They've modeled, been housewives and served as bridesmaids all to get to the moment of truth: The three remaining contestants must now show the world all they've learned. It's their time to shine--in the mother of all beauty pageants. After the guys have primped, de-puffed, smiled, designed, danced and strutted their stuff down the stage, who will go home $250,000 richer?
"We've been supermodels, bridesmaids and housewives. What else can they make us do next--lactate?," wonders Donnell
as the guys wake up to find the box with their next challenge inside. The three learn they will be involved in a beauty pageant before their doorbell rings and Summer O'Brien, pageant coordinator extraordinaire, comes in to facilitate a pageantry workshop. "I've got this in the bag. I look about as a good as a guy in a dress can look," says Albert
, as he prepares for the competition ahead. David
isn't as confident, saying, "When I heard that I was going to be in a pageant, my outer David has that insecurity that I'm not going to be pretty enough."
Despite the mixed feelings of the group, Ms. O'Brien gets the guys ready for their time in the spotlight with pageant secrets including Vaseline for the teeth, hairspray for the eyebrow shape, band-aids to avoid that, um, "headlight look" and hemorrhoid cream to reduce puffiness under the eyes. The coordinator also gives the contestants instruction on pageant interviews, including their question for the night: What as a lady have you learned about being a man. "This is a tough question. They are asking us to sum up the last couple of weeks in a few sentences," Donnell says apprehensively.
The guys work on their walk in heels on an elevated catwalk as Ms. O'Brien gives them feedback on their stage presence. She then sends them off to designer Mia Gyzander who shows them sketches of dresses they will wear in the pageant. Their body types along with her expertise and the guys' personal preferences make up the characteristics of the finished products they will wear pageant night. Donnell expresses some concern about his large arms in the cut of the dress but is convinced they won't be a problem, "[Mia] gave me the confidence not to hide a body part that I'm actually proud of." Albert loves his dress and offers a helpful suggestion of a lower neckline, "I thought it was very pretty, not something you'd wear out but it is something you'd wear in a pageant. It is very fitting." David is concerned that his dress is not as elegant or sexy, saying, "I looked at my [dress sketches] and I had a very difficult time seeing myself wearing these things. They did not immediately strike me as flattering."
The contestants then go to meet their choreographer, Carrie Ann Inaba, who lets them know that they have a large opening number and that they will have back-up dancers. "Some really cute girls in bikinis would really distract the audience from us," says Donnell. To his dismay, however, in runs the formerly eliminated contestants Dan
. "It ended up being the other guys. I was happy to see them but now there's more attention on us dancing badly; we need bikinis," Donnell adds.
The three new additions put on their heels to practice with the other guys. "It's been so long that I've been kicking it like a man and now I'm back in high heels," says Ryan. "I forgot how it was to have [heels] on. My toes are all crinkled up and then having to step on that hardwood floor all day--it just kills," laments Michael. With some difficulty, the guys learn the choreography while Ms. Inaba gives them critique. "Looking at all the guys dancing in the mirror, including me, I just knew we were never going to pull this off," says Michael. "I don't have the choreography vibe. I'm definitely more of a freestyle dancer," admits Ryan. Disappointed in their performance, the choreographer challenges the guys all to practice at the Dollhouse in order to show improvement the next time she meets with them. The three guys added to the group learn they will be staying at the Dollhouse and head back there for an evening of practice. "I was really worried that the choreography would reflect badly on me winning the competition. I have no rhythm I can't dance but I was really trying to get it down," says Donnell.
The guys lumber around trying to remember the steps and look graceful before they sit and try to think of their answers to the interview question. "I haven't really focused on my answer to the question. I look gorgeous so hopefully I can pull it off," says Albert confidently. David takes another approach of putting more thought into his response. "This is the quarter million dollar question and if I have to stay up all night [to answer it], I'm going to," he says. As the pageant looms ahead, will it be Donnell's determined attempt at the choreography, Albert's beauty, or David's response to the interview question that wins the crown and the $250,000 prize?
The morning of the pageant, the guys get up and begin to prepare for the event, some packing up to leave the Dollhouse, but all reflecting on the experiences they've had being a part of the competition. "I didn't like wearing a dress but I'm so glad this competition was what it was. Every guy's got a feminine side and they may be afraid to show it but I'm glad I got in touch with mine. It makes me a better man," admits Michael.
Everyone dresses to go out for another session with his choreographer and they all finish the run-throughs without a hitch. "There were moments along the way when I knew it wasn't going to come together then you stand back and look at it and things have all fallen into place," says Michael. Ms. Inaba also tells the guys that she is pleased with their progress--before Cree
joins the group for practice. "After I was dismissed, I wasn't sure I was coming back; I had some family issues I had to deal with. We got thru that and now coming back and seeing the guys...it is great," says Cree. He is equally as warmly welcomed by the rest of the guys: "We are all complete now that Cree is here," beams Michael.
One hour before the pageant, the now seven are whisked away to the dressing area to get made up, coiffed and dressed. The three still remaining in the competition reflect on the event ahead of them while host Tony Frassrand
welcomes the audience and reminds them that one of the three who remain will walk away with a quarter of a million dollars. Tony also introduces the judges
before he brings out the contestants and their four back up dancers. The seven perform their opening number to the song, "I'm Every Woman," dressed in an array of costumes including a career woman, a cow girl, a ballerina, a flight attendant, a sailor girl, a nun and a policewoman. As each makes "her" appearance, the wives and girlfriends comment on their men.
The judges reflect on the whole competition as Morgan Fairchild
admits, "I never dreamed I'd have so much fun. These guys are so great and we all feel so attached to them that it's very hard rejecting them," as John Salley
shakes his head. "I hope they'll learn something from it. I learned something from it--never to do this," he says. Debbie Matenopoulos
counters, "I can't believe how much these guys have invested themselves into this experience. I think they're going to be better husbands and boyfriends because of it." The finalists are introduced in evening gowns they helped design, beginning with Donnell who is announced in a red satin formal dress, admitting, "If I'm ever uncomfortable in a dress, I'd just let 'Raven' take over. Don didn't do any of it--it was all 'Raven'." Finalist number two is David wearing a teal satin gown who says, "From this experience, I'm taking home a deeper understanding and love for my wife." Albert appears as finalist number three in emerald silk adorned with peacock feathers. "I think I've gotten a lot out of He's A Lady
cause I know I wouldn't have experienced this any other way," says Albert.
Tony Frassrand asks each contestant their interview question with the assistance of their wives and girlfriends dressed in the same gowns as their men. "This contest has not been easy. My respect for women has risen enormously and I truly think it has made me a stronger and more compassionate man. I couldn't have done it without the love of this woman here," answers Donnell to his wife. Albert is up next and responds, "As a lady I've learned that I need a deep sense of patience and through 'Alberta' it has been personified." Finally, David is brought to tears as he admits to his wife, "As a lady I have learned that you can take men who under different circumstances would be macho and put them in another situation where there is no need for bravado and you can find them to be very compassionate. I've also learned that men's obsession with external beauty can be very hurtful when the greater beauty inside is ignored. A lady as a man can find a greater reward than a quarter million dollars to take home from this contest and that's the greater admiration of a loved one and the lifelong friendships forged under these strangest of circumstances."
In the end, Donnell is named second runner up, Albert is given first runner up and David takes his final walk with roses, a crown, his wife and $250,000, proving-- indisputably--that He's A Lady