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The Biggest Loser: Battle of the Ages Watch - Week 11

Last week was Thanksgiving, in case you forgot. So under the hot California summer sun, Alison and the trainers pretended that it actually was Thanksgiving then and there, by giving the contestants (who had no choice but to play along) Thanksgiving-themed challenges. John’s incredible run of losing at least nine pounds came to an end, but an extremely fortuitous choice of who to give a one-pound disadvantage (that he won in one challenge) to turned out to be a life-saver. Ramon put up the lowest number overall, and he was sent home. Five remain.

This is the contestants’ final week on The Ranch, or so Alison relates at the beginning of the episode. If the format holds to previous seasons, once the Final Four is determined, there will be one more challenge next week that will determine which two players will move into the Finals and which two will be subjected to America’s vote. I’m guessing next week will also feature the marathon wherein all the eliminated contestants race for a shot at getting back into the competition.

This week’s first challenge is the tried-and-true Put The Weight Back On challenge that has been a staple of late-season episodes in seasons past. You know the drill… the contestants have to strap weights in the amount of the poundage that they have dropped so far this season to their bodies and then run along a marked course (up a winding mountainous path), dropping the weights at regular intervals in a pattern the matches the number of pounds that they dropped each week this season. First one to the top of the mountain wins a one-pound advantage.

The duration of this event, of course, is yet another excuse to flash back to Week One, when they were all out-of-shape, quivering piles of blubber, who could barely walk a mile without collapsing, and not the lean, mean, weight-loss machines they are here. Honestly, whoever came up with this idea is brilliant… the symbolism is so thick you could cut it with a steak knife. Antone was determined to keep the one-pound advantage out of John’s hands, especially after last week’s shenanigans, but was unable to hold his lead late and John won it anyway.

Of course, there is more good news, and this applies to everyone… it’s Makeover Week, where all five of them will be given new looks from head to toe, along with $5,000 sponsored by Progresso Soup. Yay. Sadly, no Tim Gunn this season, which is a shame, because if I could pick on person on this Earth to make me look fabulous, it would be Tim Gunn. Instead, this season’s fashion guru is Jeannie Mai, the host of Style Network’s How Do I Look?. Which means, I’m guessing, is that she knows her stuff.

Anyway, I’m sure you all know what a makeover is, and I’m equally sure that you can all surmise what “head to toe” means, and ultimately, the actual procedure of a makeover is less important than the end result, so I’ll breeze by the footage of the contestants getting their spa treatments, their mani-pedis, their OMG moments shopping in Beverly Hills, their custom-made clothes and their hair done, and skip right to the good part.

So, on to the Red Carpet, where we got to see the contestants, dressed to the nines, stepping out into the public eye for the first time as recently-fabulized people. As they saunter the distance between the limousine and the steps of the Kodak Theater, passers-by and photographers all crowd around to catch a glimpse of the final five. That must feel great. Even better is when they enter the empty theater to be greeted by a loved one standing on the stage. Awww. (Afterwards, they all watched a performance of Iris, featuring the Cirque du Soleil.

First out is John, looking natty in a gray suit and pants and a sharp yellow tie. Gone is the mullet, and he looks like he’s heading for a power meeting. When he is reunited with Jill, his wife of 22 years, he sprints toward the stage and embraces her with gusto. He is practically babbling as he vows to pay her back for all the sacrifices she’s made for him to be there, taking care of their sons without him. He also vows to help her lose weight the right way, something she’s been unable to do for years.

Antone looks amazing, the way an ex-athlete should, stepping out in a light-colored suit, a perfect contrast to his dark complexion. The only hair on his head are his perfectly-styled eyebrows. His wife Carrie – who is tiny, by the way – could only stare in slackjawed amazement at the new Antone, who is now no longer fearful that every day he wakes up might be his last.

