The only time I ever saw Anna Kournikova in person was in Miami at the 2006 NBA Finals and my first reaction was, "Does the woman actually eat people food?"
This was not the portrait of a former pro athlete. There was no muscle tone; she looked like a runway model who was skinnier than skinny.
When I heard that Kournikova was going to replace the now nationally famous Jillian Michaels as the "girl" trainer on NBC's mega-hit "The Biggest Loser" my reaction was that she must have taken up eating.
The show's 12th season began Tuesday night with a two-hour premiere. I just watched the first episode. The theme of this season is "Battle of the Ages." According to the show's blonde moderator, whom I know only as Sammy from "Days of Our Lives," "anything can happen."
If you are a fan of this show, and Michaels, don't expect Anna to be Jillian. Anna's voice is softer, and her Russian accent almost works against her. She does not sound like some Siberian trainer. She's not a trainer, and it shows. But she is good looking, so it's all good.
This season features three teams and three trainers, two of which are new. Bob "I Can't Make Enough Coin" Harper is back. Some dude who is ripped beyond all imagination, Dolvett Quince, is here but the only trainer most of us care about is Kournikova.
"I am so ready to share all of my knowledge with the contestants and change their lives," she says during the introduction.
Because when I think of weight loss I think of Anna Kournikova. I was under the impression she just drank coffee and smoked.
The show consists of a lot of heavy people who work out and cry a lot. Kournikova is training the "older group".
"Anna, I need a break," one contestant says as she works on an exercise machine.
"No, we're working," is Anna's response. "Push yourself. You can go faster. ... Stop saying 'sorry' Becky! The last 10 minutes we're gonna go all the way. ... No water. We're not done."
Personally, the show needs to bring back Kim Lyons. She was smart.
You may watch to look/gawk at Kournikova, but Dolvett steals this show. I wanted to put down my box of Ding Dongs and hit the gym after watching this guy push, prod and motivate his crew.
The shows pretty much remains faithful to this can't-miss formula, and it provides the "Aww" moments, but don't expect Kournikova to replace Michaels. Dolvett, however, does.