Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Tuesday night. Biggest Loser live finale. 8pm.

Moment of panic as whatever channel DH has turned to switches suddenly from displaying the NBC logo to CTV. Frantic channel flipping. And...

Digitized Final Four, at their largest, projected onto the stage.


Welcome to the live finale of this season's Biggest Loser. Ali, as always the lovely host, takes us back to the initial at-home public weigh-ins, the humiliation of which has got to be some kind of motivator to these people to not revert to the fat lifestyle. We are then taken through the torture of the gym, successes on and off the scale, and we see a montage of ass-kicking in general.

We then focus on the Final Four: Michael, Ashley, Daris, and Koli. We are reminded that Michael and Ashley, by virtue of coming top of the heap at the final weigh-in on the ranch, have secured their spots in the Final Three. The third member is still unknown; America had to vote as to whether to promote Koli or Daris. Being in the Final Three is very important, because the person in that trio with the highest percentage of total weight loss wins a quarter of a million dollars, which is brought to us by Yoplait Lite. (Gawd. Five minutes into the show and already we're starting with the product placements.) Ali also introduces the all-important scale, with the usual accompanying ominous music; and reminds us that all the contestants who did not make it into the Final Three will also be weighing in, for the chance to win $100,000.

The first order of business is to find out who's moving on to the Final Three, Koli or Daris. So let's bring them out. Daris is first, and of course he looks great. Also, we're once again taking a leaf out of the Australian Biggest Loser playbook, by projecting digitized versions of contestants-from-day-one walking down the runway as the actual, slimmer contestants walk down the other side of the runway, to get a more complete idea of just how awesome they've done. (It's a fantastic technique, I love that they're using it in the American Biggest Loser now; I just wish they'd do it for all the contestants like they do in Australia.) It's hard to tell by looking at Daris in a suit how much weight he's lost since the last ranch weigh-in, but clearly he's at least maintained the good lifestyle, so that's great. He was having serious problems at home with binge snacking in the wee hours due to stress. DH remarks on the dangers of obsessing over getting a girlfriend. Ali is completely overcome with how freakin' cute Daris is (probably the best transformation this season, honestly), and she actually squeals. Daris has been spending the last number of weeks working on figuring out why he was stress-eating at night. He talks about managing his stress differently, but also remarks on the foolishness of eating dinner at 5:30, staying up until 3am, and expecting not to get hungry in the intervening time. Grasshopper is gaining wisdom, I see. Oh, also, big news, he's landed himself a girlfriend. She's beautiful and her name is Heather. We see absolutely no indication for the rest of the show that they're particularly into each other, but at least he's probably siphoning off some stress by having sex. Go, Daris.

Koli's up next! He bursts out, looking pretty damn full of himself and roaring insanely. Koli, you have no business putting on that kind of swagger while wearing those red pants. (Urg.) "Too much Red Bull, dude," DH says. As the crowd continues to cheer, though, it no longer seems that it's Koli doing the roaring, because although it's still going on, Koli is clearly mouthing other stuff in a much calmer way. So...maybe he was never roaring to begin with? Maybe not as arrogant as he first appeared? I hope so. Koli talks to Ali about figuring out who he is and having self-worth. He looks sooo nervous. "Don't mistake my confidence and swagger for being cocky," he says. (Then dude, don't swagger. Also, I must mention again the need to lose those pants.)

So anyhoo, Ali has the results of the vote and will destroy Koli's blood pressure by refusing to reveal them until after we get back from commercial. Koli and Daris pat each other buddy-like as DH complains extensively about the too-short length of Koli's jacket. (Poor guy. He is not winning style points in my household with his clothing choices tonight.)

Curtis Stone and Dr. H. are in the house as we come back for the vote reveal. This cannot truly be suspenseful for anyone, can it? I mean, is there anyone who really believes Koli has a shot here? And sure enough, after millions of votes, it's Daris for the Final Three. Koli accepts it sportingly and hunches offstage. (Argh! All that swagger and he's STILL doing the meek posture? Koli honey, walk tall. Please.)

