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THE CHALLENGE: RIVALS 2 Postseason Awards

Earlier this week, our (most of the time) good friends at MTV and Bunim-Murray announced that there will be (as if there was any doubt) a season 25 of The Challenge, America’s fifth major professional sport.  Before we can rejoice in potential future happenings (Duel 3?), wants (Laurel to return, justice for Sarah), and predictions (Jordan is an early favorite to win) for the next season, we must reflect on the at times masterful and compelling, at times frustrating and degrading, but always reliable and entertaining just completed season of The Challenge: Rivals 2.  Here is a thorough breakdown of superlatives and awards for the season that was:

Most successful use of little screen time: Anastasia, who was at the center of drama for her two episodes on the show that may have won her an improbable call to return

Least successful use of little screen time: Tyrie, whose one notable moment this season involved a very public bathroom experience

Person that hung around way too long for such a little contribution: Knight

Person whose stay in Thailand was way too short: Sarah

Most successful attempt to be silent: Ty

Worst attempt to be silent: Knight

People who had less screen time than Johnny’s Bobble Head: Tyrie, Dunbar, Robb, Naomi

Most welcome returns from at least a season of hiatus: Paula, Johnny, CT

Most unconventional workout: Aneesa, who ran on the deck through a burgeoning fight

A meltdown that I already forgot: Zach’s not so sportsmanlike exit

A meltdown that will be hard to forget: Camila’s out of nowhere (is there any other kind for her?) once a season blowout

The “It’s Time to Officially Retire” award: (tie) Trishelle and Tyrie

Low points of the season: Sarah’s unnecessary departure, Knight’s immaturity at the reunion

High points of the season: The “Bananas still has it” episode, Jordan’s hookup with Sarah, Diem’s courageous everything, CT and Johnny’s old vet conversation on the eve of the final

Most unexpected altercations: CT and Anastasia, Diem and Jemmye

Most expected altercations: Frank and CT, Frank and Jordan, Knight and Jemmye

The “My 2008 Self Could Never Have Seen This Coming” award: How well Wes and CT gelled, how Paula is in the conversation for all-time pantheon of Challenge competitors

The “My 2008 Self Saw This Coming” award: The Bananas and CT/Wes fight after Johnny’s challenge vomiting

The “Maybe The Outcome Will Be Different With Another Partner” award: Preston, who is so ready to distance himself from his New Orleans housemate

Best hidden camera moment: Jordan and Sarah’s closet hookup

Most competitive major award: Rookie of the Year, Jordan, Marlon, and Cooke all had incredible first campaigns (more on this in a bit)

The “Could You At Once Be On Time to the Party” award: Cara Maria, I just think it would give her better stability in those first few weeks

The “I Forgot You Were On This Season When Writing This Column” award: Dunbar

The Rivals 2 Media Guide Cover Would Feature: CT, Bananas, Paula, Emily, and Jordan

Best interview: Paula, consistently hysterical, self-effacing, and honest; Honorable Mention: Jemmye, CT, Jasmine

The “Sophomore Slump is a Real Thing” award: (tie) Zach and Nany

The “Sophomore Slump Doesn’t Exist” award: Frank

Best impression of a Marvel Super Hero: Jessica’s Princess Hulk

Worst impression of a Marvel Super Hero: Trishelle’s the Invisible Woman this season, Knight’s nondescript villain character that he always seems to play

Most in need of swimming lessons during the offseason: (tie) Marlon and Cara Maria

Best use of words:  Johnny Bananas for the epic summation/credo “All’s fair in love, war, and challenges.” Honorable Mention: Aneesa for coining “Trashelle,” all of the #teamsubtitles communication between Camila and Jemmye

Worst use of words: Diem’s rap

The “I am Glad I can Rewind Because That Was Incredible” Award: Jordan, an uber-amazing athlete who kept finding more ways to show us why

Real World season that had the best showing: (tie) Key West (Paula and Johnny) and Portland (Jordan, Marlon, Jess, and Ana)

Worst impression of Kevin Costner: Knight’s fanboy bodyguard routine during CT’s early fights

Best impression of Kevin Costner: Frank ‘s incredible swimming was straight the Mariner from Waterworld

Best conflict resolution reflexes: Emily, at the reunion and when Camila’s drunkenness exploded

Best TJ Lavin moment: His delivery of the Zach elimination disqualification news

Worst TJ Lavin moment: When he told Sarah she had to go home.  TJ, could you have at least tried to call an audible on production?

