Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gearing up

(Edited a bit later with some spoilers and more info)

One more week to go until the next season of The Biggest Loser, and I'm pretty excited. Ubergeek that I am, I've been trawling the Internet trying to find out as much as I can about the season in advance. Here's what I know.

The contestants

Black team: father/daughter
  • Andrea Hough (daughter), 24, 5'7", 298lbs, BMI 46.7 (morbidly obese), executive assistant from Ann Arbor, MI, single, MySpace page
  • Darrell Hough (father), 46, 5'10", 413lbs, BMI 59.3 (morbidly obese), press operator/mechanic from Ann Arbor, MI, married with 2 adult children
  • Clips I've found hint that Darrell has "never run before", but obviously is made to do so on the show. I haven't seen much of them, but from what I have seen, Andrea seems tough. Looking forward to seeing what she can do. Black team video profile

    Pink team: mother/daughter
  • Ashley Johnston (daughter), 27, 5'5", 374lbs, BMI 62.2 (morbidly obese), spa manager from Knoxville, TN, single
  • Sherry Johnston (mother), 51, 5'1", 218lbs, BMI 41.2 (morbidly obese), non-profit admin from Knoxville, TN, married with 2 adult children and 1 stepson
  • You will be hard-pressed to tell them apart from Season 7 Pink Team Helen and Shanon! Seriously, they look a LOT the same. Ashley is the most overweight woman on the show this season. Clips show Jillian threatening a whimpering Ashley with dire consequences if she steps off the treadmill "one more time" before she wipes out. Pink team video profile (in which we learn that they turned to food after their husband/father died)

    Blue team: mother/daughter
  • Cherita Andrews (mother), 50, 5'8", 277lbs, BMI 42.1 (morbidly obese), homemaker from Houston, TX, married with 2 adult children, possible Facebook page
  • Victoria (Vicky) Andrews (daughter), 22, 5'9", 358lbs, BMI 52.9 (morbidly obese), student from Houston, TX, single
  • One of NBC's preview clips shows Cherita interviewing that "I want to be able to live, and not die." Another clip shows Cherita (I think it's Cherita) getting really hurt on the treadmill and screaming in pain while Dr. H. helps her out. Blue team video profile (in which we learn that Cherita is a breast cancer survivor)

    Orange team: mother/son
  • Cheryl George (mother), 50, 5'4", 227lbs, BMI 39.0 (clinically obese), owner of Sears Hometown store from Ardmore, OK, married with 3 adult children
  • Daris George (son), 25, 5'10", 346lbs, BMI 49.6 (morbidly obese), deliveryman/salesman from Ardmore, OK, single, Facebook page, MySpace page
  • Daris is the dude with the ridiculously ringleted hair in the preview clips telling his fellow contestants that he's never had a girlfriend ever. (I am convinced this is due to his hair, not his weight. In all seriousness.) Cheryl is the woman we saw screaming her head off at Jillian in the preview clip. I like her already. Orange team video profile

    Brown team: twin brothers
  • James Crutchfield, 30, 6'5", 485lbs, BMI 57.5 (morbidly obese), human resources director from Orlando, FL, married
  • John Crutchfield, 30, 6'5", 484lbs, BMI 57.4 (morbidly obese), senior reporting manager from Orlando, FL, married with 1 child
  • They appear to be identical twins. One of NBC's preview clips shows one of them saying, "To imagine going through life without your twin is something unimaginable." Another clip reveals that they've been struggling with their weight since they were ten years old; they now refer to themselves as "the half-ton twins". They've each broken feet just from the pressure of their weight while walking. Brown team video profile

    Grey team: cousins
  • Koliniasi (Koli) Palu, 29, 6'1", 403lbs, BMI 53.2 (morbidly obese), football coach/head of security from Rohnert Park, CA, single, possible Facebook page, MySpace page
  • Sam Poueu, 24, 6'4", 372llbs, BMI 45.3 (morbidly obese), youth football coach/security guard from Rohnert Park, CA, single, Twitter account
  • Koli and Sam's backgrounds are Tongan/Samoan, so maybe we're in for some more haka dances this season! Koli's the one we've seen in a preview clip talking about how he doesn't believe anyone could seriously fall in love with a 400lb man. Grey team video profile (in which Koli vows to do better than Sione and Filipe)

