Category: Rene Lynch

'The Biggest Loser's' newest trainee? First Lady Michelle Obama

Michelle_Obama
First Lady Michelle Obama is throwing open the doors of the White House to "The Biggest Loser" with a two-part makeover episode that promises to see trainers Bob Harper and Quince Dolvett putting the first lady through a workout alongside the remaining Season 13 contestants.

As grueling as a Bob-and-Quince workout will be, we suspect the first lady won't have a problem keeping up. (Basing that on how she smoked Ellen DeGeneres during a recent push-up competition, as well as the sneak peek photo above.)

"The Biggest Loser" makeovers are always the most hotly anticipated shows of the season -- save the finale. But they've grown a little stale of late as the show tries to tinker with the formula, and outdo themselves season after season. So they are pulling out all the stops this time.

In part one, celebrity stylist Ken Paves and fashionista Jeannie Mai return to give the final six competitors their makeovers. The competitors learn they have a special message awaiting them: a video invitation from the first lady. But first, there are emotional reunions with family members...

In part two, competitors meet the first lady, who will use the encounter to promote her own initiative to combat childhood obesity, "Let’s Move!" From the press release: "The First Lady talks to the contestants about how adult behavior impacts kid behavior, congratulates the contestants on being good examples of health and fitness, and visits with each player and their family members."

Then, the moment we're all waiting for: Bob and Dolvette lead the first lady, the contestants and their families through a White House workout.

The first lady also uses the platform to talk about the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, a six-week pledge to get adults and children more active. Mrs. Obama then challenges the players to see who can get the most people to pledge -- with the winner earning $30,000 worth of gym equipment donated to their respective communities by Planet Fitness. The winner will be announced at the finale.

Despite such heady environs and scenic workouts around the nation's capital, the episode will nonetheless end with another player heading home.

This week's eliminated player, Megan Stone, 21, of Dittmer, Mo., followed her mom's elimination one week earlier.

Megan said she was disappointed to be sent home, especially when she worked so hard this past week carrying out Bob's marching orders and losing a respectable four pounds at the finale. She was asked whether her elimination was fair when the other person on the chopping block -- Mark -- didn't lose any weight.

"I would say it was a judgment on overall performance, not just the weigh in," she said of the vote. No one doubts how hard Mark has been working while at the ranch. Megan herself admitted that she slacked off much of the time when Bob wasn't around.

Megan said she is focused on continuing to lose weight in advance of the finale. But after that? She's going "gung-ho" planning her wedding. She declined to predict who will be the last competitor standing when the confetti falls. Right now, Kim holds the title for the highest percentage of weight loss.

"I'm happy for whoever gets it," she said.

Parting thought: If we put together a list of "funniest ever" moments in "Biggest Loser" history, I nominate Buddy's fist-pumping, Zumba-licious turn.

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-- Rene Lynch

Photo: First Lady Michelle Obama looks like she can do those crunches all day long. Credit: NBC

'The Biggest Loser's' Kimmy Stone: Sacrificing self was 'no-brainer'

Kimmy_Stone
"The Biggest Loser's" elimination this week was a foregone conclusion. (Which is probably why they went right to the vote instead of giving the competitors time to thrash about.) The remaining contestants had to choose between Kimmy Stone and her daughter Megan. And Kimmy, no surprise, begged them to let her daughter stay.

"I am asking you to let me go home and Megan stay," she pleaded.

During Wednesday's weekly media conference call with the eliminated player, Kimmy said she had no regrets. "At that point I was already within 11 pounds of my goal and I felt like I had such a good grasp on things that I was going to be OK," she said.

Moreover, she was happy to sacrifice on behalf of her daughter.

"I wanted Megan to have more time to spend on the ranch to continue to lose weight and to continue with her fitness program. And as a parent you know you always want the best for your child. That's a natural instinct, and I had the feeling that sacrificing my position on the show in order for Megan to stay was a no-brainer for me. It was very easy. It was a sacrifice that I was more than willing to make."

She said she is happy to be home and talked about how her weight loss and new approach to living has led her husband to lose 45 pounds on his own and has rejuvenated their love life. Although she and her husband have been married for 27 years, she sounded like a lovey dovey newlywed as she went on and on about how much they are enjoying their lives together.

"I think we have a new appreciation for the time that we do have together, and we want to make every minute count, and we just want to do all the things that we kept saying we're going to do and never quite got to," said Kimmy, who referred to her husband as her soul mate. "We want to do all those things together. We've made our relationship a big priority."

She also said that eating right and staying active at home was like "war."

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'Biggest Loser's' Emily Joy: New York roomies with Cassandra?

