"True Beauty" bares all its flaws in episode one
Episode one delivered much more in the promo than it did in execution, although the first eliminated contestant (Hadiyyah-Lah) responded by hopping on the crazy train when the host Vanessa Minnillo revealed the real premise of the show. Other than that, it was lukewarm at best save for a vaguely interesting but soon-to-grow-old clash of personalities between Joel and Chelsea. Contestants are unknowingly being watched on cameras by Minnillo and her two fellow judges, former supermodel Cheryl Tiegs and "America's Next Top Model" fashion expert Nolé Marin, then being judged on both their interactions and reactions to various planted challenges.
In their first "challenge," the 10 beauties are scored on their physical aspects by a plastic surgeon and so-called "beauty expert," then left alone in the room with all the contestants' medical files "accidentally" next to them. Only three opted for a sneak, including Hadiyyah-Lah, an audio engineer whose least offensive statement was to call herself the most beautiful person in the world. Contestants were judged both on their score and on whether they looked in the files. Yawn.
If anything, the show is screaming for a desperate nip and tuck. First of all, none of the contestants are all that attractive -- most of them are dolled up, 'roided up or just plain fuuuugly. Then, unlike "Beauty and the Geek," where you actually get a feel for the characters and end up liking the most unlikely contestant, there's very little time between the planted challenges to get to know or even empathize with any of these yahoos. The only potentially interesting part of the show is that only the eliminated contestant is made aware of the true nature of the show, meaning it could take several or more episodes for our participants to realize how they're being judged. Or, given the caliber of these contestants, never.