Jerry Hayes gets eliminated from NBC's 'The Biggest Loser: Couples'
By John Bracchitta, 01/14/2009
Gerald "Jerry" Hayes, a 63-year-old retired engineer from Wheaton, IL, was credited for his "heart" and the hard work that he put in while on The Biggest Loser: Couples. However, the show's oldest contestant ever also lacked the stamina to keep up with the younger contestants, resulting in his elimination during last night's broadcast of the NBC reality weight loss series.
"For the first week I went from a hospital bed to [where] I'm walking 10 to 12 miles a day," an optimistic Jerry said following his elimination. "My feet are good, my hips are good, things that hurt me before don't hurt me [anymore]... I can't wait to get home and start taking what we learned and make it our lives back there."
Jerry's elimination also meant that his wife and White team partner Estella Hayes -- a 63-year-old retired nurse who was among the nine contestants sent home in the show's first-week twist -- will not be able to return to the ranch after 30 days.
The Biggest Loser: Couples' second episode began with members of each of the 11 teams reacting to the twist that, excluding the Black and Brown teams, sent one member of each team home after the first weigh-in.
"This twist came as a complete and utter shock." said the Green team's Tara Costa, a 23-year-old finance manager and former model from New York, NY, who remained on the ranch while her friend and teammate Laura Denoux, a 24-year-old sales director and former model from Miami, FL, went home.
"Considering what happened, I am definitely grateful that I'm not doing this alone," said the Black team's Blaine Cotter, a 27-year-old college counselor from Gilbert, AZ. Because he and his cousin Dane Patterson, a 27-year-old real estate appraiser from Mesa, AZ, won immunity at the first week's challenge, they did not have to send one of their teammates home.
While sent home because of the twist, Carla Triplett, a 36-year-old assistant bank manager from Southfield, MI, was very vocal that her decision to go home was made to test her best friend and Silver team partner Joelle Gwynn, a 41-year-old non-profit founder from Southfield, MI as well.
"I'm gonna be honest with you guys, you're sending me home because I decided to let Joelle prove to me, and America and herself that she can bring me back," Carla said.
Joelle's dedication to bring her partner back was immediately tested when the 13 remaining contestants met The Biggest Loser: Couples host Alison Sweeney on a road and stood behind a white line. After the contestants watched as a limousine pulled up to a nearby gate, they were told that their first Temptation Challenge would involve seeing whether they had come to the ranch to lose weight or win money.
"Being on this campus is not for the faint of heart. After one week you have experienced how physically grueling The Biggest Loser can be... Now is the time to prove how important this experience is to you," Alison told the contestants. She then offered $5,000 for any contestant who chose to cross the white line in front of them, but added that taking the money would result in them having to leave the ranch immediately as well.
While most of the contestants immediately rejected the cash and stepped back from the line, Joelle remained near the line and seemed conflicted -- and her indecision grew when Alison doubled the cash offer to $10,000.
"I'm living at home with my mother. I'm a grown woman who's being supported by my mother, and there's a lot of shame in that," Joelle said later. "You can get a house in Michigan for $5,000, so I could've moved out of my mother's house.
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With Joelle still reluctant to make a decision, Alison upped the ante one final time and raised her offer to $25,000. As he watched Joelle struggle, Blue team member Filipe Fam, a 26-year-old lube technician from Mesa, AZ, wondered whether or not Joelle was truly cut out to participate on The Biggest Loser: Couples.
"When we were standing at the line, Joelle kept saying 'I don't know, I don't know, there's a lot of money.' If you're gonna let money get in the way of having a great experience on the ranch, than cross the line," he said later.
However despite being tempted, Joelle chose to reject the money to continue her time on the ranch.
Upon hearing of Joelle's indecision, trainer Bob Harper admitted to being troubled by her lack of dedication.
"When I found out that Joelle almost took the $25,000, after Carla sacrificed, I just didn't know what to think about [her]," Bob said. Following a meeting with his teammates, Bob took her aside to speak with her privately. Joelle admitted that exercising was the most difficult aspect of The Biggest Loser.
Bob urged her to push herself harder and look to challenge herself in new ways to change her life.
"Joelle's comfort zone got her to 300 lbs. Joelle getting out of her comfort zone got her to lose 13 lbs. in one week," he told her.
Later, trainer Jillian Michaels spoke with her team about the "conundrum" of Week 2 and the varying degrees of success and failure that she had seen from contestants in the past. Following the meeting with her team, Jillian also went on record saying that she did not agree with the decision to send nine contestants home.
"I'm not happy about seeing half of the contestants go home. It'll prove a point to the contestants and to America that you can do this on your own," she said. "With that said, it sucks for the people that went home."
The contestants then met with Alison on a small yacht for the week's challenge. The contestants were told that the challenge would be an "individual challenge," with each team's remaining member -- and one member from the Brown and Black teams -- racing 1/4 mile from the boat to the shore in manually operated sea kayaks. Once on shore, the contestants would have to race up a hill to the finish line, with the first place finisher winning immunity as well as a phone call home.
The contestants were also told that the first four contestants to finish the race would receive phone calls home as a prize as well, while the contestant who finished in last place would be levied a one pound penalty at that week's upcoming weigh-in.
"One pound is crucial," said Orange team member Daniel "Dan" Wright, a 19-year-old student from Willow Spring, NC, of the penalty. "I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but it is. It could be the difference in being here or not.
With Blaine competing for the Black team and Mike Morelli, and 18-year-old student from South Lyon, MI, competing for the Brown team, the challenge then got underway.
Blaine jumped out to an early lead, making it from the boat to the shore first. He was followed closely by Tara and Pink team member Helen Phillips, a 47-year-old retired retail manager from Sterling Heights, MI, while Dan fell far behind into last place after having trouble working his kayak.
