THE CHALLENGE: RIVALS 2 Weekly Power Rankings – Week 8

Roxy Striar Not to destroy the obvious mystique that must consume the thoughts of my readers about the intricate processes and rituals that go into my weekly power rankings determination, I literally open up the notes app on my iPhone (often on the way to work) on the weekend after the weekly Rivals 2 airing and change the order of some names.  Yes, I would love the deliberation to be more of a series of calculations based upon statistical analysis, but often the most reliable source is something called my “gut.”   This week’s power rankings determination deliberation had the honor and the privilege of not only being a collaborative mission, but the collaborator was as close to a real insider and Challenge commentator as exists.  Miss Roxy Striar, the beautiful and insightful Afterbuzz TV co-host (also, in full disclosure, a most loyal friend of yours truly), lent her unique, passionate, and credible opinions to help determine this week’s rankings.  There were some lines I would not cross (until they lose in the finals, it is hard to see a reason that Johnny Bananas and Paula could lose their top spots in their respective gender rankings), but Roxy’s influence was most felt on these proceedings.

Without further procrastination…Here are the individual and team rankings after week 8 (down to the final 8 for each gender)…

RIVALS 2 INDIVIDUAL POWER RANKINGS

 NOTE: the rankings will again be based on my un Zach Lowe-like analysis/sabermetrics method known as “My subjective experience and observations watching all 24 seasons of the show.”  Weight will be given to how well teams and individuals do on competitions, on strategy and in the social game, and whether he or she is a “good competitor.” 

 THE MEN

1. Johnny Bananas (9th season, last week: 1)

CHALLENGE WINS: 2

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Cooke/Cara Maria)

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria, Cooke and Cara Maria, Cooke and Cara Maria, Nany and Jonna

2. CT (9th season, last week: 2)

CHALLENGE WINS: 2 (although one was handed to them)

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle, Cooke and Cara Maria, Theresa and Jasmine, Nany and Jonna

3. Jordan (Rookie season, last week: 3)

CHALLENGE WINS: 1

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Cooke/Naomi/Cara Maria), 1 (Jasmine/Theresa), 1 (Nany/Jonna), 1 (Jemmye/Camila), 1 (Paula/Emily), 1 (Diem/Aneesa)

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria, Cooke and Cara Maria, Theresa and Jasmine, Emily and Paula

JUNGLE: Beat Leroy and Ty in Week 7

4. Frank (2nd season, last week: 4)

CHALLENGE WINS: 2

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Cooke/Cara Maria)

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria, Cooke and Cara Maria, Cooke and Cara Maria, Nany and Jonna

5. Wes (8th season, last week: 5)

CHALLENGE WINS: 2 (although one was handed to them)

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle, Cooke and Cara Maria, Theresa and Jasmine, Nany and Jonna

6. Marlon (Rookie season, last week: 6)

CHALLENGE WINS: 1

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Cooke/Naomi/Cara Maria), 1 (Jasmine/Theresa), 2 (Nany/Jonna), 2 (Jemmye/Camila), 1 (Diem/Aneesa), 1 (Paula/Emily)

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria, Cooke and Cara Maria, Theresa and Jasmine, Emily and Paula

JUNGLE: Beat Leroy and Ty in Week 7

7. Knight (2nd season, last week: 7)

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Nany/Jonna), 1 (Paula/Emily), 1 (Cooke/Cara Maria)

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle, Cooke and Cara Maria, Jonna and Nany, Jonna and Nany

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 3 (DQ)

JUNGLE: Beat Derek and Robb Week 3

8. Preston (2nd season, last week: 8)

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Nany/Jonna), 1 (Paula/Emily), 1 (Cooke/Cara Maria)

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle, Cooke and Cara Maria, Jonna and Nany, Jonna and Nany

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 3 (DQ)

