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'The Biggest Loser: Couples' eliminates contestant Justin Pope


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/23/2011 

The Biggest Loser: Couples eliminated Justin Pope, a 39-year-old business owner, city worker and bounty hunter from Logan, UT, during Tuesday night's broadcast of the NBC reality weight-loss competition.

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Justin became the twelfth contestant ousted from the competition's eleventh season after his newly-formed Red team posted the lowest weight-loss percentage at the twelfth week's weigh-in, and he was subsequently voted off by the members of the season's three other new teams.

"The show has absolutely saved my life," Justin said following his ouster.

"It gave me the opportunity to be proud of who I am. When you weigh up to 400 pounds, like I was, it's hard to be proud of who you are. You know what, I'm real now. It doesn't get any better than this. It doesn't get any better knowing that you made a change and being proud of it."

The Biggest Loser's twelfth eleventh-season episode began the next day following the elimination of Marci Crozier, a 49-year-old health club manager and restaurant owner from Valparaiso, IN, who was voted out of the competition by the rest of the contestants -- who weighed-in as one large Blue team -- after she fell below the yellow weigh-in line at the eleventh week's weigh-in.

The Blue team -- all the contestants who had previously been training with either new trainers Brett Hoebel and Cara Castronuova or veteran trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels -- met The Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney and the four trainers in the gym. Alison revealed they would be splitting up into four teams, of which each trainer would be responsible for their own team.

Alison then instructed the 11 remaining contestants to draw weights with hidden color-coded sides which would automatically determine their new team assignment and the trainer they would work with. The contestants randomly selected the weights -- which were color-coded red, black, blue, and green -- in the order of their posted weight-loss percentages from the prior weigh-in, starting from the highest to the lowest percentage.

Justin; Jennifer Jacobs, a 28-year-old digital media entrepreneur from Long Branch, NJ; and Courtney Crozier, a 22-year-old student and restaurant manager, from Valparaiso, IN, all selected the red weights and became Brett's new team.

Moses Kinikini, a 47-year-old garage door installer from Shelley, ID; Irene Alvarado, a 26-year-old student from Portland, OR; and Olivia Ward, a 35-year-old opera singer and plastic surgery office manager from New York, NY, randomly drew the blue barbells, which required them to join Bob's Blue team.

Cara, who would be the Green team's trainer, ended up with Kaylee Kinikini, a 20-year-old student from Shelley, ID; Austin Andrews, a 21-year-old radio board operator from Pasadena, CA; and his father Ken Andrews, a 49-year-old pastor also from Pasadena, CA. 

As the Black team's trainer, Jillian ended up with Rulon Gardner, a 39-year-old gym owner and motivational speaker from Logan, UT, and Hannah Curlee, a 32-year-old human resources representative from Nashville, TN, under her wing.

The contestants then realized Jillian only had two players while all the other teams had three contestants. Alison explained that Hannah and Rulon would be responsible for deciding which player could join their team out of all The Biggest Loser's eleventh-season previously eliminated contestants.

The person who Hannah and Rulon selected would be allowed to come back to the ranch and become a part of the competition once again as if he or she had never left. After discussing their options with Jillian, Hannah and Rulon thought it was best to either bring back Arthur Wornum, a 34-year-old stay-at-home-dad and day care provider from Portland, OR, or Jay Jacobs, a 53-year-old entrepreneur from West Orange, NJ.

Their decision depended on the choice between two possible strategies. Arthur could return as a member of Hannah and Rulon's team as a contestant with a lot of weight left to lose. If Arthur had more pounds to shed than most other players, it would give the Black team an advantage on the scale every week.

Jay on the other hand, would make their team stronger and help them win challenges with his determination and steadfast effort. However, he could pose a threat later on and become a real contender in the competition.

Later on, the four teams trained with their individual trainers for the first time. Jillian took her two Black team members to train at her beachhouse, Brett opted to have his Red team train outdoors and go on a hike, Cara boxed with her Green team at a local boxing gym, and Bob worked his Blue team out a nearby gym where he holds classes.

