"The Biggest Loser" producers continue to stay mum in the face of "cheating scandal" headlines. But one person who is talking -- kind of -- says the return of "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard is the real deal.
Viewers were shocked when this week's weigh-in began with news that trainer Jillian Michaels broke rules by giving her teammates caffeine supplements. As a result, the earlier week's weigh-in was overturned, paving the way for the return of Studdard, the highest profile player ever to take part in NBC's weight-loss reality show. That move has raised suspicious about the possibility of behind-the-scenes manipulation.
But Craig Arrington, 30, of Wilson, N.C., who was eliminated this week amid all the upheaval, says he believes the show handled everything fairly.
"I don't see Ruben coming back as a ploy," Arrington said. "It's just about being fair."
Arrington made his comments during the weekly, pre-planned media conference calls held with eliminated players.
But he did not answer all questions.
When asked about the caffeine supplements and what Michaels said about them, Arrington declined comment, saying only that it had been "handled by production."
The rule-busting supplements led to Arrington's team being penalized with a four-pound disadvantage at the weigh-in. Arrington said he agrees with the punishment: "I think it was fair... it was a fair assessment."
However, he said he thinks it's "amazing" that some are raising questions about whether Studdard's return was engineered in some fashion. (Among those fueling such an impression? Michaels herself, who tweeted "spot on" to a viewer who suggested that she was being thrown under the bus to pave the way for Studdard's return.)
"Ruben is a great friend of mine," Arrington said, adding that he believes the show overturned the previous weigh-in out of fairness, and that "it just so happened it was Ruben at the time" who benefited from it.
A show representative says producers are not being made available to discuss the incident.
Unfortunately for Arrington, the matter has overshadowed his weight loss success. So far, he has lost 115 pounds and is gunning for the show's at-home prize.
He said he works out three times a day -- at 5 a.m., noon, and again in the evening. He said he is making this period all about "me time" until the show's finale, after which he will make it "daddy time" for his children.
He said he feels confident that he is leaving his weight loss struggles behind for good.
Even with the grueling workout schedule, he says there has never been a day so hard that he is tempted to go back to his old ways.
"I'm doing it for myself for the first time," he said.
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