As The Biggest Loser prepares to crown its champ in two short weeks, the competition is fiercer than ever.
While the remaining contestants — Hannah, Olivia, Irene and Jay — were each given a pass on the May 3 makeover episode, they're now battling head-to-head for the $250,000 prize. As Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney tells Us Weekly, Tuesday's episode was a pivotal one for the cast having come off a week of immunity.
"[They had to] look at [the immunity] like the unbelievable gift that it was and not sit back and rest," Sweeney, who's taking part in Hill's Science Diet's Million Pound Pledge to promote proper pet nutrition, tells Us.
Read on for more as Sweeney handicaps the final four's chances to win — and dishes on the May 3 makeover session, along with how eliminated contestant Rulon Gardner's abrupt exit impacted game play.
Us: Last week we saw the final five get glammed up with the help of Tim Gunn and Ken Paves. Which makeover impressed you most?
Alison Sweeney: Hannah and Olivia really just epitomize the main makeover transformation. They're just so lovable and yet what they really needed was to get that extra weight off of them and [went from] a caterpillar to a butterfly.
Us: Two weeks ago, former Olympian Rulon voluntarily left the competition after losing 173 pounds. How would you say his departure impacted the game?
AS: He was a serious contender for the prize so the fact that he left probably gave everyone else that sense that they could take it. It really motivated and inspired everyone to feel like, without that obvious physical threat there, they've all got a chance at winning and that they better stay in and fight for it.
Us: Looking at the remaining players, take Us though each contestant's strengths and weaknesses, and why you think they could win.
AS: Jay certainly has the weight to lose. He could win it all, by the numbers. But he's definitely taken a step back and Jillian [Michaels] called him out on it last week. There's just something different about him and ever since he came back [to the ranch] he's a little bit more complacent and not so hungry for it.
Irene and she is unexpectedly the biggest loser on campus. Totally a tough cookie. She's worked so hard and she has this great percentage of weight loss, but she's really not the person you picture winning the show or being that leader or having the big numbers on the scale. She's just slow and steady every week. She's really someone to look out for.
Olivia is an amazing woman and such an inspiration. To see her come out of her shell and just have that beautiful, unbelievable [operatic] voice to go with her wonderful personality and her sweet smile, I just couldn't say enough good things about her. She's definitely got the desire to win and she knows she can fight for it, but at the same time how much more weight does she have to lose?
Hannah's such a firecracker. She's definitely got a thing about being second to her sister [Olivia], which I think is just one of those sister things that only they understand. Hannah has to break out of that [mentality] and find a way to be OK with who she is and not in comparison to her sister. She's really fighting through that.
Us: Lastly, give Us the biggest reason to tune into the remaining episodes ahead of the finale.
AS: Bottom line is, they're going to get tested on what they've spent the last 20 weeks learning. They're about to go out into the world [away from the ranch] and they better get it right. Bob and Jillian and Brett and Cara are going to give them tough questions and we'll see how they do. Are we going to go into the numbers game and start to see the women getting eliminated again as [is] the stereotype, or are you going to see these women step up and make sure they stay above that yellow line? It's a tough one.
Tell Us: Who are you rooting for to take this season's Biggest Loser title?
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