Ruben Studdard wasn't supposed to leave "The Biggest Loser" like this.
Ruben had been extended a golden ticket of sorts when producers invited him to join the show, unlike the thousands of people who vie for a spot at the ranch each year. The balladeer who won Season 2 of "American Idol" and the nickname "The Velvet Teddy Bear" said he jumped at the invitation because he had long struggled with his weight. He said he wanted to shed all the excess fat once and for all, and he wanted to go the distance, wanted a shot at winning a second prime-time reality TV show.
Instead, Ruben became only the second player to be eliminated in a season whose motto is "second chances."
Ruben, 35, walked onto the ranch at 462 pounds -- a girth he said was interfering with his goal of becoming the greatest singer in the world.
His weight loss started strong at the ranch, and he shed 21 pounds at his first weigh in. But progress dropped off dramatically. He lost only three pounds last week. This week, he lost only five pounds, contributing greatly to the red team's loss at the weigh in. (The team loss wasn't solely his fault. Tanya, who lost nothing last week and forced Dolvett to use his one and only player save, only lost three pounds this week. Had Tanya performed better, that save might have still been around for Dolvett to use this week on Ruben.)
Ruben's elimination is no doubt a blow for the show, which has seen ratings sag. Producers had hoped Ruben would be a ratings draw with his compelling story about seemingly having it all -- wealth, career, charisma -- but still being unable to master his weight.
What do you think happened to Ruben? Was he working out hard enough? Did he let his team (and Dolvett) down? Or did he just have the misfortune of being caught in the middle of a weight-loss plateau?
And let's not forget the most important question of all: Are you disappointed we won't get to see the Jillian vs. Ruben's Taco Meat showdown? (Unless, of course, a twist brings Ruben back!)
My two cents: I will miss Ruben and his sweet nature, He had the potential (and still does, of course) to be a great weight-loss ambassador for many Americans and I wish he'd been able to stick around a little longer. Here's hoping he's right when he said he believes he's "leaving [the ranch] with a wealth of knowledge" that will help him achieve his health goals.
Final thought: Make this week Exhibit A for why it is never, ever, ever, ever a good idea to participate in temptation challenges.
The players were vying for immunity when they dove into a Halloween pumpkin patch, looking for the magic pumpkin that contained the golden ticket. The rest of the pumpkins? They contained tricks, not treats, and the players had to eat them up.
When it was all said and done, Ruben and his red team had consumed 2,024 calories, but it still wasn't enough to guarantee immunity. (The blue team lucked out and found the winning pumpkin.) Now, to be sure, the red team might still have been eliminated at the weigh in. (Conventional thinking tells us 2,000 calories is a little over half a pound.)
But every little bit helps, right? And there's an argument to be made that there's a psychological advantage to refusing to give in to the challenge. What do you think? Is immunity just too compelling to pass up?