EmilyHere's what viewers did not see during this week's episode of "The Biggest Loser": Emily Joy standing on the scale, dumbstruck, knowing that her elimination was a foregone conclusion after she failed to lose enough weight to keep her above the dreaded yellow line.

"There was like literally three minutes of me not speaking," Emily said during Wednesday's media conference call. "Because I couldn’t believe it. My heart just broke. At first I had to figure out that it was actually five pounds. I thought it was a joke in the beginning. But I just knew right then and there that I was going home."

In a way, elimination has provided a bit of relief for Emily, 29, of Huntersville, N.C. It has allowed her to jump-start the rest of her life, which she hopes will soar to operatic heights.

The self-confidence and courage she gained at "The Biggest Loser" ranch has encouraged her to give opera singing a try. (Note to producers: How about a scale-top aria at the finale?)

Pursuing that dream and a love of New York City seemed like a far-fetched scheme until Emily arrived at the ranch and bonded instantly with fellow New Yorker-in-training, the recently eliminated Cassandra. Emily said the two women spent their down time at the ranch chattering about the Big Apple. The pair are even talking about becoming roommates in New York City after the finale.

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'The Biggest Loser': Contestants threaten to quit at new 'twist'

"The Biggest Loser"

"The Biggest Loser" is turning into The Biggest Backlash: Season 13 competitors have reportedly banded together and threatened to quit the show after learning that producers were planning a new twist that would allow eliminated players back in the game.

A spokeswoman for the NBC weight-loss show declined comment Wednesday, and there was no immediate comment from show producers. TMZ reported that its sources said tensions reached such a fever pitch this week that the remaining competitors walked off set in the middle of shooting. As a result, TMZ also reported, production on the popular show has been temporarily stalled.

Competitors reportedly felt it was unjust to bring back past competitors who had been eliminated, and give them a chance at the $250,000 pay day for the player that loses the highest percentage of his or her weight.

"The Biggest Loser" is known for its twists, turns and diabolical challenges. But the twists so far this season have amped up tension like never before. That, combined with the chemistry of the players, has made for dramatic TV watching even as it leaves the players raw with emotion.

To begin with, most of the competitors were cast for Season 13 along with a relative, and assumed they'd compete as partners. Wrong. Shortly after arriving at "The Biggest Loser" ranch outside Los Angeles, teams were promptly divided in two. Relatives immediately became rivals.

Several players eliminated so far have talked about the anguish they felt knowing that if they succeeded, and their teams won the weekly weigh in, it could lead to the elimination of their loved one on the rival team.

In another heart-breaking twist, one team was eliminated right at the start. But, unbeknownst to the rest of the players, that brother-sister team was told they could rejoin the cast if they spent the first month at home working out and dieting on their own and managed to lose more than 50 pounds combined. They did, but their reintroduction to the rest of the players was disastrous.

They were eliminated within weeks of their return, partly due to their own ham-handed machinations, and also because the rest of the players had already formed tight-knit groups.

The sister end of that team, Daphne, was eliminated this week in a move that might earn its way into the history books as The Biggest Backfire in show history.

Daphne was slowly earning the trust and confidence of her teammates, and had even saved them from elimination one week earlier. While there had been some hard feelings because players had earlier eliminated Daphne's brother, Adrian, from the game, it seemed like maybe they were all ready to put it  behind them.

Then, Daphne did something that had many viewers scratching their heads. Daphne ate nearly 2,000 calories during a temptation challenge in a bid to gain the ability to completely revise the teams as she saw fit. (That in and of itself seemed like a risky gambit -- Michael did that previously in Season 9, and it helped him with the grand prize, but still, you just ate 2,000 calories and there's a weigh-in around the corner.)

But instead of, say, putting herself on a team with all the men so that they could win all the challenges and lose the most weight week after week, she made just one move: She swapped teammate Jeremy for his sister and her arch rival, Conda.

Daphne then thought she'd be able to keep it all secret. But there's no keeping a secret like this, and it was soon Daphne versus everyone else in "The Biggest Loser" house. And when she gained two pounds at the weigh in (remember all those calories?) it was a done deal that she would be eliminated.

During Wednesday's weekly media conference call, Daphne did not shed much light on the situation. She claimed during the show that she made the move because she wanted to stay with Bob, but that didn't make much sense. On Wednesday, during the media call, she admitted it was actually to take her revenge. But she said her target was Jeremy, not Conda. She refused repeated requests to get her to clarify.

"That's a very good question that maybe he can answer one day," is about all she would say.

Daphne also claimed not to have any information about the reported mutiny on the set, either. But then, it's doubtful any of the players are talking to her anyway.

