Previously: Strategery! Ill-advised strategery, that is, on the part of Cassandra and Emily. They tried to turn Conda -- who clearly wasn't going to do anything to jeopardize her brother -- and Cassandra was voted off. The excuse for this week is, "I don't believe in myself." Oh NO, I fear the waterworks and trainer heart-to-hearts! Haven't we been through enough already? And then we have Fashion Star to contend with, too?
We enter post-elimination, where Sami dramatically says, "And then there were nine." In case you don't understand where exactly the drama of that statement comes from, I will remind you that this is EPISODE ELEVEN of this show and there are STILL nine contestants left. It is just endless. Sami talks about how they started as pairs, then moved to teams of strangers, and throughout it all they formed life-long bonds. She mentions the excuse of the week, "I don't believe in myself," and says that teammates can help overcome the lack of confidence implied by that excuse. If they haven't yet, though, it's too late -- the contestants are going to singles. They'll keep their trainers, but get their originally colored shirts. There will be a yellow line, and the two folks who fall below it will be up for elimination.
Back at the house, the contestants take their new shirts, and Emily cries in her interview. Some of the tears are because she misses Cassandra, but I think the bulk has to do with the fact that she and Kim, because of their failed strategery, have big targets on their backs. Kim is in agreement, and reminds us that when Cassandra was leaving she pointed out that people voted her off because she was a threat. She's still tight with Emily, but doesn't trust anyone else. And she shouldn't! The others have it out for them, no doubt. But Kim and Emily agree that they stand a fighting chance if they can stay above the yellow line. They are going to work their shit out, literally and figuratively.
We then cut to the first singles challenge, which appears to be taking place on an ice rink. Sami tells them that it's going to force them to confront this week's excuse and believe in themselves, and also will have a lot of pulling. All of the contestants will be tied to a ring in the center of the ice rink. Their goal is to hit a buzzer directly in front of where they are tied. To reach that buzzer, they'll have to pull all the other contestants too, and frankly some of those folks still weigh a lot. The first player to hit the buzzer gets first place, but there's a twist. There are a bunch of wrapped presents, and this shit is going down like a Yankee Swap! The one activity in which workplace aggression can rear its head explicitly! The person who comes in ninth will take a present and open it, then the person who comes in eighth will open another prize and either keep it or swap it with the person they beat. And so on and so forth until the person who comes in first basically gets to choose whatever he or she wants. Buddy has to sit this one out, because he has a stress fracture in his tibia and hasn't been medically cleared. He'll automatically get ninth place.