While Blaine was able to maintain his narrow lead over Tara for most of the way up the hill, the Green team member eventually made her move and ran past Blaine to jump into the lead. While Blaine attempted a comeback, he fell short and Tara went on to win the challenge.
"I did it. I'm just so happy that I had it in me and I really took it home. I was able to do it," Tara said following her win. "I'm just really so proud of myself."
Blaine finished in second place, while Yellow team member Amanda "Mandi" Kramer, a 30-year-old cosmetologist from Boise, ID, finished in third and Helen finished in fourth.
Dan struggled with the challenge and finished far behind the other contestants. While disappointed, his spirits were heightened as Tara, Blaine and Mandi came out to help him finish the race and walk with him.
"It means everything here to have these people helping me out, because I'm competing against them and they're competing against me, but in time we're all competing for the same goal," Dan said following the race.
Because she didn't have a spouse or children back at home, Tara also volunteered to give her phone call home to Filipe, who had a wife at home.
"When Tara gave me the phone call home, my heart just dropped," a grateful Filipe said. "This is absolutely the best gift that any husband could receive. Hopefully I can return the favor in the future."
Following the Top 4 contestants' phone calls home, the contestants took part in their last chance workouts.
Jillian worked hard with Jerry, but admitted that he had been through a rough week as he made his way through such a difficult regimen.
"He's just wiped. He's got so much heart, that guy, but he just doesn't have the stamina of the younger contestants," Jillian said of him.
However, while Jillian usually stole the show in terms of her theatrics, Bob stole the show with a rare shouting fit after watching Joelle consistently come up short of his requests to sprint for 30 seconds.
"What the f--k Joelle! Every single time at 20 seconds! Every f-----g time! What is it? What is it!?" Bob screamed at her after she only ran for 20 seconds before stopping while Bob's other teammates ran for the entire time.
"I'm trying and giving you my [best]," a panting Joelle responded.
"No! No you're not! You stop at 20 seconds every f-----g time! Every time! What is it?!" Bob shouted back.
Joelle attempted to convince him that she was trying as hard as she could and was not trying to quit on him. However, Bob did not listen to her and told her to stop with her excuses.
"Stop saying all these words! Quit talking!" Bob screamed at her. "I'm just sick of words, words, words, talk, talk, talk. Shut the f--k up! Just stop talking and do it!"
"I've never seen Bob that mad," Jillian told her team while Bob was screaming. "Never, ever."
"I look at everyone else and they can't breathe, they're throwing up. To go to those levels is really hard for me," Joelle explained later, while Bob continued to question Joelle's dedication after spending so much time working with her.
"I don't know what's going on with Joelle," Bob said. "I've been spending so much time with her, talking to her through the cash outs and the work outs. [I'm] spending more time with her than with anyone else on my team. I don't understand where her brain is right now."
The Biggest Loser: Couples' second weigh-in then got underway after the contestants were informed that the two with the lowest weight-loss percentages would fall below the yellow line and be up for elimination.
Tara weighed in first, losing 1 lb. However, because she received immunity at the prior challenge, she was safe from elimination.
The Black team of Blaine and Dane won the week's challenge, losing 16 lbs. and 14 lbs. respectively for a weight-loss percentage of 4.04%.
Helen followed in second place, losing 8 lbs. for a percentage of 3.27%.
Purple team member Kristin Steede, a 28-year-old business owner from Greenville, WI, followed in third, losing 10 lbs. for a percentage of 2.93%.
Filipe followed in fourth place, losing 9 lbs. for a percentage of 2.59%.
The Brown team of Mike and Ron Morelli, a 54-yeaar-old city councilman and retired food distributor, came in fifth place, losing 7 lbs. and 12 lbs. respectively for a weight loss percentage of 2.49%.
Red team member Damien Gurganious, a 31-year-old industrial designer, came in sixth place losing 9 lbs. for a 2.47%.
Mandi came in seventh place, losing 6 lbs. for a percentage of 2.39%.
Joelle, who admitted that it was "shut up or put up time" for her, narrowly avoided elimination as she only lost 2 lbs. for a percentage of .68%.
While Dan would have beaten Joelle had he not been assessed a 1 lb. penalty. he instead fell below the yellow line after only losing 3 lbs. for a percentage of 0.47%
Jerry followed in last place, losing only 1 lb. for a percentage of 0.29% and fell below the yellow line as well.
"This was the worst case scenario," Jillian said following the weigh-in. "Those are the two contestants that need to be here more than anyone else."
While Joelle avoided elimination, she admitted that it was nothing to take solace in.
"I just beat the oldest and heaviest. There's no glory in that," she said.
The contestants who weighed-in above the yellow line were then given an hour to deliberate as to which contestant they would vote to eliminate.
"Dan's just so young, he's not gonna be living his life that he possibly can be if he stays like this. That's the hard part," said Tara to the other contestants.
"Well, when Jerry collapsed the first day we were on campus... I mean does he need the support and the medical attention?" Kristin asked, referring to Jerry's medical condition during the show's first week.
"Dan needs it more than Jerry does," Ron charged. "Jerry was thin once in his life... he's got a image to go back to. He's got the support of his children. the support of his wife and he will be able to do it. Dan has never been thin... I was him, my son was him... Dan will not to it. [He] will go home and lose 80 lbs. and he'll gain 110 lbs back."
The contestants then gathered in the elimination room to reveal who they had voted for. After the first five votes, all of whom were for Jerry, he calmly said he was "at peace" as his elimination was announced.
"I feel good, I really do," Jerry said. "I'm gonna miss everybody here, I'm gonna get to see my grandchildren."
The next episode of The Biggest Loser: Couples will air on Tuesday, January 20 at 8PM ET/PT on NBC.