Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Road to glory

Night. Stadium lights illuminating the Final Four. They look mean but lean. Their mean faces (which I'm sure the producers instructed them to assume) dissolve as a big screen behind them starts showing flashbacks of themselves at the beginning of the journey. Koli wanted love but kept pushing women away because of his size; he didn't believe anyone could truly love someone so big. Ashley had a weight problem her whole life. She never felt beautiful. She wants to get married and have kids, but has to stop running. Daris's weight has always been there and he was eventually accepted for his weight. He's the fat kid walking into a fast food restaurant or hiding in his car eating fast food so no one will see him do it. Michael (on whom the stadium lighting is REALLY flattering, I must say) had so many goals and plans for himself that haven't come to pass. His weight is now so bad that his life is at stake; he wants to live.

Now the good news starts to roll. We see Koli's successes on the scale; Ashley's determination in the gym; Daris's strength in training and his first challenge win; Michael's challenge wins and scale triumphs. They smile watching themselves, although Ashley also tries to put on a pouty model face, oi.

The scene shifts to the end of last week's weigh in, right after Sunshine left. Ali congratulates them on becoming the Final Four. They're pretty stoked. Ali then sends them home for 30 days before the last weigh-in.

Group hug!

Everyone goes home to parties. They all appear to be in the exact same places as their first, public, weigh-ins. (Okay, except for Koli, who's in a gym - I guess the football field wasn't available today.) But this time, Michael is going with pride instead of embarrassment. Ashley wants to make people proud. Koli wants to wow his peeps. He's nervous. Daris makes his limo stop by the side of the road so he can look out over the broad Oklahoma farmlands before getting to the party.

Of course everyone goes absolutely wild when the Final Four arrive at their respectives fetes. It's all really, really moving. Love abounds. Vorklemptness is everywhere. The contestants' mothers are particularly overcome. Speaking of whom, Sherry looks terrific. So does Cheryl, she looks spectacular. Maria doesn't look that different, but we never really get a full-body shot of her to double-check.

But the joy doesn't end here, because the contestants each have to weigh in again at their homecoming parties, to demonstrate just how well they've done. Naturally these weigh-ins come with flashbacks to the originals. The scales have obviously been pre-programmed, because each contestant is exactly the same weight as they were in the weigh-in we saw last week. Of course the Final Four are a lot more proud and enthusiastic this time around on the scale. :) They interview about the contrast between then and now. Koli talks about his battle with depression, which his weight exacerbated; and his feelings of shame and embarrassment. But he feels great now - strong, like a winner. He tells the crowd that, as promised, he did better than Sione and Filipe from Season 7. His new promise is to win the whole show.

But hey, guess what. No sooner have they stepped off than Ali appears on the scale screen. She announces that the final challenge will be a full marathon...this time, without the bikes. Everyone who finishes this challenge gets to give $10K to the charity of their choice. Ali says that only a select few people have ever participated in this challenge, but all of them have completed it. "Will you?" she challenges before the screen goes snowy.

Surprisingly, we don't immediately get into the contestants freaking out over having to run 26.2 miles. Instead, it's time for Flashback Filler. To sum up: the contestants' lives all sucked when they were fat. Now they're strong and healthy and life is great.

Okay, there's a bit more to it than that. Firstly, Koli has a conversation with his dad over breakfast. Koli's dad is extremely non-communicative and undemonstrative, which probably explains a lot about Koli. However, today he is letting it all out. In an unemotional tone, he tells Koli stuff that the guy has been hoping to hear his whole life: His parents were always worried about him, and it hurt watching him struggle to do stuff like breathe; but they're both very proud of their son. Having received the affirmation from his all-important father figure that he has wanted to get since he was born, Koli...nods and responds totally unemotionally. GAWD! This is a stupid man thing, isn't it. Lord, can we not stop doing this to our sons?

