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Image: The Biggest Loser
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This photo shows “The Biggest Loser” Season 9 contestants. From left: Maria, Miggy, Mike, Migdalia, Victoria, Cherita, Patti, Stephanie, James, John, Cheryl, Daris, Sunshine, O'Neal, Sherry, Ashley, Koli, Sam, Drea, Darrell, Melissa and Lance.
By
TODAY contributor
updated 1/12/2010 10:28:50 AM ET 2010-01-12T15:28:50

Just in time to make you feel guilty about gorging on all those cookies over the holidays, NBC’s “The Biggest Loser: Couples” edition is back with its ninth season. And when they say this is the biggest season yet, they mean it. Among the two-person teams competing for the $250,000 cash prize are five players who each tip the scales at over 400 lbs. This season also boasts the heaviest person ever to compete, Michael from Chicago, who initially weighed in at a whopping 526 lbs., and a pair of twins who together weigh slightly less than half a ton!

But before the contestants even arrived at the ranch, where the best of them would be living, working out and weighing in for the duration of the season, they were presented with an embarrassing challenge. Instead of doing their first weigh-in at the ranch, the season 9 contestants would be standing shirtless (or wearing a sports bra) at a public hometown weigh-in before their friends, family and community. Watching some of them standing on the scale, so vulnerable and exposed, with tears of humiliation running down their faces, was heartbreaking, but you had to admire their courage.

Of course, after they arrived at the ranch, it didn’t get much easier. Greeted by host Alison Sweeney (“She’s hot,” the Red team’s Lance pronounced to his good-natured wife Melissa), they discovered that they would be doing their first challenge immediately. Each team was required to ride two stationary bicycles the length of a marathon − 26.2 miles. The first team to finish would win immunity, and the last two would be sent home immediately.

Although the challenge didn’t seem as difficult as the mile-long beach race that hospitalized two contestants in the first episode of last season, one bicycle rider, Cherita, a 50-year-old mom from Texas, did require medical attention and was eliminated. The Green team’s mother-daughter duo, Migdalia and Miggy, impressed everyone by claiming first place and winning immunity. Cousins Sam and Koli also proved that they will be a team to watch by coming in second.

The last two to finish were Blue team’s overcome Cherita and daughter Vicky, and Yellow’s father-daughter O’Neal and Sunshine. But on their way out, trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper promised to work with them at home and bring them back in 30 days. The Blue and Yellow teams will then face off and the team who does the best at home will be invited back.

The trainers, who are working together this season, had high expectations for the remaining contestants too. As “Biggest Loser” viewers have come to expect, the “last chance” workout for the season 9 crew was a blur of running, lifting and sweating along with a high quotient of tears, screams and vomiting. Though Jillian had called the task of whipping this season’s challengers into shape “daunting,” she and Bob managed to achieve big results.

During the episode’s final weigh-in, Patti, of the Purple team, lost an astounding 23 lbs., the most any woman has ever lost on the show in one week. Not to be outdone, Michael, the show’s heaviest contestant, lost 34 lbs. In the end, the Brown team’s twins John and James fell below the yellow line. The other players sent James, whose bad knee kept him limited to pool workouts, home

Discuss: Was the public weigh-in of the 'Biggest Loser' players too cruel?

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