We then focus on some more well-known faces in the audience. Danny (last season's winner), Bill (season 4 winner) and Erik (season 3 winner) all stand up for some cheers. As promised, this is Erik's big moment of accountability, and indeed he looks much healthier. He's gone to the Biggest Loser Fitness Ridge resort (so much for learning how to do it on his own at home) and has lost over 150lbs. Awesome.

And speaking of bringing people back for this season's finale, it's time to check in with Shay! For those not in the know, she was the most overweight contestant in Biggest Loser history. (Yes, Michael from this season was the heaviest, but his starting BMI of 65.7 seems light and airy compared to Shay's staggering 72.4.) At the finale last season, she weighed in at 304lbs, which represented a loss of 172lbs and 36.13%. Very good, of course, but she was still morbidly obese. So Subway gave her a challenge - to lose as much weight as possible, and then weigh in again at this season's finale. For every pound lost between then and now, they would give her a thousand dollars. And of course I'm sure she had to go all over the place in the intervening time preaching the gospel of Subway deliciousness and low-caloriness. She is still quite large, but clearly much lighter. A lot of weight is gone off her face, she looks lovely. Her current weight is 252lbs, which represents a total loss of 224lbs and 47.06% from her starting point, and a clinically obese BMI of 38.3. That's nice. Subway's other spokesperson, Jared, comes out to present her with the giant cheque. However, it's blank. This is intentional, he announces, because Subway isn't done with Shay yet. (Oh, good lord, when are they going to allow this woman to stop shilling sandwiches and just live her life?) They want Jared and Shay to train to do a marathon togetehr at the end of the year. If this challenge is successful, Subway will double Shay's earnings, which translates into a total of $104,000. And, OF COURSE, Shay gets free breakfasts and lunches from Subway to help her do all this. Groan.

Okay, time to flash forward to the current season's contestants. We are introducing them four at a time, and they get to come out from one side of the stage, go down some steps, present themselves on stage to the audience, and then walk over near Ali. Cherita is out first, looking all kinds of good. Victoria is rocking a little blue dress - okay, she's still chunky, but she was the second most overweight woman in the house to start with, so this represents a vast improvement. Sherry looks fantastic and has skinny little arms. Also, she bears an even more uncanny resemblance to Helen Phillips (season 7 winner) than usual. We get a shot of Ashley's sister in the audience looking much smaller than when we saw her in Makeover Week, so it looks like the whole family's been getting in the healthy action! Yay! Last out is Maria, who has been made up far too heavily, but has also clearly lost a lot of weight. Ali reminds us that Cherita didn't spend a single night on the ranch and yet looks terrific. (Oh, she does indeed.)

Before we can see the final weights of these ladies, though, we have to bring out Bob and Jillian, the trainers. They look very nice and are even dressed appropriately. (I believe Jillian was in black spandex and leather boots at the last finale.) Jillian is, however, completely at sea wearing heels and has to lean heavily on Bob, which is pretty funny. The highlights of the season for her were helping Maria (who was deathly afraid of water) in the pool and helping people overcome their fears in general. Bob loved helping O'Neal to walk up stairs properly.

At last, results. Each contestant gets a little fast montage of their start, their at-home profile, and then a moment or two (or three) of particular importance from their time on the ranch. Cherita is 186lbs, Victoria is 222lbs, Sherry is 119lbs, and Maria is 167lbs. Sherry is strongly in the lead and I predict she'll stay there for a good while.

The next group starts with Patti, who hasn't lost her big tummy, but she is certainly looking nice. Stephanie is looking pretty tiny. (DH points out that she trains with Sam.) Twin brothers James and John are still huge, unfortunately, but John is NOTICEABLY trimmer, which is terrific. Stephanie gets to talk about falling in love with Sam. "Who didn't?" Ali counters. (True! :) Patti (who really never got enough air time, she seems like a nice lady) is 170lbs, Stephanie is 165lbs, James is 357lbs (a serious improvement from his starting point, even if he has a long way to go), and John is 335lbs. Sherry's still in the lead.

