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The Biggest Loser: Battle of the Ages Watch - Week 10

Last week, the remaining seven contestants got to compete in a pentathlon, five events that tested them physically and mentally. Antone won a razor-thin victory over Sunny, and was thus immune from elimination. Unfortunately, 63-year-old Bonnie, hobbled by age and bad knees, took last place, incurred a one-pound penalty, and fell below the Yellow Line with her former Blue Team-mate Becky. Being the total class act that she is (and because she hasn’t a prayer of winning the show anyway), she volunteered to be sent home. Six remain.

Since this is Thanksgiving week, you just knew there was going to be a Thanksgiving theme this episode. I’m sure the producers had a fun time convincing the contestants to pretend like it’s actually late November when they probably filmed this back in August or whatever. Anyway, the contestants walk into their kitchen to be confronted by Alison, standing next to row after row of plates filled with common Thanksgiving staples: roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and, of course, pumpkin pie a la mode. Would it surprise you to know that the average American eats 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving? Holy Hannah, that’s huge. I like how John put it in his flashback video to Week One: “Normally, we eat poorly, but on Thanksgiving, we eat poorly… on steroids.” Don’t we all?

This week’s challenges: Anyway, it’s a Temptation Challenge, and there are three different prizes the players are competing for: a $25,000 Cybex home gym delivered right to their door; a check for $500 for each pound that they lose that week; or, most tantalizingly, a three-pound advantage at the weigh-in. Three pounds? That’s like having immunity. This challenge was luck-of-the-draw: they contestants were allowed to eat as much as they could in only five minutes, and under each of the 100 plates was a number. Whichever contestants had the lowest number got to pick whatever prize he/she wanted, followed by the second- and third-lowest numbers. Depending on how much and how fast they ate, one person could conceivably walk off with all three prizes. Yowzers.

I expected at least one person to abstain, and Sunny waffled the longest before succumbing to the temptation, but everyone at least ate something. Ramon finishes a plate of turkey and gravy, and pulls a 52 off the bottom before rushing to grab a second plate. Becky pulls a 96, which obviously wasn’t going to cut it, so she has no choice but to grab another plate. John and Vinny decide to stop at one plate. Antone pulls an 81 and grabs a bowl of cranberry sauce in desperation. Sunny’s late start stops her at one plate. Here are the final results:

Vinny (10) – three-pound advantage

Becky (38) - $25,000 Cybex home gym

Antone (46) - $500 per pound lost this week

The second challenge makes me ache just writing about it: it was a race, where the contestants had to use a piece of exercise equipment called a Jacob’s Ladder (it’s like a stair-climber, but with ladder rungs instead of steps) to climb – brace yourself – one mile. Just like the earlier contest, there were three prizes: 1) a free six-month membership to the Biggest Loser meal plan, not only for themselves but to an eliminated contestant of their choosing; 2) $2,500 for themselves as well as any not-yet-eliminated contestant of their choosing; 3) a one-pound advantage, as well as a one-pound disadvantage that can be assigned to any current contestant. Wow. Here we go again.

This was as grueling a challenge as I’ve ever seen on the show. It took nearly ninety minutes to determine a winner, with the top two being neck-and-neck the whole way. Here is how it shook out:

John won a one-pound advantage and assigned a one-pound disadvantage to Sunny.

Sunny won six months of the Biggest Loser meal plan, and also gave it to Bonnie.

Ramon won $2,500, which he also gave to Vinny.

As Alison point out, this meant that every single contestant won something this week, which is nice.

This week’s breakthroughs: Bob saw this as a big week for Vinny, who has had good, consistent numbers all season but has yet to have that breakthrough week where he can do the fist-pump of victory on the scale. In Vinny’s room, Bob talks with him about the photo taken of him last winter, when he was 450 pounds. Vinny has explained that he has always been the fun guy, the funny guy, but it took falling in love, not only with his girlfriend but with her son, that made him want to change his life so that he can be not only a great husband but a great father as well.

Dolvett continued to work out with John (the only red-shirted player remaining) this week, and Dolvett’s biggest problem was that John’s standards are so high, that anything less than perfection is met with negativity. A couple of times, he’s posted a nine-pound weight loss and actually been angry with himself. We should all be so unlucky. By the end, though, John was looking forward to getting back to coaching high school football, and not being one of those coaches that just drives around with a whistle and a golf cart.