Vomiting that got the most play: (tie) Johnny’s in the final men elimination challenge before the final and the awful eating stage in the final

Best manipulation of “rivals” conceit: Johnny and Frank (A twitter war? Really?), Paula and Emily (they were thrilled to be together from the start and their performance showed this throughout)

Best player stock to buy (for future season success): Jordan





Honorable Mention: Preston, Wes, Aneesa

Preseason Prediction – Men: Trey; Women: Jemmye

Midseason Award – Men: Frank; Women: Aneesa

In a very similar fashion to last season (speaking of fashion – Preston is setting trends – whether he has any followers or not is yet to be seen), Preston had a great last day, further showing himself as ready to be as far away from Knight’s shadow in future seasons as possible.  Although some of his early season success may have been on the circumstantial end of the scale, he did make it within one elimination of the final.  Wes, who had to go into an early elimination with Lacey last fall on Battle of the Seasons (an almost guaranteed subsequent loss), managed the social game as well as he ever has and has the hardware (or money in this case) to show for it.  Frank is the ultimate winner of this award because, although he had some moments of his most volatile and uncontrollable self rearing its most ugly (but good for TV!) self, his leap as a loyal and dedicated teammate and friend was substantial.  He and Johnny were an understandable hot (Thailand temperatures were an issue all season) mess (eating durian will cause this) during parts of the final, but Frank managed to keep any cruelty and low-blowing (poor Sam had to endure quite the barrage in Turkey and Namibia) out of the mix.  His admirable passivity when faced with Knight’s premeditated violence at the live reunion is at the heart of what “most improved” is all about.  On the women side, Jemmye narrowly beats out Aneesa for the award because not only did she have to compete in challenges and in the social game, but she had to learn to communicate with a partner who spoke an entirely different language.




Honorable Mention: Marlon, Cooke

Preseason Prediction – Marlon

Midseason Award – Jordan

All three of them – Marlon, Cooke, and Jordan – had incredible rookie campaigns.  Marlon was a fighter from the first night (I am still not sure why he and CT were fighting in the pool), successfully hooked up with both guys and girls and continues to walk the walk of being himself, and had the best attempt at bringing down the tomfoolery of Knight of anyone on the cast.  His Challenge career has only yet begun.  Cooke began in the no-woman’s land of a partnership with the endearing, but less than athletic Naomi (who had to go home for honorable familial reasons), but managed to take full advantage of her second partner’s improved competitorness.  She fought through many an elimination, used her down time effectively (peeing or allowing others to pants her), and was a consummate cheerleader, motivator, and warrior in challenges.  She too is primed for a successful future career, but her first season second place finish will always stand as a major achievement.  Jordan ultimately wins the award (and was a legitimate MVP candidate) for not only dominating every challenge put before him, but for fully understanding his own strengths and weaknesses as a competitor both athletically and socially and then taking this information to adapt and evolve throughout the season as if he was the savviest of veterans.  He found a perfect balance of being a rookie, respectful and aware that he would have to pay his dues to get to the finals, while also demonstrating a willingness to stand strong against attempts (poor Theresa felt so betrayed!) to persuade him against what was in his best interest.  He was not afraid of the big guns (and at times told Bananas and CT thus), but he knew not to take too much effort to fight every battle (as the edit may have conveyed about him while in Portland).  Jordan was in control of his game and dealt with each machination of adversity head on and without fear.  Perhaps his greatest feat of the season: despite her brief stay in the Thailand house, Jordan managed to build a romantic rapport with Sarah that led to a little hot and heavy rendezvous in front of the hidden closet cameras.  As he said at the time, “Physically Sarah is beautiful, and then add her personality in there and she is an amazing catch for anyone…Sarah is the kind of girl that you marry.”  This now Rookie of the Year winner just gets it.




CT working alone

Paula and Emily

Honorable Mention: Johnny Bananas, Jordan, Wes, Cooke

Preseason Prediction – Men: Johnny Bananas (runner up: Leroy); Women: Emily (runner up: Sarah)

Midseason Award – Men: Johnny Bananas (runner up: CT); Women: Emily and Paula (tie)

Johnny Bananas summarized the men side of this award best in the final episode: “You win some and you lose some, but I hate to say it, but I think that the team that deserved to win won today.  Rivalry between me and CT aside, the guy’s put in his time.  We’ve spilled the same blood in the same mud.  It’s only appropriate for him to at some point get a win.”  CT is the rightful MVP.  As for the women, how can you choose between Paula and Emily?  Only a co-win does justice to their season of dominance, teamwork, determination, drive, and commitment.  They aligned from TJ’s initial partnership announcement and never strayed from their dedication and support of each other.  They are so much of what is so good about this fifth professional sport.



