I wasn't sure we would ever see this day. America's Next Top Model will crown its Cycle 23 winner during its brand-new episode on Wednesday, March 8 at 10 p.m. ET. When a show is around for that long, you expect it to last forever, but that wasn't the case when The CW cancelled ANTM after 22 seasons on the air in October 2015. But the thing about ANTM is that it always comes back more fabulous than ever, and that's exactly what happened when it was announced that VH1 had picked up the competition for Cycle 23, which premiered last December. So now that the series has had a successful first season on VH1, can we expect America's Next Top Model to return for Cycle 24?
As you can see, nothing is guaranteed when it comes to ANTM these days. VH1 has made no official announcement regarding more ANTM on the network in the future. However, something that makes me optimistic about the chances of ANTM serving up more cycles in the future is that it appears that casting for Cycle 24 has already been underway for some time, according to a couple of posts on the Instagram profile of Michelle Mock, ANTM's supervising casting director, posted in January.
When we'll actually see Cycle 24 premiere on our TV screens if, in fact, it does get the greenlight is still a bit of a mystery that we'll probably only find out the answer to when VH1 officially announces the new season. It could very well follow in the footsteps of Cycle 23 and premiere in December 2017, or bow at a completely different time of the year since past seasons of ANTM have been known to drop in the winter, spring, summer, and fall.
To be honest, I just want more ANTM in my life. Although, as a longtime ANTM fan, I feel it is my duty to point out a few things that I think this reality show could improve upon if it does return for Cycle 24.
When ANTM moved over to VH1 and got a bit of a revamp, I knew there would be changes and not everything from the original CW series would remain. However, one aspect of the original show that I wish was carried over into its new incarnation was its comedy and campiness. ANTM still has the high fashion and the high drama that we know and love, but it just takes itself too seriously now. We need more of that outrageousness and just plain silliness that made it deliciously entertaining to watch week after week.
More Constructive Criticism
On the flip side of that, I think that the judges could do a better job of really helping to mold the contestants into becoming models. Sure, they give the contestants feedback on their performance that week at judges' panel, but it always seems to be so much about what they love or hate about their photo, video, or runway walk and not enough about what they can do to improve or enhance their performance. I know that judges' panel, like the whole episode, is a very edited-down version of what happens during that week for the contestants, but it would be nice to see someone give a lesson on elongating your neck, finding your light, and — dare I say it — smizing as Tyra Banks used to do so that the contestants can up their game and really transform into top models.
More Ashley Graham
I'll admit, I don't dislike Rita Ora as host of the new ANTM as much as I thought I would, but I still think judge Ashley Graham should be promoted to the emcee of the whole shebang. Not only does she know the fashion industry as one of the most famous supermodels around right now, but she also embodies the kind of winner ANTM is looking for these days, someone who's "a business, a brand, and a boss." I mean, the woman has posed on the cover of major magazines, has her own clothing lines, and is a body confidence activist. Plus, she's the most eloquent, inspirational, charming, and entertaining person to watch on ANTM. In short, ANTM would be so much better if Graham was at the helm.
More Variety In Challenges
Cycle 23 had some really interesting challenges. From showing their personalities by shooting social media stories to making the super market look super chic in avant-garde couture, this season's models really pushed themselves in the name of fashion. But I feel like ANTM could go even bigger. I get that this season was all about a rebirth and getting back to basics, but one of the reasons why this show is such a delight to watch is because of the creativity of the elimination challenges. Instead of having essentially two music video challenges this season, perhaps ANTM could have switched things up by challenging the models on their business savvy or having them pose in an editorial shoot with a really high-art concept. I think pushing the boundaries of challenges would not only help separate the models from the wannabes but also make for some really memorable TV.
This season of ANTM kicked off with go-sees, but that was even before the contestants had been whittled down to the show's finalists. There were just too many models to keep track of and to get to know in that short period of time that all of the pressure, drama, and attitude that usually make the go-sees one of the fiercest parts of the competition was completely missing from this cycle. If there is another cycle of ANTM in the future, I hope that the go-sees come later in the season as they used to in the original CW series when the models have had some time to hone their skills and the cream of the crop is just left to really experience the high stakes of the competition.
I don't know what's going to happen in the Cycle 23 finale of ANTM, but I'm pretty sure the models aren't going to jet off to some faraway land as they have done in nearly every other cycle of ANTM. As someone who loves travel and learning about other cultures, seeing the models spend their final weeks of the competition mastering some foreign fashion was always a highlight of each season for me. I think if the ANTM judges really want the winner to be "a business, a brand, and a boss," then appealing to an international audience is key. Plus, nothing ups the stress level of contestants like travel.
No season of a TV show can be perfect, especially a freshman season, as Cycle 23 of ANTM basically was. But overall, this cycle of the show struck a good balance of keeping beloved elements of ANTM intact while at the same time, breathing new life into this long-running series. That is certainly no small feat, and if Cycle 23 is what ANTM pulled off after a bit of a reshuffle, I'm excited to see what the show has in store for the future.