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Tyriffic

SMOKY EYE! America's Next Top Model, Living, 9.00pm

America's Next Top ModelIf there's one thing we admire about Tyra Banks, it's her vast collection of wigs her impressive talent for self-promotion the way she screamed at Tiffany in cycle four her dogged determination that through this show, she will uncover a world-class modelling talent, despite eight seasons worth of evidence to the contrary. Unless we missed Jaslene's Vogue cover, or Naima becoming the face of Gucci. Anyway, Tyra's never been one to let repeated failure stand in her way (unless you count her abortive attempt at a pop career), so here she is with a ninth "cycle" of crazy bitches all competing to be Tyra's biggest kissass.

Tyra's experimenting a little with the audition format this year, as instead of holding them in a grotty-looking hotel in LA, this time Tyra's taking the 33 semi-finalists on a cruise ship, for high fashion on the high seas, or something to that effect. They're then forced to parade in front of Tyra, Ms J and Mr Jay, selling their dignity to the highest bidder, revealing all manner of X Factor-style personal traumas. Brilliantly, one of this year's hopefuls is named Spontaniouse. We're not even kidding. We won't tell you if she makes the shortlist or not, but damn. If nothing else, this show never fails in its bid to redefine what qualifies as an acceptable name for a person.

There's plenty of bitchery afoot even in the first episode, as Ebony tries to start drama by asking which of the girls has an eating disorder, and red-weaved Bianca from Queens picks a fight with anyone who stands still long enough. (In a later episode, she comes up with the best ANTM insult since "first of all, I didn't even know you were a bitch" by casually referring to another girl as "borderline plus-sized" in the middle of an argument.) Our big criticism, however, is that we guessed who the winner would be after watching the first episode, and we turned out to be right, so don't go expecting any big surprises. Unless you count a number of deeply dubious eliminations along the way - with episode six having the most distasteful elimination since...well, this:

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According to Marxist theory, cultural forms such as opera, classical music and the literary works of Shakespeare all fall under the heading of high culture. Low culture refers to a wide variety of cultural themes that are characterised by their consumption by the masses. We might not be Marxists, but we do know we loved Footballers Wives. If you do too, you'll know what this is all about.

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