The next group starts with the villain of the season, Melissa. She looks very nice indeed, and then spoils the effect by giving a pouty face and mouthing "Boo-yah." Lance looks great. Migdalia doesn't look too different at all, although she does a sexy dance move to demonstrate confidence. Miggy looks really good. And she knows it. :) We see that she has a big tattoo on her back (badass), and DH remarks that in her case, "Revenge is best served hot." :) Melissa interviews that for her and Lance, coming on the show was never about the money, it was about changing their lives. "Really?" asks DH, "I couldn't tell that, the way you were strategizing." But later he reflects that maybe Melissa simply can't help trying to win anything she's presented with. I think that's pretty likely. Unsurprisingly, Lance doesn't get to talk, even when Ali offers him the opportunity. Sigh. Instead, Melissa talks about paying it forward to their kids.

Melissa - who, we are reminded, appeared to throw some weigh-ins for strategic reasons and was livid that the trainers didn't believe her scale failures were genuine - blows away my predictions by being 143lbs. "Hey Bob?" she calls over to where the trainers are, "I love you! Do you believe me now?" He grins widely and says she looks great...but I notice he did NOT say that he believed her. :) Lance also destroys my predictions by being 237lbs. Migdalia is 213lbs. Miggy is 149lbs. Sherry's still way ahead.

O'Neal bops out onto the stage looking spritely, jumping down the steps! :) Sunshine looks gorgeous, although DH speculates that she may have put weight back on. I'm not sure, I think it's possible that it's just the dress. We shall see. Darrell looks UNBELIEVABLE - thin neck, thin face, flat tummy; I love it. By contrast, Andrea unfortunately looks quite large and really, REALLY should not have chosen that dress. O'Neal tells us that he feels fantastic. (And looks damn slick, too.) He and Darrell share a warm handshake because they love being fathers of daughters who have grown into womanhood and confidence. Darrell says this is the best thing that could happen to a dad. I am amazed anew by how freakin' awesome he looks. He's a real contender here.

Ali defies the producers and gushes about O'Neal's wonderfulness for a few extra seconds of airtime before we find out that he's 230lbs. The Tongans in the audience go wild for him, which is great. Sunshine is 161lbs, Darrell is 224lbs, and Andrea is 214lbs. Darrell dethrones Sherry for the lead.

The last group is just three people because the number of at-home contestants isn't evenly divisible by four. Cheryl starts us off. She has chosen a ridiculous dress and haircut that make her look frumpy and bigger than she is. :( How unfortunate. She was looking so smokin' when Daris returned home, too. Sam is wearing a short-sleeved buttoned-down shirt with a tie, and has parted his hair on the side and combed it down smoothly. I really, REALLY hate to say this, but the look is evocative of Hitler Youth. I'm not a fan. He makes it a little better when he shows off his extremely impressive guns. Koli grooves down the stairs as DH says, "And here's the man who's going to win a hundred grand." Ali grills Sam about Steph. "Big pictures and bright futures," he responds. (Grey team is all about the catch-phrase philosophies.) We get a shot of Steph looking like she totally agrees with this. I just hope all of this means that the two of them and Koli are all cool now. Cheryl doesn't talk about herself. She says she couldn't be prouder of her son Daris. She's watched him go from a boy to a man, and a "man's man" at that. Koli just gives a cheezy smile and a thumbs up when asked about his chances to win. I thought that was pretty funny.

Let's check in with Jillian, because she needs to plug her new show. This involves her leaving the ranch and actually moving in with families for a week. We get a sneak peek. She's going all over the country making housecalls. And it appears that she doesn't just help people shed pounds, but crap, too - one family has what looks like the biggest yard sale in the history of the universe. DH sums it up when he says that it's basically Supernanny, but for weight loss. The show is called "Losing It," and clearly it's what's going to get me through an entire summer without a Biggest Loser season to watch. :)

Darrell doesn't think much of his chances of keeping the lead here. "Boys look goooood!" he says, leering playfully at the Grey team. :) Ali takes him to task for not giving hetero props to Cheryl. :) Good times. We are shown clips of Cheryl in the gym, the crazy lady screaming at Jillian and earning my love. Ali then points out the contrast between then and now, saying to Cheryl, "You look so dainty and delicate and feminine standing up there!" (She looks like Lucille freakin' Ball is what she looks like, people.) She's also 151lbs. Sam, who is the only person ever to have knocked the boxing gloves off Jillian while sparring with her, is 230lbs. DH marvels that he looks like Ali. (That's Muhammad, not Sweeney.)

