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'The Biggest Loser': Liz or Amanda, Amanda or Liz.....

December 2, 2009 | 12:03 pm

Who's it going to be, America?

Rudy and Danny snagged the top two spots in next week's finale of this season of "The Biggest Loser" by going home for 60 days and continuing to drop poundage. Rudy lost 43 pounds. Not too shabby, considering the pressures he faced there with family, work and what sounded like a horrible commute. But Danny lost a jaw-dropping 59 pounds -- basically a pound a day. (I know he still has unhealthy weight to lose, but boy do his shoulders look skinny.)

Liz and Amanda didn't do so well, both losing just 16 pounds apiece during that same time away from the ranch. As a result, they are in competition for that coveted third spot in the finale -- and a shot at $250,000 and all sorts of endorsement possibilities. It will be up to voters to choose. But how to choose? It would be fitting for Amanda to get it -- she was voted onto this season of second chances by the show fans and repaid them by fighting her way into the finals. As Bob puts it, Amanda has an "it" factor -- a sweet, good-natured way about her. But she is up against the plucky 49-year-old Liz -- who finally has said "enough" to being the good Southern woman who takes care of everyone else and is putting herself first. Moreover, she would be the oldest woman ever to be in the finals, which gives us the possibility of the oldest-ever female winner.

But before we got to that pivotal point, we had all sorts of flashbacks to the contestants at the beginning of the season -- they were virtually unrecognizable. We also had what was shaping up to be a new "Biggest Loser" rite of passage: a marathon.

Danny asked his wife to renew their vows and was doing plenty of soul searching about why he gained all that weight in the first place. (His wife was doing some soul searching of her own, a rare moment where we saw the toll that this whole process had taken on family members. Rudy gave us a bit of that too -- his children were  understandably clingy and terrified when ever he left the house. They missed him so much during his months at the ranch, they feared he wouldn't come back again. Speaking of Rudy -- is that guy part bear? Is it me, or did he seem to sprout more chest hair??)

Actually, everyone was doing some soul searching.

Amanda is fearful of gaining the weight back, and Liz and her husband are worried about the fate of their marriage, although they seem determined to work on it. No surprise there are troubles there -- sounds like her husband is gone during the week, only home on weekends, and the two have forgotten how to have fun together. And how much did you love that Liz trained for her marathon by running the milelong stretch from her front door to her mailbox, again and again and again?

In a nice touch, the families got to see early video of the contestants talking about their painful struggles with their weight. Perhaps it will have the effect of motivating friends and relatives to keep the contestants on their journey when the cameras finally go away.

It was great to see some of the long-gone contestants, including Tara and Dina. And it continues to be shocking that the contestants can go from morbidly obese couch potatoes to running a marathon in a matter of months. And not only running a marathon, but also doing it in some pretty respectable times: Rudy finished in 5:12:41 and Amanda in 5:28:27. Danny and Liz, Team Brown to the end, finished in 6:55:22.

-- Rene Lynch