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What do you get when you take ANOTHER set of sixteen ugly ducklings, fly them to a mansion with no mirrors, then have them undergo radical transformations including plastic surgery, dental work, fitness regimens, and life coaching, THEN have them compete in a beauty pageant for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes? A second helping of "the most unusual competition ever devised for television."

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN


FACT FILE:
Host:
Amanda Byram
Experts: Dr. Terry Dubrow, Nely Galan, Dr. Randal Haworth, Dr. Lynn Ianni, Debbie Siebers, Dr. Sherri Worth

Announcer/VO:
Mark Thompson
Creator: Nely Galan
EP: Nely Galan, Arthur Smith
Packager: Galan Productions, A. Smith & Co., FremantleMedia North America
Airs: Mondays at 9:00pm ET on FOX


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"Where Are They Now?/Jennifer and Kimberly" - October 25

In the beginning, there were 16 self-professed ugly ducklings put through the ringer of surgery and fitness regimens that makes basic training look like child's play. And yea, it was good. Then take the nine most-radically-altered players and have them compete for cash and prizes in a beauty pageant. And yea, it was a contest unlike any other. But what happened after the lights went out and reality set in? We'll find out tonight, and then prepare to start the process anew.

First, some figures to (re)consider from last season: 15 million viewers for the finale. 200,000 hopefuls from all over America whittled to the final 16. $4 million in surgery (roughly averages to $250,000 per person, with only the phone-a-friend and 50/50 used). Zero mirrors. One doctor that... we're not even sure is a real doctor.

That was then. This is now. Seems to be the running theme as we reacquaint ourselves with Amanda Byram, who was there all the way last year as the women dared to transform their lives on national tele-VISION. Let's revisit a few of them, shall we?

Kelly Alemi; 28; Baltimore
Then: Tormented by painful childhood, had the unfortunate curse of going up against Rachel Love-Fraser in her round, made it to the pageant an audience favorite by virtue of a wild card, made it to the semifinal round of 6.
Now: Bob (boyfriend) is the luckiest guy in the world, Kelly smiles (not JUST because she has great teeth) out of happiness, both made up for years of... well, something, now Kelly is engaged to Bob. "Who I am on the inside just makes me a better person."

Belinda Bessant; 28; Las Vegas
Then: Former model plagued by a series of bad relationships; used pictures of exes as fodder to keep training; didn't get out of the quarterfinal round of 9.
Now: Wears a size 8 (down from 18), kid is getting big while mom is getting little, now sports token boyfriend Brian.

Beth Lay; 25; Milton, WA
Then: Changed by motherhood and distraught with her marriage, was "afraid nobody else would love me", was the first two-surgeon transformation, came THIS close to taking the whole shoot'n'match as 1st runner-up.
Now: Confident, yes. Secure, yes. Apology from husband... yes. Kept the weight off? Not really. Gained a little back. "But I'm working on it."

Kathy Rickers; 28; Lake Villa, IL
Then: Awkward 16 year old in 27 year old's body, turned into awkward 16-year-old-rocker-chick in 27-year-old's body.
Now: Works her dream job in fashion.

Cindy Ingle; 32; San Diego
Then: Facial hair and witch nose issues, went under a risky rhinoplasty and laser hair removal only to come in 2nd runner-up. SECOND?!
Now: Model for a new clothing line, gave up the razor to her husband. Says the best part of her transformation is just her. Warns Amanda to watch her back, because she's doing a little presenting of her own on Fox San Diego.

Marnie Rygiewicz; 35; Detroit
Then: Breakup led to dating freeze, struggled with motivation, completed the program and went on to place in the final six.
Now: Playing the field.

Kelly Becker; 26; Milwaukee
Then: Plagued by her face, her unsupportive boyfriend, and a weight-gain program.
Now: Rebounded with boyfriend (now fiancee) Ethan.

Sarina Voight; 37; Denver
Then: Filed for divorce, but kept talking to the ex. Once free of Lucky, she got back on track and results showed. Another one of the final six.
Now: Flexible, thinks of Lucky as a platonic boyfriend, but that's it.

A quick interruption. How many women applied for Swan 2? Three hundred thousand. Jaded audience member who just wanted his 15: "Woo!" Amanda: "I know." Okay, back to the stories.

Merline Norman; 30; Victorville, CA
Then: Biggest struggle was trying to make time for herself, breasts got smaller and teeth got more crooked with each one of her three kids, got into the pageant by virtue of her opponent carrying a contraband mirror, but didn't pass the initial nine.
Now: Smiles a lot more, loves for boobies, likes improved communication with her boyfriend (again, now fiancee), not working as much as she used to. Oh yeah, and the sex is good. "The therapy was my favorite. The program gave me a whole brand new look on life."

Dawn Goad; 34; Hobart, IN
Then: Teeth issues that Fox harped us on which took extensive surgery to correct.
Now: Not ashamed to smile as she gets everyone else on a health kick, especially her teenage son Chris.

Andrea Morris; 30; Denver
Then: Suffered from acne and relationship problems; complained in the gym; quick to deny it; was that close to walking out; at the final reveal: "oh my god... Woooow."
Now: "I'm not frumpy anymore"; moved on from relationship; trying to be the best single mom she can be.

Kristy Garza; 23; Vista, CA
Then: Joker in the army who didn't have a dress.
Now: Joker out of the army who has a dress and a body to match.

Cristina Tyree; 28; Sacramento
Then: Belly-dancing aficionado with an unsightly midsection from child-rearing; tried to even it out with ice cream at the apartment; got into the pageant; only made it to nine.
Now: Belly-dancing aficionado with a six-pack; models on the side.

Tawnya Cook; 41; Denver
Then: Oldest of the Swans; devastated by a trio of tragedies involving her ex-husband, her brother, and her daughter, ended up a hot mama.
Now: An aspiring actress.

And last but by no means least, Rachel Love-Fraser; 27; Sammamish, WA
Then: Heaviest of the ducklings at 190, had an extreme lack of confidence due to low expectations from her family and husband; had little support from home; her transformation still stands as the bar from which all transformations are measured, and the proof was in the pudding as she was crowned the first ever Swan. And, of course, her life would never be the same.
Now: Attacks every day with zest, maintains healthy lifestyle, forgives husband for "average" barbs. "I can't even explain when you're standing at the supermarket and there you are looking at you." What she didn't say was that the cover in question was the People Magazine that said "Has TV Plastic Surgery Gone Too Far?"

Now the Swans converge on stage to dish. Most of the girls, after reveal, went to the hotel, stripped naked, and stared at themselves. At the pageant, each one could hear their kids screaming. The girls like to be checked out (Kelly: "He's looking. I know why.") Marnie's swinging, Andrea's mom is dabbling in botox, Cindy had to explain her military ID, and with that, the audience starts grilling.

Audience 1: What was the coolest thing about being a Swan? Rachel: Being able to find yourself.

Audience 2: Is it weird walking around in your underwear on TV? Beth: Oh gosh, the granny underwear.

Audience 3 (a bloke in every sense of the word): One very serious question for Marnie. Marnie... What are you doing later? Marnie: I like your accent. A3: I like your hair. And your dress. And your smile!

And with that, and one final send-off for the Season 1 Swans... The transformations begin anew.

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