'The Biggest Loser: Families' cuts no one, confirms viewer voting 'twist'
By John Bracchitta, 12/10/2008
Michelle Aguilar, a 26-year-old assistant director from Ft. Worth, TX, and Vicky Vilcan, a 37-year-old anesthetist from Houma, LA, were revealed to be two of The Biggest Loser: Families' three finalists during last night's penultimate episode broadcast of the NBC reality weight-loss show's sixth season.
However, in a "shocking twist" -- which the show all but revealed during promos that aired after the last week's episode and had already featured on the show's previous season -- Michelle and Vicky did not get to decide which of the two contestants with the week's lowest weight-loss percentages would join them in the finale to compete for the show's $250,000 grand prize.
Instead, like last season, home viewers will determine whether Heba Salama, a 30-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative from Raleigh, NC, or her husband Ed Brantley, a 31-year-old chef, will become the show's third finalist.
Immediately following the conclusion of last night's episode, home viewers could begin voting via telephone of NBC's website for either Heba or Ed. The contestant who receives the most votes being revealed during the first five minutes of The Biggest Loser: Families' live finale broadcast next Tuesday, December 16 at 8PM ET/PT.
The Biggest Loser: Families' penultimate episode began with Michelle dealing with the elimination of her mother, Renee Wilson, at the prior weigh-in as well as her status as the only remaining Black team member. "I'm glad I've gone through the entire process and that I will be able to be here for the final week, but I realize that I'm literally all alone, and that's scary. That's very scary for me. It's a hard reality check," Michelle said following the weigh-in.
"I'm gonna miss my mom, I'm not a person that likes to be alone."
Meanwhile, Vicky, Ed, and Heba celebrated making it to the Final 4 as they jumped on a bed together and screamed "We did it! We did it!"
"After the elimination, the Blue team was feeling ecstatic," Vicky later said with a smile. "It feels totally awesome to be in the Final 4. I've worked so hard to get here, I can see the prize at the end of the tunnel."
When the teams met with their trainers the following day, Black team trainer Jillian Michael spent her entire time with Michelle trying to ease her feelings of loneliness as she faced off against the three remaining Blue team members.
You're not alone," Jillian told Michelle. "Your mom is totally with you right now completely, and so am I. Some things you will do on your own, but you are not alone."
Jillian also decided to take Michelle out to the hills near the ranch where she and the other contestants had taken part in their first challenge after arriving on the ranch to show her how far she had come, both mentally and physically.
"For the first time in my life my eyes really are completely wide open, like wide-eyed, brand-new world staring right back at me and now I'm not gonna let life pass me by," Michelle said after visiting the hills. "I'm gonna live every day, love every moment, and whatever life brings me I'm ready for."
Meanwhile, after initially being happy that his three Blue team members had survived the weigh-in, trainer Bob Harper's mood shifted to worry after Vicky admitted that although she had learned a lot about exercise and eating habits while on the ranch, she had not learned anything about herself.
Prior to Vicky's revelation, Bob had already referenced Ryan Benson, The Biggest Loser's first season winner, as a tragic case of someone who was a "puppet master" in terms of the show's gameplay, but did not address his issues while on the ranch.
"So here he was, standing up there [with confetti falling], won the game," Bob said of Ryan. "Now today that man weighs as much as he did the day he first walked into this house because he didn't learn anything, and that's what scares me."
Bob later took his team to the ranch's kitchen where he taught them healthy cooking tips and once again focused on Vicky and her post-ranch life -- which somewhat angered her for being singled out while Ed and Heba were left alone.
The four remaining contestants then met up with The Biggest Loser: Families host Alison Sweeney, who told them that they needed "to know where you've been to know where you're going," before leaving them with a box that was only marked with "Special Delivery."
Upon opening the box, the contestants saw that it contained the now oversized clothes they had worn prior to coming onto the ranch.
After trying the clothing on and seeing the progress they had made, Heba suggested a place for them to all store the now useless clothes: the fire pit.
"You know what I wanna do with this stuff? Burn it," she said. "I don't [ever] wanna fit in this stuff again! No back up."
