"The Biggest Loser" has a new winner: Danni Allen, who takes home the title and the $250,000 grand prize by one of the slimmest margins in the competition's history.
And America just might have a new fitness model.
Allen, 26, of Wheeling, Ill., had been working multiple jobs to pay off college bills until she joined the cast of the weight-loss reality show weighing 258 pounds. She lost 121 pounds -- or 46.90% of her body weight -- over the course of the competition.
But Allen drew gasps when she walked on stage Monday night for the big reveal at the finale. Though almost all of the competitors looked dramatically different after losing so much weight, Danni looked absolutely transformed: Poised, chiseled and she had her swagger on.
Come to think of it, she could have been channeling her trainer, Jillian Michaels. Danni's victory came after she lost each and every one of her teammates in the early weeks of the competition, until it was just Danni and Jillian.
Jillian was so certain of Danni's victory that she refused at one point in the middle of the show to hug her trainee, saying that the "first" hug would come after the confetti was raining down on Danni's head.
"I can't believe this is real," Danni said after she'd been declared the winner. "I am in disbelief. But this is real, and you can believe."
There will be a media conference call later this morning with Danni. Any questions you'd like to ask her? If so, leave them in the comments section below and we'll do our best to put them to her. (We're also working on a before / after photo gallery of all the competitors, so check back for that!)
Jillians said that having a one-woman team was a blessing and a curse for Danni. It allowed her to have Jillian's full attention, but that also made for extra punishment in the gym. Jillian said that one of the most powerful tools the pair used to propel Danni to victory was visualization. "We saw it, we had to see it, we envisioned it, and we made it happen," Jillian said.
Second-place victory went to Jeff Nichols, 25, of Monroe, Mich., who started the show at 388 pounds, a girth he gained in part by turning to food in the wake of his father's death. He lost 181 pounds, or 46.65% of his body weight, just short of ekeing out a win over Danni.
The at-home winner was Gina McDonald, 48, of Hoover, Ala., who took home that $100,000 title. She joined the cast at 245 pounds and lost 113 pounds, or 46.12% of her body weight. She fell just short of the 46.90% lost by Danni and the 46.65% lost by Jeff.
Her win was no surprise, given that she lasted on the ranch until last week and dominated the weigh-ins while there. Still, had she made the final three, it would not have been enough to edge out Danni or Jeff.
All things being equal, that means Jeff would have been declared the at-home winner had he been eliminated last week instead of Gina. But there's no use playing that hindsight game, right?
As Dolvett Quince put it, all the competitors are "billionaires," because they've won valuable insight into what it means to live a happy, fulfilling and success-driven life that does not revolve around food.
Several of the competitors were downright unrecognizable, while others looked as if they'd rolled back the hands of time. David? He looked about 15 years younger, fit and trim and showing off those guns. (The biceps, not the sidearms issued as part of his law enforcement duties.) Lisa, the 37-year-old mom from Houlton, Wis. came on stage to wolf whistles from the live audience -- yes, she looked that good.
The finale made "Biggest Loser" history for its youngest players, the so-called "kids" who were part of the show this year. Their reveals were remarkable: They've grown up before our eyes and combined shed more than 100 pounds. It was never about the weight for the kids, though, it was about teaching them to embrace life and healthful eating habits. They did that, each mirroring what the show and their coaches taught them. Biingo channeled a preppy Bob Harper and his happy-go-lucky style, Lindsay mirrored Dolvett's intensity and brilliant smile and Jillian's ward, Sunny, was the picture of poise and self-confidence. Was that the most picture-perfect prom dress in history? YES!
What did you think about how this season turned out? Are you glad Danni won it? Thoughts about Gina's win? After watching the season, what did you think about the decison to bring kids on board?