JUNGLE: Beat Derek and Robb Week 3

Although our final decision meant no changes this week for the men, Roxy and I really struggled to determine the order.  Knight and Preston, almost assuredly going home this week, are locks for spots 7 and 8 (although one could argue the Leroy eliminated should be ranked ahead of either of these NOLA roommates).  After Marlon gassed out and eventually stepped down from completing this week’s swim-off challenge, he was appropriately placed last week at no. 6.  The top five spots, when considering who has the most power, could go one of 120 ways (this is the actual number of permutations and a somewhat appropriate exaggeration).  Johnny struggled the most on his swim, but as the teams are currently constituted, it is hard to see any scenario (besides losing the challenge) where Johnny gets voted in the final Jungle (this is power!).  Without Johnny as a teammate, would Frank be in the same position?  Probably not (there is no love loss between Frank and Jemmye and Camila), even though his swimming performance may have been the most impressive among the guys  Wes and CT have been gelling beautifully (and just at the right time), but I still think they are one step behind Johnny and Frank (a small step albeit) in the voting minds of the women teams that determine their fate.  Jordan, a leading candidate for the most feared individual athlete not named Emily left in this game, is facing a next challenge where, because of Marlon’s forced DQ, may have to face a potentially damaging penalty.  If my Zapruder Analysis a few weeks ago was indeed accurate, the conversation will soon shift in the rankings from the power needed to reach the finals to who has the best chance to win the finals.  The three team candidates could be as evenly matched as any final group in The Challenge history.  We just have to get through the ceremonial elimination of Knight and Preston first.

ELIMINATED

9. Leroy (3rd season, last week: 7)

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Theresa/Jasmine), 1 (Nany/Jonna), 1 (Diem/Aneesa)

VOTES FOR: Theresa and Jasmine, Nany and Jonna, Aneesa and Diem

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 7

JUNGLE: Beat Zach and Trey (DQ) in Week 5, Lost to Jordan and Marlon in Week 7

10. Ty (4th season, last week: 8)

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Theresa/Jasmine), 1 (Nany/Jonna), 1 (Diem/Aneesa)

VOTES FOR: Theresa and Jasmine, Nany and Jonna, Aneesa and Diem

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 7

JUNGLE: Beat Zach and Trey (DQ) in Week 5, Lost to Jordan and Marlon in Week 7

11. Trey (2nd season, last week: 11)

12. Zach (2nd season, last week: 12)

CHALLENGE WINS: 2

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 5

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria, Cooke and Cara Maria

JUNGLE: DQ against Leroy and Ty

13. Derek (3rd season, last week: 13)

14. Robb (2nd season, last week: 14)

VOTES AGAINST: 8 (Emily/Paula [2], Ana/Jess, Camila/Jemmye [2], Sarah/Trishelle, Diem/Aneesa [2])

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle

JUNGLE: Beat Tyrie and Dunbar Week 1, Lost to Knight and Preston Week 3

15. Dunbar (6 season, last week: 15)

16. Tyrie (6th season, last week: 16)

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 1

JUNGLE: Lost to Derek and Robb Week 1

THE WOMEN

1. Paula (10th season, last week: 1)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb, Derek and Robb, Knight and Preston, Jordan and Marlon

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Jordan/Marlon)

CHALLENGE WINS: 5

2. Emily (3rd season, last week: 2)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb, Derek and Robb, Knight and Preston, Jordan and Marlon

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Jordan/Marlon)

CHALLENGE WINS: 5

3. Diem (7th season, last week: 4)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb, Derek and Robb, Leroy and Ty, Jordan and Marlon

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Leroy/Ty)

CHALLENGE WINS: 1

4. Cooke (Rookie season, last week: 7)

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Zach/Trey), 3 (Johnny/Frank), 2 (Knight/Preston), 2 (Jordan/Marlon), 1 (CT/Wes)

VOTED FOR: Marlon and Jordan, Marlon and Jordan, Johnny and Frank, Knight and Preston

JUNGLE: Beat Jessica and Anastasia Week 2, Beat Nany and Jonna in Week 8

5. Jemmye (2nd season, last week: 5)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb, Derek and Robb, Jordan and Marlon, Jordan and Marlon

CHALLENGE WINS: 1

JUNGLE: Beat Theresa and Jasmine in Week 6

6. Aneesa (9th season, last week: 3)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb, Derek and Robb, Leroy and Ty

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Leroy/Ty)

CHALLENGE WINS: 1

7. Camila (5th season, last week: 6)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb, Derek and Robb, Jordan and Marlon, Jordan and Marlon

CHALLENGE WINS: 1

JUNGLE: Beat Theresa and Jasmine in Week 6

8. Cara Maria (6th season, last week: 8)

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Zach/Trey), 3 (Johnny/Frank), 2 (Knight/Preston), 2 (Jordan/Marlon), 1 (CT/Wes)

VOTED FOR: Marlon and Jordan, Marlon and Jordan, Johnny and Frank, Knight and Preston

