Much of "Down to the Wire," the two-hour, penultimate episode of Season 14, was devoted to a look back at how the final five contestants, and this season's teen trio, have transformed their lives in the 11 weeks since "The Biggest Loser" began. And the results, as always, are impressive.
The teens, Sunny, Biingo, and Lindsay, came back to the "BL" ranch to meet with nutritionist Dr. Joanna, who reported their major health improvements: Biingo lost 25 percent of his body weight, Lindsay is no longer prediabetic, and Sunny has a completely clean bill of health, including normal cholesterol numbers.
The teens' incredible efforts on the series were also shown to have affected viewers, as a "Challenge America" feature during the installment introduced Breanna, a 10-year-old Californian who weighed 186 pounds one year ago but has since lost an incredible 72 pounds. Biingo, Sunny, and Lindsay, she said, inspired her to stay committed to her own healthy new habits and to nudge those around her to join her in getting fit.
Take that, reality TV naysayers
And then there are the adult contestants, the final five, who, together, have shed 525 pounds in their 11 weeks in the competition.
Jackson, despite not being able to get through a workout without throwing up during his first weeks on the ranch, is now running up hills and pulling all the weight he's lost -- 93 pounds going into the final weigh-in -- up a mountain.
Gina, the Southern lawyer, has not only lost 84 pounds, but she's also handled tense interactions with the trainers and other contestants. She earned such respect from her fellow final five that, after finishing the final challenge, Joe, Jackson, Danni, and Jeff ran back down a snowy mountain to help a struggling Gina pull her lost weight up the hill.
Joe, the former Miami Dolphins pro, has knocked off 125 pounds, and, at age 42, says he's ready to restart his life.
Jeff, who began the season at 388 pounds, has lost 123 pounds, and more important, is determined not to return to his old life, living in his mom's basement, watching TV in bed, and snacking all day.
Danni, who went solo most of the season, after her teammates quit and were eliminated in quick succession at the beginning, has proved to be one of the most motivated contestants in "Biggest Loser" history. She lost 95 pounds and, as Dr. Huizenga revealed during "Down to the Wire," she set a new record for the most muscle gained in three months at the ranch: 19 pounds. That stat impressed even Jillian Michaels.
Jackson, the 21-year-old whose laser focus and determination has been one of the most inspiring stories of Season 14, summed up his approach, referring to the most important lesson he's learned on the show: "Weight loss is 100 percent mental," he said. "You have to want it more than you want to eat a cupcake, or more than you want to watch TV instead of going to the gym."
The final weigh-in before the finale
The trips down Season 14 memory lane highlighted the positive changes the contestants had made, but the final weigh-in still loomed, with only the facts -- the number of pounds shed -- determining who would remain in the race to win the $250,000 grand prize.
With five remaining, the top two, in terms of percentage of body weight lost, would automatically win spots in the March 18 season finale. The person with the lowest percentage would automatically be eliminated, and the third spot would be determined by a vote -- by viewers -- on whether the third- or fourth-place contestant should compete for the championship.
And the final numbers were not great for Gina. Overall, she was pleased with her 84-pound loss, but she dropped just 2 pounds in her final week, for 1.23 percent of her body weight. She was eliminated from the competition, but she's still eligible for the $100,000 at-home championship at next week's finale.
See how far Gina has come since leaving the ranch:
The biggest loser for the final week: Danni, who shed 11 more pounds, or 6.32 percent of her body weight. Jeff also lost 11, for 3.99 percent of his weight, and both contenders inspired emotional reactions from their very proud trainers, Jillian and Bob.
With the top two set, it was down to Jackson and Joe for the final spot -- each lost 5 pounds in the final week, for a 2.46 percent loss for Joe and 2.13 percent for Jackson -- and it's up to you, viewers, to choose who still has a shot to win a quarter of a million bucks.
Voting is open at "The Biggest Loser" website, and you can vote up to 10 times for your favorite "Loser."
Who do you think most deserves the big bucks for such a big accomplishment?
Watch the full episode:
"The Biggest Loser" Season 14 finale airs March 18 at 8 PM on NBC.