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NBC's Biggest Loser crowns new champ, standing out in a month of big endings



Biggest-loser-danny I know I'm supposed to be a cynical, world weary TV critic. Especially when dealing with super-manipulative so-called "reality TV" shows.

But even I had moist eyes during tonight's finale of NBC's weight loss competition The Biggest Loser, as Oklahoma resident Danny Cahill won the $250,000 grand prize after losing 239 pounds, or more than 55 percent of his body weight.

Even Cahill admitted his look had changed so much after his weight loss that fans of the show didn't recognize him on the street. His emergence as a hidden hunk after his weight loss stood as testament to the producers' talent for finding contestants who will look tremendously attractive once their flab comes off.

This amazing finale came after viewers watched early evictee Antoine propose to his girlfriend and fellow evictee Alexandra, evictee Rebecca won $100,000 by losing the most among those who didn't make the finals (139 pounds), and Subway challenged evictee Shay by agreeing to pay her $1,000 for every pound she loses between now and the next cycle's finale in the spring (she was the heaviest contestant ever, at 476 pounds; after losing 172 pounds, she was still weighing in at 304).

There was also the show's dazzling-if-creepy CGI trick, where the show's three finalists stood briefly next to recreated images of their old, pre-weight loss selves, for added emphasis on the transformations.

Biggestloser-tracey  Turns out, there was a bit of competition all around. Evil contestant Tracey, renowned during the competition for screwing over her fellow competitors and then apologizing afterward, looked like a female bodybuilder after losing 118 pounds. For a time, she looked to win the at-home contest -- a far stretch from her start on the show, when a one-mile run put her in the hospital for several days.

For a heart-tugging two hours tonight, all thoughts of concern over how hard the show pushes these nightmarishly obese participants falls away. In TV especially, it's mostly about results -- and watching a roomful of onetime 300 and 400 pound people recite repeated tales of triple-digit losses carries a lot of, if you excuse the expression, weight.

It also proved a satisfying finale among a month studded with standout endings. Already, we've seen Dancing with the Stars conclude, the end of an amazing second season for FX's biker drama Sons of Anarchy, the conclusion of USA network's Monk after eight seasons and the end of this fall's edition of The Amazing Race.

Still to come: The end of Top Chef: Las Vegas Wednesday and the finale for Showtime's Dexter on Sunday. That's the problem with being a grizzled TV critic -- you can remember back when December was mostly a home for tree lighting ceremonies and reruns of A Charlie Brown Christmas.  

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:03pm]


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