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New blood isn't the only thing coming to the judges' table on America's Next Top Model this season.
Tyra Banks, Nigel Barker and Jay Manuel are teasing all kinds of battles, upsets and even some sheep poop for season 14, premiering on the CW on March 10 at 8 p.m. That being said, André Leon Talley, who's filling Miss J Alexander's newly vacant seat, is no small character.
"He is a larger-than-life personality," Tyra tells us at the CW's Welcome to Reality event at SL in New York City.
Even though the supermodel and the editor-at-large at Vogue have known each other for years, he still managed to surprise her.
"The girls love André…He has a soft side," she explains. "In the first episode, one of the girls breaks down crying and André was actually the softest with her and, from behind a desk, figuratively hugged her and supported her when she was feeling extremely insecure. I didn't know that we were going to get that from him. You get this fashionista but you also get this, like, dad character."
But how is he when it comes time for criticism?
"I can be nice and harsh," Talley tells us. "Hard is not the word I would use. Harsh, nice, but not the hardest, no."
However, according to Nigel, he will be involved in some heated battles with his fellow panelists and, while the photographer wouldn't give too many details, at least one of them ends with another judge crying.
"Having André up there is kind of giving us more of that spunk to the show, because we're not up there as judges to get along," he teases. "We're up there as judges, as experts in our own right and, I gotta say, there are a few head-to-head judging battles almost, where the judges get at it…And there were tears this season!"
Spoiler Alert! Look for a big battle once the 13 girls are whittled down to four or five and the group is on location in New Zealand.
Jonathan Mannion / Pottle Productions/CW
"André and I got into a bit of a scuffle over which girl should be moving on and which girl should be staying behind," photo shoot director Jay spills. "It was a healthy discussion, but it was very emotional. I remember saying something, and I looked at Nigel, Tyra and André, and they all looked at me with their mouths hanging open. They were so shocked."
Jay also tantalizes us with some rather dirty details of one of those New Zealand photo shoots that may have be bringing some tears for the contestants.
"The biggest challenge I had is we shot a lot outside, in the greenery, in the grass, and the weather was very temperamental. You can get four seasons in one day," he says. "I pretty much shot standing around in sheep poop the entire time! The girls were walking around like, 'Omigod, what is this?!' There were a few accidents with the sheep dung, let's put it that way."
Nigel also confessed to us that he "thoroughly enjoyed [doing the show] again." Does that get you pumped or what?
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