'The Biggest Loser' votes off Ben Shuh in thirteenth-season premiere
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/04/2012
The Biggest Loser's thirteenth season eliminated Ben Shuh during Tuesday night's broadcast of the NBC reality weight-loss competition's premiere episode.
Ben, a 34-year-old retail store manager from Howell, MI, became the first contestant ousted from the competition's thirteenth season after his Black team lost the first week's weigh-in by posting a lower total weight-loss percentage than the Red team -- which then forced the Black team's remaining contestants to vote off one of their own members.
"Thank you to everyone for all the things that they've done. I know I will not regret this decision at all," Ben said following his ouster, referencing how he had asked his team to vote him off so he could return home to his family and everyone else could stay on the ranch at least another week.
"I was coming alive this week when I was working out and I'd like to do that with my wife and do the rest of my journey together... To be on The Biggest Loser, I'm very grateful for even though I chose to get off after week 1. I think it was something that I will never forget. There will be struggles going back to the real world. My plan is to face it head on and say, 'Hey look. My health is important and it's not selfish to say I need to take some time to take care of me.'"
The Biggest Loser's first thirteenth-season episode began with the competition's 20 contestants comprised of teams of two -- brothers and sisters, mothers and daughters, a father and his son, couples, and complete strangers -- meeting with The Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney in front of the gates which enclosed the ranch and learning it was going to be a season of "no excuses" with veteran trainer Bob Harper ultimately competing against previously new trainer Dolvett Quince, who returned to the show for his second season.
The contestants -- who had always offered excuses for being overweight such as they were too lazy, didn't have enough time to work out and had many children to take care of -- were informed that their excuses would end and they'd have to complete the work. Alison then explained the players would have to compete in their first The Biggest Loser challenge, and the team to finish in last place would be sent home and unable to participate in what was to come at the ranch.
Alison told the contestants the challenge would be broken up into three phases. The first phase required one member from each team to run a 40-yard dash to the finish, and the first four teams to cross the finish line would automatically be able to remain on-campus and complete their weight-loss journey on the ranch. However, the six remaining teams would move onto the second phase of the challenge in the hopes of receiving the same opportunity.
Blue team members Joe Messina, a 38-year-old truck driver from Auburn, NY, and his brother Mike Messina, a 41-year-old cook from Oakland, CA, came in first place and were followed by Orange team members Nancy Rajala, a 63-year-old retiree, and her granddaughter Cassandra Sturos, a 25-year-old in-home senior caregiver from Fowlerville, MI.
The Brown team -- which consisted of Ben and his brother Allen "Buddy" Shuh, a 42-year-old pastor from Wayne, MI -- came in third place and they were followed by Yellow team members Gail Lee, a 57-year-old realtor, and her daughter Lauren Lee, a 26-year-old exercise physiologist from Poolesville, MD in fourth.
The six remaining teams then competed in the second phase of the challenge which required the other members of each team who had not competed in the first phase to also run a 40-yard dash.
However, there was a puzzle located in the center of the course, so one at a time, they had to bring their puzzle pieces from the barrel at the start to the puzzle stand. Once they thought they had their puzzle completed, they had to run back to the barrel and press a button. If their puzzle was correct, their light would flash and they could leave the race.
The first four teams to finish the puzzle and race would automatically make it inside the ranch, while the remaining two teams must compete in the final heat for one last spot on the show.
Gray team members Mark Cornelison, a 43-year-old youth pastor, and his son Isaac "Chism" Cornelison, a 19-year-old student from Magnolia, TX, came in first place. Red team members Christine Pickler, a 42-year-old who is self-employed, and her husband Roy Pickler, a 63-year-old self-employed Santa Claus from Middlebury, IN, came in second place.
Purple team members Kim Stone, a 48-year-old registered nurse, and her daughter Megan Stone, a 21-year-old student and support staffer for an organization that assists disabled adults from Dittmer, MO, finished in third, while the Green team -- which consisted of Conda Britt, a 24-year-old nutrition health services technician, and her brother Jeremy Britt, a 22-year-old banker from Rockford, MI -- secured the fourth spot.
The third and final phase of the challenge required the Pink team and Aqua team to square off in the final heat. For the task, each team was instructed to stand on a platform with their partners for as long as they possibly could. The last team standing on its platform would join the other teams on the ranch, while the losing team would be sent home.
The Pink team -- which consisted of strangers Emily Joy, a 29-year-old teacher from Huntersville, NC, and Kim Nielsen, a 38-year-old former professional wrestler from Roswell, GA, paired up -- beat the Aqua team members Adrian Dortch, a 34-year-old music producer and community activist, and his sister Daphne Dortch, a 37-year-old paralegal and kids activity team member from Evanston, IL.
As a result, Adrian and Daphne were eliminated before even making it onto The Biggest Loser ranch's premise. However, Alison told them they would have a chance to redeem themselves and potentially join the cast later on. She told them that in one month, they could return to the ranch and weigh-in for a second chance in which they must lose 50 pounds as a team to gain a spot on the show.
Adrian and Daphne, although disappointed about their last-place finish, were looking forward to reaching that goal together.
"I can't think of anything else that I want than to just walk through those doors and start to change my life..." Daphne said in tears following her team's ouster.