Secondly, we need a product placement. Michael - who is taking the optimistic view that although he's still an overweight person, he's an overweight person who can run and hike and do stuff - wants to make meatballs and pasta with his family. But of course they have to do it the healthy way. How can we do that, Michael? How? Why, by using Jennie-O 99%-fat-free extra-lean ground turkey for the meatballs, OF COURSE. Maria is actually caught on camera rolling her eyes. :) Yes, gone are the days of putting breadcrumbs in meatballs and frying them. (FRYING them? Who the hell fries meatballs?) Now, they put chickpeas in them and bake them up. (Oh, MAN, that sounds good.) Michael's heavy sister Rosangela doesn't look tremendously confident about these changes, but too bad, here we go. Michael reflects on how good it is to keep the good Italian tradition of food, in a healthy way.

Thirdly, Cheryl needs to have a conversation with her son that juuuuust borders on icky as she basically tells him how smokin' hot he is. (I give her a free pass because, well, who can argue with her.) Daris wants to talk about the values of hard work that his parents have instilled in him and how he loves that, and he's really grateful for receiving that. Cheryl turns it around and gives him the credit for doing the hard work. She also says he's gone from being a boy to a man. Clearly she is absolutely delighted for him, and can't take her eyes off him and how gorgeous and smiley he is. Daris is really glad he's impressed her because his mom is important to him. It's a feel-good moment.

Fourthly, Ashley - who ran from her father's illness and her weight problems - is happy, happy, happy. Life is good, life is swell, she's happy and healthy, and she finally knows that this is what her dad always wanted for her.

But wait...turns out life is not always flowers and butterflies for our Pink lassie. She has the, like, omigawd, awful problem of a cellphone that doesn't stop ringing and flooding over with text messages. It's, like, sooo distracting! How will she balance her life here? (Well, chickie, try GETTING RID OF THE PHONE!) She tells her mom (who's looking pretty svelte) that she's planning to go out partying tonight. However! She's not planning to drink. This is something she used to do a lot: escaping the pain of her dad's death through alcohol. But now the thought makes her sick and she has made a decision to avoid that lifestyle, there are more important things to do in life. Sherry says this is a huge victory and is absolutely thrilled and relieved to hear it.

Okay, now we have to start thinking about training for this marathon thing coming up. Daris is completely stoked. He's discovered a love and talent for long-distance running, and wants to win this challenge commandingly. (Right, like anyone expects someone beside Daris to win it.) This is a stark contrast to the days when he avoided running trails completely because he was fat. Ashley is intimidated by the challenge, but thinks it's pretty cool to be training for a marathon. Michael is scared to death but reflects on how far he's come. He can't even imagine what it will be like to finish it, but he plans to get it done and be proud. (Also, there's still snow on the ground in Chicago.)

It's pretty daunting training for a marathon, though, so Ashley uses her omnipresent phone to call Michael and gab about it. She gripes about the craziness of being at home. It's not what Michael expected, either, and admits that he actually weighs more now, he's not losing weight. (Oh dear.) He's also bummed because just a few miles of running is wiping him out. "Ya wanna do it together?" he asks her. (It took a while into the conversation for it to become clear that they were talking about the actual marathon, not the training. Because people living over 500 miles apart can't actually train together.) "You and me, Mikey!" Ashley enthuses, and threatens to ride on his back to the finish line. He calls her Shortcake, she calls him Babe, leaving DH and I wondering if there's a little something something going on around here?

Enter Curtis Stone, to make good on Daris's prize from the last weigh-in. Daris remarks that he can't hang out the same way he used to, such as going to his favourite restaurant, "Budrow's", which doesn't serve the sort of food he should be eating now. (It's a rib joint.) What could we possibly do about that? Well, when you have a sexy Australian chef, a major television network, and thousands of sponsorship dollars behind you, you can convince the restaurant owners to let you do pretty much anything. Such as: putting a "Daris" section on the menu. (Yes, seriously.) So Curtis and Daris go shopping (at Kroger!) for the ingredients to let Curtis work his magic. He adds four new things to the restaurant's menu: spicy black bean soup (160 calories), smoked trout dip (240 calories), green bean salad (90 calories), and grilled pork tenderloin (300 calories). Gawd, it all looks amazing, I gotta say. I particularly wish I were eating that soup, boy howdy. At the restaurant, Daris and Curtis serve the new foods and everyone at the restaurant digs in. Even a very, VERY large dude sitting next to Daris says it tastes terrific.

