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'Biggest Loser' shocker: Jillian tries gentle approach to save team and herself

Mitchell Haaseth / NBC / Today
Trainer Jillian Michaels returns to "The Biggest Loser" for season 14.

Gentle Jillian Michaels? As strange as that phrase may sound to fans of "The Biggest Loser" (not to mention former contestants), the tough-talking, take-no-nonsense trainer actually put the tough talk on hold this week as she faced the possibility of getting booted off the ranch alongside her last remaining team member.

Five weeks into the competition, Jillian had already said "so long" to four of her five hopefuls. Her only shot to stay in the game (beyond helping teen Sunny back home) came down to Danni -- Danni, who long ago let Jillian know that she required encouragement and positive feedback in the gym.

And that's just what Jillian offered her. Rather than risk pushing what's left of Team White away with her typical take-no-prisoners style, she took a risk and showed her softer side throughout the week.

Danni, for her part, put her all into every aspect of the competition. When she wasn't working out with Gentle Jillian, she was acing challenges.

The first challenge required players to buy all of their groceries for the week on a budget of $10 a day -- and they had just 15 minutes to do it. Danni, who had no other teammates to pool her resources with, ended up with a packed cart and $8 to spare.

Later, during a swimming challenge, she finished in first place and won a 2-pound advantage on the scale.

But while everything seemed to be going Danni's way, Jillian started to have her doubts.

"At this moment, I'm second guessing myself a lot," Jillian said before Danni stepped on the scale. "I did something different this week. I didn't go crazy or push like I normally did in the past, and I'm now hating myself for that. We're going to lose this weigh-in, and if we do, she's not the only one going home."

But in the end, Jillian found out that sometimes the soft touch is also the winning touch. Danni dropped 9 pounds, putting her percentage of weight loss far above the other teams.

"It just feels so good to have her smile at me," Danni said of Jillian after the weigh-in. "I think right now is the best moment I've had since I've been here."

Of course, while Danni celebrated her best night on the ranch, the night took a turn for the worse for another player. The red team landed in last place and voted out Lisa.

There's no need to feel too bad for the teacher and mom of four. During the where-are-they-now update, Lisa revealed that she's still on track and has now lost a total of 76 pounds.

What did you think of the rare glimpse of the gentle side of Jillian Michaels? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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