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The Biggest Loser recap: Play the Game

One of the eliminated players returns, changing the dynamic of the game completely; two previous winners take over hosting duties while Alison Sweeney takes her six-day maternity leave; and no fewer than three contestants show gains at the weigh-in

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Estella Gerald
Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

The Biggest Loser

TV Show
Current Status:
Bob Harper
Reality TV

If only every week were this eventful on the Biggest Loser ranch — then we wouldn’t have to sit through the 45 minutes of repeated footage and drawn-out editing it takes to witness one weigh-in. With Alison Sweeney gone for the birth of her second child, past winners Ali Vincent and Michelle Aguilar subbing in her place, the return of three eliminated contestants, Ron getting emergency surgery, and a truly dramatic weigh-in during which no less than three contestants ended up gaining weight, there wasn’t a shortage of drama this week. And while the action started immediately after the previous week’s weigh-in, it didn’t let up until the last vote was counted in the elimination room.

When the contestants entered the gym the morning after the weigh-in expecting their usual beginning-of-the-week pop challenge, they were surprised to see Ali Vincent waiting in Alison Sweeney’s usual spot. Due to the fact that she gave birth right after shooting the weigh-in, Sweeney was taking a little time off with her newborn, and Vincent would be filling her shoes. Vincent has the distinction of being the first female Biggest Loser. Having won the title after being sent home for five weeks, she was the perfect choice to introduce Estella, David, and Nicole, who were sent home at the end of the first week of competition and never returned because their partners had been eliminated.

Now, I don’t want to seem uninspired by Estella and David’s losses (the former more than the latter, since I don’t think David had really lost much since we last saw him), but seeing Nicole walk through the gym was like seeing a stranger walk through the door. She had lost so much weight that she was barely recognizable but for her infectious smile. So, while Stella weighed in first with an incredible 45-pound loss, and David settled for mediocrity with 46, we knew Nicole’s number had to be high — but I don’t think anyone (except Nicole) expected it to be quite so high. Since her first arrival on the ranch, Nicole had lost a jaw-dropping 87 pounds. That amounted to a 32.34 percentage loss — second only to Tara.

The high number was like a beacon of hope for the rest of the episode — Ron would finally get sent packing, Tara would finally be put in her place, and the competition would be refreshed with someone who wasn’t so jaded that every waking thought was consumed with how to beat every other person! Or so I hoped. Nope, sadly, just as quickly as she returned to the ranch, Nicole was sent back home to Brooklyn. And from first glance, girlfriend was doomed before she even participated in a lick of competition.

Because her transformation was so drastic, everyone else on the ranch was seriously freaked out by Nicole’s chances in the competition. Of course, when they each approached her individually to ”welcome” her back, they all went with the ”Holy cow, you’re totally going to inspire me to step up my game now” angle. Well, the ”game” part was true anyway. While some people took the changed dynamic and used it to lose a ton of weight, others used it to scheme and rationalize away their less-than-stellar performances for the week. Nicole, meanwhile, knew she was totally in the running once she heard how she stood in the competition overall, but was utterly clueless about the game-play aspect of the show. She was only on the ranch a week before getting sent home, and the lack of reality show experience (scheming, plotting, and the like) definitely contributed to her downfall. We know this because they showed pretty much every contestant talking about how it was more about the ”game” now, including Nicole herself: ”I’m not just coming back to the ranch, I’m coming back to the game.”

NEXT: The contestants perform a balancing act