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'Biggest Loser': Victory for Michelle, death threats for Vicky

December 16, 2008 | 10:50 pm

Biggestloser Good triumphed over....Vicky. And Heba.

Michelle won $250,000 and the title of "The Biggest Loser" tonight, overcoming a childhood traumatized by divorce and, perhaps more importantly, beating out two fellow competitors who were seen as two of the most conniving and unappealing contestants in the show's history.

"I earned it," said Michelle, who joined the show as a duo alongside her mother, Renee, and immediately became a fan favorite both because of her doggedness in the gym and her kind, forgiving demeanor. Michelle had been estranged from her mother for years after her parents' divorce. America had a front-row seat as the two repaired their relationship and lost a combined 216 pounds.

Michelle alone lost 110 pounds, or an astonishing 45.45% of her body weight, to win the game and become only the second woman to win "The Biggest Loser" title.

For fans of the show, though, Michelle's victory was all the more sweet because it came at the expense of Vicky and Heba....

Heba, you may recall, came into the house as a bit of a bully -- make that a big loud bully -- who immediately began throwing her weight around to get her way. (Blame it on her husband, Ed, who apparently spends his life trying to do everything he can to make/keep her happy.)

She created divides and alliances in the house, and was the first to turn the tables on a competitor -- and then spent the rest of her time at the Biggest Loser ranch complaining bitterly and loudly at any smack of game playing that didn't suit her purposes.

Well, Heba finally got hers. Kinda.

In an odd twist of fate, Heba and Ed ended up competing for the third spot in the finals. The decision was left up to the public to vote between the two. Ed, being the dutiful husband, begged America to let his wife win. Heba also begged America to let her win.

America gave her the backhand: In a "landslide" vote, 84% of the votes cast were against Heba.

Heba didn't go home empty-handed, however. She was eligible for and won the $100,000 runners-up prize for losing 138 pounds, or 46.94% of her body weight.

In other words, if she had curried a little more favor with the public, she would have landed the third-place spot -- and she would have won.

Afterward, asked why America voted against her, she said "I guess there are just a lot of negative people out there who don't like to see success." (Heba, who said she wanted to join the show to lose weight so she could have a healthy pregnancy, said family planning is on hold for now: "I want to spend a summer where I can wear a bathing suit and not feel bad about myself. Call me when that's over.")

Vicky, meanwhile -- who was dubbed by trainer Bob Harper to be "Shakespearean" in her efforts to manipulate her teammates -- missed winning the $250,000 prize by 1 pound.

See? There is justice after all.

In an interview after the show, Vicky said she was unfairly depicted on the show. While she said the producers could have portrayed her positively as a mother struggling to balance work and family and improve the health of her two children, they chose to portray her as a schemer.

To hear her tell it, it was all camerawork.

She has been so widely reviled that she had to change her phone number because she was receiving death threats, and to this day continues to receive letters telling her what a horrible person she is.

"Most people hate my guts," Vicky said, later adding that perhaps so many people disliked her because she was a determined competitor who knew what she wanted and wasn't about to let anyone stand in her way. "Women need to be strong and they need to use their heads."

She also added: "I feel bad for the people who are writing those letters. They don't know me."

On a completely unrelated note:

It's impossible to say whether Vicky was misportrayed or not (although the fact that Mr. Nice Guy Bob Harper called her out for being manipulative suggests that she doth protesteth too much.)

But I can report firsthand that TV does not become Vicky.

She often looked haggard during the game, even after her makeover. In person, though, she is a head-turner, with clear, smooth skin, bright teeth and stunning green eyes.

-- Rene Lynch

(Photo courtesy NBC)

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