'The Biggest Loser: Couples' cuts Bette Sue Birkland, Alison Vincent
By Christopher Rocchio, 01/23/2008
Bette Sue Burkland and her daughter Alison Vincent rubbed the wrong team the wrong way at the wrong time, causing the Mesa, AZ hair stylists to become the fourth team eliminated from The Biggest Loser: Couples during last night's broadcast of the NBC reality show's fifth season.
"The time that I've had here to go to the gym and workout -- it's been hard -- but it's been worth it. I've lost 36 pounds in four weeks, that's just crazy," said Ali following her team's elimination. "We both felt like there's no way that we could get through difficult moments, and to have her on my side and to be able to be on her side and support her, I think we've opened a whole new level of communication and trust."
"We're so grateful to The Biggest Loser -- if for nothing else, than just that," added Bette Sue.
"The Biggest Loser is about to enter into a new phase," host Alison Sweeney told the seven remaining teams. "In a minute, I'm going to ask you guys to make a very important decision -- the consequences of which will affect not just the next week, but probably the rest of the game. I have to ask you a question: If you could vote off one more team right now, who would it be?"
Each team was given a "couple of minutes" to discuss with their partner who they would vote off, and couldn't discuss the choice with any of the other teams. "Best Friends" Maggie King and Jennifer Widder -- who had been below the yellow line at two of the first three weigh-ins -- found themselves in an "unfortunate position" since everyone else was responsible for keeping them in the competition to this point.
"Divorced Couple" Kelly Fields and Paul Marks and "Strangers" Brittany Aberle and Bernardo Salazar voted for "Brothers" Mark and Jay Kruger; "Former Football Teammates" Roger Shultz and Trent Patterson and "Mother and Son" Jackie and Dan Evans voted for Maggie and Jenn; and Mark and Jay, Maggie and Jenn, and Bette Sue and Ali voted for Paul and Kelly.
Paul and Kelly received the highest number of votes, and fully-expecting to be booted Kelly gave her swan song through tears before Alison revealed they weren't going home. Instead -- for this week only -- it would be "all against one," with the six other teams competing only against Paul and Kelly in the upcoming Reward Challenge and weigh-in.
If the group of teams had a higher combined weight-loss percentage than Paul and Kelly, the divorced couple would be given the boot. If Paul and Kelly had a higher weight-loss percentage than the other six teams combined, they would have the choice to decide which of the other teams they wanted to send home.
"Fair enough," said Paul. "Sounds like I got to get busy, don't I?"
But before he could get busy, Alison revealed Paul and Kelly could pick either of The Biggest Loser's two trainers -- Bob Harper or Jillian Michaels -- as their personal trainer for the week. Paul and Kelly chose Jillian.
The "all against one" format created a lot of tension between the teams on campus, and Kelly was surprised that she and Paul were seen as a "threat" by the other teams after only one successful week on the scales. Paul, on the other hand, was ticked off.
"They just friggin' awoken that which was deep within me. You know I'm a fighter," said Paul. "It's a fight. It's just a different kind of fight... The warrior's back and they better look out. There's an old Chinese philosophy in kung fu, it says, 'Beware the tiger who stands before you meek and beautiful, though that tiger will kill you just for the sport of it.' And if I get a chance to take them out, I will."
Bummed about their uphill battle, Paul and Kelly still had the highest weight-loss percentage for the third week, and were thus rewarded. Alison told them to climb to the top of a hill, where there would be three envelopes -- labeled luxury, family and game play -- waiting for them under a tree, and they could pick whichever one they wanted.
Despite some hemming and hawing from Kelly about wanting luxury or family, it was really a no-brainer considering their situation and they chose game play. It was a smart decision, as they were reward with an additional two pounds of weight loss at the weigh-on of their choice.
The other six teams informed Jillian and Bob of what had happened, and Jillian found the burden of the responsibility as "horrible" and a "very difficult position to be in."
"The game is on in this house," said Bob, realizing what the "all against one" angle meant.
Jillian arrived in Paul and Kelly's room and quickly realized they were on the defensive. However since "all against one" was for only one week, she knew they'd have to maintain relationships with the other teams and didn't want them making it worse by being standoffish. Jillian suggested they continue "fraternizing with the other contestants and make it all good."
All of the teams trained, and Paul revealed that he had been waking up in the middle of the night to train some more while all of the other contestants -- including Kelly -- slept.
The seven remaining teams then met for the "all against one" Reward Challenge, and Alison explained the rules. Each team would have to run across a balance beam over a pool of water, retrieve a peg, come back to the start and place the peg on a board. If a contestant fell in the water, they had to go back to the start. "To make it fair," as Alison put it, every player on each side had to go at least once. The reward was letters from home.
While it remains to be seen which side that last rule was supposed to make it fair for, it gave Paul and Kelly a huge advantage since Paul's nimble feet carried has massive frame across the balance beam fairly quickly. It was a little close at the beginning, but once Trent fell in the water Paul grabbed the lead for good, retrieving 11 of the 12 pegs for his team. Kelly grabbed the last peg, and they won reward.
However taking Jillian's advice, Paul and Kelly decided to forfeit the letters and instead give the reward to the other teams.
"It's worth the sacrifice," said Kelly, and Paul later explained it was "the needs of the many outweighed the few."