Over in California, Koli and Sam go to their old bar to catch up with old friends. As nice as this is, though, Koli is feeling EXTREME PRESSURE from all the bombardment of love from friends and family! It destroys his focus! So he's having a hard time with the challenge of being at home. He grabs Sam and asks him how he's been coping. Sam has only been at home a week at this point, of course, so he hasn't figured it out, either. He does, however, advise Koli to focus on himself. So they leave the bar and plan for an early day in the gym. (Good plan.)

DH, with a look filled with meaning: "Are the THREE of them gonna work out together?" (He means Koli, Sam and Steph. Heh. That oughta be fun.)

HILARIOUS Jason Alexander commercial for Jenny Craig. There are no words. You must see it.

Roll out the home cams! It's 1am and Daris, resplendent in a wife-beater (urg), just got home (partying?) and decided to eat something because he's been stressed. Stressed about the marathon, stressed about weight loss, stressed about whether he'll find a girlfriend, etc. etc. (Stressed about finding a girlfriend? Hello? Huh? Why is this the ultimate goal at this stage of the competition?) He knows that he's doing the same thing he's always done: eat when he's stressed, because it makes him feel good. And yet, he does it anyway. Snacking now, he's had twice the amount of calories he's had all day, feels like crap, and then...eats some more. So he backslid. He knows this is not the way to make himself feel better, but...he does it anyway. (To be fair, the calories he's sucking back at least look like decent ones; cereal and nuts and something that could be bread or chicken, that kind of thing.)

Ouch.

In response to the bombardment of attention from friends and family, Koli is driving to Vegas in order to focus. Really? VEGAS is the place to go to avoid DISTRACTION?!? Oh, wait, apparently there are gyms in Vegas. This one is a mixed martial arts facility, where a buddy of his works, who's training him. It's very intense. His life right now is to work out, go home and sleep, and then repeat the cycle the next day. DH reflects that Koli's not really learning how to live his life here, he's running away from it; going from one plastic bubble to another.

But fear not, help is on the way! Bob and Jillian are out in the wildernesses of Illinois, Oklahoma, Vegas, and Tennesse, hunting down their elusive Losers. They are expecting their peeps to be surprised. In Illinois, Bob is even disguised by driving a pizza delivery van. (No one will suspect!) Michael is out for a run when Bob pulls up and blocks his path. Michael thinks this is hilarious. In Tennessee, Ashley answers her front door to find Jillian. On the west coast, Bob meets Koli at his gym. "Why am I in Las Vegas?" he asks Koli. "Because I wanted to gamble and eat the buffets," Koli banters. :) The hardest person to find is Daris, who's out for a run. Jillian actually uses a HELICOPTER to find him. She complains about what she goes through for her people. Oh, the humanity of her life. Having to take a helicopter ride over a gorgeous vista of vast plains and running horses. Someone put her out of her misery by shooting her now.

It's time to talk about the challenges and downside of being at home. Michael is feeling good...sort of. Just okay. He's getting his workouts in, harder, he says, than at the ranch. Bob calls him on this crap by immediately saying, "You're not." :) They head over to Michael's place where, doubtless, there will be some Deep Talks and some Hugging It Out. Once there, things take a little twist and we see the real reason Bob has come: Michael's sister Rosangela is this year's Max Morelli. She feels like she doesn't fit in, even into her family, which feels awful. It's basically like a mini-intervention for her. Bob wants her to decide that she's worth it enough, and that her next step is asking for help.

(We do finally get a decent body shot of Maria, though - she looks pretty good!)

Jillian's still in her damn helicopter. "There's a whole lotta nothing out there," she tells us. (No there isn't, that's where they GROW YOUR DAMN FOOD, chickie!) Finally, Daris comes into her sights and she gets the helicopter to land. Cue Wagner's Flight of the Valkyries, for some bizarre reason. (DH: "Yeah, she is a bit of a Valkyrie.") Daris is so surprised that he SWEARS. He can't believe she helicoptered in to see him. They hold hands and walk down the road while he skates vaguely around how he's doing. Fortunately, Jillian recognizes that, for a generally quiet and internal guy like Daris, this translates into not-so-great news.

