Amber Walker first contestant cut from NBC's 'The Biggest Loser 4'
By Christopher Rocchio, 09/12/2007
Amber Walker doubted herself and got off to a slow, and as a result, the 30-year-old from Houston, TX became the first contestant eliminated from The Biggest Loser's fourth season during last night's special two-hour premiere broadcast of the NBC reality weight-loss competition series.
"This has been an awesome opportunity and I met some really great people," said Amber during a video montage of her brief The Biggest Loser 4 experience. "I feel honored that I would even be chosen to be in this process. When I get here in December [for the finale], 150-pounds, looking like a knock-out, I feel like I can be an inspiration saying, 'You know what? I did it with just one week here. You can do it at home... You can do the same thing.' My journey doesn't end here, it just begins here. America next time you see me, watch out, because I'm going to be too hot to handle."
For their first challenge, Alison told the contestants they'd have to race to The Biggest Loser trainers Kim Lyons and Bob Harper, who were stationed somewhere in the desert. The first contestant to reach Bob would captain the Blue Team and pick five teammates, while the first to reach Kim would lead the Red Team and also have the opportunity to pick five teammates.
"That means six of you are going home tonight," Sweeney told the contestants.
Jerry Lisenby, a 62-year-old from Peoria, IL who is the oldest contestant in The Biggest Loser history, didn't like his chances in winning the footrace due to his age. However he was still the first one to reach Bob and became captain of the Blue Team, while Phil Hawk, a 27-year-old from Powell, OH, was the first to reach Kim and become captain of the Red Team. Amber was the last of the 18 contestants to reach the finish line.
The 18 contestants then went to the Last Chance Diner, where they told each other their personal stories of how they got to the weights they're at and what prompted them to apply to The Biggest Loser. Jerry and Phil realized it would be a difficult task selecting members of their teams, knowing it would be tough to send six contestants home before their journey really began. Regardless, Jerry picked first and he and Phil alternated selections.
Jerry's Red Team -- and the order which it was selected -- is: Kae Whang, a 27-year-old from Clark, NJ; Neil Tejwani, a 25-year-old from Marblehead, MA; Patty Gonzalez, a 34-year-old from San Diego, CA; Nicole Michalik, a 26-year-old from Philadelphia, PA; and Ryan Rodriguez, a 29-year-old from Jackson Heights, NY. Phil's Blue Team -- and the order which it was selected -- is: Bryan Washington, a 29-year-old from Riverdale, GA; Amber; Amy Zimmer, a 28-year-old from Rochester, NY; David Griffin, a 31-year-old from Cedar Hill, TN; and Lezlye Donahue, a 34-year-old from Metairie, LA.
As a bus carrying the two teams left the diner, disappointment was definitely the overwhelming sentiment being felt by the six contestants who weren't chosen. However former trainer Jillian Michaels -- who was replaced by Kim for the show's third season -- eventually arrived via motorcycle and informed the unselected six contestants that they'd be joining her Black Team.
"I had never been so glad to see anyone in my life," said Julie Hadden, a 34-year-old from Jacksonville, FL. "And the fact that it was Jillian... I mean Jillian! She's a machine! It was like all hope was gone and then here it comes back with a vengeance."
Joining Julie on Jillian's Black Team were twin brothers Bill and Jim Germanakos, two 40-year-olds from Long Island, NY; Jez Luckett, a 24-year-old from Garden City, KS; Isabeau Miller, a 21-year-old from Franklin, TN; and Hollie Self, a 28-year-old from Phoenix, AZ. While both the Red and Black Teams would be training at The Biggest Loser campus, which replaced the previously used ranch, Jillian informed her squad the Black Team is a "secret" and wouldn't be arriving at the campus for another two weeks.
"My Black Team will crush the competition," said Jillian. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to wipe the floor with Bob and Kim." Jillian then described what type of training her Black Team would be doing in the desert. "Beatings, beatings, beatings... and some more beatings."