So, for those keeping track at home: 13 seasons in and players sill haven't learned that temptations are almost never worth it. The goal of the game is to stay above the yellow line.

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--Rene Lynch
twitter.com/renelynch

Photo: Daphne, far right, and other members of the black team at this week's temptation challenge. Credit: NBC

'Biggest Loser's' Adrian: Not the least bit apologetic

"Biggest Loser's" Adrian Dortch and Dolvett

You might expect Adrian Dortch to regret his no-holds-barred demeanor after earning his way back onto "The Biggest Loser" with his monster weight loss at home.

He and his sister, Daphne, managed to lose a combined total of 50 pounds at home on their own, a feat befitting this season of no excuses. That accomplishment, combined with 14-hour workouts, positioned the two as potential front-runners in the race for the $250,000 grand prize.

But instead of "playing nice" upon their return, the pair immediately ruffled feathers. And Adrian just Would. Not. Shut. Up. Even after his teammates told him to button it. Even after Dolvett told him to shut his pie hole if he wanted to avoid elimination. He even gave Conda a run for her mouth.

So it was no surprise that Adrian was booted this week when he fell below the dreaded yellow line. But you know what is surprising? Adrian says he knew exactly what he was doing at the time, and he'd do it ALL over again.

In a media conference call Wednesday, Adrian said, "I wouldn’t change a thing" about his time on the ranch. He said he felt the vibe in the house and realized that he would probably be eliminated if his teammates had the chance. So he wasn't going to kowtow to anyone -- he was just going to be himself.

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'X-Factor': 'Crowing' about Nicole Scherzinger's ouster from show

Nicole Sherzinger and Rachel Crow

Nicole Scherzinger had it coming on "The X-Factor."

That's what Rachel Crow fans are saying today upon hearing the news that Scherzinger was fired from the Fox talent show along with co-judge Paula Abdul and host Steve Jones during a bit of Simon Cowell-directed housecleaning.

Now, there will be plenty of debate about whether Abdul and Jones deserved their pink slips. But Scherzinger? Let's just say that her critics are absolutely crowing about her departure.

PHOTOS: 'X Factor' dream judges

Here are just a few of the gloats broadcast on Twitter:

--"Is it Rachel Crow's revenge?"

--"I hope Rachel Crow got to deliver the news to her."

--And this, from Bonnie Fuller, editor of HollywoodLife.com: "#xfactor: Nicole Scherz gone. She sealed her fate refusg 2 vote between Rachel Crow + Marcus Canty.

Fuller is referring to the viewer backlash that took place when Scherzinger refused -- refused! -- to do her job as a judge and actually, you know, judge.

Under "The X-Factor's" format, contestants compete each week according to viewer voting based on the previous week's performance. The bottom two competitors face off in a live "sing-for-your-life" showdown, which judges use as the final determination as to whom to send home. In the case of a tie, the viewers' votes determine the outcome.

In the week that triggered all the controversy, fan favorite and 13-year-old phenom Rachel Crow squared off against Marcus Canty, and the pint-sized Crow, by nearly all accounts, delivered the far superior performance.

But Scherzinger just couldn't bring herself to make a decision. Instead she -- SOB! SNIFF! DAB AT HEAVILY MADE-UP EYES WITH TISSUE! -- allowed voters to decide, based on the previous week's performance. "I can't, I can't make this decision, please, I can't make this decision!" she said tearfully.

Long story short, victory was handed to Canty, Crow collapsed on stage and cried her eyes out, and viewers wanted Scherzinger's head on a stick.

It even led to criticism about the show's elimination process. After all, what's the point of having a "save-me" song if it really won't matter in a deadlock situation?

Do you think Scherzinger got what she deserved? What do you think about the shakeup on the show? And, looking forward to Season 2 of "X-Factor": Who would you like to nominate for judges table?

As you might imagine, this story will continue to unfold throughout the day, so keep checking back for the latest news.

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--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Nicole Scherzinger, left, and Rachel Crow. Credit: Dan Steinberg / Associated Press and Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images.

'Biggest Loser's' Gail Lee explains all those excuses away

Gail_Lee_eliminated“Biggest Loser” fans, tell the truth: Were you rolling your eyes at Gail Lee’s many excuses for why she just couldn’t keep up with Bob Harper’s demands? And did you chortle when Bob made fun of her for doing just that in a season dedicated to “no excuses” health and fitness?

Well, Gail says we all owe her an apology.

It was not until she was eliminated after the weigh in -- which audiences saw this week -- and returned home that she learned that her seeming inability to keep up with the youngsters on her team was actually a byproduct of her childhood bout with polio.

