The drama on week five of "The Biggest Loser" came as a surprise to the players on the ranch, but not to the viewers at home. Those watching since day one knew that the Aqua Team, brother and sister Adrian and Daphne Dortch, had been sent home the first night with a chance to rejoin the show after one month. If they lost at least 50 pounds combined, they would be allowed back on the ranch.
But the other players who had been working hard with trainers Dolvett Quince and Bob Harper had no idea their former competitors would be given a second chance. After they weighed in and lost the required weight, they were split up. Adrian went to the Red Team and Daphne was given a black shirt. Most of the players were not happy with the new teammates.
Tempers flared and egos grew as Adrian got under the skin of his fellow Red Team members. The mother of the group, Nancy Rajala, tried to stick up for the new player and smooth things out among the group, but to no avail. Still along with the chance to join the game again the Dortchs won immunity. So no matter how much his teammates wanted to get rid of him, Adrian could not be eliminated this week. Sadly, it was Rajala who was sent home.
Nancy Rajala on Coming to the Ranch with Granddaughter Cassandra
Rajala, a 63-year-old grandmother from Fowlerville, Michigan, came to the ranch with her granddaughter Cassandra. In a recent conference call interview Rajala revealed, "She saved my life. Because I was really not in good health and she gave me that back by believing in me and taking me with her on this journey."
A grandmother to 55 grandkids, Rajala admitted before the show that she did not have a close relationship with her granddaughter. She confessed, "We really didn't have a lot of time together during her growing up, we didn't see a lot of each other. But I always had this connection with her and she did with me, too, but we never got that special time together. And when she invited me to go on the ranch, of course, I would never not go with that little sweetheart there."
Rajala recalled that since they were on separate teams during the day they bonded at night in their room at the ranch. "I'd wait up for her to come in and we'd have our little talks... We got really close and I felt like I had a special time with her that I haven't had with each one of them because there's so many of them… So it was a real special time for us. Cassandra became my hero because by including me in this journey and thinking so well of me that I could actually do this and telling them, 'My grandma can do anything' and believing in me."
Nancy Rajala Wanted to Welcome Adrian Dortch
Perhaps it was the grandmother in her that made Rajala come to the aid of new teammate Adrian. She remarked, "Every person has something that somebody else might not like or approve of. And that's true with most of the contestants there. But we're all there for a reason. We're there to get healthy and lose weight. I think he was different and he came on pretty strong but all in all it could have been handled differently… I really feel like you've got to be nice to people when they come in."
Because Rajala was the only player who treated Adrian fairly, he was upset to see her eliminated and expressed those feelings after the final vote was counted. But even though he was defending her, Rajala asked him to stop fighting for her and let her go. She explained, "I know his heart was in the right place. He really was sad to see me go because I would try to comfort him and say nice things to him because I know he was under attack a lot and I knew he was going through a lot… But it wasn't the time because I knew they had already written their names down and it wasn't going to make a difference and I just wanted to have my moment with all of the people that I really loved being with and to say goodbye to them."
Nancy Rajala Wrote Weekly Letters to the Cast and Crew
Rajala made connections with everyone on the ranch both on and off camera and she knew her time on the show was fleeting. She divulged that every week before the weigh-in she wrote letters to each and every member of the cast and crew on the show thanking them for helping her that week.
She recounted, "I would write a letter to Dolvett thanking him for all his patience and kindness and the training that he showed to me. And I would write a letter to the camera crew because the cameras, the people that film us and that are behind the scenes that help us daily, they're what makes the show. And nobody hears their name or sees them and I wanted to write them a thank you letter. And also the Black and Red Teams to say goodbye to them. Because it's really an incredible journey in a place that you heal inside and out and there's wonderful things about it." She commented about what viewers see on TV. "They're showing a lot of negative drama but actually it… really is not as bad as it looks. There's a lot of love there, too." Rajala's letters were her way of expressing the feelings she had unlocked.
Watch "The Biggest Loser" on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. Central on NBC.
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