‘America’s Next Top Model’ Season Finale Recap: The ‘British Invasion’ Winner Is…

America’s Next Top Model British Invasion whittled 14 contestants from two sides of the ocean down to just two for the big season finale. It was Brit versus Yank, sweet Illuminata Sophie versus the crazy pirate Laura. Sophie knows how to walk and light up a room, but Laura knows how to take a good photo, so who did host Tyra Banks name the ANTM Cycle 18 winner?

Similar to past Top Model finales, the girls first had to duke it out with a CoverGirl photo shoot and commercial, as well as an Sophie Sumner - Cycle 18 "British Invasion"Italian Vogue shoot and a Forever 21 runway walk. That’s a lot of pressure, especially for American Laura who freaks out and has a panic attack on the CoverGirl set.

Yet, Laura gets over it and deals with her nerves. She ends up with a decent commercial, which is greatly helped, in part, by footage that’s from the rest of the season. But so too does Sophie who knows how to talk to camera. Laura may have done better with the commercial overall, but it was Sophie who seemed to win the judges over with her photo. Even the uber-negative PR maven Kelly Cutrone admitted that she loves Sophie. It helps that Sophie seems to be looking through the lens and making human contact.

But wait there’s more. Vogue Italia brings the girls on set, and they seem to like Laura more. She’s more “high fashion” in her underwear. Still, Sophie is considered super elegant.

All these compliments! All this praise! How are the judges ever going to decide on an America’s Next Top Model British Invasion winner?

Last but not least comes the Forever 21 runway shoot, complete with some over-the-top holographics. Both do surprisingly well, even Laura who has struggled since day one with a hideous walk. She clearly has fun with her swagger, but Tyra Banks didn’t care much for her side smirk.

Sophie still had the stronger walk, and her confidence showed. They didn’t have anything bad to say about her.

Yet, photos from throughout the season have to be taken into account, too. While Sophie does take a good photo, Laura really knows how to make every photo shoot work.

The ANTM Cycle 18 judges clearly had their work cut out for them. And unlike Cycle 17 and the controversial disqualification of Angelea, the reality TV program shows all the decision-making this time around. Nigel Barker roots for Laura, since he finds her inspirational. Kelly Cutrone loves Sophie’s bubbly personality, and that includes her story of perseverance. (How many times did the show have to remind us that Sophie was runner-up on Britian’s Top Model?!)

Yet, there could be only one winner. And this America’s Next Top Model winner is Sophie Sumner. She definitely deserved it, but don’t expect Laura to disappear from the fashion world anytime soon.

What did you think of the ANTM season finale? Did the right girl win?

© 2012 Elizabeth SanFilippo at Gather.com

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