In Cycle 5, Lisa D'Amato is eliminated despite being a consistent performer, because that episode's aesop is "Being a Top Model means people—fans, photographers, etc.—are always going to be watching you so you need to be a role model". In the previous episode, Lisa peed in a diaper at the Wild Boyz photoshoot and at the elimination panel, Lisa was criticized for her spitfire personality and perceived immaturity.
In Cycle 7, the go-see challenge in Barcelona was to meet with 10 designers. CariDee English and Eugena Washington teamed up, as did Amanda and Michelle Babin, while Melrose Bickerstaff went alone. Melrose's strategy makes sense since the contestants that teamed up had to wait for each other before they could go on to the next designer. Melrose ended up winning the challenge and visited the most number of designers - 5 out of 10.
The All-Stars Cycle (Cycle 17) had plenty:
Cycle 5 alumnae Bre Scullark and Lisa D'Amato win the carousel runway challenge in episode 5. Cycle 5 was when J. Alexander became a full-time panel judge and really hammered into the contestants the importance of a good runway walk.
Shannon Stewart being an older sister figure to Alexandria Everett makes sense, as Shannon is from the show's inaugural cycle while Alexandria was from the most recent one. Also, Shannon had a "big sister" mentor during her original cycle (Robin Manning) so it makes since she'd want to be one herself.
Tyra switched up her pre-Elimination Catchphrase to be "one of them will be going home again," reflecting the cycle's My Greatest Second Chance theme. She only said the usual pre-Elimination Statement for when Shannon Stewart and Allison Harvard were in the Bottom Two, to reflect that the two were the first runner-ups from their original cycles.
Angelea Preston being given the Persistent brand. She was in the Bottom Two four times.
The final two finalists were Lisa D'Amato (originally from Cycle 5) and Allison Harvard (originally from Cycle 12). Five plus twelve equal seventeen (5+12=17). All-Stars was the seventeenth Cycle.
Additionally, if Angelea wasn't disqualified, the math thing also counts for her. She placed in the Top 3 and she was from Cycle 14 so three plus fourteen equals seventeen (3+14=17).
The kiss-mark◊ on the promo images first appears to be a stylistic touch to acknowledge the British contestants and also a reference to the Britain's Top Model Cycle 5 promo image◊ from which several of the British contestants originally appeared on, but it also serves as a clue as to who the winner is.note The eventual winner, Sophie Sumner, was the first runner up on Britain's Top Model Cycle 5.
Alisha White's Heroic Sacrifice may count as a bittersweet Fridge Brilliance. Her Exact Words when she quit was she doesn't want to be selfish and take the deserving spot over the remaining contestants. At that point, Annaliese Dayes, Laura LaFrate, and Sophie Sumner were all having No-Damage Run (having never been in the Bottom Two). So Alisha's decision to quit allowed the frontrunners to have a chance at a Flawless Victory, something she was close to achieving herself in her original cycle, thus putting her Non-Gameplay Elimination in better light.note And Sophie Sumner, the winner, did achieve a Flawless Victory. Bonus points that she was Alisha's teammate as well.
Cycle 18 really enforced Wearing a Flag on Your Head to the contestants every panel to hammer the US vs UK theme. This was largely abandoned by the final threenote although the final three still had their nation's flag printed somewhere in their wardrobe. and then completely during the finale itself because it's Rule of Symbolism that there are no more teams and it's everyone for themselves now.
The red and blue clothes not only represent the colors of the US and UK flags, but also the Oni dynamics of the teams.
Sophie Sumner, the winner of Cycle 18, originally appeared on Cycle 5 of Britain's Next Top Model. In Cycle 5 of America's Next Top Model, the international destination was London.
In Cycle 4, Kahlan Rondot had to pose in a coffin lowered six feet into the ground for a photoshoot, right after getting the news that a close friend died.
In Cycle 15, during a commercial for a fictitious energy drink, Kayla Ferrel is pressured to kiss the male model she was paired with. Then she revealed she had been sexually assaulted when she was younger...
In Cycle 16, Alexandria Everett claimed she needed to "grow up fast" in order to take care of her siblings due to Parental Abandonment. Seeing her in Cycle 17 acting like Shannon Stewarts or Lisa D'Amato's Tagalong Kid showed that she never really had a happy childhood with proper adult role models, as indicated by the fact that she constantly clashed with most of the contestants in her original cycle (people who were in her age group) and quickly developed a mentor-type relationship with two people older than her.
Cycles being allegedly rigged, as rumored amongst the fan community and former contestants. If that's the case, imagine the frustration and disappointment of the contestants who are not the pre-selected winner, especially if they were doing well and started getting nitpicks for random reasons in order to justify their elimination..
Specifically, there are contestants who come to the show and claim to be a fan of the show, yet when it's makeover time, they cry and complain when they receive a Traumatic Haircut? Or are shocked and appalled by the nude photoshoot assignments? By the time the show entered the double digit cycles, there should have been very little surprises as to the format and types of challenges that would be encountered.