'The Biggest Loser' cuts Daniel Wright and Shauntina "Shay" Sorrells
By Christopher Rocchio, 11/11/2009
Daniel Wright and Shauntina "Shay" Sorrells became the ninth and tenth contestants eliminated from The Biggest Loser's eighth season during last night's broadcast of the NBC reality competition.
Daniel, a 20-year-old student from Willow Spring, NC who also competed on The Biggest Loser's seventh season, was immediately ousted after he posted the weigh-in's lowest weight-loss percentage and fell below its special red line.
"Falling below the red line was one of the toughest things that's happened to me. I really wanted to be a finalist with really close friends of mine and I'm going to miss them," said Daniel after his elimination.
"Am I frustrated that I'm not going to be a finalist? Yeah. Is it the end of the world? No. I already won nine months ago when I decided to change - -that's when I won... This is not my first time leaving the show, except this time I know I can live my life much fuller than I was last time."
Shay, a 30-year-old social worker from Newport Beach, CA who started the eighth season as the show's heaviest contestant ever, was then eliminated by her fellow contestants after falling below the yellow line.
"Walking onto this campus I was scared. I didn't know if I was going to make it through. Walking out of the gym after that first workout was a turning point," said Shay after her ouster.
"I wouldn't change a single thing that I've done here... I learned here to believe in myself -- trusting myself pushed me to places I didn't think I wanted to go. It hurt. But I'm seeing more of me when I look in the mirror because I have a future now, I have a life ahead of me. I couldn't have said that nine weeks ago."
The Biggest Loser's ninth eighth-season episode began following the previous elimination of Tracey Yukich with host Allison Sweeney telling to the eight remaining contestants they would face a double elimination at the next weigh-in.
"Not only will there be a yellow line this week, there will also be a red line," explained Allison.
"The person with the lowest percentage of weight loss at the weigh in this week will automatically fall below the red line and be sent home immediately. No voting, no elimination -- the person who loses the weigh in is below the red line and is out. Then we will go through with a regular elimination."
Allison then explained the rules for a pop challenge in which the winner would receive a one-pound advantage at the upcoming weigh-in. Each contestant had a board with 50 tennis balls attached to it. The contestants would jump up, grab a tennis ball and put it in a container. The first person to get all 50 tennis balls in their designated container would win.
Amanda Arlauskas, a 19-year-old patient care technician from Butler, NJ, and Liz Young, a 49-year-old salesperson from Lewisburg, TN, were both forced to sit out due to medical reasons.
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The challenge was won by Allen Smith, a 44-year-old firefighter/EMT from Columbus, IN, with Rebecca Meyer, a 25-year-old student/nanny from Des Moines, IA, finishing second.
"I love to win, I love competition, and it felt good to win that," said Allen. "But there's still two lines that I have to beat. It's an advantage, it's not a guarantee."
After the challenge was in the books, it became clear that the eight remaining contestants had split into two "young" and "old" camps -- with Rebecca, Shay, Daniel, and Amanda on the "young" side and Allen, Liz, Danny Cahill, a 39-year-old land surveyor and musician from Broken Arrow, OK, and Rudy Pauls, a 31-year-old engineer from Brooklyn, CT, on the "old" side.
"There's a sort of separation between the young and the old," said Amanda. "We're four-and-four -- it's Rebecca, Shay, Daniel and myself, and then it's Rudy, Allen, Liz and Danny."
"There are four younger people and four older people -- you kind of know how they're going to vote," explained Danny. "Whoever falls below the red line, it's 4 to 3. That red line totally sways the game."
Trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels subsequently learned about the double elimination and expressed surprise about the red line. The trainers then asked the contestants for a moment of privacy and discussed Shay's situation.
"I'm going to say something that's probably politically incorrect, but if it comes down to Shay going home -- even though we don't ever want to talk about the fact that she needs to be here -- she does need to be here," explained Jillian to Bob. "She does."
Bob said it's hard for him to "play god" and decide who needs to be on campus more than somebody else.
"I'm not saying she's better or more deserving and I know we've been saying all the politically correct, right things, but between you and me -- I don't think she's going to do well," said Jillian.
"Okay, I've got it," responded Bob. "I'm going to do everything I can for every single one of those people."
"Agreed," added Jillian. "I feel like we should pull out every trick up our sleeve to give this one person a chance... You are having to play god, so you are having -- at this moment -- to decide who you think will be okay and is ready to go."
"Out of everything you've said, that's the one thing I hear," said Bob.
"We're talking about who is ready to go and do better in the real world," replied Jillian. "It's not just physical."
The contestants then worked out, as Jillian worked with Shay and asked her push beyond her limits. Afterward, the older alliance took a moment to discuss some strategy.
"We're talking as far as scenarios, if Liz fell below the yellow line with anybody, that she would be safe because I don't see her as a threat," explained Allen. "Everyone else in the house would look at it that way too."
Rudy and Liz also thought the younger alliance would vote with their friends.
The eight contestants then met Allison at a circus for their next challenge and learned that they'd be competing for immunity. Each contestant would have to jump through their opponents' hoops and every time they did, they would get one point. Once a contestant received 100 points against them, they would be out of the competition. The last one standing would win.
Right before the challenge commenced Rudy and Shay formed an alliance.
"We have a hoop alliance," said Rudy.
"Good deal," responded Shay.
