those photos, the better.
The process meant that, as the competition rolled along, even the eliminated contestants' photos appeared for the public to judge each week. (A "week" during Top Model's shooting schedule is actually only three to four days.) This is to avoid spoilers: If one model was missing each time a new set of photos appeared, it would make the show's boot order pretty obvious. And then who'd watch? Probably still a lot of folks, myself included, thanks to Top Model's pointless drama, Rob Evans' abs, and Tyra's just-as-pointless-but-still-fun tips. But still.
But an online forum of Top Model superfans seems to have spoiled the show anyway.
RTV Games is an online community for fans of modeling, reality TV, and online reality games. The site's posters love — and love to hate — Top Model. Either way, they're serious about it.
In their quest for show spoilers, they analyze photos for lighting or set discrepancies (as eliminated contestants are kept separate from those still in the running, and thus shoot their photos at different times — or possibly even different locations). They'll even gauge models' expressions for clues: Is this girl moping because it's right for the shot, or BECAUSE HER DREAMS OF WINNING TOP MODEL HAVE BEEN CRUSHED?
Case in point: this photo.
RTVGames can. Here's how one poster sourced the show's near-complete boot order.
On the very same day voting on the last photo shoot finished, a particularly dedicated poster with by the username "supmod" (nearly 20,000 posts about the show to his/her credit) debuted a blockbuster theory. In the world of spoilers, it represented serious — and sneaky — work.
Supmod had pulled the EXIF data from nearly every photo uploaded on the CW's site for voting purposes. This EXIF data (helpful definition here) included the exact date and time each photo was snapped, down to the second. As the show progressed and shoots continued, an increasing number of models' photos were shot — according to the EXIF timestamps — on a different day than their competitors. In other words, the roster of eliminated contestants shooting at different times grew as the competition rolled along.
Over the full cycle's worth of shoots, his data — all neatly formatted and color-coded here — breaks down by timestamp all the eliminations, in order, and makes a very strong case as to the show's three finalists. They appear to be two guys and one girl — Cory, Jourdan, and Marvin.
Here are their shots from the cycle's final photo shoot, a Guess Jeans campaign:
And so the winner is....
In theory, any of them could take the title — but won't Tyra pick a guy to make their otherwise weird inclusion in the show worthwhile? I say yes. Taking trends in the public vote into consideration too, and America's. 20th. Next. Top. Model. is very likely to be: