Every season on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” seems to out-do the season before. The hit reality show returned for its ninth season last night, and as you might suspect, the contestants were larger than last season. So much so, that trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels agreed that they were intimidated by the fact that they had to whip this bunch into shape, literally.

The theme this season is families, and this time as each pair of contestants were notified that they were selected to be on the show, they also had to have their initial weigh in in public, in front of their families, friends, and entire towns. Yikes.

The biggest pair were twin brothers James and John, weighing in at 485 and 484 total almost half a ton. The biggest individual was Michael, from Chicago, who was selected with his mom, Maria. Michael weighed in at a svelte 526 pounds, the largest contestant on the show to date and naturally a tremendous challenge for himself and the trainers.

After the teams arrived at the Biggest Loser ranch, they were presented with their first challenge by host Alison Sweeney, which was to get on stationery bikes and pedal the equivalent of a marathon, 26.2 miles. Biking that distance might be akin to running or jogging 5 miles or so, something this group has probably not done in years, if ever. Anyway, the first nine teams (out of 11) to finish would get to stay, and the last two teams would be going home…already. The winner of the race would have immunity at this week’s weigh in.

As they were pedaling, I kept thinking that I hoped the two large brothers, and Michael, would not be sent home so soon. Well, the blue team’s Cherita was having bad stomach cramps and needed assistance from Dr. Huizenga, and could not continue. Her daughter finished, but the blue team, well as the yellow team of O’Neal and Sunshine, finished last. The green team of Migdalia and Miggy won the immunity.

So the two teams that lost had to hop back in the limos that brought them to the ranch, but as they began to drive away Bob and Jillian stopped the cars. They wouldn’ be staying, but they would be going home for 30 days, and then the team which lost the highest percentage of weight during that time would get to come back to the ranch.

The first morning on the ranch, Bob and Jillian turned on the fire alarm to wake everyone up and get them into the gym, where they proceeded to push the crap out of the contestants. Jillian managed to take mild-mannered Cheryl from the orange team, and bring out her inner “badass.” After the last chance workout, it was time for the weigh in.

The green team, with immunity, went first and Migdalia lost 16 pounds while Miggy lost 13, giving them 29 pounds of weight loss. Not bad at all. Then the Gray team of Sam and Koli (who, by the way, are of the same descent as Filipe and Sione, and are also cousins!) lost 18 and 29 pounds for a total of 47. Orange was next, and Cheryl lost 14 while her son Daris lost 29 for a total of 43. Daris is a cross betwen Matt Hoover from Season 2 and Justin Guarini.

The brown team of Andrea and Darrell was next and lost 14 and 30 pounds, respectively, for 44 total pounds lost. Then the brown team of James and John, and not surprisingly, they lost the exact same amount, 23 pounds each. But based on their total weight, it was a low percentage. Uh-oh. Next was the red (hillbilly) team of Melissa and Lance, who lost 19 and 21 pounds for 40 total. Mrs. Mike and I have already tabbed Melissa as the most annoying contestant this season.

Then the purple team of Patti and daughter Stephanie, and they lost 23 and 18 pounds for 41 total. Patti’s 23 pounds was the most in a single week by any female on the show, ever. Next was the pink team of Ashley and Sherry, who, with their blonde hair and pink shirts reminded us of Helen and Shannon from a few seasons back. Anyway, they lost 21 and 17 pounds for 38 total. Finally, it was Michael and Maria. Maria went first and lost 13, so Michael was told he had to have lost 25 pounds to stay on the ranch. He crushed it, losing a whopping 34 pounds, and then joking, “Are my abs showing?” Ha! So they were staying, which meant James and John had to face the prospect that one of them would be voted off the ranch.

That sucks, because those two guys both needed to be there. But that’s how they play this game. So how do you vote in this case? Well, James has a bad knee and is limited as to what he can do with workouts. John has a family and a job he would have to return to if he went home, while James was not working and could devote entire days to the gym as well as a pool at his home. After one vote for John, the next five votes went to send James home, and that’s what happened.

They showed James at home and he had lost an astounding 100 pounds in just two months. Good for him! I wonder if John was able to mirror James’ weight loss on the ranch.

So here we go folks, Season 9 is already underway, and it once again promises to be a good one. Thanks for reading and see you all next week!