The contestants' weight loss is really starting to show. Now, if only a boring food challenge didn't slow things down

By Kate Ward
March 17, 2010 at 04:00 PM EDT
Mitchell Haaseth/NBC
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So, what should I have for lunch today, fellow Biggest Loser fans? Should I have some yummy blueberries? Salmon? Or should I try to undercook some wild rice for myself? Choices, choices!

Why am I talking about my lunch? Well, because last night’s episode of Biggest Loser was all about making smart food choices in your daily life. And also because, like many smart things — textbooks, Ken Jennings, not playing Edward Fortyhands when you have work the next day — last night’s episode was a snoozer. Sure, we all know that every episode of Biggest Loser is a carbon copy of itself, delivering tears, weigh-ins, and kick-ass training sessions. But unlike some of this season’s shows — which featured drama and fun themes — last night’s episode delivered boring challenges, and less drama than a kindergarten production of Cinderella.

But speaking of Cinderella, this is the part of the season in which we really start to see changes in our contestants. Their cores are getting stronger, their arms more muscular, their faces much skinnier. (I don’t even think that Sam could be considered anywhere near ”fat” anymore.) And last night’s Biggest Loser transformation moment was, in a word, a-mah-zing. But before we get to that, we have to start at the beginning of the episode, right?

We left off last week with Cheryl’s sad, and somewhat surprising, ouster. As the black team began to file back into the house, Daris noticed that his mom wasn’t passing through the doors. Now, as I mentioned last week, I think these moments are particularly cruel. Why do the contestants force family members to wait in anticipation? Shouldn’t the first person through the door just tell Daris, ”Sorry, dude. It was your mom,” just to get it over with? Or is Bob waiting on the other side of the door, threatening to pound them with a Subway five-dollar foot-long if they spoil it?

It wasn’t long, however, until Daris realized his mom was gone, and that he would have to go it alone from here on out. And I have to say, he took the news quite a bit better than O’Neal! (That is to say, he decided not to take it out on the poor, poor furniture.) But enough sadness — onto the first challenge! What would our contestants be forced to do? Balance on a delicate rope over a mountainside? Pull a teammate up a 15-story building? Run across a river filled with crocodiles? Oh man, I wish. Because any of those three options would have been a lot more exciting than…food trivia. (I nearly fell asleep just writing those two words.) The blue team felt they were immediately in trouble, because, according to Koli, it’s impossible to have both brains and brawn. (Um, Batman? Superman? The Jolly Green Giant? Hello?!) But they were revved up once Ali — wearing a 19th century parlor chair — shared the prize for the challenge winners: A night at the Four Seasons spa! The losers would be relegated to Cinderella — hey! Speaking of! — duties: Cleaning the gym, and the second most disgusting-looking kitchen in competitive reality show history. (The Flavor of Love house still keeps its blue ribbon.) Of course, cleaning the gym would be no spring picnic either — O’Neal decided to share that he’s left 80 pounds of sweat in the room, which I’m guessing is the equivalent to one Alex Mack puddle.

NEXT: A (yawn) kitchen challenge

But enough distractions. Onto the challenge! The contestants answered questions about fatty acids, fiber, and something called ellagic acid. And look at that! The blue team picked up the win, because, apparently, having an X or Y chromosome doesn’t determine your ability to memorize detailed trivia questions about brown rice! No, actually, the blue team can thank Mike for their win, because that guy knows his food. (And speaking of Mike, I’ve decided, based on your responses from last week, that his hair is somewhere between Mr. Heat Miser, Larry from The Three Stooges, and a black thundercloud. Thanks for your submissions!) So while the girls and Sam were left behind to scrub, the men and Sunshine trotted off to the Four Seasons, where Daris planted his face in a puddle of mud, and the rest ordered food prepared by Don Corleone. (How else do you explain the fork stabbed in the middle?)

After they tidied up, the black team took in another pep talk from Sam, who still seems to think these ladies need the support of a big man: ”These women, they need to be reminded of how strong they really are.” And helping them build their strength was Jillian, who, after impersonating a Michelin man from the Dark Side, taught the crew exercises inspired by Doc Ock. Bob was working the blue team equally as hard, leading Mike to deliver the line of the episode: ”I’m sweating like Tiger Woods in divorce court.” Topical humor!

Not long into the workout, Jillian — wearing a tooth around her neck that I imagine once belonged to Melissa — could sense that one of her contestants, Ashley, wasn’t feeling 100 percent. Why? Because Ashley was upset about still having to lose 120 pounds — and felt pressure to spend time with her mother, who she cared for after the death of her father. Jillian forced Ashley out of the gym and into the woods, where Ashley rightly asked: ”What are you about to do to me?” Ashley, never follow Jillian to a second location!

