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Biggest Loser Season 17 Premiere Recap: ‘Can’t Buy Thin!’

New Biggest Loser host Bob Harper wonders if the contestants are money hungry. Trae Patton/NBC

New Biggest Loser host Bob Harper wonders if the contestants are money hungry. Trae Patton/NBC

*SPOILER ALERT!* We’re recapping tonight’s Biggest Loser episode (get all the recaps here!), so avert your eyes if you don’t want to know what happened.

Temptation Nation is the theme of season 17 of The Biggest Loser, and indeed, temptation is everywhere, with shopping, video games, TV binges, and, of course, food.

We weren’t even 5 minutes into the premiere of The Biggest Loser when new host Bob Harper enticed the 16 contestants with a stack of cash to jump off their treadmills and quit the show. The eight duos didn’t budge, even when the bounty grew from $5,000 to $25,000.

Quote of the Week

From Colby: “I can’t buy thin!”

After the treadmill test, the duos headed into spiffed-up new gym to meet their trainers, Jennifer Widerstrom and Dolvett Quince, who chose their teams.

Team Jen

  • Luis and Alberto: twins
  • Colby and Hope: married couple
  • Rob and Sarah: father and daughter
  • Lauren and Vicki: mother and daughter

Team Dolvett

  • Stephen and Jacky: married couple
  • Toy and Britney: aunt and niece
  • Richard and Erin: reality show stars
  • Felicia and Whitney: best friends

Armed with their new Garmin VivofitActive trackers, the teams hit the gym, and we got to see the differences between Jen’s and Dolvett’s training styles. Dolvett brings the shouty, tough love compared with Jen’s more nurturing style. Nearly every exerciser nowadays wears a fitness tracker but these contestants have their workouts splashed on giant monitors for all to see.

After the workout, the contestants sat down with Bob and we learned some of their back stories. Toy’s story was especially heart-wrenching as she told the group about the day her toddler son died of an accidental drowning. “What’s it going to take to forgive yourself?” Bob asked her. She was at a loss for an answer. “What I see is someone who deserves forgiveness,” he told her.

The First Challenge

The teams have to toss bags of money onto a platform to lower a ladder down to the ground. Then one member of each team climbs up the side of a building to reach the roof, where there is a temptation. Roberto and Richard were neck and neck until Roberto rappelled back enough times to be lowered all the way down to the ground. (Fun fact: Jillian Michaels’ nickname for Bob Harper is Roberto.) After Richard made it to the top, Erin followed him up the ladder to face that temptation — either they could split $40,000 between the two of them or win an 8-pound advantage at the weigh-in. Given Richard’s reality-show schemer past, it would be only natural to think he’d take the money, but he and Erin had their team’s best interest at heart so they took the advantage.


Bob introduced everyone to the flashy new weigh-in room with dueling scales — Team Jen and Team Dolvett will be weighing in side by side. (For a moment we thought it might speed the weigh-in process but, alas, no.) The two members of the losing team with the lowest percentage of weight lost will be up for elimination from their teammates. How’d they do?

Team Dolvett:

  • Erin: 10
  • Jacky:  14
  • Felicia: 14
  • Richard: 13
  • Whitney: 10
  • Stephen: 11
  • Toy: 8
  • Britney: 7

Team Jen:

  • Hope: 10
  • Lauren: 11  
  • Vicki: 11
  • Colby: 18
  • Sarah: 17
  • Rob: 20
  • Luis: 23
  • Roberto: 24

Even with Team Dolvett’s 8-pound advantage, they came up short, which put Toy and Britney below the line and up for elimination.

Elimination and Update

The prevailing thought was that Britney could handle the weight loss at home so she was sent packing. But before she left, Britney had an emotional parting message for her aunt. “You believe in yourself — you stop blocking yourself, okay?”

Today, Britney is down 24 pounds and radiates confidence.

What to Expect Next Week

A visit to Dr. Huizenga gives contestants a look at how food choices could mean the difference between life and death, and chef Lorena Garcia stops by to give contestants a lesson in healthy cooking.

What did you think of the revamped Biggest Loser? —Gail

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