Picks and Pans Review: America's Next Top Model

UPDATED 03/07/2005 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 03/07/2005 at 01:00 AM EST

UPN (Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET)

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Though Tyra Banks created this modeling-competition series and has had a prominent on-camera role since it launched in 2003, the contestants still squeal with seeming surprise when she shows up March 2 in the premiere of the fourth cycle. "She really cared—she came!" says one.

I commend Banks for keeping up her interest level, but it gets ever harder to buy into the phony melodrama of redemption and suffering. The initial field includes a reject from the past who earned elimination by getting into a beer-throwing fight at a bar. Has she cleaned up her act? In the second episode a true fashion victim shakes and cries as her hair is bleached blonde, and Banks praises her for "pushing through the pain." Will her suffering pay off? Wake me when they hit the runway.

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