Then it was down to Danielle, black, statuesque, charismatic but country vs. Joanie, blond, short, charming and country. And it was sort of over: The black girl from Little Rock, Ark., and the white girl from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, had bonded, and with crazy Jade vanquished, viewers couldn't lose. Still, there was one more drama: Would Tyra play Queen Tyra, arbiter of proper blackness, and disqualify Danielle from "Top Model" status because of her country accent? Tyra won me over in Cycle 3 by offering contestants (and viewers) many parables about how you embrace and make the most of your supposed limits -- Tyra's alienlike high forehead and big booty were Exhibits A and B -- and giving many speeches about beauty and confidence coming from within. But first she wore Danielle down about her gap-toothed smile, which was in fact a little ... distracting. But after Danielle fixed her teeth, the harping on the accent got grating.
In the end, Good Queen Tyra picked the country girl from Little Rock as America's next top model, and promised her speech lessons. Not a total victory for be-who-you-are top-modelhood but a start. "The best girl won," rival Joanie said simply, and she was right.
Evans will receive a contract to be represented by Ford Models, a $100,000 CoverGirl contract and a spread in Elle magazine shot by photographer Gilles Bensimon.