Almost immediately after the kind gesture, Paul and Kelly became an alliance magnet. Jackie and Dan approached Kelly to form an alliance, and pretty soon Bernie, Brittany and Maggie were also brought on board. Jackie, Dan, Maggie and Brittany all plotted to chug water before the upcoming weigh-in to throw it for their group, assuring Paul and Kelly would win and thus have the opportunity to eliminate Mark and Jay.
"I'm sorry Jay, but your brother's got to go," said Brittany in a confessional.
Bob's been a The Biggest Loser trainer for a while, and he could sense "heavy game play" and "very powerful alliances" forming with Paul and Kelly. He issued a stern warning to the six teams he was responsible for training.
"I'm going to be really interested in seeing how this weigh-in is going to turn out. I'm expecting really good weight loss from everybody," said Bob to the six teams he's training. "I'm never about game play -- game play drives me nuts. With that said, I understand you've got to do what you've got to do. But just remember, you need to keep me in the loop of what's going on... The last thing you want to do is make me look like an idiot. That won't be good."
All of the teams got letters from home and cried -- except for Kelly and Paul -- before The Biggest Loser: Couples' fourth weigh-in then commenced. Alison reiterated the aforementioned rules and revealed the reward Paul and Kelly had won, which made Mark realize what was at stake.
"I was pretty deflated at that point when Alison mentioned the two-pound weight-loss that Paul and Kelly had won for being The Biggest Loser's team of the week," opined Mark. "It kind of shattered my hopes and I pretty much figured Jay and I would be going home."
However Alison had another surprise, revealing that the team that had the highest percentage of weight-loss at the fourth weigh-in would reap their reward immediately, receiving immunity at the elimination. Mark and Jay saw their opening and the teams in Paul and Kelly's alliance were now the ones who were deflated.
"It really shot all sorts of holes in our original plan," said Kelly.
Bette Sue started the week at 231 and lost seven pounds while Ali began at 206 and dropped six pounds for a combined weight loss of 13 pounds or a 3.43% weight-loss percentage. Trent started at 388 and shed 13 pounds while Roger began at 331 and dropped 12 pounds for a combined weight loss of 25 pounds or a 3.48% weight-loss percentage.
Bernie started at 248 and lost seven pounds while Brittany began at 203 and shed only two pounds for a combined weight loss of nine pounds or a 2.0% weight-loss percentage. Bob said he was "baffled" by Brittany's low number and was suspicious that it "did not add up."
Mark started at 249 and dropped 14 pounds while Jay began at 268 and shed 10 pounds for a combined weight loss of 24 pounds or a 4.64% weight-loss percentage. Jenn started at 236 and shed seven pounds while Maggie began at 221 and lost three pounds for a combined weight loss of 10 pounds or a 2.19% weight-loss percentage.
After averaging a weight loss of 25 pounds over the first three weeks, Jackie started at 216 and lost only two pounds while Dan began at 265 and shed only one pound for a combined weight loss of three pounds or a 0.62% weight-loss percentage. Bob was shocked, and Dan owned up to throwing the weight-loss in a confessional.
"My mom and I wanted to bring down our team's weight-loss percentage, and we did," he said.
The six teams combined for a 2.81% weight-loss percentage, meaning Paul and Kelly had to lose a combined 12 pounds. Paul started the week at 269 and dropped nine pounds while Kelly began at 248 and lost eight pounds for a combined weight loss of 17 pounds or a 3.39% weight-loss percentage.
While Paul and Kelly were elated that they were safe from elimination -- so were Mark and Jay for posting the week's highest percentage of weight loss.
"That was an awful spin," said Kelly, who with Paul had one hour to determine who to boot.
Paul and Kelly discussed their options and immediately singled out Bette Sue and Ali and Maggie and Jenn since they were the two teams along with Mark and Jay who put the divorced couple in the "all against one" situation." They talked with Jackie, who agreed with Paul that Bette Sue and Ali should be the ones to go since Mark and Jay were safe. Paul and Kelly met with Bette Sue and Ali.
"We're not ready to go," sobbed Bette Sue. "I finally feel like I can play the game..."
"I don't like the game of this at all," answered Paul.
"I don't care if you want me to say I will never vote you off, I won't [vote you off]!" said an emotional Ali. "I mean what I say."
Paul and Kelly said that's not what they wanted, but reiterated how surprised they were that Bette Sue and Ali voted against them.
"I think the only reason that you would vote for us is because we voted for you and it would be a revenge vote," said Ali.
Paul and Kelly then met with Maggie and Jenn, who weren't confident since they've been below the yellow line twice. However as all the teams reconvened once the hour was up, Paul and Kelly revealed they were booting Bette Sue and Ali.
"I guess we're the first team that unjustly gets sent home, as far as why we all came here to lose weight, to compete fairly," said Ali. "We're above the yellow line... I don't know, I'm upset. I don't know that I can do this at home and I think that it sucks because I deserve to be here. I've proven that."
"Maybe everybody can quit kissing everybody's ass because they might be the ones that vote them out or something," said Bette Sue. "If you're going to play the game, play it honestly! There's a lot of fake going on. I didn't come here for me -- I don't think I would have subjected myself to anything like this, except for one of my daughters... I'm not a very good loser... We're going to come back skinnier than all you damn people!"
Bette Sue and Ali departed and Alison revealed that starting at the next weigh-in, individuals will be eliminated instead of teams, however she failed to elaborate on what the format will be.
The Biggest Loser: Couples next episode will air Tuesday, January 29 at 8PM ET/PT on NBC.