First of all, to NBC: Kudos on the new one-hour format of "The Biggest Loser," which debuted with tonight's Season 15 premiere; it made for a much breezier and impactful show, especially when the end-of-the-episode weigh-in revealed that one determined contestant dropped an amazing 38 pounds in one week.
David Brown, a 43-year-old widower who promised his dying wife he'd stick around to raise their daughters, started the season at 409 pounds, and after an emotional first workout that saw his team leader and trainer Jillian Michaels throw him out of the gym, he finished the episode at 371 — an impressive 38 pounds lighter.
Brown's one-week weight loss total is the second highest in "Biggest Loser" history. Season 10 contender Mark Pinkhasovich lost 41 pounds in his first weigh-in on the show, but Brown's total beats out the previous runner-up, Season 12 winner John Rhode, who lost 37 pounds in his first weigh-in.
Watch the "Biggest Loser" trainers choose this season's teams:
As for this season's celebrity contestant, "American Idol" Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard, there was another impressive performance: He lost 21 pounds, after starting Season 15 as the competition's heaviest contestant at 462 pounds.
"I feel amazing," the ever-smiling Studdard said as he saw his weight-loss total after the weigh-in.
Studdard, who was chosen by trainer Dolvett Quince to be a member of Quince's Red Team for the "Second Chances"-themed Season 15, admitted he was nervous before beginning the first workout, and then, after sampling what the trainers would be challenging the contestants to do all season, joked, "Only someone full of evilness could come up with this workout."
Later — after that workout that made several contestants hurl before they could finish it — the Grammy nominee opened up to Quince about what had led him to join his second reality TV series.
"First of all, I'm here because I'm fat," Studdard joked. "But the reason why I'm really here is because in 2004, I had sleep apnea and it caused me to have cardiomyopathy. We got it under control, we medicated it, and I got better progressively, and then in 2008, I lost 100 pounds, I was a vegan for three years. Then I got married, I got divorced, I started kicking it with my frat brothers again, hanging out, eating all the wrong things late at night, drinking… just living like a college person, but I'm 34 [now 35] years old."
"I just want to be Ruben Studdard," said Studdard, who shared his desire to have people think of his singing talents alongside those of greats like Luther Vandross, Celine Dion, and Frank Sinatra. "I'm tired of being 'Big Rube.' Since I was 11 years old, it's always been 'B-I-G' in front of my name, and my mama didn't name me 'Big.' My mama named me Ruben Christopher Studdard, and for me, I wanted to get here to peel off the 'Big,' and show them the Ruben."
Watch this season's first "Biggest Loser" workout:
Studdard's Red Team was the overall winner for Week 1, with the five team members losing a total of 107 pounds, for 6.45 percent of their body weight. After Brown's 38 el-bees, Studdard and teammate Rachel Frederickson (who Quince called the contestant to watch this season) tied for second place with a 21-pound loss each.
As for the contestant eliminated this week: There wasn't one. Michaels' White Team racked up the smallest percentage of body weight lost with 4.73 percent, and the team's heaviest contestant, 385-pound Craig Arrigton, lost the lowest percentage of weight on the team (3.37 percent after weighing in at 372 pounds) and fell below the dreaded red line.
But Arrigton also proved himself to be one of the most motivated and hardest-working contestants, so Michaels used her Trainer's Save — each trainer has one for Season 15 — to keep the 30-year-old husband and dad in the competition.
Back to Studdard: The singer assured Quince he's committed to the hard work needed to whip himself into healthier shape, but a preview of next week's episode shows him getting a jolt when the show's doctor, Robert Huizenga, tells him he's diabetic.
"The Biggest Loser" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Ruben Studdard
- Biggest Loser
- Jillian Michaels