Ruben Studdard went home (again) on The Biggest Loser. And somewhere, The Biggest Loser producers are sobbing in a corner.
As the NBC reality show's first-ever celebrity contestant, Ruben (a former American Idol winner) has helped to significantly boost ratings in the 15th season, and insiders tell E! News that producers are hoping to bring on more celebrities for the coming seasons.
But it's not easy. While other celebrities have expressed interest in the show in the past, according to sources, the grueling demands of production have turned all but Ruben away.
"It's a tricky thing," host Allison Sweeney tells E! News, "because of what we do and how hard it is. A person has to want to be there, and they have to want to be willing to open themselves up in that way, and maybe not all celebrities feel that way."
Despite getting kicked off twice (the first time he was brought back after Jillian Michaels' controversial use of caffeine pills), Ruben was a dream contestant, working hard to beat the scale. He started off the competition at 462 pounds, dropped 70 on the show, and has lost at least another 30 since going home.
"Ruben was a huge success for us," Sweeney explains. "I mean for him, he didn't even look at it like he was a celebrity, and he would be like, ‘I'm still the guy who wants to be on campus and change my life.' He fit right in with the group, he was willing to do the work to make the changes that he needed for his life. It's hard and it's scary and emotional and he committed himself to the process, and I couldn't say enough about this along the way, what a good man he is."
Sweeney jokes that she wishes they could clone Ruben, saying, "We need to have a Ruben every season!" Maybe they'll let him come back? It happened once before...
Ruben kept up his good attitude til the bitter end, saying on his last episode, "When you see me on the finale, trust me, I'm going to be the baddest, finest, freshest person in the theater. Believe that."
Preach, Velvet Teddy Bear. Preach.
Sweeney teases "lots of amazing emotional achievements" coming up on the rest of the 15th season of The Biggest Loser, and gives us this advice for surviving the holiday season without too much bulge:
"It's about being realistic. Look at the small things you can do that make a very big difference, but still are very manageable. Instead of only eating rice cakes for six weeks or whatever, why don't you have a look at your kitchen and start by adding things that are good for you. Add a bowl of blueberries to your countertop, and see if you don't eat those first, just have them ready to snack, and see if that doesn't satisfy the craving. Your first line of defense is giving yourself healthy options."
Would you like to see more celebs on TBL? Are you sorry to see Ruben go?