This week the contestants learned that not just one person was going to be eliminated, but two. In addition to the Yellow Line, there was now a Red Line -- the person who lost the lowest percentage of weight this week had to leave immediately. The contestants above the Red Line but below the Yellow Line would be eligible for the usual elimination by vote.
This impending carnage -- one quarter of the remaining 8 contestants leaving, including the novelty of a no-excuses cut -- left everyone shell-shocked, but they immediately were thrown into a "pop challenge" where contestants competed for a one-pound advantage at the weigh-in by leaping up to pull tennis balls off three strips of Velcro, one at a time, and running to drop them into a bucket. I thought Allen would win easily, and he did win, but with Rebecca just three steps behind him.
Jillian panicked at the idea of Shay being sent home with 200 pounds yet to lose, and seemingly decided the best way to save her was to pump up the volume on the workouts -- more screaming, more sweating, more yelling. I couldn't help but be impressed by how incredibly fit Shay is, even at 300+ pounds. None of the other contestants were off the hook either, and the trainers used the drama to motivate the contestants, with plenty of yelling and screaming to go around. No one was spared, even the normally tough-as-nails Rebecca. Everyone had a chance to cry.
With everyone in a panic, the logical thing to do was to take the contestants to the circus for the stupidest challenge yet, jumping from mini trampolines through hoops onto big pads -- each hoop represented a player. Immunity was at stake, and it was another challenge that encouraged players to gang up on each other and eliminate the biggest threats first. Each player's name was on a hoop, and players got a point whenever someone jumped through their hoop. 100 points meant you were eliminated from the game. This was basically a variant of the baseball challenge from Week 7.
We start to see that there is a big split between the 4 players in their 20s and the four "older" players, most of whom look like they are in their 30s. Shay and Rudy have a misunderstanding -- he says he will wait to go after her until "the end," which she thinks means that he won't give her points until everyone else is out. Since Rudy is part of the "old" group and Shay is part of the young group, Rudy started putting points on her board when it was down to three players: Shay, Rudy, and Danny. Shay screams at him the entire time about having no integrity and being cruel and picking on her. It was ridiculous. Even though I thought he meant the same thing that she did, it made more sense for Rudy to be loyal to fellow old guy Danny after watching Shay and her friends systematically eliminate every player over 30. Rudy won immunity, and Shay threw him hurt and angry looks for the rest of the episode.
At this point you start to realize that Shay truly believes that she deserves a free pass from all the other players because of her extreme size and her horrific childhood. Shay might have been a victim when she was a child, but as I watched her abuse the other players if they didn't give her the special treatment she felt she was entitled to, I started to have less and less sympathy for her. She is an adult now, and she needs to start acting like one. Abby had a horrific tragedy and was more than willing to let the players send her home when she came up for elimination, she didn't play for sympathy. On one hand, I agreed with Shay and Jillian that she really needed the safety of the Ranch more than the other players, especially because we know that at home she has three jobs and a husband and two stepchildren to distract her from her own goals. On the other hand, we've seen contestants from past seasons who lost well on the ranch go home and regain their weight if they aren't able to transfer what they've learned to their normal lives, and we've seen contestants who got sent home do very well there. Bob and Jillian are the last people who should be promoting the idea that you can't succeed unless you are on the show. There are many people watching at home who need to believe that they can be very successful on their own and fit fitness into a busy life.
The weigh-in was dramatic. Shay was one of the first weighed in, and Allison happens to mention that Shay is only 17 pounds away from the 100-pounds-lost milestone. Shay laughs it off, figuring that is impossible. If she did hit the 100 pound mark, though, we find out that she would break the record for fastest woman to 100 pounds. Of course, because the contestants are really weighed in the morning and the scale we see them on is just a prop, Allison knew that Shay was going to break that record. The order of the weigh-in is carefully chosen for the most drama. When we see Shay lose 17 pounds, we know that she will be safe. But then, we see contestant after contestant have their best-ever week, and Shay creeps closer and closer to that Yellow Line, along with fellow Team Young member Amanda. Daniel weighs in last and has another disappointing week, slipping him under Shay as the Red Line elimination. To confirm my suspicions from last week, Rebecca runs up in tears and hugs him.
As Amanda and Shay are making their case for who should stay, I am sure that it will be Amanda who is leaving. She is looking great and seems to be one of the most level-headed contestants on the show. As I said to my husband as we were watching, "She probably has about 30 pounds to lose. She could do that with Weight Watchers, she doesn't need to be there." Amanda makes her tearful case sure that she is heading home, but to everyone's surprise, Shay is sent home. The final vote for Shay comes from Rudy, who might have voted differently if Shay had taken his "betrayal" during the silly hoop challenge in stride, but she says she has no regrets. Somehow I missed the "where is she now" video for Shay at the end of the show, but I found it online -- she has 6 trainers now who are helping her at home, and she looks noticeably thinner even though she still has a lot of weight to lose. Daniel also is still doing OK on his own and has "a girlfriend he hopes to introduce to America at the finale." Hmm, wonder who that is?
Next week, MAKEOVERS with Tim Gunn for Alan, Rudy, Amanda, Rebecca, Danny, and Liz. At this point I'm not sure which I'm more excited to see go: Rebecca's weird comb-over birds' nest, Liz's scraggly gray hair, or Rudy's beard.