Nothing goes together better than reality shows and controversy, and last night's America's Next Top Model finale proved to be no exception.
During the final judges panel, with scant explanation or elaboration, Tyra Banks & Co. announced that one of the frontrunners to take home the all-star edition title, Angelea Preston, had been disqualified from the competition, before proceeding to decide the winner among the remaining two contestants.
Viewers were left both confused and outraged and a firestorm of questions and comments flooded online. So…what the heck happened?
"We're back in Los Angeles on the Top Model set and we're here for a special finale that's being conducted under unusual circumstances," Banks said.
"It turns out, our production team and the network learned information from Angelea that disqualifies her from the competition," noted, um, noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker. "It means we're now going to do our final judging with the remaining two girls, and in the interest of fairness, the producers and the network thought it best to evaluate Allison and Lisa on their own, without the added competition of Angelea."
"You know what, guys, we wish Angelea the best in all her future endeavors," Jay Manuel added.
And that was all the explanation viewers received. Which, pending further elaboration from either the network or Angelea, might be all the explanation they can expect.
Particularly inflamed fans are pointing to a since deleted (if it ever existed) entry on Preston's personal Facebook page that supposedly gave away some spoilers about the final episode, including which three girls—herself included—made it to walk in the final runway show. However, that speculation has remained unconfirmed.
Due to the rough jump cuts and the CW's admission that they had to recut some of the finale's final scenes, some fans are even theorizing that Angelea was initially declared the winner of the series prior to her disqualification.
"After production wrapped on the current cycle of America's Next Top Model, we learned information that made Angelea ineligible and she was subsequently disqualified from the competition," the CW said in a statement. "As a result, new scenes were filmed to address this for the audience during the finale."
As for Preston herself, she has yet to directly address the controversy, but tweeted out last night following yesterday's airing.
"OMG!!!! IM TRENDING WORLDWIDE on twitter right now!!!!!!!!!! Wowwwww!! That's the whole world!! Lol! #humbled!! Thanks y'all!!! #LOVE."
Well, you know what they say. Any publicity is good publicity, right?