That night, the contestants met with Alison and they learned they would be competing as four teams in the week's challenge. Before she got to explaining the rules, Hannah and Rulon revealed they wanted to have Jay return to the ranch as a member of their Black team. His daughter Jennifer was overjoyed, and Jay was excited to have another shot.

Alison then told Jay he would have immunity for the week and his weight would not count for the Black team in their subsequent weigh-in.

Afterward, she instructed the four teams to hold onto a pulley, which held all the weight they had lost on The Biggest Loser: Couples so far in the competition. All that weight was hanging above a tank of water, and the teams had to hold onto the rope for as long as they could. Once they let the pulley go, the weight would come smashing down into their tank and put out their flame. If a flame went out for a team as a result, those members would be out of the challenge.

The winning team would receive a video chat with their family members from home. The Green team was the first to be out of the challenge and they were followed by the Black team, the Blue team, and finally the Red team. The Red team received the home-video viewing privilege, but they ended up giving their prize to the Blue team, who they felt needed the inspiration from their families just a bit more in the given moment.

The following day, the teams participated in their last chance workouts with Bob, Jillian, Brett, and Cara.

Later on that night, The Biggest Loser: Couples' first four-team weigh-in and twelfth overall elimination weigh-in commenced. Alison explained the team with the lowest percentage of weight-loss would face elimination, while all the contestants on the other teams must individually cast votes to oust one member of the losing team. In addition, the biggest loser on the losing team would receive immunity and could not be eliminated from the competition. 

Jay was the first of Jillian's Black team members to step on the scale as his numbers would not count toward anything. Jay returned to the ranch weighing 289 pounds and dropped down to 282 pounds after he lost seven pounds. Hannah started off the week weighing 176 pounds and fell to 172 pounds, shedding four pounds, while Rulon lost five pounds after he dropped from 335 to 330 pounds.

The Black team lost a total of nine pounds and posted a 1.76% weight-loss percentage. Bob's Blue team was next.

Moses lost only three pounds after he fell from 303 pounds to 300 pounds, while Irene started off the week weighing 178 pounds and dropped to 173 pounds after losing five pounds. Olivia dropped from 185 to 180 pounds after shedding five pounds.

The Blue team posted a 1.95% weight-loss percentage and lost a combined total of 13 pounds. The Red team, led by Brett, was the next to step on the scale.

Jen lost four pounds after falling from 191 pounds to 187 pounds. Courtney dropped from 237 pounds to 234 pounds after she lost three pounds, while Justin only lost two pounds after he fell from 249 pounds to 247 pounds. Courtney reached her weight-loss goal of 200 pounds and could not have been happier.

The Red team lost a total of nine pounds and posted a 1.33% weight-loss percentage. The Green team, which Cara served as its trainer, was the last of the four teams to weigh-in.

Kaylee announced she had a feeling what her weight-loss number would show because she had purposely thrown the weigh-in. She told everyone she was ready to go home and learned everything she needed to at the ranch in order to successfully lose more weight once off the ranch. As a result, she lost zero pounds and stayed at 174 pounds.

Green team member Austin lost only three pounds after her started off the week weighing 275 pounds and dropped to 272 pounds, while Ken fell from 270 pounds to 263 pounds after shedding seven pounds.

The Green team lost a total of 10 pounds and posted a 1.39% weight-loss percentage, which was enough for them to beat the Red team and avoid the elimination vote. Kaylee was very upset as she was ready to go home, but her father Moses assured her she was right where she needed to be. Therefore, the Red team would be up for elimination, but Jen had received immunity for her team.

Afterward, the Red team joined Alison and all the other contestants in the voting room and Kaylee, Olivia, Moses, Austin, and Ken all voted to oust Justin from The Biggest Loser: Couples. Rulon voted for Courtney, but the other contestants' votes did not have to be revealed as Justin had received five votes, which was enough to constitute for his elimination.

In a post-elimination update, Justin, who started The Biggest Loser: Couples weighing 365 pounds and left the ranch weighing 247, currently weighs 225 pounds. Justin said he started a "Call Out" effort to train with people who needed the help, and he added that his goal was to motivate overweight people into working out and getting healthy again.



(Photo credit NBC)


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