Blaine Cotter gets eliminated from 'The Biggest Loser: Couples'
By John Bracchitta, 02/11/2009
Blaine Cotter, a 27-year-old college counselor from Gilbert, AZ, became the ninth contestant eliminated from The Biggest Loser: Couples during Tuesday's night's broadcast of the NBC reality weight-loss competition.
Cotter's elimination came after The Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney revealed that rather than continuing to have the competition's two-person teams vote to decide which of the weigh-in's bottom two teams would be eliminated, the teams would instead be voting to determine which member of the team with the lowest percentage of weight loss would be eliminated.
After learning that his Black team had lost the lowest percentage of weight, Blaine had openly campaigned for the contestants to vote him off and keep his partner Dane Patterson, a 27-year-old real estate appraiser from Mesa, AZ, in the competition instead. "I'm under 300 lbs and I never thought I'd be there in six weeks. I'm stronger, I'm healthier," an optimistic Blaine said following his ouster. "I get to go and be with my family. I'm gonna be a much better husband and father and I look forward to showing them that."
The Biggest Loser: Couples' sixth episode began following the emotional elimination of Gray team Carla Triplett and Joelle Gwynn at the prior week's weigh-in over the Brown team of Ron Morelli, a 54-year-old city councilman and retired food distributor from South Lyon, MI, and his son Mike Morelli, an 18-year-old student.
While Ron and Mike wondered what had led to them falling below the yellow line for the second straight week, they both committed to doing whatever it took to reverse their fortunes in the next week's weigh-in.
"It sucked seeing Carla go home and it was really unfortunate that she had a teammate who dragged her down, but I'm relieved I got to stay," Mike said.
While Ron was appreciative that he was able to remain on the ranch as well, he added that he and Ron had to begin losing more weight or they would not last much longer in the competition.
"We got lucky," Ron said. "We didn't go home and we were up against who we were up against."
As the remaining teams met together in The Biggest Loser ranch's kitchen, they were surprised by Sweeney, who brought them outside to the pool and informed them they would be taking part in their first "Pop Challenge."
"I've never heard of a 'Pop Challenge' before. I was never really good at pop quizzes so I'm a little worried," said Blaine before the challenge began.
The contestants were then told that they would each stand on a block and balance on it with only one foot. The last person to remain balanced on their block, Alison added, would receive the chance to bring one of their loved ones to the ranch for 24 hours.
"This is the biggest prize ever because you're not going home," said Kristin Steede, a 28-year-old business owner from Greenville, WI. "Home is coming to you, and unless you're here at The Biggest Loser you have no idea what it's like here, and to be able to share a piece of what you've been experiencing with somebody that you love. It doesn't get any better than that."
Amanda "Mandi" Kramer, a 30-year-old cosmetologist from Boise, ID, also mentioned her deep desire to see her husband, who had initial issues with her decision to go on The Biggest Loser, and said she would jump at the chance to show him what her daily routine is at TheBiggest Loser ranch.
The challenge then commenced, with both Ron and Mike quickly falling off of their blocks and getting eliminated. Eight minutes into the challenge, only Mandi and her Yellow team partner/sister Aubrey Cheney, a 28-year-old information and education specialist from Gooding, ID; Blaine; and Blue team member Filipe Fam, a 26-year-old lube technician from Mesa, AZ remained in the challenge.
However, confirming her desire to get her husband to the ranch, Mandi began pleading with the other contestants, first asking Filipe to "Let me see my husband, please." While conflicted, Filipe obliged and stepped off the block, telling Mandi that "I did that for you" as he walked by. After asking Blaine to step off as well -- and following his confirmation with Aubrey that she would step off as well to give the challenge to Mandi -- he obliged as well, handing the challenge win to Mandi.
"That was a a tough decision for me because I really wanted to win," Blaine said later. "But I was just home a few weeks ago having a baby, and I know how much [Mandi] missed her family. [I knew] how much that would mean to her, there's no way I could take that from her."
"Thank you guys," said Mandi to Blaine and Filipe as she began crying after her win.
Following the challenge, trainer Bob Harper met with his remaining team members. After seeing that Joelle and Carla had been eliminated, he expressed little shock.
"All I have to say after that weigh-in last night, I'm not surprised," Bob said. "That team just didn't work. It didn't work."
Bob also told Ron and Mike that "something has got to change this week," with Sione adding that he didn't want them to fall below the yellow line again and have their teammates rescue them once again.
"Don't put us in that position again, because we don't wanna be there," Sione said.
After having all of his team members go to the gym except Ron and Mike, Bob told Mike that he needed to eat more calories in order to allow his metabolism to work properly. He added that, because of Ron's knee problem, Mike would have to carry his team if they wanted to remain above the yellow line.
"I'm really not eating my calories every day," Mike said later. "I'm still in the mind set of 'Eat less, burn more, you lose more weight,' and [Bob] said your body needs that energy, your body needs food."
Upon learning that Mandi had won the Pop Challenge and would have her husband visiting her for 24 hours, trainer Jillian Harper told her that she was disappointed and that Mandi was "[the] last person I would liked to see win [the challenge]."
"I question whether you have enough autonomy at this point to deal with a conflict," she added. "This might not go perfectly, I wonder if this may make you homesick, I wonder if this may make you guilty, I wonder if this may sabotage you in certain ways."
However, Mandi said that Jillian did not need to worry and that she was committed to telling him that "this is going to be the new me," despite any hang up he may have had about her going on the show.
The teams then gathered for the week's challenge. After Alison informed them that each team had to rely on their partner if they wanted to succeed, the contestants learned that each team would have to hold either side of a beam over their heads and prevent it from falling low enough to hit a sensor and eliminate them.
