Sometimes reinventing the wheel isn't necessary to make a good show. Copying a good idea and tweaking it a bit can be good enough. "The Face" (9 tonight, Oxygen) proves this; it freely admits to being a cross between "America's Next Top Model" and "The Voice" -- it even has ANTM judge Nigel Barker to host. And how did the producers tweak it to make it a little special? They hired Naomi Campbell.
The shows features 12 models who compete individually and on teams coached by models Campbell, Karolina Kurkova and Coca Rocha. (The show smartly skips showing the now cliched audition process in-depth; we just meet the 12 women after they are assigned teams and move into the house.)
The ultimate prize is a contract with ULTA, but there are prizes along the way. For instance, in the first episode, the girls have to go head-to-head in a styling contest, a kind of "who wore it best" thing. The winner gets a $5000 shopping spree to Top Shop. The team challenge on the episode is to come up with the last image for a story boarded concept for W magazine. The prize is that the image actually appears in W magazine.
"The Face" definitely feels more professional, more likely to produce an actual working model than ANTM. Besides having three active and successful models as mentors, the show features judges for some of the competitions that are among the best in the world of fashion, like photographer Patrick Demarchelier or legendary agent Bethann Hardison. And the feedback is precise and intelligent.
Yet, the best part might be getting to know Campbell, Kurkova and Rocha. Rocha, the youngest, sees herself as a rebel; she guides her girls to take challenges and try unusual poses, which doesn't really work out, at least in the first episode. Kurkova is more sweet and practical. And Campbell, well, we all know she's cray cray. Translation: The woman who might throw a phone at any minute doesn't appear in full during the first episode, but she gets so emotionally involved and competitive from the beginning that we know she'll appear. And we can't wait.
The contestants, too, are promising, with a good mix of stories and personalities that should make for good viewing. "The Face" deserves your facetime.