"Rudy said, 'Hey, if we're the last two in the game, guess what? It's me and you, we'll go for each other, and that's the way it is,'" explained Shay in a confessional. "We high-fived on it and I thought that's the greatest deal I could have made if we are the last two standing in this game."
But things got a bit ugly when Shay, Rudy and Danny became the challenge's last three contestants and Rudy began to target Shay instead of Danny.
"Rudy's breaking promises," said Shay. "That's real nice. I love it when true character shows."
"Shay, you don't talk crap during challenges, remember that," responded Rudy as Danny joined him in jumping through Shay's hoop.
"He broke a promise to me Danny. Don't think he won't do it to you," said Shay.
"Shay got frustrated with me. I guess she felt we had some sort of alliance," said Rudy in a confessional.
"She felt that something that was said earlier on meant that I was going to knock her out at all and I would go against everybody else before I went against her. Why would I go knock out Danny when he helped me get as far as I have gotten?"
The two continued to bicker -- bringing Shay to tears -- and Rudy eventually won immunity.
"Clearly relationship strategy in play today -- you had Allen, Danny and Liz working together with you," said Allison.
"Definitely," replied Rudy. "Obviously the house is split four against four. I don't think anybody wanted it that way, but it ended up that way. Today, maybe our strategy worked a little better."
That night while the older contestants slept, the younger alliance smuggled some workout equipment from the gym, brought it to Shay's room, and secretly worked out there.
"If we can just fool the other four and have them think we're going to bed, we're being lazy, we're not trying, then they're not going to have any idea that we're actually in Shay's room working out a couple of extra hours each night," said Amanda.
"I think it's one of the best ideas we've had and I really hope it pays off at the weigh-in," added Shay.
The next day Bob took the contestants off the campus to a trapeze facility for the last-chance workout before they returned to the gym and Jillian surprised them with a second last-chance workout.
The Biggest Loser's ninth eighth-season weigh-in commenced and Allison reiterated that two contestants would be eliminated.
Since Rudy had immunity, he was the first to weigh in. He started the week 332 lbs. and lost eight for a weight-loss percentage of 2.41%.
Shay was the next to step on the scale. She started the week at 393 lbs. and shed 17 -- becoming the fastest female to lose 100 lbs. in The Biggest Loser history. Her weight-loss percentage was 4.33%.
Amanda stepped on the scale next. She started the week at 207 lbs. and dropped five for a weight-loss percentage of 2.42%. She was followed by Rebecca, who began the week at 219 lbs. and shed 10 for a weight-loss percentage of 4.57%.
Danny went next. He started the week at 333 lbs. and lost 17 for a weight-loss percentage of 5.11%. He was followed by Allen, who began the week at 253 lbs. and dropped 10 -- plus his one-pound weight advantage -- giving him a weight-loss percentage of 4.35%.
Liz stepped on the scale next. She started the week at 218 lbs. and lost 12 for a weight-loss percentage of 5.50%. Liz' weigh in meant Shay and Amanda were definitely below the yellow line.
"[Allen] was above me with his one-pound advantage," said a tearful Shay, who was separated from Allen by 0.02%. "I break a record -- 100 lbs. in nine weeks -- and I'm below the yellow line. It seems unreal."
Daniel was the last to weigh in, and he needed to lose at least more than six pounds to avoid falling below the red line. He started the week at 261 lbs. and shed only five for a weight-loss percentage of 1.92%, instantly eliminating him from the competition.
"I'm proud of all of you guys and I'm proud of myself. I know that I've come really far," said Daniel. "There's no stopping me, so I'm going to keep doing this at home."
With the weigh-in over, the contestants had to decide whether to oust Amanda or Shay -- and both began the process of campaigning to stay, with Shay insisting she wasn't a threat since she still needed to lose another 200 lbs.
"I could care less about the game, I want my life back," said Shay. "I'm not asking you to keep me here so I can play, I'm asking you to keep me here so I can live."
After watching Shay make her plea, Amanda told the other contestants she also wasn't ready to go some and deserved to remain on campus.
"I fought to get here and I made it," said Amanda. "I have more fight left in me."
"It's not a gameplay move now," said Rudy in a confessional. "It's who needs to be here more."
The elimination ceremony then commenced, and both Rebecca and Allen voted to boot Shay while Danny and Liz voted to oust Amanda -- meaning Rudy would cast the deciding vote.
"Tonight my decision was based on something that I feel's important when you're here at the ranch," said Rudy.
"I tell everybody -- including myself -- that setting goals for yourself is so important, and conquering those goals is so much more important."
He then voted to eliminate Shay.
"I had a lot to go through and I went through it -- a lot of it. It's not pretty, and some people were rubbed the wrong way by it and some people didn't like it," said Shay.
"But I've been spending my whole life doing what people like. It got me to 476 lbs., and for the first time I wasn't going to do what people like -- I was going to do what I felt was right for me and I was going to be myself and keep my integrity and keep my word, and I did that."
During Daniel's post-show update, viewers also got an update on his seventh-season partner David Lee -- who's had problem keeping the weight off.
"I've got other things going on that are more important to me right now," he told Daniel. "I'm overweight, yeah I'm a big guy... I don't feel unhealthy. So when that changes, then I'll start losing it."
The Biggest Loser's next eighth-season episode will air Tuesday, November 10 at 8:30PM ET/PT on NBC.