The team that was able to hold the beam up the longest without hitting the sensor, Alison added, would win immunity at the upcoming weigh-in.
The challenge then began, with the Sione and Filipe failing first after failing to pay attention to the beam and looking at Alison instead.
Two hours into the challenge, the Black team of Blaine and Dane and the Brown team of Ron and Mike dropped out of the challenge as well, leaving only the four all-female teams left.
Over one hour later, the challenge continued and was whittled down to only the Purple team of Kristen and Cathy Skell, a 48-year-old title sales closing agent from Shiocton, WI and the Green team of Tara Costa, a 23-year-old finance manager and former model from New York, NY, and her friend Laura Denoux, a 24-year-old sales director and former model from Miami, FL.
"[Is this] familiar Kristen?" Tara joked, referring to a previous challenge in which she had beaten Kristen to win immunity.
"Sorry to tell you, this one's gonna end way different!" Kristin responded.
After both teams struggled for another hour and forty minutes, Laura's arms tired too much and she dropped the bar to give the win to the Purple team.
"I was just devastated because I was like 'I let Tara down,'" Laura said later. "I have been standing here for four hours and forty minutes killing myself because I want this so bad."
"I hope that this challenge shows us how strong we are and that we're here to stay," a happy Kristen said following the challenge.
While unable to win the challenge, Mandi was delighted when she returned to her room so see her husband and two sons.
"I saw [my husband] and I as so excited, he gave me the huge-est hug in the world, and it was just like a dream come true seeing him again."
Upon hearing that Kristen and Cathy had won the challenge and won immunity, Bob was "ecstatic" and allowed them a break from running outside with their other teammates.
"Kristen deserved it more than anybody because it was down to her and the Green team again, and I know Kristen, she was like 'You beat me once Green team, you are not gonna do it again,'" Bob said later.
The contestants then took part in their Last Chance Workout, with Bob pushing Mike to tears as he worked to get him to lose as much weight as possible.
"The Brown team has got to have a good week," Bob said. "I'm serious when I say if they're below that yellow line I will have met the team that I could not have helped, and that's gonna make me crazy."
"I'm not gonna fall below the yellow line again, and I want my dad to stay here and I wanna stay here," Mike said.
While working out her contestants, Jillian noticed that Aubrey had been distracted by Mandi's absence from the gym because she was with her family. When Mandi arrived in a crying fit later during the workout asking to be excused to spend one more hour with her family before they left, Jillian allowed her to leave, but reminded her that she had warned that her family's presence would be a distraction for Mandi.
The contestants then met with Alison for the week's weigh-in. However, before the first team weighed-in Alison revealed that only one team with the lowest loss of weight percentage would fall below the yellow line, and that the rest of the teams would then have to vote to send one of the team's members home.
Because they received immunity at the previous challenge, the Purple team of Kristen and Cathy weighed in first. They were relieved to have won immunity when it was revealed that while Cathy had lost only 4 lbs. while Kristen had gained 2 lbs.
"[That's] a lesson in how important immunity is," said Blaine after seeing Kristen's weight gain.
The Blue team of Filipe (10 lbs.) and Sione (11 lbs.) won the week's weigh-in with a weight-loss percentage of 3.37%.
The Green team of Laura (3 lbs.) and Tara (11 lbs.) followed in second with a weight-loss percentage of 2.85%.
The Brown team of Mike (13 lbs.) and Ron (5 lbs.) came in third, combining for a weight loss percentage of 2.59%.
The Pink team of Helen Phillips, a 47-year-old retired retail manager from Sterling Heights, MI, and her daughter Shanon Thomas, a 29-year-old massage therapist from Centerline, MI, came in fourth, losing 5 lbs. each for a combined weight-loss percentage of 2.16%.
The Yellow team of Aubrey (1 lb.) and Mandi (6 lbs.) followed in fifth, losing a combined weight-loss percentage of 1.57%.
The Black team came in last place, with Blaine (4 lbs.) and Dane (5 lbs.) only combining for a percentage of 1.41%, which dropped them below the yellow line and put them up for elimination.
As Bob said goodbye to his teammates, he whispered to each of to eliminate "Dane and no one else."
However, when the contestants gathered to discuss which contestant from the Black team to eliminate, Blaine offered himself up for elimination instead of Dane and asked the contestants to respect his wishes.
"I hope you guys will respect what I want. Please send me home," Blaine said. "Please? That's what is best for us."
"[I have a] three-week-old girl at home that I wanna see," he added. "I wanna be here, don't get me wrong, but I can do it at home. I've learned what I've had to learn here. You guys do the right thing."
However, after Blaine and Dane had left, the contestants argued whether or not to appease Blaine's request. While Mandi and Tara argued to send Blaine home as he wished, Kristen argued that Jillian's team members had decided to make a game play move when they elected to keep Joelle on the show and send Damien Gurganious home instead.
After more arguments -- mainly between Kristen and Tara -- the teams left to reveal which contestant they had voted for, with Sione admitting that the contestants had not come to a unanimous decision.
However, once they contestants met with Alison to reveal their votes, it seemed that a consensus had been reached, as out of the votes shown, only the Pink team voted for Dane while the Brown, Green, Blue and Purple teams all voted to eliminate Blaine from the competition.
"I'm so grateful for this opportunity. I will cherish every moment that I've had here with these people for the rest of my life," Blaine said following his elimination. "I will be better for the rest of my life just because of the few weeks that I've spent here."
In the post-show update, it was revealed that Blaine had dropped 86 lbs. since first arriving on the ranch and was currently training to compete in an iron man race before the show's finale weigh-in.