But the former pink team member was safe — Jillian decided she needed to talk things out with Mama Sherry, who subsequently convinced her daughter that she’s strong enough to go it alone. Or, as she said, ”As much as you have the wings to fly, so do I.” And a few miles away in L.A., R. Kelly just wrote a song.

And the sadness continued: After working out, Mike was ushered off the set when he discovered his grandmother had fallen quite ill. That meant the rest of the blue team members were forced to try their hand at Top Chef: Biggest Loser Edition without the house’s best cook. And greeting the rest of the contestants at the site of their second challenge was Biggest Loser‘s answer to Tom Colicchio, Curtis Stone, a.k.a., CraftSexyMcAussie. This, naturally, made the girls scream as if they were first laying eyes on Tyra Banks on the set of America’s Next Top Model. (Or they were just reacting to Lance’s horrifying pony-chin.) The challenge: The contestants were told to prepare an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert using only 12 ingredients in 30 minutes. The winning team would get a five-pound advantage!

Such a great prize for such a boring challenge! There’s a reason I love Top Chef: The Bravo show allows us to see amazing, delectable, rich, and likely oh-so-bad-for-you food prepared by amazing chefs. Watching average Joes prepare healthy pork is no more exciting than watching your dad at the grill. The black team ended up bagging the win, which is not too surprising, since a five-pound advantage for the black team would add much more intrigue to the weigh-in than a five-pound advantage for the blue team. (Am I claiming CraftSexyMcAussie was, well, crafty about choosing a winner? That’s up for you to decide!)

NEXT: Let’s get to the weigh-in

Of course, the blue team’s disadvantage meant they would have to work extra hard during their last-chance workout. And, boy, did they! Though the trainers are usually the ones screaming facts in people’s faces (”Last chance workout!” ”The sky is blue!” ”A rainbow trout survives on fish eggs and small crustaceans!”), this time around, the contestants were the ones yelling. (”Five pound disadvantage!”) And Bob focused much of his time on Daris, pushing him to complete jumping jacks — his bouncy curls provided useful wind resistance — and recreate Eric Massa’s birthday party by crawling all over his teammates. And did that prove painful or what? Guy showed off some mean blisters on his forearms following the exercise!

Right before the weigh-in, Mike returned to the ranch wearing a black sweatband, and told everyone about his grandmother’s struggling health. (Is Mike’s sweatband like a mood ring? Does it change color when his mood changes? Red for angry? Yellow for happy? Watch out for green, ladies! Ugh, I’m going to hell, aren’t I? Sorry, Mike, I do really feel for your grandmother.) Did he work out enough while back home in Chicago? Let’s go to the weigh-in and see:

Black team:

Drea: -5 pounds

Sam: -8 pounds

Ashley: -7 pounds

Sherry: -3 pounds

Stephanie: -2 pounds

Total: -30 pounds (With the five pound advantage)

Percentage weight loss: 2.50

Blue Team:

Lance: -8 pounds

Daris: -10 pounds

Koli: -9 pounds

O’Neal: -9 pounds

Sunshine: -9 pounds

Mike: -11 pounds

Total: -56 pounds

Percentage weight loss: 3.11

As we’ve come to expect this season, the underdog team proved victorious. But there were individual successes too: Mike managed to lose 11 pounds himself at home and Koli finally lost enough to be under 300 pounds. In response to the barrier broken, Sam recreated a tree swallow’s mating call, leading every bird within five miles of the ranch to suddenly fly into the weigh-in room’s windows. Then, clearly consulting his Biggest Loser slow-clap speech manual, he told everyone, ”This is what it’s all about. No black and blue. This is what it’s all about.”

Alas, a black team member needed to go. And since the contestants on this season of Biggest Loser are taking cues from Survivor, they decided the older person on their team had to yet again go home. So, unfortunately, In a 3-2 vote, Sherry was sent packing.

But, my God, it must have been the right decision, because based on her transformation moment, I don’t think Sherry needed the ranch anymore. I’ll admit it: As soon as that woman came on the screen in all her 138-pound glory, I immediately began crying. And then when she visited her husband’s grave? Forget about it. I was crying enough tears to fill that lake in Tennessee! Emotion… overload! All right, friends, I’ve got to go grab my Kleenex. So tell me, did you enjoy the episode? Or were you as bored as I was? Were you confused about the height of Mike’s hair during the entire episode? Were you a smidge skeeved out seeing O’Neal stroke his daughter’s hair? Did you think Sherry should have been sent packing? And were you as impressed as I was with her transformation? Time to pack my knives and go!

Episode Recaps

Contestants battle the bulge and each other in the competitive weight-loss series
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seasons
  • 10
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  • Bob Harper
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