In part one of the 8th season premiere, 32 young women arrive in LA, only to be whittled down to 13 finalists who will compete to become America's Next Top Model. A boot-camp with J. Alexander and some tough-talk from Tyra Banks await.
The girls are divided up into teams, where they are tasked with creating their own department store displays, where they then have to pose as the mannequins. Later, in a photo shoot where the girls pose as men, one girl's transformation shocks her competition.
Twiggy informs the girls on how she got her iconic nickname, then each girl gives herself a nickname, which she must then use during a Hollywood party. Eencounters with rapper 50 Cent, talent manager Barry Medina elevate the drama, as does a confrontation involving all of the remaining girls -- and Tyra. Finally, the girls participate in a photo shoot where they must highlight four of their inner personalities.
Efren Ramirez and Tia Mowry give the models a crash course in character acting, prior to their weekly challenge. The photo shoot highlights scandalous moments from past seasons and features contestants from previous cycles.
The girls get lessons in hosting, and are later informed by Tyra of their travel destination. Once there, they must lean on their new hosting abilities while they interview local residents. Finally, the girls are asked to star in a Cover Girl commercial, where one potential model struggles with her lines.
Only five girls remain, and on this episode, the contestants are sent on go-sees to top Australian designers. While one girl requests to keep the clothes she models, another breaks down after a late arrival. Later, when Tyra shoots the girls in swimwear, one model impresses Tyra, while another falls flat.
The girls are taught about the art of self expression and storytelling and are later put to the test when they must tell stories of their own using their new skills. Later on, the girls go out but one model stays home sick, giving the other three the chance to gossip about her while she is absent. In their photo shoot, the girls are body painted and must use traditional clothing and Aboriginal dance to express themselves. While one model completely embraces the dancing, another bitterly complains about having to do so. Finally, the panel lights on fire when the girls ...
The three finalists are ultimately put to the test in their final photo shoot and commercial for CoverGirl. Things do not go so well when one model struggles to look youthful in her pictures and another struggles to say her lines naturally for the commercial. After the CoverGirl shooting is done, one model is eliminated and the final two face off in the final runway challenge, after which the winner of cycle 8 is crowned.
In the ninth season premiere, 33 semifinalists are sent out on a Caribbean cruise, where a life-jacket runway challenge, a beach-set photo shoot, and an appearance by Cycle 8 winner Jaslene Gonzalez help thin the pack down the final 13.
Jay Manuel introduces the girls to a "green" form of transportation. Then, the contestants move into their mansion, where J. Alexander gives them all a style lesson. Finally, the models participate in a photo shoot portraying the negative aspects of smoking.
First, the girls don straightjackets for a runway session with Miss J. Then, while the girls help one contestant with her image, an argument breaks out. Finally, the winner of the couture runway challenge is sent to Paris, and the rest of the ladies face-off in a rock-climbing wall photo shoot.
Benny Ninja takes the models for a lesson on high fashion posing on high grounds as the models are required to pose in the air while jumping off a trampoline and later while being lifted by an ice skater for their challenge. Finally, the top models must work the camera in a fierce photo shoot that requires them to pose as gargoyles on the top of a building.
The girls get a lesson on how to be a spokesperson and later must improvise a sales pitch and divide into groups to create public service announcements for charity. The winner of the challenge gets to participate in a makeup photo shoot directed by Mary J. Blige. Meanwhile, the week's theme for the photo shoot is "green," which finds the ladies posing as recyclable materials.
The girls learn some Chinese history from J. Alexander and Twiggy and move into their new Beijing home. During a shopping challenge the models must change a traditional Chinese dress into their own style by purchasing accessories at a local mall.