Saturday, May 5, 2007

Salvation in Shannon

I reviewed Shannon James' Playmate Preview pictorial on April 22nd, giving it a B- after being pretty impressed with her look as a new, unique breed of Playboy blonde. I also expressed my hope for her PMOM offerings, saying that she could explode as a potential star. Well, turns out I was right.

Shannon's stunning entry as Miss May is full of variety, sex appeal, and overall excitement. So far, 2007 is full of excellent Playmates (Tyran Richard, Heather Smith, Jayde Nicole), and Shannon is no exception. In fact, her internet buzz has reminded many of what's so great in Playboy: being able to discover hidden posing talents.

Howard Stern discovered Shannon on his show, this being the second girl he's found so far. The other was Jillian Grace, who I was a pretty huge critic of because of her lack of any talent whatsoever. This time, he's struck gold.

Featured Pictorial: Shannon James PMOM Pictorial
The main thing about Shannon's pictorial that peaks my interest is the kind of variety that's offered. Shannon starts out, like in other pictorials, with clothes on. But the first photo can't be described... Shannon is tall (5' 8"), slender (34C-23-34), and flawless. Her face and hair are so unique, with some dirty roots extending to platinum blonde perfection.

The pictorial's focus shifts often, going to the billiards room, then right to the ball field. Pic 5 is an excellent clothed shot, subtly showing off Shannon's amazing butt. I think that the main thing that brings together Shannon's look is her hair. It's wispy, not clumped in thick strands. That makes it flutter over her face and make her look very realistic and tangible. Picture 8 is a good sign of that great hair.

As the online pictorial shifts to the non-magazine section, it goes back to Shannon's sexy schoolgirl look. The power of the short, pleated skirt can't be overstated. It's sexy, and looks great on a tall girl like Shannon. The pictorial adds even more variety by putting Shannon in a clear raincoat and wet conditions. All of these combined add lots of depth to her pictorial. After some more photos in the pool room, with Shannon pulling up her skirt and flashing her cute backside, it's all more than I could have asked for.

After all that, Shannon gets into a purple babydoll and a stringy thong, still showing off her amazing fluffy locks of hair.

Looking over the entire, busy pictorial as a whole, it's a pure winner. Playboy's done it perfectly, with awesome photography, editing, and a top-notch model. They took advantage of everything Miss James has to offer. Although it's only the fifth month of the year, she's already my early pick for Playmate of the Year, and I hope there're lots more pictorials of her, since she's shown that she's so versatile that she can keep things interesting picture after picture.

Consensus... A

Shannon James
Playmate of the Month May 2006 Pictorial

The Year's Golden Girl

As speculated, Sara Jean Underwood is 2007's Playmate of the Year. Her photos are in, the buzz is in, the criticism and adulation is palpable. My own Playmate review had Sara as #2, right after Monica Leigh. Although Monica didn't win, I've had a great dose of her as Cyber Girl of the Year, which gives lots more pictorials and videos, anyway.

The past few years have produced quality PMOYs, but not-so-great pictorials to go with them. They're very processed, flat, and "magazine-like," airbrushed photos. So let's break down Sara's PMOY pictorial... exciting, huh?

Featured Pictorial: Sara Jean Underwood PMOY
The first thing to notice from Sara's new pictorial: more of the same. Sara's style hasn't been radically changed, like in Tiffany Fallon's creative and innovative selection of pics. Don't get me wrong, Sara is just as radiant and gorgeous as her natural beauty lets her be. Her PMOM pictorial was stunning and a huge fan favorite, but they could have done something interesting with her PMOY pictorial, other than simply keeping Sara in the same style as before.

That said, Sara might not be the most versatile model. Bottom line is that she just looks really good doing what she does best... stand in fields of wheat, stripping off some overalls, flashing a smile every once in a while. Her pictorials on the prairie offer a good look at what Sara is all about. She glows with her blonde, shiny hair in photos like Photo 12, where her eyes just grip and capture.

The real height of the pictorial is when Sara shows off the bronzed statue that is her body, when she dons a hat and climbs on the couch. Pic 17 is probably my fave of the bunch. It's sexy and shows off her amazing legs and great height. Photos 18 and 19 follow suit, with Sara stretched out and relaxing under the sun. The lighting and editing is nearly perfect in these pics. The editors could have done a little better job in some hard-lighting photos, like Pic 4, which makes Sara seem a little more pale than she actually is.

To sum things up, I'm happy with the pick as Sara Underwood being PMOY. She deserves it, and she's a unique girl that wowed me from the moment she was featured on the cover of the October 2006 issue. She's smooth and sexy all-around, but just a little one-dimensional for my tastes. Since 2006 was such a weak year for Playmates in general, I'll just keep looking forward to seeing what happens next year, as we see more and more amazing Playmates being chosen each month for 2007.

Consensus... B

Sara Jean Underwood
Playmate of the Year Pictorial