Shanon Thomas gets eliminated from 'The Biggest Loser: Couples'
By John Bracchitta, 02/18/2009
Shanon Thomas, 29-year-old massage therapist from Centerline, MI became the tenth contestant to be eliminated from The Biggest Loser: Couples during last night's broadcast of the NBC weight-loss reality series.
Shanon and her mother/Pink team partner Helen Phillips, 47-year-old retired retail manager from Sterling Heights, MI, both fell below the Yellow Line at the seventh-week weigh-in despite being one of only two teams allowed to workout in the gym for the week. Similar to the competition's previous elimination, Shanon's elimination came after she and Helen asked the other contestants to vote to let Helen to remain on the ranch after discovering that they had been put up for elimination.
"The person who arrived here is completely different from the person I am today. I mean I never thought that I would run at a 9.0 on a treadmill, I never thought that I would hike up a mountain... I didn't know what a spin bike was and now you can't get me off of them," Shanon said following her elimination. "I love [trainer Bob Harper], I'll never forget him. He changed the rest of my life, he taught me how to live again...It's hard to go and leave [my mom] behind, but she's gonna be a rock star here and I'm gonna be a rock star at home."
The Biggest Loser: Couples' seventh episode began with Dane Patterson, a 27-year-old real estate appraiser from Mesa, AZ coming to terms with the fact that his cousin/Black team partner Blaine Cotter was no longer with him on the ranch after his elimination after the previous week's weigh-in.
"I woke up this morning and looked over at Blaine's bed and he wasn't there and it really hit home," Dane said. "I was focused before, but now that he sacrificed himself for me it makes me wanna work that much harder, and I've never felt so motivated since I've been here."
As the contestants gathered and walked over to the gym, they were surprised by The Biggest Loser: Couples host Alison Sweeney who told them that they would be competing in their second Pop Challenge in as many weeks.
The contestants were told that the doors to they gym would be padlocked shut, and that their challenge would require them to trek up a nearby hill. At the top, they would find 130 keys, only two of which fit the gym locks. Each contestant would be able to choose one key at a time and bring it back down to try on the locks. The two teams to find the keys that fit the locks would gain access to the gym for the week, while the remaining teams would be forced to workout elsewhere for the remainder of the week.
"I really don't wanna workout outside because I already have a routine I already know what level I'm on all these machines, and you just don't know what to expect out here, I mean we could get eaten by a mountain lion," said Laura Denoux, a 24-year-old sales director and former model from Miami, FL.
The teams then set out on the challenge, with most of them jogging up the hill to get to the keys as quickly as possible. However, not all of the contestants were so urgent to get up the hill, with Brown team member Ron Morelli, a 54-year-old city councilman and retired food distributor from South Lyon, MI, walking up the hill slowly because of his bad knees and Shanon deciding to enjoy the experience rather than stress out about moving so quickly.
"For me I was just like 'If I get it I get it, if I don't I don't, I'm just gonna enjoy the day, walk up the hill, pick my key, and walk back down," she said.
Shanon's technique was in sharp contrast to that of Green team member Tara Costa, a 23-year-old finance manager and former model from New York, NY, who jogged continuously up and down the hill trying different keys and pushed herself to the point where she had to stop and throw up.
Ironically, 56 minutes into the challenge it was Shanon who found the first key to unlock the gym on her sixth attempt. A second layer of irony was added when not Ron, but his Brown team partner/son Mike Morelli, an 18-year-old student from South Lyon, MI found the second key to the gym. While Ron was excited and proud of his son for working hard to win the challenge, Tara wasn't as happy and dropped down to the ground in disbelief after hearing that both keys had been found.
"When I found out that Michael got the second key I just dropped to the floor," a frustrated Tara said. "I'm upset, I'm scared that I'm gonna be at a disadvantage and I know that [no one will] allow me to have that disadvantage. I need Laura to hold her own weight, I can't compensate for her shortcomings this week. Physically I'm not gonna be able to do it, and that is stressful."
That evening, trainer Jillian Michaels met with her team members and was "shocked" to learn that the contestants had voted to eliminate Blaine over Dane at the competition's last elimination and added that she was surprised that Bob's team had gone against his wishes (Bob had openly told is teammates to vote out Dane over Blaine following the previous weigh-in).
Upon hearing from his own contestants that they had voted out Blaine instead of Dane, Bob was clearly frustrated and let them know it.
"Don't ask for my input if you're not gonna take it," Bob said. "Don't ask for my advice anymore. If you think you have all the answers. great. I hope so because I want to see all of you at the very end."
"I felt like a little child that had just broken something, I was scared," Kristin Steede, a 28-year-old business owner from Greenville, WI, said after Bob's verbal lashing.
However, Bob's spirits were lightened considerably when he learned that the Brown and Pink teams would have access to the gym all week.
Upon learning that she would have to work out her team outside for the entire week, Jillian wasn't happy and admitted to not being the outdoorsy type.
"The sand and the dirt and the beach and just the filth everywhere... You stink. It just sucks," she said of training outdoors.
Instead of heading outdoors, Jillian decided to clear out the ranch's living room to create a makeshift "home gym" to hold classes in instead.
Meanwhile over in the gym, Helen admitted that having access to the gym was "definitely" an advantage. However, while the rest of Bob's contestants played a hybrid form of musical chairs and tug of war and Jillian's contestants used imaginary jump ropes and did floor exercises from a "horrendous host of fitness videos circa 1980" to make up for their lack of gym access, the Pink team made questionable use of their time in the gym, choosing to turn Jillian's side into a "lounge" complete with homemade signs, fresh cut fruit, plants, chairs and drinks.