The 57-year-old Poolesville, Md., mom says she was among those who wondered why she struggled so much at the ranch. "I just couldn't understand my body," she said during a media conference on Wednesday. She said her doctor explained why: Polio compromises your nerves and muscles, she was told.

She was devastated by the news, which followed a diagnosis of severe tendinitis in her hips. But since this is the season of “no excuses,” Gail and her doctor have come up with other ways to keep burning calories, pain-free. "Swimming is something that I found that I can do without any pain at all,” she said.

Now don’t you feel bad for making fun of Gail? (Guilty!)

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'Biggest Loser': Lauren blindsided, Joe coming back?

Lauren_Lee_chinese_buffet_

Blindsided. That's the way "Biggest Loser" competitor Lauren Lee, 26, of Poolesville, Md., felt when she was eliminated week.

"I was completely shocked when my name started coming out," she said during Wednesday's media conference call with this week's eliminated player. But she did not seem like she was holding a grudge: "It's a game, that's what we signed up for," she said.

Lauren said she was grateful for the opportunity to turn her life around. She said she long felt like a fraud for holding dual degrees in adult fitness and exercise science with emphasis on cardiac rehab while she herself was overweight.

She said at the start of the season that she felt like her weight was holding her back not only professionally, but personally as well. At the time, she said she wanted to get married one day and have kids, but felt that her weight was keeping her from finding love.

Ironically, those were some of the reasons her teammates cited for eliminating her.

"They said I didn't have any children or family at home to distract me," Lauren said. "But I have plenty of other distractions" such as finding a job to help pay off her student loans.

However, in the spirit of this season's "no excuses" theme, Lauren said she has had to move past those comments and focus on being ready to "kick butt" at the finale.

She said she was working out two to four hours a day, mostly doing a combo of cardio and weights. She said her diet focuses on journaling every single morsel she puts in her mouth.

"You have to write everything down ... keep yourself accountable for what you put inside your body," she said.

We asked Lauren about the tension between Bob and Dolvett. It is real or creative editing? "Bob and Dolvett have an interesting relationship," she said, adding that there did not seem to be excessive tension between them. "They are just two trainers," she added.

She said viewers at home might also have gotten a false impression of Conda. She said Conda was a blunt speaker and that her comments reflected the stress that all the competitors feel. "Conda is an awesome person," Lauren said. "She speaks her mind and let's everyone know what she is thinking at this time." Tensions flare up, and then "blow over the next day," she said.

My take? Conda acts like she could be the snotty younger sister of a "Jersey Shore" cast member. Here's hoping she does some more maturing before she -- yeesh! -- raises that kid.

Am I the only one who had a weird feeling about Joe's status on the show? After he shocked everyone by quitting so he could go home to his family, I kept waiting for him to come back. I was sure he was going to waltz in at the weigh-in. I also noticed that his status of the show's website is "active" (even as it has been updated to show Lauren as "eliminated.")

How would you feel about Joe coming back in some manner? Bob would probably like him back because he still has plenty of strength to lose. He also proved himself to be a fierce competitor in the challenges, like his bold move to fold during the brilliant poker challenge.

But allowing Joe to return seems like it would be pretty unfair to the rest of the competitors -- they all would have loved some time at home to see their families and mentally regroup. I say, "Bye bye, Joe!" (Lauren said she is in regular contact with Joe and that he is doing well on his weight-loss journey at home.")

Final thought: HEART the "face-off" challenge.

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--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Lauren Lee, third from right, during the "Biggest Loser" Chinese buffet challenge. Credit: NBC

Poll: Do you want Jillian Michaels back on "Biggest Loser"?

Jillian_michaels_
Do you want Jillian Michaels back on "The Biggest Loser"?

That's the possiblity being raised after the news that Michaels is out as a co-host on daytime TV's "The Doctors." 

Michaels was the only layperson to co-host the medically themed daytime talk show. Although that was initially used as a selling point -- the idea being she could represent the viewer at home amid all the medical jargon -- in the end "it wasn’t the fit we both hoped for," a representative for the show told The Wrap. She also rubbed some viewers the wrong way.

Photos: Meet the "Biggest Loser" Season 13 competitors

So here's the scenario: Michaels is out of a job. "The Biggest Loser" continues to be a workhorse for NBC but the weight-loss reality show has seen its ratings sag over the past two seasons.

And "Biggest Loser" trainer Bob Harper told The Times in a recent interview that he would "never say 'never' " about the possibility of Michaels' return.

Ashley Sandberg, a spokeswoman for Michaels, echoed Harper's remark when she was asked about the possibility of reuniting Bob & Jillian: "We never say never."

