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NBC reveals identities of 'The Biggest Loser's eighth-season cast


By Christopher Rocchio, 08/20/2009 

NBC has revealed the identities of the 16 contestants competing on The Biggest Loser's eighth season, which will premiere Tuesday, September 15 at 8PM ET/PT and feature a "second chances" theme.

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"We looked for big personalities who are willing to inspire others," casting executive Allison Kaz said in TV Guide's August 24 issue.  "They're tired of the life they're living."

The Biggest Loser's eighth season will be the first edition to feature a single-contestant format since the show's Fall 2007 fourth season.

"Thank God!" trainer Jillian Michaels told TV Guide, reiterating her previous comments about not being a big fan of the pairs format the show's last three editions have used.  "This should be an individual journey -- it's not about your dad or your husband."

The Biggest Loser's eighth season cast will also include the NBC reality show's heaviest contestant ever -- Shauntina "Shay" Sorrells, who began the competition at 476 lbs..

Sorrells -- whose mother was a heroin addict, forcing her to live in foster care until she was 18 years old -- explained she used food as a way to cope with her past.

"It's very difficult, and you find yourself picking up the same habits, whether or not it's a needle.  I picked up cake, a doughnut" Sorrells said during Access Hollywood's Tuesday broadcast.  "So it's a habit, it's an addiction the same... it's just a different choice of drug."

Sorrells said her mother passed away three years ago due to a blood clot in her lung that was a result of years of drug abuse and poor circulation brought on by obesity.

"It was so clear to me that death was so imminent and so close for me because I'm heavier than she ever was," an emotional Sorrells told Access Hollywood.

Sorrells took the title of heaviest contestant ever from seventh-season participant Daniel Wright -- who tipped the scales at 454 lbs. before shedding 142 lbs. and weighing-in at 312 lbs. at the season finale's previously eliminated contestant weigh-in.

Wright is back for The Biggest Loser's eighth season, and he told TV Guide the reason for his return is to "finish what I started."

In addition, The Biggest Loser's eighth-season cast will include Amanda Arlauskas -- who was voted in as a contestant by home viewer votes that were cast during the show's live seventh-season finale in May.

Michaels and Bob Harper will reprise their role as The Biggest Loser trainers, and the contestant with the highest weight-loss percentage at the end of the season will once again be awarded with a $250,000 prize.

The Biggest Loser's eighth-season contestants are:

- Sean Algaier, a 29-year-old youth pastor from Tulsa, OK whose starting weight was 444 lbs.

- Amanda Arlauskas, a 19-year-old patient care technician from Butler, NJ whose starting weight was 250 lbs.

- Danny Cahill, a 39-year-old land surveyor and musician from Broken Arrow, OK whose starting weight was 430 lbs.

- Mozziz "Mo" Dewalt, a 56-year-old youth mentor from Louisville, KY whose starting weight was 355 lbs.

- Antoine Dove, a 23-year-old health insurance agent from Dudley, NC whose starting weight was 367 lbs.

- Julio Gomez, a 40-year-old mortgage loan officer from Algonquin, IL whose starting weight was 407 lbs.

- Dina Mercado, a 28-year-old custodian from Commerce, CA whose starting weight was 253 lbs.

- Rebecca Meyer, a 25-year-old student/nanny from Des Moines, IA whose starting weight was 279 lbs.

- Rudy Pauls, a 31-year-old engineer from Brooklyn, CT whose starting weight was 442 lbs.

- Abby Rike, a 35-year-old teacher from Mabank, TX whose starting weight was 247 lbs.

- Allen Smith, a 44-year-old firefighter/EMT from Columbus, IN whose starting weight was 325 lbs.

- Shauntina "Shay" Sorrells, a 30-year-old social worker from Newport Beach, CA whose starting weight was 476 lbs.

- Alexandra White, a 20-year-old students from Harrisburg, PA whose starting weight was 209 lbs.

- Daniel Wright, a 20-year-old student from Willow Spring, NC whose starting weight was 312 lbs.

- Liz Young, a 49-year-old salesperson from Lewisburg, TN whose starting weight was 267 lbs.

- Tracey Yukich, a 37-year-old homemaker from Allen, TX whose starting weight was 238 lbs.

(Photo credit NBC)


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