Lezlye Donahue the second contestant cut from 'The Biggest Loser 4'
By Christopher Rocchio, 09/19/2007
The Red Team faced its second elimination in as many weeks, and as a result Lezlye Donahue, a 34-year-old Hurricane Katrina survivor from Metairie, LA, became the second contestant cut from The Biggest Loser's fourth season during last night's broadcast of the NBC reality weight-loss competition series.
"This experience has really been a great one for me. It truly has," said Lezlye during a video montage of her The Biggest Loser 4 journey. "Basically what I'm going to take away from here is who I am. I learned a lot about myself. In my mind, I'm not ready to leave, but in my heart, I'm ready for the real world. I'm not going to waste another minute."
The Biggest Loser 4's second episode began with trainer Jillian Michaels' Black Team still seven days away from revealing themselves to the Red and Blue Teams, continuing to train hard in the desert because Jillian thought they're still "not ready." Because they're not on The Biggest Loser campus, the Black Team then participated in their second weigh-in, however none of its six members faced the possibility of being eliminated.
Isabeau Miller, a 21-year-old from Franklin, TN, started at 298 and lost eight pounds; Julie Hadden, a 34-year-old from Jacksonville, FL, started at 218 and lost two pounds; Hollie Self, a 28-year-old from Phoenix, AZ, began at 255 and lost 11 pounds; Jez Luckett, a 24-year-old from Garden City, KS, began at 345 and lost 16 pounds; Jim Germanakos, a 40-year-old from Long Island, NY, started at 361 and lost 11 pounds; and his twin brother Bill started at 334 and lost 21 pounds.
"We're all sticking together. We're the renegade team... the Black Team," said Bill. "When that Red and Blue Team sees us again, they're going to have something to worry about. We look forward to when that's going to happen."
Back on campus, the Red Team was stilling dealing with the elimination of Amber Walker, but captain Phil Hawk, a 27-year-old from Powell, OH, felt they were "ready to take the next step forward." As they trained on campus, Blue Team trainer Bob Harper took his squad to Santa Monica Mountain for some outdoor training. Neil Tejwani, a 25-year-old from Marblehead, MA, said his knee was bothering him but refused to turn around at Bob's request. He eventually finished the hike with the rest of his teammates.
"I promised myself I would. I kept pushing, kept fighting," said Neil. "It was a real sense of accomplishment. It felt good." The Black team also continued to train outdoors in Jillian's militant style.
"The best warriors are forged in fire," she explained, adding the Black Team was being prepared for "anything." As the Red and Blue Teams participated in their pre-challenge workouts at the campus, Jillian commented, "I'm challenge enough for my team."
Bob told his Blue Team that he thought The Biggest Loser 4's Week 2 challenge would "involve stairs" -- and he was right -- as the challenge had each team walking up the staircase of a 10-story building. Four members of each team would go up the stairs separately, hit a light switch on a designated floor, and then have to go back outside the building. The first team to hit all their switches and have their last member outside won the challenge. A game of chance would then be used to determine which member of the winning team won the prize, immunity from the next weigh-in.
For the Blue Team, Neil sat-out because of his ailing foot, and Ryan Rodriguez, a 29-year-old from Jackson Heights, NY, joined him due to what he described as blood work that revealed "irregular levels." The unbalanced numbers meant the Red Team had to sit someone, and they chose Lezlye, who said she "didn't want to do it" anyway.
The Blue Team dominated the early stages of the challenge, with Kae Whang, a 27-year-old from Clark, NJ; Patty Gonzalez, a 34-year-old from San Diego, CA; and Nicole Michalik, a 26-year-old from Philadelphia, PA, all winning the first three legs of the race over David Griffin, a 31-year-old from Cedar Hill, TN; Amy Zimmer, a 28-year-old from Rochester, NY; and Bryan Washington, a 29-year-old from Riverdale, GA, for the Red Team.
However it came down to the two captains of both teams, as Phil and Jerry Lisenby, a 62-year-old from Peoria, IL who is the oldest contestant in The Biggest Loser history, went neck and neck. It was Phil who emerged from the building first and crossed the finish line for the Red Team, and they won the challenge.
"We were behind the Blue Team the entire race, and then coming down, Phil was just hauling to the finish line," observed Lezlye from her spot on the sideline. "You couldn't have asked for a better race. It was perfect."
"I hate to lose," said Phil. "Especially, I got tired of always losing to Jerry." Neil also noticed the grudge between the two team captains. "Jerry versus Phil is turning into Ali versus Frasier pretty damn quick," he commented. "It was a good show to watch." The Red Team members then participated in the game of chance to see who would win immunity. David won and as a result could not be eliminated if the Red Team lost the next weigh-in.
"Knowing that I'm absolutely going to be here for another week, that makes you feel good," said David. "On one hand you think maybe I can relax a little bit. But you can't. You can't take any days off here. If you take a day off here, you get behind."
