'The Biggest Loser' Winner: It's Ali Vincent's time
Fans had a big say in the outcome of tonight's live finale on NBC: They voted online to decide whether Mark or Roger should be the third finalist to compete for the prize along with Ali and Kelly. The thinking going into the evening was that a victory for Roger -- the former football player who started the game at 363 lbs. -- would mean defeat for Ali because Roger still had so much weight to lose.
But conventional wisdom was dead wrong.
Roger reached the finals, but conceded that he'd hit a plateau when he and the other contestants left "The Biggest Loser" ranch and continued to work on their own at home in advance of tonight's final weigh-in. In all, he lost 164 lbs., or 45.18% of his body weight.
Ali, too, conceded some challenges -- including late-night visits to the freezer for a frozen yogurt fix.
But in the end, her "warrior mentality" -- dating back to her days as a championship synchronized swimmer -- served her well. Ali entered the game at 234 lbs. Looking trim, toned and plenty confident, she needed to lose only 105 lbs. to upset Roger -- and she handily passed that benchmark as she weighed in at 122 lbs. In all, she lost 112 lbs., or 47.86% of her body weight.
And there's another number staring back at Ali: She takes home $250,000 for her troubles.
The other finalist was Kelly, a nurse whose struggle with obesity prevented her from having children. She started at 271 and lost 109 lbs.
Bernie took home $100,000 for being the "Biggest Loser" among the contestants who were eliminated from the ranch, but continued to lose weight at home, on their own.
It's too soon to say whether Ali's victory will quell criticism that the NBC reality show is biased in favor of men, who seem to lose weight so much more easily than the women. Some have questioned whether the show should create a second category -- so that one woman and one man can take home the title each season.
Jillian Michaels, Ali's trainer, has dismissed that notion, saying it would be a cheap victory. Prior to Ali's weigh-in, she offered this message for women struggling to lose weight: "Make impossible your favorite word. Invite the challenge."
-- Rene Lynch