  1. CT

  2. Wes

  3. Bananas

  4. Frank

  5. Jordan

  6. Marlon

  7. Leroy

  8. Trey

  9. Ty

  10. Zach

  11. Preston

  12. Dunbar

  13. Robb

  14. Derek

  15. Tyrie

  16. Knight


  1. (tie) Paula/Emily

  2. Cooke

  3. Cara Maria

  4. Sarah

  5. Aneesa

  6. Jemmye

  7. Camila

  8. Diem

  9. Jonna

  10. Nany

  11. Jasmine

  12. Jessica

  13. Theresa

  14. Anastasia

  15. Trishelle

  16. Naomi

One final note: It has been quite a ride this season for yours truly.  Thank you for all of your feedback and the time and energy you gave to reading my usually longer than necessary pieces.  Thank you to the cast for making this journey so enjoyable and for your consistent and humbling spreading of the word.  See you all next season (and undoubtedly for some interim Challenge columns in between…)!


THE CHALLENGE: RIVALS 2 Weekly Power Rankings – Week 2

The Challenge: Rivals 2 is beginning to get her groove on.  After a disappointing challenge and a Jungle round that left something to be desired in week 1, week 2 had everything you could ask for in a Challenge episode: a CT and Frank blowout fight, a most entertaining challenge built on a “face in partner’s crotch” relay, a steamy closet hookup between Sarah and Jordan, an iconic inspirational speech from a least expected competitor, an allusion to Vanilla Ice, Cooke peeing on a swing while waiting to begin the Jungle elimination round, and a TJ Lavin guilt giving clinic that took “killing it” it to an entirely new level.  Some significant movement near the top of the forthcoming power rankings reflect the joyous insanity that was.  Before we delve deep into the numbers, there are a few points to touch on:

Welcome, mainstream media.  It was about time.

Beyond the aforementioned brilliant content of the second episode, it was a huge week for The Challenge in the world of mainstream media:

  • Johnny Bananas took over OK Magazine’s twitter account during the airing.  On a site known for fluffy and sensational celebrity coverage, Johnny’s presence alone gave the website/magazine immediate enhancement in clout.
  • Entertainment Weekly (oftentimes the barometer of what is and isn’t important in popular culture – I should know as a subscriber since 1996) finally acknowledged The Challenge not once (in a slightly condescending way, but still), but twice (in a most celebratory way!).  Staff writer Melissa Maerz detailed the “The Ten Reasons Why I’m Still Obsessed with MTV’s ‘The Challenge’” as a mostly guilty pleasure admission, but clever and complementary nonetheless.  Most importantly, The Challenge: Rivals II appeared on this week’s EW Must List (listed second in the print magazine) as one of the “ten things we love this week.”  The description – “All right, we admit it.  We’re hooked on the new season of the competition series that forces enemy ex-reality stars to pair up for comically arduous physical challenges.” – calls the competitors stars (even if technically considered “from the past”) and nails it (particularly this week) with the physical challenge description as “comically arduous.”  EW has finally seen the light.
  • The greatest The Challenge mainstream moment of the week (and will continue its substantial ripple effects for some time) was Frank Sweeney’s appearance on The Right Reasons podcast with Juliet Litman on the Grantland Popular Culture Network.  The kingdom of Bill Simmons (originally just a writer and then just a writer and podcaster) has been promoting this “Fifth Major Professional Sport” for many years, often with the able and dedicated Czar of Reality TV, Dave Jacoby, by his passionate side.  As Grantland (under the not so watchful eye of ESPN) over the last two years has grown to be the go-to site for sports and popular culture writing, podcasting, and now video casting, The Challenge has always been a celebrated topic.  With Jacoby’s Right Reasons podcast covering the reality TV week that was, Challenge season is the best time of year.  Frank’s insightful, engrossing, informative, and entertaining interview this week provided incredible behind the scenes insight into how this show works and how this season will play out.  I am still decompressing some of the intel that he provided and will, with a little more perspective, reflect on it next week.  If you are reading this (an indication that you may be a fan of The Challenge), I guarantee that the 49 minutes you spend with Frank and Juliet will be your best hour of the week before Wednesday’s next airing.

