Poor Faina. The Russian beauty — and sister of season two finalist Stanislav — has been the victim of far too many aw-poor-girl reality show storylines. Don't believe me? Consider these well-honed scenarios she's fit into:
—The one who annoys all the others during the group auditioning process. You know her — it's almost always a her — because she's having trouble with the steps or the song or just the people and she's not handling this struggle well. Having trouble determining if someone's playing this role? Just look to see who the others are rolling their eyes over.
—The one with the medical emergency. This is a storyline that "America's Next Top Model" has nearly perfected into an art form. "Hell's Kitchen" even got in on the trend recently when a contestant fainted without even closing his eyes. In Faina's case, she "passed out," which really meant she was breathing hard while resting in the shadows. The footage was so dramatic, however, that it elevated the situation to genuine emergency status.
—The one with the partner who can't be a partner. Getting saddled with Gumby's long-lost cousin, Cedric, was a rough break. As the judges keep saying, the eight-feet-tall seeming boy can move in all sorts of ways that other humans can't, but a partner he is not. I mean, the guy could have made Baryshnikov in his heyday look awkward if he'd danced next to him. But he's in and she's out. Fair? No. Dramatic? I'll say.
—The one who seems better than others who gets inexplicably favored. Say what you will about Faina, but she's definitely better than Jessi, a sassy little event planner that Nigel swears has a "quality" whenever he can reel his tongue back into his mouth while addressing her. Jessi's signature moves seem to be rubbing oil on her body and gyrating in a way that causes Nigel to obsess over her quality.
—The one who just can't get the support she needs. This is actually a storyline that fit anyone this week who wasn't Lacey or a guy. The guys, you see, got such over-the-top praise from Mia that it actually began to seem like she may not have noticed there were girls out there on stage as well.
Mia called Cedric "amazing" and "brilliant," Danny's hands "spectacular" and lamented to Dominic (before praising him extravagantly), "I lost Ricky for you." Lacey, meanwhile, seemingly lined the audience with friends and family, including a dad who was clutching a kind of electronic ticker tape with his daughter's name on it.
How can you compete with that, especially when your parents are probably in Russia and surely don't have any portable electronic ticker tape devices sitting around?
Faina, honey, you didn't stand a chance. But you made great TV. And who's to say which is more important?
Anna David is a freelance writer. Her first novel, "Party Girl," is in stores now.