    Red team: husband/wife
  • Lance Morgan (husband), 38, 6'3", 365lbs, BMI 45.6 (morbidly obese), rancher from Aspermont, TX, married with 2 children
  • Melissa Morgan (wife), 39, 5'6", 233lbs, BMI 37.6 (clinically obese), attorney from Aspermont, TX, married with 2 children
  • Lance and Melissa have been shown in preview clips interviewing that their marriage is in trouble; they're not even friends anymore; although another clip shows them embracing with a genuine feeling of connection. They're also aware that their eating habits are having a negative effect on their children. Jillian has also been seen in clips calling Lance "Texas". Lance is shown in a preview clip waxing poetic about his first sight of Ali with his wife sitting right there beside him: "Woo! She's smoking hot!" (It seems good-natured, though; Melissa laughs easily and apparently genuinely in response.) Red team video profile

    White team: mother/son
  • Maria Ventrella (mother), 51, 5'4", 281lbs, BMI 48.2 (morbidly obese), corporate travel agent from Chicago, IL, married with 3 adult children, Facebook page
  • Michael Ventrella (son), 30, 6'3", 526lbs (yes, really), BMI 65.7 (morbidly obese), deejay from Chicago, IL, single, Facebook page
  • Michael is the heaviest person who has ever been on the show. However, he is not even close to being the most overweight - Shay (Season 8) and Daniel (Seasons 7&8) both have him beat. White team video profile, Second white team video profile

    Green team: mother/daughter
  • Migdalia Sebren (daughter), 28, 5'9", 265lbs, BMI 39.1 (clinically obese), homemaker from Sanford, NC, married with 2 children, Facebook page, MySpace page
  • Miggy Cancel (mother), 48, 5'9", 240lbs, BMI 35.4 (clinically obese), chef from Pemberton, NJ, divorced with 3 adult children and 2 grandkids, Facebook page, MySpace page
  • An NBC preview clip reveals that Migdalia's husband is military, and going to Afghanistan. Green team video profile

    Yellow team: father/daughter
  • O'Neal Hampton (father), 51, 5'11", 389lbs, BMI 54.2 (morbidly obese), USPS station manager from Minneapolis, MN, married with 4 adult children
  • Sunshine Hampton (daughter), 24, 5'6", 275lbs, BMI 44.4 (morbidly obese), server from Minneapolis, MN, single, Facebook page, MySpace page
  • Yellow team video profile (in which we learn that O'Neal used to be a paratrooper in the army, and also in which it is obvious that he is totally in love with his wife; we also hear that Sunshine has never been on a date)

    Purple team: mother/daughter
  • Patti Anderson (mother), 55, 5'4", 243lbs, BMI 41.7 (morbidly obese), business owner from Lafayette, CA, married with 2 adult children
  • Stephanie Anderson (daughter), 29, 5'8", 264lbs, BMI 40.1 (morbidly obese), radio sales executive from West Hollywood, CA, single
  • We've seen Stephanie saying in preview clips that she's never been in love. Purple team video profile (in which they vow that "purple is the new pink!")
  • Here they are in order from most overweight (biggest BMI) to least:

    1. Michael (65.7)
    2. Ashley (62.2)
    3. Darrell (59.3)
    4. James (57.5)
    5. John (57.4)
    6. O'Neal (54.2)
    7. Koli (53.2)
    8. Victoria (52.9)
    9. Daris (49.6)
    10. Maria (48.2)
    11. Andrea (46.7)
    12. Lance (45.6)
    13. Sam (45.3)
    14. Sunshine (44.4)
    15. Cherita (42.1)
    16. Patti (41.7)
    17. Sherry (41.2)
    18. Stephanie (40.1)
    19. Migdalia (39.1)
    20. Cheryl (39.0)
    21. Melissa (37.6)
    22. Miggy (35.4)

    It's interesting to note that there's a huge range of contestants this year. Yes, we have the usual BMI-over-50 horror stories, but we also have four contestants with clinically obese BMIs. One of them, Miggy, is even extremely close to being simply obese. I think this is excellent, because - although it doesn't give the lower-BMI contestants a real chance at the grand prize - it may help a larger segment of the viewing audience identify with the contestants and be motivated to make a change in their own lives. Someone who's clinically obese can watch the super-obese people losing weight and think, "Oh, I'm not that far gone yet, I don't have to worry," but slap a few clinically obese contestants into the mix and suddenly it might be a wake-up call.

    My prediction for this season's hotties:

    • Andrea
    • Ashley
    • Koli
    • Michael
    • Migdalia
    • Miggy
    • Sunshine
    • Victoria

    The timing

    According to Wikipedia, this season is going to be 18 shows plus the finale. This places the finale at May 11.