A spokeswoman for the show declined to comment Sunday.

What do you think, Show Trackers? Should Michaels return? Or leave the training to Bob and Dolvett? Vote!

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--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Jillian Michaels and her horse, Buzz, are photographed in a park in Los Angeles. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

'The Biggest Loser': Ben Shuh explains why he quit

Ben Shuh
Ben Shuh knows exactly what you're thinking. Why did he join the Season 13 cast of "The Biggest Loser" if he was going to volunteer to be the first person to go home after the weigh-in? Isn't that an insult to the thousands of people who try out each season for one of those coveted spots?

Speaking during a media conference call, Shuh insisted he wasn't throwing away the opportunity granted him.

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'Biggest Loser' winner says he's "at risk" for gaining all the weight back

Biggest_Loser_John_Rhode_Do
"The Biggest Loser" Season 12 winner John Rhode says he wasn't hurt to learn that trainers Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince believe he's at risk for gaining back all the 220 pounds he lost to win the show.

That's because he agrees with them.

"I am at risk, I'm frightened about that," he said during a media conference call today. He added that he was not insulted by their comments, and is actually grateful because it will help keep him grounded in reality. "I need to be aware of that... That's a possiblity."

Photos: Before and after: "Biggest Loser" Season 12 contestants

But he said he plans to use everything he learned at the ranch to keep that from happening.

He started at 445 pounds, and now weighs 225 pounds. He lost 220 pounds, or 49.44% of his body weight. Right now, he's training to run the Los Angeles Marathon in March. Then, he plans to set a new goal that will help him continue to keep his weight and calories in check.

And, if he needs it, he will reach out for help.

"I want to take this day by day," he said. "I don't think I've got the answers to everything."

He said his time at the ranch helped him to learn that he struggled with control issues because he did not trust himself. ("Ultimately I found out the person I trusted the least was myself.") He said he also realized that he is a stone-cold food addict. ""Yeah, I've got a food addiction and yeah, I could put the weight back on."

He says he believes he can meet with success if he continues to "See food for what it is -- see food as fuel."

"Food is not a reward," he said. If he finds himself eating because he's bored or stressed, then he knows something it wrong.

He said he hopes he can use his new title and his new insights to help other people stuggling with their weight. "I have prayed for this opportunity, and I have been given it and I want to make the most of this opportunity as I can."

As for the prize money, he says he plans to buy his wife a new car -- well, actually, a used car or, as he put it, "a new to her car" and pay off a few other expenses. But he mostly plans to put the money away for a rainy day.

So what do you think about John Rhode as your "Biggest Loser" winner? Do you find his story inspirational? Some viewers (and competitors) felt like he had too-sharp elbows. Will that hurt him in his endeavors to become a motivational speaker? And finally, did he give proper credit to Dolvett Quince, who bared his own soul in order to help John save his? If you look at the comments on my earlier post, several readers took John to task for failing to properly thank the trainer.

And speaking of Dolvett: He's due a sprinkling of confetti too, for delivering a winner in his first turn on the show. Congratulations!  

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--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: "Biggest Loser" Season 12 winner John Rhode and his trainer, Dolvett Quince. Credit: NBC

'The Biggest Loser': A risky gamble pays off for John Rhode

John-Rhode
"Biggest Loser" competitors and fans alike thought John was crazy. Turns out he's crazy like a fox.

Just a few weeks ago, John Rhode practically handed former NFL player Antone Davis a ticket to the finale. That move came during an earlier elimination, and it was up to John to decide whether to eliminate Antone from the game, or send home another player who was unlikely to pose a threat at the final weigh in. Jaws dropped when John voted to keep Antone around. John explained his reasoning: He'd work out harder and longer and adhere to his diet knowing that Antone would be waiting for him at the finale.

Well played, John. He takes home a $250,000 payday and the title of the Season 12 winner of "The Biggest Loser." He started at 445 pounds, and now weighs 225 pounds. He lost 220 pounds, or 49.44% of his body weight. (Once again, it seems winners need to hover around that 50% loss mark in order to take home the title.) John also fulfills Bob Harper's oft-quoted remark: "John won't be happy until he's pulling confetti out of his hair at the finale."

PHOTOS: 'Biggest Loser' Season 12 contestants

Meanwhile, Bob Harper's stalker -- a.k.a. Jennifer Rumple -- won the $100,000 at-home prize. But her big reward? A giant bouquet of flowers -- and a few more hugs -- delivered by Bob. Rumple started at 330 pounds, and now weights 185 pounds. She lost 145 pounds, or 43.94% of her body weight.

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