The Rise of a Rookie (on her way out)

Although Mike and Leroy had a great run before running out of gas on Rivals and Frank and Zach were season MVPs on Battle of the Seasons, I am not sure I can remember a time when I found a rookie performance on The Challenge to be more surprising and impressive than Jessica’s week 2.  Yes, she and Anastasia lost the challenge and yes she and Anastasia lost in the Jungle and are now eliminated, but Jessica managed to raise her stock and her The Challenge credibility while doing so.  Her Princess Hulk performance in the challenge in which she literally picked up Anastasia was an athletic feat of both physical and mental endurance (and one that many a viewer did not know she had in her).  More impressive, perhaps, was her rallying cry pep talk of greatness (“Yah, you got a fight.  Yah, you had a hookup, big frickin’ deal.  You think anyone else hasn’t ever had sex with somebody?  You think anyone else hasn’t ever fought anybody?  You’re damn wrong if you think they didn’t.  So frickin’ what!  At the end of the day, and I’m realizing this too, so you’re not standing alone, it’s me and you baby, and guess what?  We’re rookies.  So we gotta kick ass.”) that should be used as inspiration and mandatory viewing for any rookie team in subsequent seasons of The Challenge.  Jessica had a tough go at times in Portland, especially with Anastasia, who at one point tried to friend break up with her.  One could have assumed (as I may have) that her Challenge experience would be more of the same.  Yet, Jessica ended up showcasing her inner strength, commitment, and wisdom and gained much respect throughout the process.  Exiting on the highest of possible notes when you are eliminated in a Jungle, she is primed (a current offseason workout regimen will only help) to come back next season as a force to be reckoned with.

What are some of the effects of the surprise gender separated voting system?

Last week, we took a look at the voting system repercussions for the men’s teams.  This week, after the first women’s vote and some unexpected veteran targeting, let us explore how the women may fair:

Cooke and Cara Maria (received 4 votes) – In many ways, this was the obvious male vote choice for the first women’s Jungle elimination.  Cara Maria has made few connections (Abram and Laurel being the exceptions) on her now six Challenge seasons and from the moment TJ announced her second straight season appearance as a late game replacement, the crowd of competitors was less than excited.  Cooke is a rookie to The Challenge (and for what it’s worth this midseason Real World replacement at times struggled to find acceptance while in Las Vegas) and Challenge rookies are often asked to prove themselves in an elimination rounds early and often.  Notwithstanding, they only received four of the seven votes and at this point in the competition, this must be seen as a mini-victory.  Cooke seems to have Leroy’s loyalty and allegiance for now (he and Ty had a most random vote for Theresa and Jasmine) and with Trishelle stirring up some trouble for her Sarah partnership, the target could rest elsewhere in future votes.  One additional factor that could play a role: as their Jungle victory may prove, Cooke and Cara Maria, if they can get it together as a team, are going to be a tough out, and if one of the more powerful women teams ends up with an unexpected challenge loss, they will want to avoid a showdown with Cooke and Cara Maria if possible.  They will be in the running to be voted into the next Jungle, but it is by no means a foregone conclusion.

Sarah and Trishelle (received 2 votes) – They received two votes and with the way the momentum was going, it felt like a few more may have been left on the table (Knight’s Battle of the Seasons bond with Trishelle probably prevented him from following CT’s lead).  Derek and Robb’s vote could be seen as strictly a payback for Sarah and Trishelle’s week 1 vote, but with other viable options out there, there may be more to this message.  Sarah still has Johnny and Frank as a solid support and after some cuddling and closet time with Jordan, Jordan and Marlon seem to be aligned for a time as well.  The strength of Zach’s relationship with Trishelle is going to be particularly important for Sarah and Trishelle as a possible locked third team that will not vote against them.  Yes, it is only two votes against them, but Sarah’s concern that her partner may be a real liability is sound and needs to be dealt with immediately if she wants to have a shot to make it to the end.

Jasmine and Theresa (received 1 vote) – Leroy and Ty were not going to vote against Cooke (Real World house lines remain the strongest of bonds), but it was interesting how they chose Jasmine and Theresa.  As the power rankings may start to prove, Jasmine and Theresa do not have too many teams who will definitely not vote for them (Derek and Robb as the clear exception).  Knight and Preston seem to be the next best connection, but anytime you hedge your bets on Preston, you may want to rethink your strategy.  If the powers give Cooke and Cara Maria a Jungle reprieve during the next women elimination, Jasmine and Theresa are probably going to have to go in.

