If you didn’t watch the live finale last night, check the video to get caught up.
I’m a fairweather fan of the series, watching when there’s an interesting contestant or twist. This season had both with Ruben Studdard (American Idol Season 2 winner) and the theme of second chances, which allowed eliminated players opportunities to get back in the game. However, all of the peaks and valleys of the season were quickly overshadowed when eventual winner, Rachel Fredrickson, revealed her 155lb weight loss, setting a new show record for weight loss percentage at 59.62%. Such a feat would usually be showered with effusive accolades, but this time, this season’s champion looked skeletal and unhealthy, in stark contrast to her fellow contestants. When she made her big entrance, the looks on Jillian and Bob’s (the team trainers) faces said it all; an ‘oh my God’ was clearly visible coming off of Jillian’s lips. Even Allison Sweeney, the show’s host, couldn’t keep the look of concern hidden, quickly switching on a painted grin when Rachel turned to hug her after the big win. The show’s Facebook page was lit up with activity during last night’s finale, many commenting on the possible backlash that might follow TBL if changes aren’t made to ensure that competitors lose weight in a healthy way, perhaps by maintaining an appropriate BMI. In the midst of the controversy, there’s been no comment from the show or trainers outside of the typical congratulations, so I looked forward to the Today show interview with Fredrickson, hoping that they might ask her about the feedback some fans have been giving, but no such luck. I’m not sure what was worse, the possible health issue this woman might be having or the complete lack of journalistic inquiry that the Today show hosts showed; the conversation never veered from compliments and the cliche. I shouldn’t be surprised since the Biggest Loser airs on the same network (NBC) as Today, so they likely wanted to avoid controversy. And in an effort to avoid rocking the boat, NBC, Today and the Biggest Loser missed an opportunity to build interest based on how well they could handle such a sensitive issue opting instead for the ‘company line’ and possible lost viewership.