So Darrell is still in the lead with only Koli left to weigh in. At this point, I figure out that the only way Koli could lose this is if he GAINED any weight since the final ranch weigh-in. (What an awful situation that would be, eh?) "Pick up your head, man!" DH calls out as we watch Koli assume his typical hunch. I think he's just beyond nervous, he looks really, REALLY freaked out. Before we can hear Koli's weight, though, we have to chat with Darrell some more. (Perhaps they're hoping that Koli will drop dead of a suspense-induced heart attack before he gets a chance to weigh in?) Ali lists Darrell's accomplishments, which he likes hearing. Ali then tries futilely to goad Koli into admitting that he wants to win. JUST WEIGH THE MAN IN, PEOPLE!!! At last, we get Koli's final weight: 188lbs. This blows Darrell out of the water and Koli wins the $100K. Sadly, the man who dreamed of confetti actually gets the most unbelievably cheezy, tinny music in celebration instead. That sucks. "I just wanna go home with my family, it's all I really wanna do right now," he tells Ali. "I feel great." Y'know, he may say he's gained confidence, but the dude is still clearly very shy at heart.

I wish him all the best.

We then get a profile of the Pound-for-Pound Challenge. The deal is that people pledge to lose a certain amount of weight, and for every pound pledged, a pound of food is donated. People are helping at food banks and working out all over the country. We see Coach Mo from last season, Scotty Hamilton, and DH says he saw Katherine McPhee in the montage, too. We get a few people's weight losses profiled. Over 5.8 million pounds of food have already been pledged. You can pledge, too, until June 30. And - surprise! - General Mills will donate a can of soup or vegetables for each pound pledged.

More shilling - Ali tells us that the characters from the upcoming movie Despicable Me visited the ranch this season.'s a CGI movie. The virtual characters visited real live people how? Well, we're never told. Instead, we get a trailer for the movie, folowed by dead air. Ohhhh...kay?

Alright, time to bring out the finalists! Daris's appearance is no surprise, of course, but we still haven't seen Ashley or Michael yet. Nor will we until Ali is finished telling Daris how amazing it was that he ran the marathon in about four hours. Daris confirms that it felt amazing. (Okay, I admit, it was amazing.) But moving on...Ashley and Michael were the heaviest man and woman of the season, and they both made the Final Three. Ashley looks pretty small. I mean, not skinny chick small, but still, definitely holy-crap-you-lot-a-lot-of-weight small. "Never count out Pink," DH says. Alas, her top clashes with her skirt. Ali says she went from the girl who fell off the treadmill to the Pink Ninja. How did she do it? DH wants Ashley to respond with, "Head trauma." :)

Michael comes out looking...well, looking like the person who's going to leave the stage $250K richer, not to put too fine a point on it. Unfortunately, he is wearing a very ridiculous belt buckle. And a low-cut v-neck with a silver chain necklace, leather jacket, and too-tight jeans. Um. Okay, I don't know if he was actually going for a gay biker kind of look, but he certainly managed to achieve it. Regardless, he looks terrific. And he feels terrific. And he's going to keep going.

The biggest loser on the ranch gets to choose the order in which the finalists weigh in. That's Michael, and he chooses to go youngest-to-oldest, so: Daris (who has no chance here), "Beautiful Ashley!!!", and himself. As the three of them go offstage right before the commercial, Michael loses the jacket, and he's got some nice-looking guns under there. DH and I think he's going to take this.

DH: "Owen Wilson as Marmaduke. The role he was born to play."

We're back. And for some reason, Michael is holding a single white rose.

We start with Daris. He started at 346lbs, and pledged to make himself and his loved ones proud. He'd never had a girlfriend in his life. He wanted to have a wife and kids more than anything else. In the gym, Bob watches him work out and asks how he got to be so overweight with the determination and strength that he has. In response, Daris points to his head and says, "Right here." Later in the journey, we see Daris being jettisoned off a whirling treadmill, getting up, and getting back on. Also, he won the marathon challenge in four hours and two minutes. He wants to be #1. He's 178lbs. That's 48.55%.

