After a season of astonishing transformation, one seriously slender contestant takes home the top prize
Biggest Loser
Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Mike began this season of The Biggest Loser as the heaviest contestant on the campus. Weighing in at 526, he seemed destined to be a 12th place finisher, or at least get eliminated by gameplaying contestants eager to pick up the final prize.

But thanks to our warm, fuzzy batch of contestants this year, Mike made it to the final four — and lost enough weight to shatter Danny’s record from last year. The guy lost 264 pounds, for a percentage weight loss of 50.19 percent. 50.19 percent! He lost half of himself in these past few months. Yet he still took his confetti shower with a full heart, gifting his mom Maria with a flower, and singing second-place finisher Ashley’s praises prior to picking up the win. Let’s say it together, friends: Aww. Don’t you feel like group hugging right now? Let’s all do it. Over the computer. Hug your computer. I’ll feel it. Aw, thanks.

Now that we’re settled, let’s rewind to the beginning of the episode for the final time this season. (Sniff!) Ali, doing her best Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman impression, greeted us during the first few minutes of the live telecast, announcing we would see the ”transformations of a lifetime.” And we did — pretty quickly, actually. Usually, I hate dragged-out finales. But I always felt it was anticlimactic for Biggest Loser to trot out two of the final four contestants within the first 15 minutes of the finale. It’s like, you know, killing off the MIB just one hour into a much-anticipated finale. But let’s not go off on tangents here.

Because we do need to focus on the important things here: Those holograms. Boy, I bet John King’s head exploded in envy! Oh, also, Daris and Koli looked incredible too. Dressed in a spiffy suit with dimples reaching to his ears, Daris stepped out and told Ali he had a new girlfriend named Heather, who is such a Betty, she’ll probably book a job with the CW within the next week. And Koli, wearing a salmon-colored pair of pants, nearly swam upstream in excitement about his own weight loss. (”Don’t mistake my confidence, my swagger, for being cocky,” Koli told us. I would feel better about not doing so had the guy not burst through the door screaming like a WWF pro.)

Then we learned what we all predicted last week: Daris picked up America’s vote, nabbing a spot in the finale three. But before we could see how much weight he’d lost, we needed to watch the final weigh-ins, and checked in with the progress of three former winners: Danny, Bill, and Erik. And holy Yoplait, did Erik look incredible or what? The guy is like The Biggest Loser version of Renée Zellweger — he gains and loses weight faster than you can run out of New In Town‘s theaters!

NEXT: Tipping the scales

We also saw the return of one previous contestant: Shay, who was offered $1,000 for every pound she lost between last season’s finale and this year’s final episode. And since she lost 52 pounds (down from 304), she received — hold on a sec, journalist math takes a few minutes — $52,000! From Jared! Who left the check blank because he hopes to double it for Shay next year once she runs a marathon with him. (It will be cool to see Shay show up at Jared’s house before the run, so I finally get a chance to say, ”She went to Jared’s!”) And then next year, they’ll leave the check blank again, and double the amount again when she figures out how to solve the Gulf oil spill crisis.

Then our venerable trainers showed up to share their favorite moments of the season. Bob enjoyed watching O’Neal climb stairs, while Jillian enjoyed seeing people confront their fears. Which really meant she just likes scaring people. And then it was time to roll out our eliminated contestants. Some things we learned from the weigh-in segments: Melissa yells at someone when she loves them, Ali spontaneously combusts whenever she sees O’Neal, Stephanie has a friend so dedicated to her that she wore a purple cast on her broken arm, and Sam continues to hold the title of hottest Biggest Loser contestant of all time. (Seriously, Sarah Palin wishes she had guns like that!) However, I do take issue with Biggest Loser not actually showing us any black light action when Ali told us we’d be watching how Stephanie found love with Sam on campus. Cop out!

But this is about weight loss, so let’s see how everyone performed. From lowest percentage weight loss to highest:

Migdalia: -52 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 19.62

James: -128 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 26.39

Drea: -84 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 28.19

Patti: -73 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 30.04

John: -149 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 30.79

Cherita: -91 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 32.85

Cheryl: -76 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 33.48

Lance: -128 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 35.07

Stephanie: -99 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 37.50

Victoria: -136 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 37.99

Miggy: -91 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 37.92

Sam: -142 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 38.17

Melissa: -90 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 38.63

Maria: -114 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 40.57

O’Neal: -159 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 40.87

Sunshine: -114 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 41.45

Sherry: -99 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 45.41

Darrell: -189 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 45.76

Koli: -215 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 53.35

Obviously, Koli nabbed the $100,000 at-home prize, crushing competition Sherry and Darrell like a regular Dolph Lundgren. I will say, though, that I still feel Sherry boasts the biggest transformation of all of them (save Mike): There’s something about pink ladies on this show, right? No wonder Sandy Olsson wants to be one so badly.

Time to take out the final three: We already saw the off-the-market Daris at the outset of the episode, but we were all anxious to see the progress Ashley and Mike made while at home. ”Beautiful Ashley” did indeed look gorgeous, proving that there are hot pink ninjas outside of The Power Rangers. And as for Mike — all I can say is wow. And not just because he made like one of Mystery’s protégés and rocked a bedazzled skull belt buckle. No, the guy looked so incredible, they might as well have ended the show as soon as he graced the set.

Yet, we needed to see the numbers regardless:

Daris: -168 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 48.55

Ashley: -183 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 48.93

Mike: -264 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 50.19

The confetti shower gets me every time, guys. Mostly because it reminds me of funfetti cake. But that’s all for this season, folks. It’s been a fun ride crying and complaining alongside you lovely folks. But tell me: What did you think of the finale? Were you, like me, nearly positive that Mike would pick up the win in the end? Do you think it was stupid for the other players to have eliminated Sam over Mike after seeing the results? Will you watch Jillian’s spin-off this summer? Does Koli still somehow get on your nerves? Can you pull off a diamond-encrusted belt buckle? And finally: Yoplait or Subway?

Episode Recaps

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