Review: Asia's Next Top Model Cycle 5

When you boldly declare your tagline as "Expect the unexpected", then you better deliver.

Alas, Asia's Next Top Model Cycle 5 hasn't lived up to its promise.

Everything - and I do mean everything - about this season feels "expected".

What would be unexpected for me is something like throwing male contestants into the mix.

Or making the model-wannabes live outdoors Survivor-style, rather than their cushy accommodation.

Thus far, the challenges have been meh, while returning judges are what you'd expect from them.

Host and head judge Cindy Bishop is her usual charming self, who goes from maternal to fierce.

Creative director Yu Tsai still barks his orders, and his signature greeting ("Models, models, models") has become more annoying than endearing.

The most buzz-worthy addition to the cast, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach only appeared in the first episode, to deliver a generic pep talk to the girls.

Meanwhile, model mentor Cara Grogan is pretty but oh-so-boring.

No hair-pulling?

And what about the contestants themselves?

Predictably, some cry buckets at the makeover challenge.

Indonesia's Clara Tan (who bears a striking resemblance to sultry actress Shu Qi) delivers the most waterworks.

She also came up with this valuable bon mot: "The judges are telling me I'm lost but I don't think I'm lost. I'm Clara."

Obviously, I am rooting for Malaysia's Shikin to win.

She's the most sensible of the lot.

But is she unexpected?

Far from it.

Asia's Next Top Model Cycle 5 airs every Wednesday at 9pm on Star World (Astro Ch 711/HD Ch 722).

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