Ashley's starting weight was 374lbs. Her dad died when she was 16, and he always wanted her to be healthy. So it would mean a lot for her to be able to conquer the weight. We see, for the GAZILLIONTH time, her infamous fall off the treadmill, and then Sherry presenting her with the possibility of success if she goes back in the gym. Success indeed, because we then get a montage of her being determined in the gym. Sherry tells her she knows her dad would be proud of her, and Sherry is proud, too. But she wants Ashley to be proud of herself. We see successes on the scale, and it is reiterated that Ashley is the Pink Ninja. She's 191lbs. That's 48.93%. She's in the lead.

Finally, it's Michael's turn. Standing up there on the scale, he looks like Sly Stallone before the man got all scary-looking. But as good as he looks now, back in the day, Michael was 526lbs, the most of any American Biggest Loser contestant. (Possibly the most of any kind of Biggest Loser contestant.) Bob, who was saddled with 300lbs of strap-on weights at the beginning of the season so he could emphathise with Michael, had no idea how he carried it every day. "I'm gonna do it...definitely," Old Michael vows. "Watch me America." And then...the miracle transformation begins. "Are my abs showing?" he asks gleefully with a pseudo-sexy pose after his first week when he lost 34lbs. He feels proud of himself, which is a new feeling. All the hurt is going away. He breaks show records all over the damn place.

So..."What's with the flower?" Ali asks. Well, it's for his number one motivation and inspiration...his mom. He runs over and gives it to her. DH loves that he was able to run. Michael says it's an honour to face off against Ashley, because she's one of the strongest women he's ever met in his life, strong and beautiful. (Aww. :) So here we go. Michael's weight is...


Nope, no joy, we just get Ali babbling to produce filler for a while. Sigh. She even turns to Bob and asks him what he thinks. Bob says this is what the show is all about. Thanks for that cliché, Bob, can we PLEASE GET ON WITH IT?!?

Finally, Michael gets on the scale, and flings away the ubiquitous white headband. His final weight: 262lbs. That's a total loss of 50.19% and he has won the grand prize.


Michael cries. His family cries. His parents hug him. Ali says farewell for another season.

Yes, the money prize reign of Pink is over. Although admittedly, Pink has never failed to make the finale. Also, Koli may not have won the grand prize, but he certainly - as promised - "won the show" by getting the highest percentage of weight loss of all the contestants this season.


Finalists' names are in bold. Background colours on names show what their BMI category was to start with; background colours on BMIs show their final BMI category. Colour legend:

  • grey = underweight
  • green = healthy
  • yellow = overweight
  • orange = obese
  • red = clinically obese
  • purple = morbidly obese
  • pink = super-obese
Contestant Predicted Actual Since last seen %age BMI
Migdalia 185lbs 213lbs 6lbs 19.62 31.5
James 288lbs 357lbs 28lbs 26.39 42.3
Andrea 201lbs 214lbs 8lbs 28.19 33.5
Patti 172lbs 170lbs 30lbs 30.04 29.2
John 302lbs 335lbs 45lbs 30.79 39.7
Cherita 175lbs 186lbs 14lbs 32.85 28.3
Cheryl 145lbs 151lbs 13lbs 33.48 25.9
Lance 254lbs 237lbs 28lbs 35.07 29.6
Stephanie 141lbs 165lbs 3lbs 37.50 25.1
Miggy 160lbs 149lbs 30lbs 37.92 22.0
Victoria 202lbs 222lbs 18lbs 37.99 32.8
Sam 235lbs 230lbs 6lbs 38.17 28.0
Melissa 162lbs 143lbs 25lbs 38.63 23.1
Maria 148lbs 167lbs 63lbs 40.57 28.7
O'Neal 214lbs 230lbs 20lbs 40.87 32.1
Sunshine 149lbs 161lbs 1lb 41.45 26.0
Sherry 115lbs 119lbs 19lbs 45.41 22.5
Darrell 215lbs 224lbs 69lbs 45.76 32.1
Daris 174lbs 178lbs 19lbs 48.55 25.5
Ashley 186lbs 191lbs 22lbs 48.93 31.8
Michael 264lbs 262lbs 37lbs 50.19 32.7
Koli 198lbs 188lbs 30lbs 53.35 24.8


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