Season 9 begins with the show's heaviest contestant ever and twin brothers whose combined weights come close to 1,000 pounds
Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Hello, one and all, and welcome to the ninth season of The Biggest Loser! My name is Kate Ward, and I’ll be your recapper for the season. A few things you might want to know about me before we begin this journey together: I hate working out (but do it anyway) and hate crying, but The Biggest Loser inspires me to do both. And I fully accept doing these things I hate, because I lurve, lurve, lurve this show. Something about the swelling music, people achieving the impossible… ack, I’m already getting verklempt! So before I go through an entire tissue box, let’s get started!

Soon after our 11 teams were told they’d nabbed a spot on this season of The Biggest Loser, they were given their first task: In a Biggest Loser first, the contestants would be conducting their first weigh-in in front of friends and family instead of Ali & Co. Then they had to read their weight out loud as if they were in AA, and then tell everyone how they were going to change themselves. Okay, here’s the deal, Biggest Loser. I’m all for encouraging our contestants to be courageous. And they already are — even when they weigh-in at the ranch, they’re doing so with the full knowledge that America will see them in all their glory in a few months time. So why conduct the first weigh-in this way? Honestly, that was the most unnecessary display of public humiliation I’ve seen since the Salem witch trials.

But, if nothing else, it gave us a chance to learn about our 11 teams. And here they are:

Daris and Cheryl (Orange Team): This team from Ardmore, Okla., is made up of Chris Sligh’s long-lost twin and his mom, who both vow to make their family proud with their weight-loss goals. Starting weights: Daris: 346 pounds. Cheryl: 227 pounds.

John and James (Brown Team): Here we’ve got identical twin brothers, otherwise known as “The half-ton twins.” But at least they’ve got plenty of folks cheering them on — the Orlando, Fla. mayor showed up to lend these two their support. Starting weights: John: 484 pounds. James: 485 pounds.

Stephanie and Patti (Purple Team): This daughter-and-mom team from Lafayette, Calif., were not all-too-eager to have their clothes stripped away during their first weigh-in. Starting weights: Patti: 243 pounds. Stephanie: 264 pounds.

Ashley and Sherry (Pink Team): Ashley is the heaviest girl on the ranch. And her mother, Sherry, has got some heavy baggage as well — Sherry began gaining weight after her husband died of melanoma cancer. Starting weights: Ashley: 374 pounds. Sherry: 218.

Darrell and Andrea (Black Team): Andrea doesn’t want to end up like her father, Darrell, who often can’t participate in family activities because of his weight. Starting weights: Andrea: 298 pounds. Darrell: 413 pounds.

Victoria and Cherita (Blue Team): Cherita, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, decided to do the show with her daughter, Victoria, because, as she said, “I need to live. I can’t afford to die.” Starting weights: Cherita: 277 pounds. Victoria: 358 pounds.

NEXT: Pedaling for a cause

Miggy and Migdalia (Green Team): This mom-and-daughter team blames, in part, their Puerto Rican culture for their poor eating habits. Migdalia’s husband also recently returned from serving in Iraq. Starting weights: Miggy: 240 pounds. Migdalia: 265 pounds.

Melissa and Lance (Red Team): Melissa claims that weight is a huge issue in her marriage to Lance. Starting weights: Melissa: 233 pounds. Lance: 365 pounds.

Koli and Sam (Grey Team): Like Biggest Loser 7‘s Sione and Filipe, these cousins are Tongan. But Koli and Sam hope to do even better than the season 7 powerhouses. Starting weights: Sam: 372 pounds. Koli: 403 pounds.

Sunshine and O’Neal (Yellow Team): O’Neal hopes to resemble his old ripped self after this process is through, while daughter Sunshine laments never having kissed a boy. Starting weights: Sunshine: 275 pounds. O’Neal: 389 pounds.

Mike and Maria (White Team): These “fun-loving Italians” thankfully avoided reality-show stereotyping of their ethnicity by being seen eating pancakes, and not lasagna or spaghetti, etc. Maria, however, feels guilty for teaching her son, Mike, to love food, while Mike — the heaviest contestant in Biggest Loser history — is frustrated that he has so far to go. Starting weights: Maria: 281 pounds. Mike: 526 pounds.

After weighing themselves at home, it was time for the contestants to step onto the ranch, prompting Sherry to say, “Yes, it’s the gym!… Oh, dear lord, it’s the gym.” (I completely sympathize, as that is something I say every time I trudge to my 24 Hour Fitness.) Greeting the contestants was Ali Sweeney, who apparently decided to pay homage to Jennifer Love Hewitt in Can’t Hardly Wait by bringing along her wind machine this season. Seriously, all that was missing from that ridiculous hair-waving scene was a Hot Chocolate tune.

But all the smiles and niceness was purely for appearance, as we soon discovered that Ali is PURE EVIL. How else do you explain her forcing the contestants — make that “the sickest group of contestants we’ve ever had on The Biggest Loser” — immediately bike 26.2 miles? Why not just hit them in the stomach with a 6-foot metal pole and get it over with? Regardless, they were pumped to get on the bikes, until they learned the cruel truth: The first nine teams to finish would earn a place in the house, while the two last-place finishers would be asked to leave. Once they hopped on, Miggy and Migdalia were clearly the team to beat, with Miggy exerting as much effort and energy as Lance Armstrong. (Is Miggy this season’s Tara?) Sure enough, the green team won, and were therefore guaranteed immunity at the next weight-in. The rest battled it out before Cherita nearly collapsed in a moment that I would call melodramatic if I didn’t totally buy into it. Victoria was left to make up distance for her mother — who was pulled out of the challenge by good ol’ Dr. Huizenga — but didn’t manage to make it to the top nine. Along with Sunshine and O’Neal, Cherita and Victoria were asked to collect their things and go home without any advice from our valuable trainers. Boo.