    So how much time lag is there between the filming and airing of the shows? Well, according to this news article, entitled "Twins Chosen As Contestants On 'The Biggest Loser'" and dated Thursday, September 24, 2009: "James and John Crutchfield received a big send-off Wednesday from downtown Orlando on Church Street where they both got their official weigh-ins." (As we've seen in a preview clip, this season, contestants had to weigh in extremely publically in front of not just family and friends, but practically their whole towns, before going to the ranch.)

    There are more clues around the Internet about when the contestants began their journeys. Daris's MySpace page received four good luck comments from September 24-26, and his status, dated September 30, says "Daris is look out here I come!!" Andrea's MySpace page received this comment on September 17: "So, I thought you weren't suppose to get online or anything like that. I hope all is well. Lord bless you." There was another one, which may or may not refer to the show, on September 20: "We miss you. Keep us updated. Good luck. God Bless." As well, Sam tweeted the following on Friday, September 25: "its official! the send off party will be this coming monday. 7pm @ rancho cotate high school. tell everyone thatc .."

    Finally, the show's host, Ali Sweeney, tweeted the following on the morning of October 1: "At spin class. Way to start the day right. Then new Biggest Loser season starts today!!! All new group. Can't wait to meet them. :)"

    What confuses me about all this is that it implies that everyone got their initial weigh-ins and left for the ranch on different days. This doesn't seem fair. I can't believe that, with total prize money of $350K on the line, they wouldn't be excruciatingly even-handed about the weigh-in times, so let's assume that there's there's a difference among the public weigh-in (September 23, according to the article about James and John), a celebratory send-off party (Sam's was on September 28, according to his Twitter account), and the day they arrived to start filming (October 1, according to Ali's Twitter account).

    Now, the shows air on Tuesdays, and it's just easier for my math if I assume the weigh-ins occur on Tuesdays, so based on the dates I know about, I'm going to take a stab and guess that Week 1 wrapped on Tuesday, October 6. Since the Week 1 show will air on January 5, that gives us a time lag of thirteen weeks.

    (DH has also suggested that maybe there's a second initial weigh-in upon arrival at the ranch, and whoever has lost the most weight between the two gets immunity for the week. Interesting theory.)

    Things might have been thrown off a bit by the holidays, though, because it looks like the contestants got sent home for about eight or nine days:

    • Sam's tweets break off after September 29 (saying thank-you for the send-off), and then there's nothing until December 19.

    • Daris's MySpace page has a comment dated December 21 which says "Can't waitfor you to get back!!". However, there's another comment on December 23 which says "I went to aqua zumba tonight and Diana the instructor said I heard the guy from the biggest loser was working out here today. I am so proud of you. You are doing a great job."

    • There are a few relevant comments on Sunshine's Facebook fan page. December 16: "Cant wait to see you when you come home in a couple of days" December 19: "I'm excited to see you guys tomorrow, the boys have been missing you!!" December 27: "Missing SunShine and O'Neal-- They left this am. They both looked amazing!!"

    Potential hookups

    Well, firstly, I hope that Lance and Melissa manage to find joy in each other again. That aside, though, the single folks are:

    • age 48: Miggy
    • age 30: Michael
    • age 29: Stephanie
    • age 29: Koli
    • age 27: Ashley
    • age 25: Daris
    • age 24: Sunshine
    • age 24: Andrea
    • age 24: Sam
    • age 22: Vicky

    (Wow. Could be some extra cardio exercise going on in the evenings on the ranch this season, if you know what I mean...)

    Spoilers

    • This video clip shows the following Week 1 losses:
      • Michael: 34lbs (I believe this is the biggest one-week loss in the history of the show)
      • Patti: 23lbs
      • Stephanie: 18lbs
    • This video clip shows Melissa interviewing that "two teams have gone out, and if we're not careful, we're next". This implies that the interview took place during Week 3. Teams shown during this clip are: Brown, Pink, White, Red, Grey, Orange, Black, Purple, and Green. So it looks like the first two teams to go are Blue and Pink. RIP the Pink winning streak, I guess!
    • This video clip shows the contestants going to the USA Olympic training facility (pretty cool). Teams shown in that segment are Red, Black, Yellow, Orange, Grey, Pink, Green, Purple and White; no Brown or Blue. So perhaps Brown wasn't able to make that trip (much like Orange wasn't able to participate in temptation early in Season 7 because Daniel wasn't feeling well), and Blue isn't there because they got booted out Week 1?
    • This video clips implies that the first challenge is some kind of stationary bike thing.
    • This video clip reveals that Bob and Jillian will be working together again this season.

    How will I stand the wait?

    My spreadsheet is totally all set up and ready to go. :)

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