When the Blue Team told Bob what had happened, he wasn't that surprised, realizing that Phil had "something to prove" in beating Jerry. However because no team has ever won the first two weigh-ins in The Biggest Loser history, Bob wanted his team to do just that and focus on training. As the Red Team also trained, Amy clashed with trainer Kim Lyons, who questioned how hard Amy was actually working. Prior to the Week 2 weigh-in, Kim complained about Amy and Lezlye "whining" too much and Amy eventually left the workout unfinished.
"Last-chance workout and Amy walked out on that. She didn't walk out on herself, she walked out on the team," said Lezlye. Added David, "I think we were all kind of bummed out she missed the last-chance workout with the team. This is a tough mental game, period. Everybody here's out of their element. Everybody here misses their family. Everybody misses their kids."
"I know that going home wouldn't be what's best for me, what's best for my health," said a tearful Amy. "I'm going to do it for my family. I know I need to be here." Having a hard time dealing with Kim, Amy received some support from Bob, who made her feel better about staying in the competition for her two young daughters.
Trying to assure she was able to follow through on her word and stay in the game, Amy approached Lezlye about forming an all-female alliance on the Red Team should they lose the weigh-in. The only problem was they'd still be out-voted since there were three guys (Phil, David and Bryan).
The Black Team was the first to arrive for the weigh-in and anticipated the reaction from the Blue and Red Teams. Lezlye called it a "complete shock;" Kae said seeing the Black Team got her "riled up;" Phil called them the "black sheep" and added he was "pissed off" they came back; and Jerry was just happy to have a clear conscience, knowing he wasn't responsible for sending them home when he didn't pick them for his team. Bob and Kim also reacted to seeing Jillian for the first time.
"I've worked with Jillian for a long time, I know that she brings her A-game at all times, so I was even more nervous," said Bob.
"When those doors opened, the first thing I see is Jillian," explained Kim, who replaced Jillian as the Red Team's trainer prior to The Biggest Loser's third season. "The competitor side of me was just like, 'No way! I can't believe she's back!'"
With the Black team participating in the weigh-in for the first time, the two squads with the greatest percentage of weight loss following the second week would be safe, while the other team would have to eliminate a member.
The Blue Team was the first to be weighed-in. Jerry started at 266 and lost 10 pounds; Nicole began at 271 and shed six pounds; Patty started at 267 and dropped two pounds; Ryan started at 359 and lost 10 pounds; Kae began at 205 and lost five pounds; and Neil -- who was "frustrated" by his injury -- started at 399 and lost 10 pounds. The Blue Team's total weight loss following the second week was 43 pounds, a 2.43% weight-loss percentage.
For the Red Team, Bryan started at 325 and lost six pounds; Amy began at 287 and lost two pounds; Lezlye started at 246 and shed three pounds; David began at 348 and lost four pounds; and Phil started at 377 and lost five pounds. The Red Team's total weight loss following the second week was 20 pounds, a 1.26% weight-loss percentage.
Finally it was time for the Black Team to get on the campus scale for the first time. Hollie began at 242 and lost two pounds; Isabeau began at 290 and shed five pounds; Jez started at 329 and dropped nine pounds; Julie began at 216 and lost three pounds; Bill started at 313 and lost 12 pounds; and his brother Jim started at 350 and dropped 16 pounds.
The Black Team's total weight loss following the second week was 47 pounds, a 2.7% weight-loss percentage, meaning they had won the second official weigh-in.
"After being the rejects, to come in there on their own territory and beat them at their own game, we wanted them to realize that we're a force to be reckoned with," said Jez. For the second week in a row the Red Team lost the weigh-in.
"My God... We lost. And we didn't lose by a few points, we lost by a lot of pounds," said Lezlye. As the Red Team member who had the highest percentage of weight loss, Bryan was immune from elimination.
The next morning the Red Team began to discuss the upcoming elimination. Since David was immune due to his challenge victory and Bryan couldn't be booted because he had the highest percentage of weight loss at the weigh-in, the Red Team's only options for elimination were Phil, Amy or Lezlye.
David said he wanted to do whatever would "keep the team strongest," and Phil questioned Amy's "attitude." David told Amy it was a "split decision" and he didn't know what he was going to do, and she quickly flipped on her alliance with Lezlye, telling David she would vote for her friend if she had to.
"I don't want to go home," said Lezlye prior to the elimination ceremony. "If I go home, I'm faced with the aftermath of Katrina and trying to find a place to live; trying to find a job to support my family; I've got parents that are living with me; I've got a son; I've got an 81-year-old grandmother... This is just one battle I can't do on my own."
Both Amy and Lezlye voted for Phil at the elimination, however the guys stuck together and all cast their votes to oust Lezlye and she was defeated by a 3-2 margin.
"We play a numbers game here, but you know what? This team is going to be four strong... They're going to go for it, and they're going to bring home the gold," said Lezlye. "I'm proud of this team."
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