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Rant: America's Next Top Model Cycle 9

So we're well into cycle nine of America's Next Top Model and we can't help but think: They're not a particularly impressive bunch of wannabe models, are they? Not one single contestant seems to have that "wow" factor.

The photography, styling and makeup has also been lackluster. The photo shoot where the girls were made-up as flowers and plants was horrendous. Everything looked pulled from the fake flower department at a craft store. Very tacky, very glue-gun, very not high fashion.

Indulge us for a few while we share more of our clumsily thought-out opinions on the series (which we still love watching, by the way!)...

The makeover episode was disappointing, wasn't it? Aside from Bianca (above)—who looks fabulous in her super short 'do—no one else dramatically improved their look (or even cried for that matter, which would have been equally entertaining). Some contestants, like Saleisha, actually got worse. Her cute, girl-next-door vibe was completely extinguished by those awful bangs and Sonny Bono styling.

In last night's installment (Episode 6) Ebony (above) decided to back out of the competition after narrowly surviving the elimination round. We feel for her, especially since we thought she had the strongest photo overall in Episode 5. She managed to arrange her limbs in an incredibly creative pose that said "resignation" and "triumph" at the same time (see the push and pull in her back and neck). A nuanced yin and yang of resistance and acquiescence....anyways...

Actually, we think just about everyone took their best photo to date in Episode 5. Maybe it was the styling, maybe it's because we're partial to skyscrapers and urban settings, who knows. Lisa (above) was no exception. Fierce, huh? In fact, she may just be our favorite contestant thus far cuz she's just plain beautiful as well as versatile. She can do the whole urban diva thing, she can do hot haute, and we can totally see her doing close-ups for cosmetics or skin care products. Too bad her name isn't more exotic-sounding. Not that there's anything wrong with Lisa, but a nickname like Mona could be cool. Or not.

As for the rest of the contestants...Ambreal has a great smile and personality, but it doesn't come through on film. Seems like they've been ignoring Chantal in the way they're editing the footage, but she is pretty and Twiggy seems to like her, so we look forward to seeing more of her. Heather is sweet, but we still prefer her profile shots, not straight-on. We used to confused Jenah and Chantal, but this past week she managed to stand out from the crowd. She's got potential. Sarah is someone else we're keeping our eye on, she has gorgeous curves and perky features that are so exaggerated they become edgy.

Of course, we can't wait for the next episode. Fingers crossed, they might actually show some cute fashion, too. And please, feel free to ramble in the comments—this is what reality TV is all about!

P.S. Has anyone seen VH-1's ANTM spoof, America's Most Smartest Model? Great concept, but it could have been a whole lot more funnier.

America's Next Top Model airs Wednesdays on The CW at 9/8 CT. Missed one? Watch complete episodes here. >>