Since the “Biggest Loser” competitors split into two teams back in Week 7, the male-dominated Blue team has had an advantage at most of the physical challenges. But this week, Week 9, the show helped even the odds for the Black players by presenting two challenges that emphasized brains instead of brawn.
In the first pop challenge, the players had to answer trivia questions about healthy eating. Although the female-heavy Black team did well, the Blue team, who have been on a winning streak, proved that they have the smarts to match their muscles. They won an overnight visit to a hotel and a package of spa treatments. The Black team, meanwhile, was punished for their loss by having to clean the kitchen and gym.
The second challenge brought chef Curtis Stone back to the ranch to judge a cooking contest in which both teams had to prepare an appetizer, entrée and dessert in 30 minutes. Each course had to taste great as well as be healthy and low in calories.
The Black team prepared a salad with feta cheese and pomegranates, pork tenderloin and a dessert of fresh raspberries drizzled with chocolate. The Blue team created a shrimp ceviche, salmon with wild rice and a fruit and goat cheese dessert.
More from TODAY.com
Why this tampon-themed video game is what the world needs now
Is the world ready for a video game about menstruation? Two high-school girls think so.
- Prince Harry turns 30! 13 reasons to love the redheaded royal
- Watch this bear take a refreshing swim in a California pool
- Fall's 10 most flattering celebrity hairstyles
- 'Surge' soda surges back, but here are 6 other retro treats we pine for
- Why this tampon-themed video game is what the world needs now
Though the competition was close, the Black team’s appetizer and dessert came out ahead in both taste and low calories, giving the underdogs the win and a 5-pound advantage at the final weigh-in.
The win put the Black team in a triumphant mood, but also motivated the Blue team to put in some extra hours at the gym. The Blue members were also worried about Michael, who was called home to the bedside of his gravely ill grandmother. Would the team’s weight-loss champion still shed pounds while at home for a week? Only the final weigh-in would tell for sure.
In the end, the Black team posted some pretty good numbers, with Ashley, Sam and Andrea all losing 5 pounds or more. Combined with a 5-pound advantage, Black finally seemed invincible. However, the highly motivated Blue team tied the game when all its members posted high numbers.
With both teams having lost exactly 2.5 percent of their body weight this week, Michael, who had returned from his grandmother’s side in Chicago, was the deciding factor. He needed to lose just 1 pound to secure the win for the Blue team — and he actually lost an astounding 11 pounds instead. Michael explained that he worked out his grief over his grandmother’s condition by going to the gym two times a day during his time at home.
“It was a nightmare for us coming true,” Ashley said after the Black team was forced to vote one member off for the second week in a row. This time, Ashley’s mom Sherry was forced to leave the ranch and continue her weight-loss journey at home.
Who’s the better trainer: Bob or Jillian? Weigh in!
© 2013 NBCNews.com Reprints