The Popularity of America's Next Top Model

The popularity of America’s next top model Case introduction America’s Next Top Model (often shortened to Top Model or abbreviated as ANTM) is a reality television show in which a number of women compete for the title of America’s Next Top Model and a chance to start their career in the modeling industry. The show was created and is hosted by former talk-show host and model Tyra Banks, who also serves as the head judge and executive producer of the show. The first “cycle” premiered in May 2003 and was one of UPN’s highest rated shows.

The show’s seventh cycle was the first of the shows among regular programming on UPN’s successor network, The CW, and thus far is the network’s highest rated series. The show will continue until at least the 2009-10 season. For the 2006-2007, 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 television seasons, ANTM was the No. 1 show in average viewers on The CW. Show format Each season of America’s Next Top Model has from 9-13 episodes and starts with 10-14 contestants. Each episode, one contestant is eliminated, though in rare cases a double elimination or no elimination was given by consensus of the judging panel.

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Makeovers are administered to contestants early in the season (usually after the first or second elimination in the finals), and a trip to an international destination is scheduled at about two-thirds of the way through the season (usually with five or six contestants remaining). Judges As of the upcoming fourteenth cycle, the current judging panel includes designer Kimora Lee Simmons, fashion editor Andre Leon Talley, and fashion photographer Nigel Barker.

Previous judges included fashion icon Twiggy, models Janice Dickinson and Paulina Porizkova, fashion stylist Nole Marin, runway coach J. Alexander, and fashion editors Beau Quillian and Eric Nicholson. Photo shoot director Jay Manuel, though not a permanent judge, is featured every episode. Usually, an additional guest judge will sit in on the panel every week. This paper is going to use the concept of active consumer and American dream to anylize the popularity of America’s Next Top Model among audiences. active consumer and America’s Next Top Model ctive consumer is proposed by John Fiske, a media scholar who has taught around the world, most notably as Professor of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin–Madison active consumer stresses that the consumers of TV programs are not just passive victims but active consumers who get the content and meaning which interest them from mass media to create their own culture and avoid to become the slave of the dominant ideology. Fiske’s books analyze television shows as “texts” to examine the different layers of meaning and sociocultural content.

Fiske disagrees with the theory that mass audiences consume the products that are offered to them without thought. Texts in this context include everything that has a meaning, whether it is an object or a person. Popular texts can be read in very different ways as every reader has a different social background and thus attaches individual meanings to these texts. We can deduce that the interpretation of popular text differs according to the readers personal situation which explains Fiske’s point of view that texts are diverse and based on the context.

Thus reading a text can be seen as a productive process as people construct their own meanings. Take America’s Next Top Model as an example, audiences do not just watch the show and receive passively what the show try to sell, instead, they involve themsleves in the show by applying to being the contestants and competing for the top model title. Meanwhile, almost all the audiences can find someone among contestants to bear their feelings and emotions. And they continuously “construct” this show by either supporting or oppsing the certain contestants.

In this sense, the openness of this show lead to the extrem “productivity” of the audiences and the great productive pleasures. The core content of active consumer is that audiences could reinterprete the text and produce their own meaning and avoid to become the slave of the dominant ideology. But only if this reinterpretation be promoted as the productive pleasure can the audiences become the leading roles in the production and consumption of popular culture.

And the productive pleasures produced at the audiences reinterpretation process can be categorized mainly as three types: the construction pleasure, the destruction pleasure and the critizing pleasure. People get pleasures by making up stories that they themsleves are brave and noble. Meanwhile they tend to believe stories that the other people are weak and easy to destroy. The former pleasure is construction pleasure and the latter is destruction pleasure.

America’s Next Top Model is open for everyone to apply for and the applicants can become the contestants as long as they stand out after the resume screening and interview. For the active consumers, they have immediately found out their favourite contestants to bear their model dream. As the show goes on, active consumers keep focus on their favourite contestants and talk excitedly about the performance of the contestants before the TV screen. Audiences would like to see how the contestants overcome all the difficulties to realize their dreams.

Those are the fighting stroies “made up” by active consumers and they get the construction pleasures from that. Destuction pleasure is not unusual in the reality show. Due to the low entry, some contestants’ qulifications may not high and they may behave inappropriately and not perform well during the competition. For example, some contestants in America’s Next Top Model are very self-centered and pugnacious, and they often argued fiercely with other contestants. But the audiences like to watch those fiercely arguments and “fightings” among contestants to get the so called destruction pleasure.

Meanwhile, the judges of America’s Next Top Model will eliminate one contestant in each episode. And audiences also get destruction pleasure by watching contestants they dislike are being eliminated from the contestant. For audiences who pay attention to this show yet not agree to the ideas promoting by this show, they get critizing pleasures by criticizing it. some audiences blaste the show’s cruelty and elements of humiliation, saying that some of the girls’ critiques from the judges are really cruel.

Some blame that this show gives an unrealistic vision to girls (both on the show, and watching) about what life as a model is like, and “always espousing empowerment and female strength and then forcing the contestants into embarrassing scenarios far outside the realm of real-life modeling. ” Although those audiences keep the criticizing attitudes toward this show, they do involve in this show and produce their own meaning and pleasure. American dream and America’s Next Top Model Why America’s Next Top Model is popular? Because it is the reality show version of American dream.

According to wikipedia, the American Dream is a national ethos of the United States of America in which democratic ideals are perceived as a promise of prosperity for its people. In the American Dream, first expressed by James Truslow Adams in 1931, citizens of every rank feel that they can achieve a “better, richer, and happier life. ” The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence which states that “all men are created equal” and that they are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights” including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Equality, liberty and the inalienable right to pursue happiness are the core elements of American dream and those elements are well played in America’s Next Top Model. Everyone has a chance to take part in this show and everyone is equal in this competition. If you are tall enough and has the unique look and outstanding personality, you will go through the interview and become the contestant. If you take good and edged photo in every episode’s theme shoot and if your personality or character can be prompt out in front of the judges, you will win the contestant and become America’s next top model.

Tyra bank, the producer and the hostess of this show, continuously stresses the importance of the dream, and in this show the dream for the contestants and even the audiences as a whole is to become America’s next top model. And all the girls in this competition say that their dream is to be the top model and no matter how hard it is, they are going to fight for it. The audiences are deeply moved and encourged by their determination, so they like to watch this show, to see how the contestants pursue their dreams.

In fact, it is the American dream behind this show moves and encourges contestants and audiences. It let people feel that the American dream is still there and will never fail and everybody can fullfil their American dream as long as they fight for it. In this sense, American dream embodies the America national spirit which inspires all Americans. All in all, the populatiry of America’s Next Top Model can be largely attributed to active consumer behaviour and the American dream behind it .