Jillian says Biggest Loser’s audience vote twist is “disappointing,” not fair; Bob calls it “tricky”

After The Biggest Loser 5 airs Tuesday, viewers will be able to vote for the first time in the show’s history, determining which of the bottom two (those who fall below the yellow line) go home and who goes on to the finale. In other words, after the weigh-in, instead of letting the cast vote, viewers will vote. The winner and finalist will be “revealed in the first five minutes of the live finale on April 15,” according to NBC.

The show’s trainers, however, don’t like the twist. Jillian Michaels, who has previously criticized the show’s editing and focus, had the strongest opinion, telling reporters this afternoon that she’s “disappointed” because “The Biggest Loser’s not a popularity contest, it’s about numbers–I was disappointed.” She also said that it’s “kind of disappointing playing a game based on a set of rules that they didn’t even know, and neither did we.” She said the contestants might have “played the game differently,” “used different strategies” or “behaved differently” had they known the public would vote. “I also didn’t think it was fair; I don’t get it, personally,” she said.

Bob said that he thinks letting viewers vote is “a really tricky thing,” because we “haven’t seen everything these four contestants have gone through” and “don’t have all the information.” However, executive producer Mark Koops said that the vote “isn’t turning it into a popularity contest,” and said that in Tuesday’s episode, “we’re laying out the facts to the audience, the incredible journeys that the two people below the yellow line have been on. I think people will be able to make an informed decision.”

Koops also said that “one bad week shouldn’t necessarily determine their fate.” Of course, that’s what happens every other week on the show because of its game component.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.