Jennifer Widder the ninth contestant cut from 'The Biggest Loser'
By Christopher Rocchio, 01/30/2008
Just as Jennifer Widder was starting to post impressive numbers on the scale, the 22-year-old weight-loss camp assistant director from River Edge, NJ became the first individual contestant cut from The Biggest Loser: Couples during last night's broadcast of the NBC reality show's fifth season.
"I'm so proud to have lost 31 pounds in five weeks," said Jenn following her ouster. "If there's one thing that [trainer Jillian Michaels] has taught me, it's that I'm so strong. I just need to believe that I can do it. Before I came up with every excuse as to why I'm going to start that diet on Monday... and Monday never came. That's what's different. I can do this, and I'm gonna."
The Biggest Loser: Couples' fifth episode began with Jenn and her teammate Maggie King confronting "Divorced Couple" Kelly Fields and Paul Marks for criticizing their lack of hard work during the previous elimination ceremony. While Jenn and Maggie may have found themselves below the yellow line for the second straight week, the best friends didn't think that was a reason to have their work ethic attacked.
Jillian then met with Kelly, who told Jillian -- and reminded home viewers -- that starting at the next weigh-in, individuals will be eliminated instead of teams.
The six remaining duos then met for what they believed was a Reward Challenge, and Jillian and fellow trainer Bob Harper were in attendance. Host Alison Sweeney explained that instead of the contestants competing, it would be Bob and Jillian who would have to go up and down an escalator 10 times as fast as possible. The winning trainer would have the opportunity to pick the new teams and decide which duos end up on Bob' Blue Team or Jillian's Black Team.
"Honestly, I really don't want to be in the position to pick contestants," opined Jillian.
She wouldn't have to be, as Bob grabbed an early lead on the escalator thanks to his long legs and never relinquished it, beating Jillian by a 10 to 7 margin.
He loaded the Blue Team with The Biggest Loser: Couples' three strongest duos: "Mother and Son" Jackie and Dan Evans; "Brothers" Mark and Jay Kruger; and "Former Football Teammates" Roger Shultz and Trent Patterson. Jillian received the remaining three duos -- Jenn and Maggie; Paul and Kelly; and "Strangers" Brittany Aberle and Bernardo Salazar -- for her Black Team. While Kelly and Jenn both lamented the tough odds they were facing, Jillian welcomed the challenge.
"Bob clearly has blood in his mouth as payback for the last four seasons," said Jillian. "Last season I had the underdogs... It's just a very comfortable place for me to be."
Once the teams donned their new Blue and Black shirts, Alison informed them that they would be participating in a Reward Challenge after all. Every member from each team would be on the same escalator at the same time, and the team with the last player on an escalator wins. The winning team would split $10,000 evenly amongst its six members.
The challenge began, and Paul and Trent both immediately disqualified themselves at Bob's recommendation since both are suffering from a torn meniscus.
Kelly was eliminated two minutes, 57 seconds into the challenge, and was followed by Jenn (3:11), Jackie (5:00), Roger (8:25), Maggie (10:04), and Bernie (12:30) -- meaning it was Brittany working for the Black Team against Mark, Dan and Jay for the Blue Team. Brittany gave it a valiant effort but was eventually eliminated at 23:59, giving Blue the victory.
"I heard Alison say that Brittany was out, and I was ecstatic," said Jay. "Not only did we win money, but our team is off to a good start and we're ready to roll."
The teams then had their first workouts together, and Bob did yoga while Jillian did boxing.
The two teams then arrived for a Temptation Challenge, and Alison explained the rules. Spread out before the contestants were 240 cups of soda, and only one of the cups contained a gold star on the bottom. The contestant to find the cup with the gold star got to pick one player from the other team and make their weight not count at the next weigh-in.
Both teams discussed their options, and Blue decided to take a wait-and-see approach before they attacked the cups. The Black Team was unsure how to approach it, although Jenn and Maggie were supporting the idea of drinking until they found the star. The Temptation commenced and nobody moved.
"They're waiting for us," correctly commented Jenn.
When it became clear nobody was budging, Alison informed the contestants that the cups containing orange and grape soda did not have the star on the bottom, cutting the number of possibilities from 240 to 110. Still nobody moved, and the Temptation ended. Alison revealed the cup with the star was right in front.
The two teams then participated in their last-chance workouts before The Biggest Loser: Couples' fifth weigh-in then commenced. The team with the highest weight-loss percentage would be safe from elimination, while the losing squad would have to eliminate one of their members -- meaning for the first time, somebody's partner was going to be ousted.
"Heading into this weigh-in tonight, I am so nervous," said Jenn. "The Blue Team is an awesome competitor. They've got Roger, they've got Trent, they've got Mark, they have Jackie, they have Dan, they have Jay -- all the consistently big-number people... I know that I could wake-up tomorrow morning and myself or Maggie are not here. That's the scariest thought in the entire world because it's just so crucial to have her in this with me."
The Blue Team was the first to weigh-in. Jay started at 258 and lost five pounds; Mark began at 235 and shed five pounds; Trent started at 375 and dropped nine pounds; Roger began at 319 and lost 10 pounds; Jackie started at 214 and shed eight pounds; while Dan began at 264 and dropped 13 pounds.
The Blue Team's combined weight loss following their first week competing as a team was 50 pounds, or a 3.00% weight-loss percentage.
The Black Team would have to lose a combined 41 pounds to overtake the Blue Team. Jenn started at 229 and lost six pounds; Maggie began at 218 and shed seven pounds; Bernie started at 241 and dropped five pounds; Brittany began at 201 and lost two pounds; Kelly started at 240 and didn't shed anything; while Paul began at 260 and actually gained three pounds.
"I think what we need to focus on this week as a team is getting our food on track," explained Jillian. "I think that is what has been off kilter, because it's not the gym. They've been working extremely, extremely hard. We've been having some food issues."
The Black Team's combined weight loss following their first week competing as a team was 17 pounds, or a 1.22% weight-loss percentage. Since Maggie had the highest percentage of weight loss for the Black Team, she was safe from elimination.
With only an hour to make their decision, the Black Team gathered together, however nobody spoke. Once all the duos split-up and went to their individual rooms, it became clear that Jenn was in trouble.
Bernie explained to Brittany, Paul and Kelly that they should base their vote on "what's beneficial to the team in general," meaning Jenn's the weak link since she just posted two strong weeks on the scale and they were unsure if she could do it again. As Jenn packed, she sensed something was wrong.
"Am I going home!?" she nervously asked Maggie, who told her friend to remain calm and not be so "insecure."
"I hate the feeling of thinking that I could possibly leave tonight," said Jenn. "I'm not ready to go."
The Black Team then reconvened to cast their elimination votes. Paul and Kelly voted to oust Jenn, who with Maggie voted to boot Kelly. Bernie and Brittany cast the two deciding votes for Jenn, and she was eliminated from the competition.
"I have never seen you work so hard and I'm amazed at what you've been able to do," said Maggie to Jenn, who looked inconsolable. "I just want you to know how proud I am of you."
"Make sure that you keep fighting everyday," Jenn told the remaining Black Team members.
The Biggest Loser: Couples' next episode will air Tuesday, February 5 at 8PM ET/PT on NBC.