Sunny looks mega-hawt in a slinky yet elegant cocktail dress. She’s also wearing heels for the first time, maybe ever, and you can tell she feels comfortable in her own skin, also maybe for the first time ever. Both Sunny and her husband Blake cry a river of joyful tears at the transformation, which Blake decided to celebrate by bringing her a bouquet of flowers.

Vinny’s suit is very similar to John’s, as is his facial hair, but there’s no denying that he looks terrific 100 pounds lighter than when he started his journey. Vinny’s girlfriend Lori couldn’t wipe the smile off her face, pleased beyond belief but also relieved that The Biggest Loser was able to do for him what her many encouragements were not. He tearfully tells her that because of her, he finally believes he has a reason to live.

As for Becky, she got her hair cut short, and done in a very similar style to last season’s winner Olivia (…foreshadowing?), and looks terrific in her sexy black top and leopard-print skirt. Not too shabby for a 51-year-old schoolteacher from Arkansas, huh? Her hubby J.C. was totally blown away by the transformation, and so was she when she realized that he had dropped 50 pounds on his own at home. J.C. even got on one knee and put her wedding ring back on her finger, something she’d been unable to do before because her fingers were too thick. Wow, that’s so awesome.

All good things come to an end, however, and the only drawback of Makeover Week is that it seriously cuts into workout time. Prior to that, however, the trainers got a chance to talk to not only the players on their team, but their significant others as well. I don’t remember the show ever doing this before, but it’s a great idea, because this way the trainers can really drive home the importance of staying on the straight and narrow once they go home.

And now, this week’s numbers:

John - lost 9 pounds (+1) (-149 total), -3.28%, now stands at 296.

Vinny - lost 10 pounds (-112 total), -3.09%, now stands at 314.

Becky - lost 5 pounds (-66 total), -2.82%, now stands at 172.

The following two contestants finished below the Yellow Line:

Antone - lost 8 pounds (-124 total), -2.42%, now stands at 323.

Sunny - lost 1 pound (-76 total), -0.50%, now stands at 201.

Amazing. Makeover Week numbers tend to be pretty low across the board (for reasons stated above), but for only Sunny to be bitten by that nasty bug is staggering. I feel so sorry for her, especially as she only needed three pounds to drop into the 100’s. It sucks for Antone, too: this is his first time below the Yellow Line. Eight pounds on Makeover Week is awesome, but it just wasn’t good enough this time.

Kudos. To John, of course, for getting back on track after a nearly-disastrous bump in the road last week, and for dropping out of the 300’s, hopefully for good. (Not only that, but his overall percentage (33.48%) is the highest number that any contestant has ever had on the Ranch. To Vinny, for dropping double digits for the fifth straight week. And to Becky, who is closing in on her ideal weight with each passing week.

Elimination. This had to be a tough choice. After this weigh-in, Antone and Sunny were only 0.3% apart as far as percentage of weight lost, so each was an equal threat to win the season. Both have been equally likeable this season, and both have are equally deserving of a spot in the Final Four. After much consternation, Becky cast her vote for Sunny. John had to decide whether going up against Antone in the Final Four was a good idea, and ultimately, he voted for Sunny as well. So it’s a good thing everyone is going home after this, because if not, this would have spelled the end for Anna as well. Ironically, every age group that started the season will sport at least one member in the Final Four.

Standings. John raises his overall percentage to 33.48% lost, followed by Antone (27.74%), Becky (27.73%), and Vinny (26.29%).

Update. It would have been awesome to see Sunny drop below 200 pounds on the Ranch, but it didn’t happen. Happily, she has dropped an additional 20 pounds since returning home, a full 96 pounds less than when she started. It’s been difficult for her to organize a workout schedule to jive with her teaching schedule, but she’s found a way to “make it work”. (Had to throw a Gunn-ism in there somehow.) She continues to play tennis with her husband Blake, who is grateful to finally have her as a mixed doubles partner.

Next week: the Final Four go home to a heroes’ welcome. Also: The much-anticipated marathon, which will see one eliminated player back in the game.