Back to Koli. Why isn't he at home? Because it's crazy there. Won't it still be crazy when he goes back after the show? Well, yeah, but Koli won't have the show to win when he gets back after the finale. WARNING! This is classic show-winner mentality, Bob tells us, and is very concerned. He needs to know that Koli isn't going to do the same thing as people like Erik Chopin: focus exclusively on winning the finale and then regress once the pressure's off. Koli says he knows Bob's concerned, but he really is committed to stay healthy, this focus is really just for right now. I guess we can only wait and see.

More home cams:

  • Koli: The weight is not dropping as fast as he wants, although it is going along. The big problem is that he lives with a bunch of college guys. He's constantly surrounded by burgers and pizza.
  • Ashley: She went out partying and is feeling a little guilty. Then her phone rings while she's interviewing and we have to fast forward to when she can get back to the camera. Also, she has a cold, but she's still out until midnight. Oh well, live and learn. (Chickie! TURN OFF YOUR DAMN PHONE!!! Why are people calling you at midnight?!?)

With all this struggling-at-home bad news, it's time to infuse the Final Four with a little ranch-style dressing down. (See what I did there? Heh.) Bob and Jillian take their people through their paces at the gym. Ashley loves how Jillian is forcing her to realise what she's doing. Michael had forgotten how psychotic Bob can get in the gym. :) Jillian ends off the Ashley workout with a big ol' smack on her bum.

As we get closer to Marathon Day, we get more home cams:

  • Michael: 3 days until the return to the ranch, and he's been trying to walk 20 miles at a time. Looks like he uses his feet to do errands instead of taking a car.
  • Ashley: She wants to see how well they've all done at home.
  • Koli: He's packing. He does look smaller. He says he thinks he's done everything he can.
  • Daris: Looks like he's been overtraining for the marathon, and now he's wearing a knee brace. Yeesh. Looks like that's gonna screw with his chances to kill the challenge.

And finally...we're back! It's Marathon Day! Hugs of greeting. And it's raining. Oh, that so sucks. Koli tells us it's also freezing cold, which is even worse. "At least it won't be hot!" chirps Little Miss Pink Sunshine. But Koli finds this pretty scary. Daris reminds us that the top time to beat for this challenge (Tara, Season 7, natch) is four hours and fifty-five minutes. He wants to beat that, knee or no knee.

Ali starts us off, but not before informing us that the charitable donation prize money comes from the makers of the Biggest Loser fitness game for the Wii. (I have lost track of the number of product placements we've had so far.) And...they're...OFF!

Koli feels good. He's going to try to keep up with Daris. Behind Koli, all Michael sees is an orange blur. :) Also, he wants to throw up. Further on in the race, Koli isn't able to see Michael and Ashley behind him anymore, they're way back behind. But it looks like they're having a great time; they're ridiculously upbeat and chipper. They even hug and, according to DH, kiss (!!!) while running out of pure exuberance. (What drugs are they taking, because I want some.) Daris, even with the knee thing, is way out in front. He wants to do the best; this has been his goal for a long time. Michael and Ashley stop running and walk. Koli is still running, but slowly. Daris, of course, never stops. Koli reflects on how, five months ago, he was on the couch doing nothing, really. This indicates to him that ANYBODY can do it. That's some good inspiration for the people at home.

And then - the sun comes out! This is definitely cheering, especially for Daris. Nice day for a run!

Koli is really struggling, and starts talking to himself to keep himself motivated running up a hill. He just does NOT want to stop running. Ashley and Michael start having an unbelievably saccharine "Any happiness you can point out, I can point out happier" contest. Ashley reminds Michael that they were the biggest man and woman in the house at the start, and here they are, Final Four, doing a freakin' marathon! (That is pretty awesome, I have to say.) Michael counters by saying he's in the best shape of his life and feels great. Ashley ups the ante by saying she loves living a healthy life and now she's truly happy, not just pretending, like she was before. At mile 9, Koli has not stopped running. Michael, meanwhile, says they're doing great with their time. He feels damn good about himself. Daris passes some running horses. (Heh. Must remind him of home.) He's amazed at how good he feels. Koli has never run this fast before.