In keeping with the spirit of the “holidays”, the trainers treated the contestants to a low-calorie, healthy Thanksgiving feast, and had a really cool sit-down meal while they all explained what they were thankful for. Ramon, of course, is thankful for finding love in former contestant Jessica, as well as being a new uncle to his sister’s baby. Vinny is thankful for the life he now has, and grateful to break the cycle of neglect that he suffered as a child.

I was especially interested to hear what Bob had to say. Naturally, he’s grateful for what The Biggest Loser has done for him, giving him a platform to do what he loves, which is help people. He specifically mentions Sunny as someone he’s really grown close to, because she reminds Bob of his sister, who continues to have a weight problem despite his best efforts.

And now, this week’s numbers:

Vinny - lost 11 pounds (+3) (-102 total), -4.18%, now stands at 324.

Becky - lost 5 pounds (-56 total), -2.75%, now stands at 177.

Antone - lost 8 pounds (-116 total), -2.36%, now stands at 331.

John - lost 5 pounds (+1) (-140 total), -1.94%, now stands at 305.

The following two contestants finished below the Yellow Line:

Sunny - lost 5 pounds (-1) (-75 total), -1.93%, now stands at 202.

Ramon - lost 5 pounds (-87 total), -1.83%, now stands at 268.

Holy crap. 0.01% between John and Sunny. Not only did he absolutely have to have the one-pound advantage, but if he had assigned the one-pound disadvantage to anyone else, he would have ended up below the Yellow Line and been up for elimination for the first time all season.

It was the smart choice, to be sure (albeit an unpopular one), given Sunny’s penchant for putting up small numbers one week after putting up big ones. It was only a matter of time before his body plateaued, and it took a mountain of sweat and the luck of the Irish to keep him around. Not only that, if he had gone home (and he surely would have, given that he’s not only the clear frontrunner to win the show but also the only player who’s been in “game mode” since it started), so would Dolvett, because there would be no more Red Team members left.

Kudos. To Vinny, for winning the three-pound advantage even though he didn’t need it, and for raising his weight loss into the triple-digit range. To Antone, for dropping eight pounds and pocketing $4,000 in cash for his troubles. And to Becky, who lowers her BMI to 28.6, I figure she’s about ten pounds away from being out of the “overweight” category entirely.

Elimination. So it came down to Ramon and Sunny. Everyone present felt bad that Sunny was only below the Yellow Line because she was put there by someone else. Tensions were high after John voted for Sunny anyway, and Antone really took umbrage at that. Despite John and Vinny voting for Sunny, Ramon got the other two votes and was eliminated because he had the lower percentage. Which sucks, because I really like the guy (despite his persnickety attitude after Jessica’s departure), but mostly because I wanted him to make it to makeover week so he could lose that scraggly facial hair. Oh well, at least he can now be with his GF. Meanwhile, with only two more episodes for the finale, it’s game on. John had better keep his ass above the Yellow Line from here on out, or he’s done. He’s going to have to earn that victory all by his lonesome, because no one’s going to give it to him at this point.

Standings. John raises his overall percentage to 31.46% lost, followed by Sunny (27.08%), Antone (25.95%), Becky (25.63%) and Vinny (23.94%).

Update. Despite not getting a Biggest Loser makeover, he went and got one on his own (thank God). And he looks AMAZING. His hair is short and curly, his beard is neatly trimmed, and he’s ditched those thick-rimmed lenses for contacts. He looks like a million bucks. He’s also lost an additional 23 pounds, bringing his aggregate total to 110 pounds lost. He and Jessica are training hard for the upcoming marathan, confident that automatic spot back in the Final for the winner will belong to one of them. Ramon also took her skydiving. How’s that for a first date!

Tomorrow night, there is a live Biggest Loser Thanksgiving special, which I will NOT be recapping. It will involve updates from former contestants, some joyful reunions, and one wedding proposal. Next week: It’s Makeover Week! I can just hear Tim Gunn’s clipped, jocular tones already!