Back at The Biggest Loser campus, the Red and Blue Teams participated in their first weigh-ins. For the Red Team, Phil came in at 403; David weighed-in at 368; Bryan tipped the scale at 346; Amy came in at 297; Amber weighed-in at 295; and Lezlye weighed 255. For the Blue Team, Neil came in at 421; Ryan weighed 374; Jerry tipped the scale at 297; Patty came in at 280; Nicole was right behind her at 279; and Kae weighed 225. (Results from the Black Team's first weigh-in is available via NBC's website).
Following the weigh-ins the Blue and Red Teams began training hard on-campus, and while all the contestants were struggling, Amber seemed to be having the most mental problems.
"I thought there would have been a little getting used to our surroundings before we got our asses handed to us. I was so far out of my comfort zone, so far out of what is normal for me," said Amber before crying to Kim and repeating, "I do not want to be here. I want to go home," over and over again. Kim realized she had to work a lot with Amber, and called her the "oddball" on the team."
After a lesson on nutrition and some more footage of Jillian whipping the Black Team into shape in the desert, the Red and Blue Teams arrived at an airport for their first reward challenge. Each contestant expressed their The Biggest Loser weight-loss goal, which they were then required to carry the equivalent of in luggage. Once all the luggage was loaded onto two planes, each team would have to pull their plane across a finish line. The prize was letters, photos and cards from home.
The challenge was close at the beginning, however the Red Team really fell behind loading the luggage onto the plane and the Blue Team was the first to start trying to pull their plane. But it wouldn't budge, the Red Team caught up, and realized it was helpful to also have two people pushing the plane from behind. The Red team won fairly easily with Lezlye and Amber pushing from behind.
The next day, the Blue and Red Teams were given a "last chance workout" before the weigh-ins that would determine which squad would have to eliminate a member. Alison said when they first arrived, the Blue Team had a total weight of 1,876 pounds while the Red Team had a total weight of 1,964 pounds. The squad having the greatest percentage of weight loss following the first week would be safe, while the other team would have to eliminate a member.
The Red Team was the first to be weighed. Bryan started at 346 and lost 15 pounds; Lezlye started at 255 and lost nine pounds; Amy started at 297 and lost 10 pounds; David started at 368 and lost 20 pounds; Amber started at 295 and lost seven pounds; and Phil started at 403 and lost 26 pounds. The Red Team's total weight loss following the first week was 87 pounds, a 4.43% weight-loss percentage.
For the Blue Team, Patty started at 280 and lost 13 pounds; Ryan started at 374 and lost 15 pounds; Nicole started at 279 and lost 8 pounds; Neil started at 421 and lost 22 pounds; Kae started at 225 and lost 20 pounds; and Jerry started at 297 and lost 31 pounds, which Alison said was more weight than any The Biggest Loser contestant has ever lost in a single week.
The Blue Team's total weight loss following the first week was 109 pounds, a 5.81% weight-loss percentage, meaning they had won the first official weigh-in. As the Red Team member who had the highest percentage of weight loss, Phil was immune from elimination. As the Red Team discussed who to eliminate, Lezlye called out Amber for her lack of effort.
"I'm disappointed that everyday, you let the team down," said Lezlye to Amber. "You let every one of us down. The first day we arrived [on campus], you said you want to go home. You can't go home!"
"You hurt me... You really did," said Phil to Amber. "I gave you every chance in the world. I could have picked any of those people. But I picked you. And it was a slap in the face. You made me look like the ass here."
Amber assured she wouldn't quit, but then contradicted herself by adding "only time will tell" if she's able to continue competing. Kim was crying, and told Amber what she was hearing broke her heart.
"This is your life!" said Kim to Amber. "You get one body. You get one chance... I'm not going to let you quit."
Amber didn't have to quit, as she was unanimously eliminated by her Red teammates (the only vote not cast against Amber was her own vote, which she cast for Lezlye).
The Biggest Loser 4's will air another special two-hour episode on Tuesday, September 18 at 8PM ET/PT, with Jillian introducing the Red and Blue Teams to her Black Team.
(Photo credit NBC)
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