If this gets any more cloying, I'm going to throw up. (Spot the reference, David Eddings fans.)

But all this running does wear on people, especially first-time marathoners, I would imagine. So, as is traditional, around the halfway point, the show brings out surprises for the contestants. Daris is the first to the halfway point, and waiting for him is Matt Hoover, the winner of Season 2. Matt is another former contestant who has put a lot of weight back on. However, he seems to be keeping himself fit still - in last season's "where are they now" show, he was just two or three minutes shy of a qualifying time in an Iron Man, which is an amazing accomplishment. Unfortunately, it looks like he's put on even more weight since then. :( He's still able to run with Daris, though, so that's something.

At his halfway point, Koli is in a lot of pain, but is buoyed by the surprise of Sione, his inspiration for going on the Biggest Loser, waiting for him! That is a nice surprise! Until...it becomes evident that Sione's put on a lot of weight again. :( Nevertheless, he's here to run. He and Koli do a quick hug and start running together.

Ashley and Michael need inspiration a little earlier than the halfway point, so they get their surprises at Mile 11. Michael is expecting their moms, but nope! Ashley gets a fellow Pink Sister, the Season 5 winner, Ali Vincent! As always, she looks awesome. She and Ashleyi Pink it out. :) For Mike, there's a huge surprise, it's Mike Morelli, Season 7 finalist! It's absolutely wonderful to see Mike again, but it's going to destroy my ability to recap this section of the show. :) Two Italian Biggest Loser Mikes? I'm screwed. Okay, let's use colour to differentiate. White Michael is absolutely stoked and delighted to see Brown Michael. Two Italians? How surreal! He freaks out, seeing Brown Mike gives him a total energy boost. He's utterly star-struck, it's soooo cute! And speaking of cute, Brown Mike is still gorgeous and has kept practically all the weight off. (He's a freshman in college; he's done really well to maintain such a good weight.)

So everyone's energy is cranked up. Daris likes having Matt run with him. Matt advises him that most people find Mile 20 is the hardest. Ironically, though, at Mile 20, Matt peels off. "Thank you, Matt!" Daris yells as he flies on. (Okay, not bad, seven miles of keeping up with Daris; Matt's fitness must be pretty good.) Michael has real problems between Mile 15 and 20. Things are getting really painful. But he is determined to dig down and do it. Brown Michael advises him that you don't have to win the show to be a winner; White Michael already has his life back.

There's more running, and tons more retrospectives.

What's really cool this season is that there seems to be more of a public awareness that the marathon is happenng. Random people clap for Michael as he goes by, which jazzes him, and he expresses thanks. He also flashes the American Sign Language for "I love you" a whole bunch. "You're almost there!" screams a woman with a baby as Daris runs by. Cars beep their horns in support all over the place. That's all pretty awesome. Let's hear it for random Californians.

Back to Daris. We start hearing about his real goal here at the marathon. Not only does he want to win; not only does he want to beat Tara's record time; he wants to do it all in four hours. Um. That's REALLY ambitious! But he wants to be a real marathon runner. And he's by the ocean now, seeing dolphins play. (That is so cool.) His sister Micky meets him at Mile 25 and runs with him for a bit. But he really wants that four-hour time and decides to go for it. He takes off, leaving her behind. "Go for it!" she yells at him, "oh mah gawd!" She is amazed. As am I - he's really running HARD and he's at the end of the freakin' marathon! As is traditional, they throw in that extra bit of torture right at the end by making them do the last stretch on sand. As hard as it has to be, he keeps running towards the finish line. His final time is 4:02:12. That's unbelievably awesome!

Sione may be big, but his fitness is obviously okay because he's still running with Koli by the time they get to the coastline stretch. Good for him! And it gets better - at Mile 24, Sione insists on a faster pace.

Michael is at the end of the pack. He wants to know how far ahead Ashley is, because they promised to finish together. So he and Brown Mike pick it up. White Michael isn't sure where he got the energy and power to do that, but catch up he does, which is amazing. "Your hot male escorts have arrived!" he announces. (That is AWESOMELY hilarious.) Ashley is really glad he caught up to her.

