'The Biggest Loser': Time for America's vote

allisonsweeney_thebiggestloser_s8_290.jpgWith next week's finale of " The Biggest Loser" looming, the final four are preparing for the biggest goal of their lives. No, not winning a half a million dollars... finishing a freaking marathon!

The final four contestants are going home. They all knew it would happen eventually. But it still sucks. Facing the real world is tough. Alison Sweeney bids Danny, Liz, Amanda, and Rudy adieu until the next weigh-in in 60 days. The next half-hour or so was the typical filler you usually get the week before the finale.  We see flashbacks, old interviews, time-lapse videos of their weight loss, etc. Also among the boring bits are the welcome home parties of the four finalists, complete with chanting and cheesy speeches. Now on to the good stuff.

Naturally, they're all freaking out a little bit. Being on the ranch was easy. Being home and facing the day-to-day challenges is the difficult part of the show. Danny is struggling to figure out why he gained the weight in the first place. Amanda used to hide behind her weight, so what does she do now that she has nothing to shield her? Rudy needs to realize that eating too much food isn't going to bring his sister back. And Liz is facing the biggest stress of all--a crumbling marriage.

bobharper_thebiggestloser_s8_290.jpgBut first! The trainers have a surprise for them all to enjoy. The contestants are forced to sit there and watch the old interviews of before they lost any weight. Then, the trainers call with another "surprise." The finalists will run a marathon in 60 days. While this isn't really a shock because it was done last season, they're all still pretty hesitant. On a side note, isn't 60 days a little quick to train for a full marathon? My roommate is a runner; she says it's pretty dangerous.

Curtis Stone drops by Danny's place for a little lesson in low-calorie dining. They make some turkey chili to top off a baked potato, but then they go and ruin it with some Greek yogurt. Yuck. Too bad he threw out the fatty version. Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels also pop by to see everyone's progress. Jill is worried about Liz living in the middle of nowhere with no gym and no support system. Bob has to hear about Rudy's demanding work schedule and fatherly duties. Then there's Danny's wife, who tells Jill that she's afraid her husband is going to leave her now that he's skinny. Amanda is just being whiny again.

Back in Los Angeles, it's 60 days later and Alison is waiting at the start line of the marathon. None of the contestants seem especially thrilled to be doing this race, but they're going to try to get the $10,000 for charity. Right off the bat, Rudy takes off and leaves everyone else in his dust. Amanda takes a decent pace behind him, while Danny and Liz pull up the rear. The course isn't easy; big hills and tough terrain slow them all down. Along the way, they get visits from last season's Tara as well as other loved ones. Rudy is the first to cross the finish line with a time of 5:12:41. Amanda follows with 5:28:27. Liz and Danny finish with 6:55:22 after having to take a break to ice their knees. While they ended up finishing, it's still probably not a good idea to just up and run a marathon.

jillianmichaels_thebiggestloser_s8_290.jpgIt's time! We're about to find out who's definitely in the finale and who will be put up to a vote. Just by looking at them, it's pretty clear who has lost the most weight in the past 60 days, but let's consult the scale for the official numbers. Coming in the lead with a whopping 59-pound loss is Danny, who has crossed the 200-pound weight loss mark. Rudy was next, with another 43 pounds. That leaves Liz and Amanda under the yellow line. They each lost 16 pounds each. They were already neck and neck before, and it looks like they're determined to stay that way. America has a tough choice ahead of them. They're practically tied going into the finale. So the important question is--- Liz or Amanda?

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Photo credit: NBC

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