If there's any clear front-runner in this season's reality TV contests, it has to be the manufacturers of tissues. Up and down the dial, it's just weeper after weeper after weeper. Even hardcore adventure series like The Amazing Race are turning into three-hankie affairs that put the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies to shame. Big, strong men cry when they get letters from their beloved women. Angry women cry after a fight. Relieved wives cry when they get home to hug their children after being swapped with another family. Then their husbands shed a few tears when they figure out that somebody else has spent their winnings.
If you've tuned into any of these shows for even a few moments, you've no doubt noticed some strange gender politics going on amidst all that blubbering. Women have been taking over on some shows, picking each other apart on others and destroying themselves for the sake of beauty or relationships in all the rest. What's the worst thing women have done this season? We have the answers in our analysis of the female power on reality TV.
We also have the scoop on the final fours coming up on:
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Female power may have been the buzzword for the whole season of Survivor: Vanuatu, but in the end, it was a guy getting the check for $1 million. Chris Dougherty charmed, finagled and lied his way to the top, breaking the women's alliance and getting rid of all his male competition.
After the women kept a strong alliance all the way through, the claws came out and the idea of gender equality went out the bamboo window frame. All Chris really had to do was sit back and watch the hair pulling.
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Here's how the finale played out:
Reminds us of: Bea Arthur on The Golden Girls
Game so far: Flying under the radar
Strength: Everyone likes her
Weakest moment: Falling down on all the challenges
Alliance: Twila, Eliza, Chris
Reminds us of: The snippy sister in Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Game so far: Thinks she's a leader, but isn't
Strength: She's a smart cookie
Weakest moment: Sniping at her allies during a reward challenge trivia game
Alliance: Twila, Eliza, Chris
Update: Fourth, and ticked off about it.
Reminds us of: Sue from the first Survivor
Game so far: Stuck with the guys, then went back with the women
Strength: Brute strength
Weakest moment: Voting out Chad instead of making an alliance with him
Alliance: Twila, Eliza, Chris
Enemies: Ami, Julie
Reminds us of: Garth Brooks
Game so far: Bonding with the men, staying cool after the merger
Strength: Flattering the women
Weakest moment: Voting against Sarge so he could lie about it later
Alliance: Scout, Twila, Eliza
Enemies: Ami, Julie
Update: The Winner! He pulled it off!
Reminds us of: A young Andie MacDowell
Game so far: Sexing it up for the men, sticking with the women
Strength: Willing to lie boldly, like when she told Twila the men had also promised her a final-four slot
Weakest moment: Cozying up to Sarge around the fire
Reminds us of: Hillary Clinton
Game so far: Ruling the women's alliance with an iron fist
Strength: She's straightforward
Weakest moment: Bullying Twila
Enemies: Scout, Twila
Update: Voted out! Sixth, just as expected.
Bigger isn't always better, and little Eva proved that last night when she was crowned the winner of America's Next Top Model 3.
After Amanda was sent packing, Eva and Yaya faced off for one final challenge: walking the runway in a Japanese fashion show. Though both girls were nervous '- yep, even superconfident Yaya '- they pulled it off without a hitch. When they regrouped after the show, all eyes were on exotic beauty Yaya as Tyra prepared to announce the victor. But it was tomboy Eva who stole the spotlight as she became the first African-American to win the title.
"I'm a cover girl," cried a shocked Eva. "This tomboy who has never been beautiful... Now I'm America's Next Top Model."
After two seasons of typical catwalkers taking the prize, it was nice to have a girl next door pull out a victory.
Dish on the finale here.
Reminds us of: Thandie Newton
Game so far: She's the front-runner, but lacks the modesty of a true winner
Strength: Has the worldliness of an Ivy Leaguer who speaks four languages
Weakness: Problematic skin and an attitude!
Friends & foes: Nobody really likes her
Update: Yaya was the first runner-up, but we're sure she'll have her own modeling contract any day now.
Reminds us of: Gabrielle Reese
Game so far: Has the look, yet the judges just don't love her
Strength: Spunky, innocent and playful
Weakness: Lacks fashion sense, immature
Friends & foes: Part of the Pink Positive clique with Eva and Norelle
We bet: Voted out! A surprise to us
Reminds us of: Cate Blanchett meets Paris Hilton
Game so far: The legally blind southerner is a long shot, but the judges still gush
Strength: Exquisite turquoise eyes
Weakness: New platinum hair (ick!), tattling (about Cassie's eating disorder)
Friends & foes: Thinks she's well liked
Update: Amanda came in third
Reminds us of: Jada Pinkett Smith
Game so far: Makes up for being short with plenty of spunk
Strength: Funny, photographs well
Weakness: A flair for the dramatic '- remember the tarantula episode?
Friends & foes: Part of Pink Positive, but recently talked smack about Norelle
We bet: She'll come in short
Update: Winner! Little Eva surprised us all
Reminds us of: Meredith from The Bachelorette
Game so far: This season's Shandi, she's awkward but endearing; in one episode, she took her first wobbly spin in high heels
Strength: Has that model coat-hanger body
Weakness: Young and lacking seasoning, which makes her come off as flaky
Friends & foes: She's a Pink Positive lady
Update: Voted out!
Female power failed big time as Donald Trump told Kelly, "You're hired," and sent Jennifer packing. It came down to who snubbed Donald worse at the charity event each was managing. Apparently, Donald would rather sit on a dirty, broken chair than be left to stand awkwardly alone for even a second. Jennifer's fate was sealed when nobody showed up after the basketball game to try to get him to go to the VIP reception. But Donald managed to survive when his box seat at the polo match that Kelly was managing was dirty and broken.
In the live boardroom from Lincoln Center, Jennifer fought back and it got kind of close at the end. "Robotic" Kelly could only roll his eyes and look astonished while Jennifer took hold and demolished his character. But, in the end, the Donald said he had his eye on Kelly all along, as he had his eye on last season's winner, Bill Rancic, all along. Even if the women on this show weren't so deplorable, could one of them possibly win?
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Reminds us of: Jennifer M.
Game so far: She kicked butt on the bridal salon challenge, but has tanked otherwise
Strength: Never the worst at the wrong time
Weakest moment: Her Pepsi presentation was incomprehensible
Boardroom presence: Fights like the lawyers
Likely finish: Fifth
Reminds us of: Ron Howard
Game so far: Totally in command, even likable
Strength: Organized, smart, even-handed
Weakest moment: Buying himself an expensive watch as his reward
Boardroom presence: He's hardly been there, so it's hard to tell
Update: He won! But it was closer than we thought.
Reminds us of: Jennifer Aniston
Game so far: Has slid through
Strength: Gets project manager's protection
Weakest moment: Selling out Andy in the boardroom
Boardroom presence: Pretty and poised, without much to say
Likely finish: Fourth
Update: A close second. Is that a glass ceiling she hit?
Reminds us of: Winona Ryder in Heathers
Game so far: Fighting it out with all the women and winning by being nastier and more personal
Strength: Tenacity and hard work
Weakest moment: Complaining constantly that the other women are using their sexuality in offensive ways
Boardroom presence: Cranky and mean
Update: Voted out! She only made it to fifth!
Reminds us of: Blair Underwood
Game so far: Sticking with Kelly, he won enough not to be in danger in the boardroom
Strength: Business confidence with a good nature
Weakest moment: Not sticking up for Stacie J. when the women ganged up on her
Boardroom presence: Sweats when it's his turn
Likely finish: Final two
Update: Upset! Fourth