The other contestants agreed, and as they watched their clothes burn, the foursome made a pact to not only never put the clothes on again, but to never put the weight on again either.
The contestants then reconvened with Alison at a speedway, where they learned that they would be running around the track with eleven different weights attached to them that made up their total amount of weight lost while on the ranch. As they ran the track, they would stop at eleven pit stops -- one representing each week they spent on the ranch -- and take off the weights equaling the amount of weight they had lost that week.
The first contestant to shed all eleven weights and cross the finish line would receive a subscription to The Biggest Loser meal plan for them and their family until the show's finale as well as a $10,000 cash prize.
From the moment the race started, Ed jumped out to a sizable lead that he never relinquished, and was only challenged briefly near the race's end by Michelle. Heba finished in third place, with Vicky finishing last.
"No more challenges, we did it!" Heba screamed as she crossed the finish line before congratulating Ed and reveling in the prizes that she had won by proxy.
Following the challenge, each contestant met with their trainer and was shown a video that chronicled their time on the ranch and the weight they had lost. After Vicky watched her video with Bob, she told him that she hadn't lost sight of the health reasons that had brought her to the ranch and would not falter in her weight loss after she went home.
Vicky's comments were exactly what Bob had wanted to hear.
"I've been really worried about Vicky throughout this whole journey because of how into the game that she is, but by the end of the video there was something new in Vicky's eyes," Bob said later. "She was ready, she was like 'I'm ready to do this."
"You're gonna be just fine," Bob told her.
"Cool," Vicky responded.
The four remaining contestants then participated in their final last-chance workouts before participating in their last weigh-in after 101 days on the ranch.
After they arrived at the scale, Alison informed the contestants -- who like their trainers, were still unaware of the show's home viewer vote twist -- that the two contestants with the lowest weight-loss percentage would find themselves below the yellow line and thus be up for elimination.
Michelle easily lost the highest percentage of weight during her last week on the ranch, losing 9 lbs. for a percentage of 5.26% to secure one of the Final 3 spots.
"The lone Black team member got to the finals and I couldn't be happier about it!" Michelle said after her successful weigh-in.
Vicky secured the second spot in the Final 3, losing 6 lbs. for a percentage of 3.41%.
"Awesome! it feels so good!" Vicky said of her passing into the Final 2. "I can't wait to tell my family."
While Heba was able to lose 7 lbs., her weight loss percentage of 3.23% was not enough to keep her out of the Bottom 2 along with her husband, who actually gained 2 lbs. in his final week on the ranch for a percentage of -0.8%
Following the weigh-in, Bob said that Ed's weight gain obviously had an aspect of gameplay involved in it.
"Ed is man that loves his wife and wants to give his wife anything and everything," Bob said. "Well, Ed's wife wants to be a finalist in The Biggest Loser. Ed's gonna do whatever he can do to get Heba just what she wants."
After the weigh-in, Alison finally informed the cast that the show's home viewers would be get to vote as to whether Ed or Heba would get to become the final member of the finale's Final 3.
Both Ed and Heba were then given a chance to go to a confessional to plead their cases to the public before voting commenced, however Ed -- in a move that seemed to all but confirm Bob's suspicions -- threw all of his support behind Heba and urged the public to vote for her.
"I don't think I'm throwing away an opportunity or anything crazy like that, I'm not," Ed said. "I want it more for her than I want it for myself. Please, please, please vote for Heba."
Heba added in her confessional that Ed was "more than happy to step aside" and give her the chance to get into the Top 3.
"If you choose me to be in the finals and compete against Vicky and Michelle, I will win," she added. I will be the next Biggest Loser."
The contestants then packed, shared an emotional goodbye and left the campus to return home to their friends and families.
After the identity of the third finalist is revealed during next Tuesday night's live finale broadcast, all three finalists will participate in one last weigh-in.
The finalist who posts the highest weight-loss percentage since the start of the competition will claim the show's $250,000 grand prize. In addition, the previously eliminated contestant that posts the highest weight-loss percentage since the start of the competition will be crowned the sixth-season's "at home" champ and receive a $100,000 consolation prize.