The series made household names out of Michelle Bridges, Shannan Ponton, Ajay Rochester, Tiffiny Hall, “Commando” Steve Willis and offered former swim star Hayley Lewis a second chance at fame.
Controversy dogged the show from the outset. Suspicious weight loss methods; claims of emotional manipulation by coaches; obscene amounts of weight lost between “weekly” weigh-ins; contestants taking to forums after their season to complain about their treatment on the show; contestants putting large amounts of weight back on once the show finished… while the local variant certainly made a dint in the first few seasons it was unable to maintain broader interest in anything other than the finale.
Including the US trainers at the start offered a great launchpad for the Australian version though it really settled in when local trainers were introduced. It used to be quite the competitive series from a ratings perspective though the last three seasons have been so poor it’s been a surprise each subsequent year to hear it would be returning (even in the altered formats offered).
Having Loser compete with the other big reality formats at the start of the year – My Kitchen Rules now at the height of its success and The Block which seems to be resurgent with fans – only shone a light as to how different the format was (and how tired it looked by comparison). It played on the audience’s love of the schadenfreude offered as the trainers continued to berate and seemingly bully the contestants – a stark contrast to many other formats on offer. Except maybe modelling franchises.
Craig’s win for this ninth and final season of $75,000 means he’s scored the lowest payday in LoserAU history. The highest came in S05 when Lisa Hose won $370,000 after she won wearing the “double bracelet”). Ararat, where this final series was based as Australia’s fattest town, scored $145,000 from efforts by the contestants during the competition though it doesn’t seem like much of the incentive offered in previous years.f
Congratulations Craig and the other competitors in your efforts and the changes you’ve made to your lifestyle. From the press release:
Gentle giant Craig Booby was tonight crowned the winner of The Biggest Loser: Challenge Australia, having lost almost half of his starting body weight.
Craig was the heaviest male contestant at the beginning of this year’s competition, weighing in at 183.4 kilograms. A victorious Craig left the competition having shed 79.8 kilograms, or 43.5% of his starting weight, with a final weight of 103.6 kilograms.
“It’s a very surreal feeling,” Craig, 34, said tonight.
“When I first auditioned for The Biggest Loser: Challenge Australia I didn’t think about making the finale. I just knew I had one chance to make the most of this opportunity and win or lose I was going to give 100% to be able to hold my head high and have no regrets. Winning is an amazing reward for the hard work I have put in and I have also proved my doubters wrong.”
Trainer Commando Steve, who coached Craig to victory, said: “He was the very definition of hard work and from the moment he entered The Biggest Loser house, he gave it his all. I constantly encouraged him to strive for more and dig deeper to be the best possible version of himself – and he delivered.”
Craig not only takes home the $75,000 cash prize for winning The Biggest Loser: Challenge Australia but is also rich in the belief that anything is possible.
He returns to Ararat with a new level of confidence which he believes will allow him to fulfil his ultimate dream: finding that someone special, settling down and starting a family.
“The Biggest Loser has taught me that if you want something badly enough and are willing to put in the work, push through the pain and get your priorities right, dreams really can become reality,” Craig said.
Eleven weeks ago, the residents of the small town of Ararat in regional Victoria started a journey to tackle obesity across their entire community and were set the huge challenge of losing 26,000 kilograms.
The town smashed its target, collectively losing more than 40,000 kilograms. Thanks to the efforts of their Ararat town champions – the contestants in The Biggest Loser house – a huge $145,000 has been raised, which will help fund a healthy living legacy for their home town.
FINAL 4 CONTESTANT WEIGH-IN RESULTS
Craig: Starting 183.4kg; Finishing 103.6kg; Total loss 79.8kg; % loss 43.51.
Sharon: Starting 109.8kg; Finishing 69.6kg; Total loss 40.2kg; % loss 36.61.
Toni: Starting 124.2kg; Finishing 76.5kg; Total loss 47.7kg; % loss 38.41.
Katrina: Starting 131.1kg; Finishing 87.3kg; Total loss 43.8kg; % loss 33.41.
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