Ruben Studdard has made a name for himself as the Velvet Teddy Bear after winning "American Idol."
But if the balladeer is going to reach his goal of becoming the best in the world he needs to drop the weight for good. And he's ready to do that on "The Biggest Loser." Just don't ask him to lose the "taco meat."
For the uninformed -- which might have been everyone watching -- "taco meat" is the term Ruben uses for his pelt. That is, the dark, tangle of body hair that blankets his back and is sprinkled across his shoulders and the middle of his chest.
It was quite a display of manhood, and although we only got the "barest" glimpse of it (seriously, if ever a closeup was needed …) it appears that Ruben's "taco meat" might need its own workout jersey.
Ruben insists that the "taco meat" is sexy. Trainer Jillian Michaels insists it is not. We will see who wins his battle.
Ruben may be the highest profile competitor this season, and at 462 pounds he is the heaviest, but as Season 15 of "The Biggest Loser" get underway this week he is just one of the many faces of obesity in America.
The one-hour premier felt a little rushed and barely underway before the giant scale was making an appearance. But what a weigh-in it was, one of the most emotional in "Biggest Loser" history.
As usual, there were some jaw-dropping numbers as the competitors give up all the salt, fast food, and processed junk in favor of a healthier diet.
Ruben, for one, lost 21 pounds and remarked, "I didn't get any Hollywood treatment in this gym." Then there was David, who showed up at the ranch at 409 pounds, further weighed down by losing his wife cancer while their two girls were still young. His chest is marked with an Asian symbol meaning warrior, and he lived up to that when he logged a stunning 38-pound weight loss. "I have the heart of a warrior, down deep, and I need to let it out."
The numbers were so impressive that Craig, who showed up at the ranch at 385 pounds and lost 13 pounds, fell below the dreaded red line.
"Thirteen pounds sounds really good when you're at home ... ," Craig said. "I was devastated .... I came in here thinking I would be the leader. But it turns out I was the weakest link."
Craig, who was the first player chosen for Jillian's team, has somehow earned a guardian angel in her.
"You're not going home tonight," Jillian said. "Not gonna happen. There's no way."
And so she used her trainer save -- a new twist introduced this season -- to keep him in the house. Expect these trainer saves to become a pivotal plot device this season, and perhaps it's good for Jillian that she got hers out of the way. It will only get harder for the trainers to decide when to user theirs, and it's one of the most powerful tools they have at their disposal. So the smart move would be to hang on to it until the very end. But that would break a lot of hearts.
What do you think about this season of "The Biggest Loser"? One random observation: Dolvett Quince is bringing it, as evidenced by the way his team destroyed the competition at the weigh-in, handily beating Bob Harper's team and leaving Jillian's team in third place.
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