Tensions also briefly rose on Jillian's team when a tired Tara asked for a break from the workout got upset when she felt she wasn't being cut as much slack as her teammates on an admittedly "off day."
'I'm tired, I'm stressed, the game's getting to me and I wanna go home, everything's just building up and it's just like 'Gimme a break, gimme five seconds,'" Tara said after the altercation.
"I could just tell that Tara was not up to it today," Jillian said later. "I think she's missing Blaine, I think she's feeling anxiety about Laura because they're connected, their fates are intertwined."
Meanwhile, Bob was somewhat taken aback when he went into the gym and saw the makeshift lounge that had been constructed.
'I see flowers, I see green tea, I see freshly cut fruit, and there they are, the Pink and the Brown teams and they're as happy as can be, and I'm like 'Oh look at you guys at Club Med right now,'" he said later.
Bob also expressed worry that the Pink and Brown team may not have been working out as hard as they could because none else was allowed in the gym.
Later, the teams met Alison outside by a group of rowing machines connected to large rectangular green light panels for their next challenge. Once there, the contestants were told that for the challenge would require each team to use the rowing machines to generate enough electrical current to keep the light panel behind them green. If a team faltered, the light panel would first switch its color to yellow before turning to red and signaling that both the contestant and their teammate had been eliminated.
Alison added that the last team remaining in the challenge would receive immunity at the upcoming weigh-in.
The challenge then got underway, with Ron becoming the first contestant to falter and get eliminated along with Michael from the competition. Yellow team member Aubrey Cheney, a 28-year-old information and education specialist from Gooding, ID was the next to slow down and get eliminated along with her sister Amanda Kramer, a 30-year-old cosmetologist from Boise, ID.
They were followed by the Pink team of Shanon and Helen; the Purple team of Kristin and her mother Cathy Skell, a 48-year-old title sales closing agent from Shiocton, WI; and Filipe Fam, a 26-year-old lube technician from Mesa, AZ and his cousin Sione Fa, a 28-year-old landscape company owner from Maricopa, AZ, by the challenge's 15 minute mark.
With only the Green and Black teams left, Laura did everything she could to remain in the challenge, but she eventually slowed down and was eliminated along with Tara, giving immunity to Dane.
"Obviously I'm very excited that I won immunity," Dane said following his win. "It's been a long time and I felt like I needed it more this week than I've ever needed it."
After being eliminated from the challenge, Laura broke down into tears and felt that she had let down Tara once again.
"When we didn't win, it was just another disappointment, second place is still not enough," Laura said later. "I feel like I let Tara down again, and I don't wanna be the reason she goes home this week."
For their last chance workout, Bob took his entire team -- including the Pink team and Michael from the Brown team -- to a nearby beach and had them run, do crab walks, and carry heavy objects in the sand. Meanwhile Jillian trained her team with leg lifts, and boxing before moving to the ranch's pool and having them kick, do push ups and tread water.
The contestants then met with Alison in the gym for their weigh-in for the week. Much like the week prior, the contestants were told that the team with the lowest percentage of weight loss would fall below the yellow line and be up for elimination and the other contestants would then vote to eliminate one of the team's members.
Because he won immunity at the challenge, Dane was the first contestant to weigh in, losing 4 lbs. for the week.
Despite worries all week from both of its team members that they were going to have a bad week on the scales, the Green team of Tara (7 lbs.) and Laura (8 lbs.) won the weigh-in with a percentage weight loss of 3.14%.
The Yellow team of Mandi (5 lbs.) and Aubrey (7 lbs.) followed in second place with a percentage weight-loss of 2.74%.
The Blue team of Filipe (7 lbs.) and Sione (9 lbs.) came in third place, losing a percentage of 2.65%.
The Brown team of Ron (7 lbs,) and Mike (10 lbs.) followed in fourth place with a combined percentage loss of 2.51%.
The Purple team of Kristin (12 lbs.) and Cathy ( 1 lb.) came in fifth place with a percentage loss of 2.3%, meaning that the Pink team of Helen (6 lbs.) and Shanon (3 lbs.) had come in last with a percentage of 1.99% and would be up for elimination.
"The house has a huge decision to make," Kristin said after the weigh-in. "How do you choose between a mother and a daughter."
However, Helen and Shanon attempted to make that decision easier on everyone when, after everyone had convened to discuss who to eliminate, Helen told the remaining contestants that she and Shanon had prepared for such a situation and requested that they send Shanon home.
"Shanon feels that she would do better at home because she was home already, and she feels that she proved herself at home," Helen told the other contestants. "So I'm asking you to send her home and keep me here."
While some were surprised that Shanon seemed to want to leave the ranch and go home, Shanon clarified her feelings in an attempt to sway them further.
"I don't think anyone ever really wants to go home do they?" she said. "But when it comes down to it me and my mom aren't here for a check, we're here to lose weight."
While Shanon wouldn't admit that she was volunteering to go home just to make her mother happy to the other contestants, she later added that she was "just trying to give my mom what she wants."
Although there was some initial hesitation from some contestants to simply abide by their wishes instead of analyzing the gameplay aspects of the decision, the contestants ultimately decided to -- once again -- vote with their hearts. After arriving at the elimination ceremony Shanon was eliminated after receiving the first four votes from the Green, Blue, Brown and Purple teams.
In her post-show update, it was revealed that Shanon had dropped her weight down to 198 lbs. and has been training by participating in a local roller derby where her nickname is "Flower Power."