"I don't take it lightly that we didn't make it through those doors. I mean, that hurts really bad. Nobody wants to go home as a failure, but you know what? We've been given a second chance. And we'll take that second chance, and I'm just going to do this. There is no sense in doing all this [and crying] because we're going to get it. We're going to get it. We're going to come back and we're going to be The Biggest Loser -- one of us is. It's not over. It's not over. I'll tell you just like that," Adrian explained.
The next day, the contestants met with Alison again and were introduced to the show's trainers Bob and Dolvett. Bob made his grand entrance on a motorcycle, while Dolvett dropped from a helicopter above them. The contestants learned they'd have two hours to get to know their trainers in the gym and work out with them, and after that period of time was up, they would be required to pick who their trainers would be for the season.
During the time when the contestants were working hard with the two trainers, Alison walked into the gym and revealed a big twist to all the teams. She explained that everyone would have to rely on themselves and work as singles, not as partners. Every individual would be put up against not only their original partners, but everyone else. Alison told the contestants that one member of each team would train with Bob, while the other person would work under the leadership of Dolvett.
After deliberating amongst themselves and discussing their options, the teams announced which trainer they planned to team up with. Jeremy, Emily, Joe, Christine, Cassandra, Ben, Megan, Chism, and Gail opted to work with Bob. Conda, Kim N., Mike, Roy, Nancy, Buddy, Lauren, Kim S., and Mark chose to train with Dolvett. Bob's team would wear Black, while Dolvett's team sported Red shirts.
Afterward, the contestants met withThe Biggest Loserphysician Dr. Rob Huizenga and learned about their health conditions and what kind of state their bodies were in because of their struggles with obesity. The players used the knowledge they had gained as fuel to their fire, because they realized it was time to get in shape and get healthy again.
The Red and Black teams then participated in their last chance workouts.
Later on,The Biggest Loser's thirteenth-season's first elimination weigh-in commenced.
Alison explained the team with the lowest weight-loss percentage would lose the weigh-in and be put up for elimination. She said the person who achieved the highest weight-loss percentage on the losing team would receive immunity, but all the team's contestants must then vote off one of its other members.
Bob's Black team weighed-in first and Gail was the first member to step on the scale. She started off her The Biggest Loser journey weighing 322 pounds and dropped to 313 pounds after she lost nine pounds.
Chism fell from 361 pounds to 349 pounds after he shed 12 pounds, while Megan lost seven pounds after dropping from 259 to 252 pounds.
Christine, or Chris, then weighed-in on behalf of Bob's team and fell from 240 pounds to 232 pounds after she lost eight pounds. Jeremy lost a total of 13 pounds after he dropped from 389 pounds to 376 pounds.
Joe shed 15 pounds after falling from 357 to 342 pounds, while Ben dropped from 396 to 381 pounds after losing 15 pounds.
Emily started off the season weighing 264 pounds and dropped to 254 pounds, losing 10 pounds. Cassandra fell from 239 pounds to 225 pounds after she shed 14 pounds total.
Bob's Black team lost a total of 103 pounds and posted a 3.64% weight-loss percentage.
It then became time for Dolvett's Red team to weigh-in.
Roy was the first member of the Red team to step on the scale, and he lost a total of 14 pounds. He dropped from 306 to 292 pounds, while Conda fell from 294 pounds to 285 pounds after shedding nine pounds.
Mike fell from 358 pounds to 345 pounds, losing 13 pounds since the beginning of his weight-loss journey. Kim S., or Kimmy, shed nine pounds after dropping from 219 pounds to 210 pounds.
Lauren lost nine pounds after she fell from 246 pounds to 237 pounds, while Mark started off The Biggest Loserweighing 291 pounds and fell to 282 pounds after he lost nine pounds as well.
Nancy only lost five pounds after falling from 217 pounds to 212 pounds. Kim N. dropped from 252 pounds to 239 pounds after she shed 13 pounds, while Buddy lost a total of 22 pounds after he fell from 403 pounds to 381 pounds.
Dolvett's Red team lost a total of 103 pounds and posted a 3,98% weight-loss percentage, winning the weigh-in.
Alison then announced Bob's Black team would face elimination, but Cassandra received immunity for posting the highest weight-loss percentage on her team.
The Black team then went into the elimination room and Megan, who had posted the lowest weight-loss percentage, thought she should be the one to go home but begged her fellow contestants for a second chance and to stay.
However, Ben told the group that he had learned enough from his experience on The Biggest Loser to be able to go home and finish his weight-loss journey with his wife and kids whom he dearly missed. He said he didn't go on the show to win a game and asked his team to send him home instead of Megan.
After the team deliberated, the contestants took their seats in the voting room and revealed their votes. Ben got his wish and received the first five votes, which was enough to constitute for his elimination.
In a post-elimination update, Ben, who started The Biggest Loser weighing 396 pounds, said he currently weighs 346 pounds. Ben said he wanted to leave the ranch because his wife was pregnant at home and he wanted to help take care of his eight children. He explained that everything in his life changed because what he had learned at the ranch resonated in his heart, and because of that, he started to workout and eat healthy on a normal daily basis.
(Photo credit NBC)
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