JUNGLE: Beat Jessica and Anastasia Week 2, Beat Nany and Jonna in Week 8

Roxy’s keen insight challenged some of my previous held beliefs and thus was a serious determinant in some major changes in the women bracket this week.  With Paula’s outstanding swimming performance, Emily’s previous track record, and Cara Maria’s panic attack and hot mess of a performance in the challenge (the reason she and Cooke had to fight for their lives in the Jungle), numbers 1, 2, and 8 remained the same this week, but other changes had to be made.  Yes, Camila should be commended for winning the challenge (and highlighting her competitor skill set, particularly on the open ocean), but her early episode sanity explosion of an extracurricular nighttime activity could not be left without a dip in the rankings.  The possibility of a repeat performance of such a fiasco while participating in a final remains a real possibility.  Jemmye’s role in the whole fiasco did not do her any favors, but Cooke’s ability to excel and overcome her teammate’s contender for season’s worst performance in a challenge not by Tyrie or Preston was the determining factor for Jemmye remaining at no. 5 and Cooke rising three spots.  No one wants to face Cooke in a finals in the same way that no one wants to face Emily in a finals.  Now that she has made it this far, her long rise to the top few spots in the rankings has finally reached a deserved high point.  Through some of Roxy’s impressions, I was swayed to move Aneesa down a few spots and to move Diem up to no. 3.  Roxy argued that Diem is really calling the strategic shots (whether Aneesa likes it or not) and is carrying Aneesa in challenges.  If my prediction of a week 10 elimination is proved to be true, it will be Aneesa’s performance that leads them out of one of three finals spots.

UNFAIRLY SENT HOME

9. Sarah (7th season, last week: 13)

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Derek/Robb, CT/Wes)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb

FACT: Sarah continues to climb in the power rankings and has not been on the show in over a month.

ELIMINATED

10. Nany (2nd season, last week: 7)

11. Jonna (3rd season, last week: 8)

VOTED FOR: Knight and Preston, Marlon and Jordan, Leroy and Ty, Jordan and Marlon

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Leroy/Ty), 2 (Knight/Preston), 1 (Johnny/Frank), 1 (CT/Wes)

JUNGLE: Lost to Cooke and Cara Maria in Week 8

12. Jasmine (4th season, last week: 7)

13. Theresa (4th season, last week: 8)

CHALLENGE WINS: 1 (although it was handed to them)

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Leroy/Ty), 1 (Jordan/Marlon), 1 (CT/Wes)

VOTED FOR: Marlon and Jordan, Leroy and Ty, Leroy and Ty

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 4 DQ

JUNGLE: Lost to Jemmye and Camila in Week 6

14. Jessica (Rookie season, last week: 14)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 2

JUNGLE: Lost to Cooke and Cara Maria Week 2

LEFT THE SHOW

15. Naomi (2nd season, last week: 15)

ELIMINATED

16. Anastasia (Rookie season, last week: 16)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb

CHALLENGE LOSS: Week 2

JUNGLE: Lost to Cooke and Cara Maria Week 2

QUIT

17. Trishelle (4th season, last week: 17)

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Derek/Robb, CT/Wes)

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb

RIVALS 2 TEAM RANKINGS

Note: Team rankings are compiled by averaging the two individual rankings.  Teams with the lowest total average rankings are ranked better than the highest (i.e. you want as few points as possible).  First tiebreaker goes to number of total past wins.  Second tiebreaker goes to years of experience.

1. Paula and Emily – Team Average: 1.5, last week: 1.5

2. Johnny and Frank – Team Average: 2.5, last week: 2.5

3. CT and Wes – Team Average: 3.5, last week: 3.5

4. Marlon and Jordan – Team Average: 4.5, last week: 4.5

5. Diem and Aneesa – Team Average: 4.5, last week: 3.5

6. Camila and Jemmye – Team Average: 6, last week: 5.5

7. Cooke and Cara Maria – Team Average: 6, last week: 7.5

8. Knight and Preston – Team Average: 7.5, last week: 7.5

NO LONGER WITH US…

9. ELIMINATED: Ty and Leroy – Team Average: 9.5, last week: 7.5

10. ELIMINATED: Nany and Jonna – Team Average: 10.5, last week: 9.5

11. ELIMINATED: Zach and Trey – Team Average: 11.5, last week: 7.5

12. ELIMINATED: Sarah and Trishelle – Team Average: 13, last week: 15

13. ELIMINATED: Jasmine and Theresa – Team Average: 12.5, last week: 7.5

14. ELIMINATED: Derek and Robb – Team Average: 13.5, last week: 12.5

15. ELIMINATED: Anastasia and Jessica – Team Average: 15, last week: 14.5

16. ELIMINATED: Dunbar and Tyrie – Team Average: 15.5

LEFT THE SHOW: Naomi

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about MTV’s “The Challenge,” pop culture, and the NBA for Bishop and Company. His “The Challenge: Rivals 2″ power rankings will post weekly starting on July 10.

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