But, hold up! …

NEXT: A second bite at the apple

But, hold up! As the two teams left in their limos, Jillian and Bob hopped out of the forest. (I can only imagine Bob sitting by his tree, petting a squirrel while waiting, while Jillian spends her time screaming at a little bunny for being so cute and cuddly.) Both our trainers stopped their cars and explained that the game really isn’t over for the two teams: After 30 days of at-home training, where they will still have access to Bob and Jillian’s expertise, the two teams will face off. The one with the highest percentage of weight loss will be allowed back in the house. So it turned out to be a sunny day after all for Sunshine, O’Neal, Cherita, and Victoria.

After returning to the ranch and getting a nice night’s sleep, Bob and Jillian decided to wake the remaining contestants for their first day of training in an unconventional way: with a fire alarm. Because, really, these folks don’t have enough obstacles in their lives — so let’s make them deaf too! And once they got to the gym, this episode of The Biggest Loser suddenly turned into a sequel to The Exorcist. There was puking, screaming, and, according to Jillian, something called “snot tears.” (Yum?) It wasn’t long before Jillian perched right on top of Cheryl’s treadmill like Gollum and decided to turn the timid mom into her precious. At first, Smeagol began to quietly encourage Cheryl, before Gollum took over and began screaming at the orange team contestant. Next thing we knew, Cheryl turned into one heckuva a badass, and we were treated to a training montage that rivaled Rocky Balboa’s.

Product placement alert! Did you know a Brita filter is cheaper than bottled water? The more you know!

Following their first workout, the contestants gathered in the house and began to get to know one another. The common thread? They just want to be loved, is that so wrong?! But, all kidding aside, this was quite a sad, yet touching, sequence, in which nearly everyone in the house admitted that they never felt they could find love. This hit me hard, not only because it reminded me of one of my sleepover parties, but also because we learn just how much obesity can infringe on one’s ability to fully live life. But as we’ve seen in previous seasons (hello, Alexandra and Antoine!), this life change often does lead to love for our contestants. So methinks things will only look up for these folks. Warm fuzzies!

But no more time for bonding! Time for our contestants’ last chance workout, which included exercises like this-is-my-giant-ball!, and I-hate-this-tire-so-let’s-beat-it! Bob made like Jillian and began spouting harsh critiques on his contestants, even telling Andrea that there’s no crying in The Biggest Loser. (Except that, you know, there is. A lot, actually. In fact, I’m crying right now.) Then we learned about James’ injury, which kept him from doing most of the exercises demanded of the other contestants. Foreshadow alert!

NEXT: The big weigh-in keeps us from seeing double

Time for the weigh-in: This time, the producers were gracious enough to allow the contestants to actually weigh themselves in relative privacy – even if this was a weigh-in all the teams would be proud for their family and friends to see. Every single team pulled in impressive numbers, but the most jaw-dropping one belonged to our Italian Mike, who lost 34 pounds. (That made him the contestant who lost more weight in one week than any other Biggest Loser contestant in history.) Then he won me over even further by saying, “Are my abs showin’?” Also breaking a record was Patti, who lost more weight in one week than any other female contestant. The breakdown for the rest:

Green Team: Migdalia: -13 pounds. Miggy: -16 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 5.74 percent.

Grey Team: Sam: -18 pounds. Koli: -29 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 6.06 percent.

Orange Team: Cheryl: -14 pounds. Daris: -29 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 7.50 percent.

Black Team: Andrea: -14 pounds. Darrell: -30 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 6.19 percent.

Brown Team: James: -23 pounds. John: -23 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 4.75 percent.

Red Team: Melissa: -19 pounds. Lance: -21 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 6.69 percent.

Purple Team: Patti: -23 pounds. Stephanie: -18 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 8.09 percent.

Pink Team: Ashley: -21 pounds. Sherry: -17 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 6.42 percent.

White Team: Maria: -13 pounds. Mike: -34 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 5.82 percent.

So what does it all mean? Melissa gave Lance a slap on the wrist, saying in confessional that he needs to try harder. (Dude! He lost 21 pounds! I’m guessing Melissa is the type of person who tells her child that they need to try harder when they bring home an A- grade on a test.) But, alas, it was John and James who pulled in the lowest percentage of the night, which worked out pretty well for me, because with one of them gone, I can actually know which twin I’m writing about.

Ultimately, though John tried to sacrifice himself for his brother, the majority of the contestants agreed the one with the injury was better off trying his hand at the at-home prize. So James was sent packing, but not before he could deliver us this promise: “I’m going to be the more handsome, skinnier twin.” Here’s wishing you all kinds of success, James! See you in a few months!

And, with that, I’ll see you all in a few weeks. (I’m on vacation next week, but will return to serve your Biggest Loser needs the week after.) Until then, I’m signing off, and reminding you all to drink your Brita water!

Episode Recaps

The Biggest Loser
Contestants battle the bulge and each other in the competitive weight-loss series
  • TV Show
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