At Mile 25, Sione and Koli are still going strong, and Koli's sister shows up to run the last stretch with him! This is emotional for Koli - not only is his sister there, but he's really close to the finish. "This is the fun part," Sione announces as they hit Mile 26 and head for the sand. With the finish line in sight, Koli really picks it up. I mean, REALLY picks it up. I can't believe he's doing that over sand. His final time is 6:08:09. He's pushed himself incredibly hard, though - he's making unstoppable whimpery sounds and Dr. H has to come over to advise him to keep moving for a bit.

As the last group walks along the coastline, Ali advises Ashley and White Michael that she and Brown Mike will be behind them, but will let them finish first because this is something they have to do themselves. Ashley barely pays attention to this, she is on a mondo runner's high. "Woo! You can do it too!" she screams at the people watching them from the beach. The good times keep rolling at Mile 25, because Ashley's brother, resplendent in pink, is waiting for her. She starts to cry and run when she sees him. Michael starts running too - his sister Maria Stella is his Mile 25 prize! (Seriously. Rosangela, Maria Stella, and...Michael? Not Adalberto? Marcoantonio? Severiano? How come he didn't get a multi-syllable Italian name? Shafted!) Ashley's brother means the absolute world to her and she breaks down completely upon seeing him. For Michael, Maria Stella really pushed him at home, so it's great for him to have her here now. Ashley and Michael run on the sand. RUN. Cue the moving music. Their final time is 6:26:18. Seriously? Two clinically obese people doing a marathon in under six and a half hours?!? That's awesome.

This is GOOD TV, people!

Some time later, once everyone's had a chance to catch their breath and, no doubt, be examined by an anxious-looking Dr., H, it's...giant cheques for everybody! Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Daris), Beast Cancer Research Foundation (Michael) and two other payees that we never get to see, but I'm sure they're good causes.

Final weigh-in before the finale. "This is it," Ali confirms. The two people with the highest percentages will be guaranteed a spot in the finals. The two people under the yellow line will, as is now traditional, be at the mercy of the viewing audience - America will vote which one goes on.

Milestones achieved:

  • Ashley and Koli dropped below 225lbs
  • Michael dropped below 300lbs
  • Ashley hit the 150lb mark of total loss
  • Koli hit the 175lb mark of total loss
  • Michael hit the 225lb mark of total loss
  • Koli went from being obese to overweight
  • Michael went from being morbidly obese to clinically obese
  • Ashley and Michael hit the 40% mark of total loss
  • Koli hit the 45% mark of total loss

Michael breaks down and cries at being under 300lbs. He has never done that in his adult life, no matter how he tried or what he did. So he feels wonderful about that accomplishment. Koli's weight loss doesn't measure up to Michael's and Ashley's, though, and he's under the yellow line, which I don't think has ever happened to him before. He admits he was too focused at home and couldn't celebrate the small victories, but that's hard for him. Ashley tops them all and inspires Daris to say some really wonderful things about her strength. He recalls the first week on the ranch that it was very obvious she knew who she was, and he wanted that for himself. He thinks she's amazing, and that she's helped him. "You mean a lot to me, girl," he says, with tears in his eyes. She loves it. :)

Um...holy fuck, where the hell did that come from? I'm not complaining, it's wonderful, but...does this Mean Anything, or was Daris just opening up? They didn't show Michael's face throughout all of that, either, so I couldn't tell whether he looked jealous/outraged/happy/neutral/whatever. Is it just me, or are Romantic Possibilities cropping up everywhere?

And speaking of Daris, he delivers the biggest shocker of the night - a 2lb gain. He tries to explain this away by saying that he concentrated on training for the marathon instead of losing weight. My first reaction is that this makes no sense. I don't seem to be the only one, either. Ali nods sagely like she understands, but her face is saying, "I don't know if I buy that." Surprisingly though, the first person to call bullshit is Bob. Then Jillian gets in on the action and says that she knows that Daris knows that there are other things going on, and he has to face it, not go into denial. "We all fall down," she tells him, but points out that after that, you have to get up and keep going again, and that everyone expects that from him. He nods, clearly upset with himself. Jillian interviews that Daris has obviously just been eating too much. (Wait until she sees the home cam binge footage, she's going to go ballistic.)

