Could you believe our entrance? I loved arriving in a tank. The Marines who helped us that day are so amazing. And then the helicopters that brought in Bob, Anna and Dolvett! The contestants were so excited to see the fan favorite Bob return, and everyone was so pumped to meet the show's new trainers, too. Being in the desert, having the contestants all excited to be part of the show and then watching the trainers make their grand entrance was wild.
So was the race to get to the trainers. Right away things are different this year – having the contestants divided by age was a game changer ... but then to have the Middle Team win the race? It was definitely a surprise. From the moment I announced the race, though, you could see the competitive spirit in each contestant come out. They wanted to win and because of that, it got us off to a great start. Then, to see Anna run out to meet her team and the other teams join the 50-plus contestants for the end of their run was exactly what The Biggest Loser is all about!
The first twist of the new season was definitely a big one in that every contestant, whether they're voted out or not, has a chance to make it to the final four with the marathon at the end of the season. I love this because it gives everyone even more incentive to work hard at home and to show how far they'll have come between that first run to their trainer and the last run of 26.2 miles.
Justin Lubin / NBC
When we learned that Becky's father had passed and that she was heading home, our hearts all went out to her. I can't imagine what it was like for her to get that news at the Ranch, but I loved her determination and focus on changing her life.
Since I'm not in the gym with trainers and the contestants, I love watching the episode and seeing what I've missed when I'm not with them. I spoke with Antone afterwards about his expectations versus his experience of that first workout, and of course it was completely different ... but seeing that heartfelt conversation with Bob demonstrated how important it is for him to be at the Ranch. I loved the way Bob handled that. Man, they got a huge workout in, and the trainers were already able to start working on what got the contestants to where they are today.
It was clear from watching the last chance workout that Dolvett and Anna were up for the challenge of training these contestants and weren't willing to put up with whining. When Dolvett kicked Patrick out of the gym, I think everyone took notice. He totally shocked me the first time he did his "boot-camp voice." I love it! "Get your hands off of my treadmill!" So great! But I'm interested in everyone's initial impressions too. What did you think of the first episode?
By the time we got to the first weigh-in, I was so impressed by how everyone had already made changes. It was the first time on camera to really talk with Anna about joining the show. Being a huge tennis fan myself, I love that she brings the experience of being an athlete, especially since we've had so many contestants, who were former athletes, who gained weight after they finished competing. It was incredible to hear her compare the weigh-in to competing at the U.S. Open.
In the end, the numbers showed what a difference diet and workout can make – Antone lost 32 lbs., and John lost 37 lbs.! I loved seeing the excitement from the contestants that lost big but felt badly for the blue team to be the first to head to the elimination room. Once inside, it was clear that Debbie had not synced with the rest of the team. I loved her saying she was coming back a "Jazzy grandma." Such a great goal!
So, that was week one! It's going to be a wild ride, which was evident in the preview clip for the season. From returning Biggest Loser contestants to NFL stars, there will be plenty of people joining the trainers in inspiring and challenging the contestants.