“ben’s photo is the worst theres [sic] no facial expression and his pose looks weird……”
“Chantelle’s left arm looks too long.”
These may not sound like the most cutting put downs ever seen on the internet – a forum where people have been known to be a great deal ruder and more personal in their criticisms of celebrities and other people in the public eye – but what is unusual about the comments is that they form part of the official voting process in a realty talent format.
America’s Next Top Model, shown on Sky Living in the UK, has introduced an element which sees the fates of its contestants partly influenced by the reception they get on social media.
Joining the existing panel – head judge and former model Tyra Banks, fashion publicist Kelly Cutrone and fashion blogger Bryanboy – a “fourth judge” emerges in the form of the public with comments from a moderated social media site read out to the models in front of the judging panel.
Radio Times columnist Sarah Millican is one person who claims to be “horrified” by the development.
“It’s turned from a fun modeling competition to a test of how many insults you can hear about your face and body before you start crying. Watching these fragile bairns hear unconstructive criticism is not television.
“I will probably continue to watch it but turn it off at the judging bit. Then try to guess who was booted off at the start of the next episode. And which ones are a little more damaged by the process.”
Strong words. But are you a fan of America’s Top Model? And do you agree with Sarah? We’d love to read your thoughts on this new development in the comments box below.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.