Regardless of Daris's backslide, I don't think Koli has a chance in hell against him in a popularity contest, which is what the vote of course is. Daris is:

  • super-nice and sweet and cute
  • extremely popular
  • not focused on the superficial goal of winning
  • without a single instance of gameplay this whole season
  • honest and non-manipulative

Add in the extra whammies that Daris is white and from The South, and you have yourself a winner with American reality show voting audiences. Koli's toast. But they have to plead their cases anyway, so here we go.

Koli admits that being in this position is a very humbling experience. He talks about hard work having been his mantra - stay above the yellow line, and you don't need to worry about votes. Yet, here he is. It's hard for him to ask for things, but he begs for the chance to get that confetti. He leaves it up to the people. He hopes that if he has inspired or touched us in any way, that we can give him our vote. He is sincere, but not really humble.

Daris has to admit that he gained 2lbs, and he's not proud of it. He guesses that Jillian's right in that he sabotaged himself. The tears begin. He says that at home, he would stay up and eat after doing fine all day long. He's not proud of that. DH: "He's still hurting inside." He asks for a second chance and lets out a deep breath before expressing gratitude. That was some seriously sincere humble pie.

Ali uses 'whom' correctly in a sentence as she asks people to vote. The vote, by the way, is sponsored by Yoplait. Product placement to the bitter end, people! If you're in the contiguous United States, you can vote until 12pm the day before the finale.

Next week: (SPOILERS and predictions)

TV Guide: After viewer votes determine the third finalist, the winner of the $250,000 prize is crowned in the Season 9 finale. The eliminated players also return to weigh in for the $100,000 at-home prize, and former contestants share their weight-loss progress since leaving the show.

(Those former players, as we learned in last season's finale, will be Shay from Season 8 and Erik, the Season 3 winner who gained a lot of his weight back. But I'm hoping we see other alums, too.)

Here's how I think things are going to fall out next week on the live show. Projected finalists' names are in bold. Background colours on names show what their BMI category was to start with; background colours on BMIs show what their projected BMI category will be at the finale. Colour legend:

  • grey = underweight
  • green = healthy
  • yellow = overweight
  • orange = obese
  • red = clinically obese
  • purple = morbidly obese
  • pink = super-obese
%age Name BMI Weight
29.22 Patti 29.5 172lbs
30.19 Migdalia 27.3 185lbs
30.41 Lance 31.7 254lbs
30.47 Melissa 26.1 162lbs
32.55 Andrea 31.5 201lbs
33.33 Miggy 23.6 160lbs
36.12 Cheryl 24.9 145lbs
36.82 Cherita 26.6 175lbs
36.83 Sam 28.6 235lbs
37.60 John 35.8 302lbs
40.62 James 34.1 288lbs
43.58 Victoria 29.8 202lbs
44.99 O'Neal 29.8 214lbs
45.82 Sunshine 24.0 149lbs
46.59 Stephanie 21.4 141lbs
47.25 Sherry 21.7 115lbs
47.33 Maria 25.4 148lbs
47.94 Darrell 30.8 215lbs
49.71 Daris 25.0 174lbs
49.81 Michael 33.0 264lbs
50.27 Ashley 30.9 186lbs
50.87 Koli 26.1 198lbs

Prediction is Ashley for grand prize (maintaining the tradition of Pink never having failed to win a prize in American Biggest Loser history), Koli for at-home prize. So technically, I think Koli stands a good chance of making good on his promise to "win the show" by getting the biggest percentage of weight loss out of everyone. But to get the grand $250K prize he has to win the vote, and I just don't think there's any way he's going to do that.

Standings

# This wk % Overall % This wk lbs Overall lbs BMI
1 Ashley (7.79) Koli (45.91) Michael (23) Michael (227) Daris (28.3)
2 Michael (7.14) Michael (43.16) Ashley (18) Koli (185) Koli (28.8)
3 Koli (5.63) Daris (43.06) Koli (13) Ashley (161) Ashley (35.4)
4 Daris (-1.03) Ashley (43.05) Daris (-2) Daris (149) Michael (37.4)

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