Aneesa and Diem – They are an interesting pair in the analysis of men team support.  CT and Wes are never going to vote against them, but I am not sure if there is a one other team in the competition who you could say that for.  On the other hand, with many younger and less established teams left in the competition, I can’t see many of the men voting in Diem for at least several eliminations.  They should be protected from votes for the forceable future, so they must work to stay out of the bottom on challenges.

Jemmye and Camila – Although Camila is on Johnny’s list of “women I will try not to vote for,” where she is on that list is a little bit more of a wild card.  Paula and Emily are ahead of her and I think Sarah and Trishelle probably are too.  Jemmye’s logical Knight protection is mired in a such a tumultuous relationship that it should not be counted on too seriously.  How some of the other men teams approach #teamsubtitles is a bit of a mystery.  They remain one of the most intriguing teams on this season who could, if some balls drop in their favor, make a finals trip.

Jonna and Nany – Their two Real World connection teams (Derek and Robb, Leroy and Ty) will be loyal to the end, but where the rest of their support lies is yet to be seen.  Both Nany and Jonna could have logical votes for them (Frank, Knight, a spurned ex-lover in Zach) and the better they do in the challenges (two second place finishes), the larger their target grows.  They must work to align with another male team (Jordan and Marlon?) to develop a beneficial voting relationship.

Paula and Emily – After two straight challenge wins, they haven’t been even considered yet for a vote, but as an early season outlier of success, anything short of a win in future challenges will muster some confidence in rival women teams to persuade men teams to take out the mighty frontrunner.  Johnny and Ty are not ever going to vote against Paula and Emily respectively (another huge advantage) and both of these mens teams should be around in the competition until the end.  CT and Wes must be seen as the primary mens team opponent, but without a deep bench of followers besides Knight (and he didn’t even vote with them this week), how much voting damage can they do?  It is hard to conceive of a scenario in which Paula and Emily find themselves in a Jungle, if it be through a challenge loss or a vote.

On to the rankings…

As became tradition last year during Battle of the Seasons, the individual competitor power rankings and team power rankings will be released weekly sometime shortly after each new episode airing.  Here are the individual and team rankings after week 2…


 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.”  Green = increased ranking.  Red = dropped ranking.


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

Week 2 Tweet: Part Ninja, part therapist to Frank, Johnny Bananas is just beginning to work his strategic magic, OK!?

Week 1 Tweet: The Challenge King has returned!  Early positive returns on Frank partnership. Staved off potential (wasn’t really going to happen) coup.

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria

2. Zach (2nd season, last week: 3)

Week 2 Tweet: As Zach and Trey just keep winning, the rest of the competition has to be legitimately concerned.

Week 1 Tweet: He may hate Trey, but self-congratulatory pronouncements of athletic prowess have some substance.  Statement making early challenge win.


VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria

3. Frank (2nd season, last week: 4)

Week 2 Tweet: Well, he “let him shake.”  I think, as his Grantland interview proves, Frank got his stuff together and is a near lock for the finals.

Week 1 Tweet: “Let him shake!  Let him shake!” Frank & Johnny is lethal pair.  Combining these two consummate strategy elites = bad news for competition.

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria

4. Trey (2nd season, last week: 8, biggest rise [tie])

Week 2 Tweet: Another challenge win means Trey takes the largest jump of the week in the rankings.  He and Zach seem unstoppable.

Week 1 Tweet: Huge first week for Trey.  Challenge win and gained some respect to his much larger (in size, close in athletic ego) partner.


VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria

5. CT (9th season, last week: 2)

Week 2 Tweet: Too much shaking in Week 2 brought his ranking down.  The Wes quit and ensuing penalty in the next challenge won’t help.

Week 1 Tweet: “Lady Heart Killer/Mess with me at your own peril” version of CT unleashed.  Early victims: Ana, Marlon, Diem, Wes’s strategic game

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle

6. Leroy (3rd season, last week: 6)

Week 2 Tweet: Leroy is staying under the edit’s radar thus far.  I love his random vote for Theresa and Jasmine.  The best of his game is yet to come.

Week 1 Tweet: As @Jacoby_ coined, Leroy is the “CT Whisperer.”  His strong relationships with women are going to be essential to voting success.

VOTES FOR: Theresa and Jasmine

7. Jordan (Rookie season, last week: 11, biggest rise [tie])

Week 2 Tweet: Jordan’s sensational weightlifting and Sarah hookup tie him with Trey for biggest rise in the rankings.  Fulfilling his Challenge destiny.

Week 1 Tweet: Underrated moment of Week 1: Jordan jumping in the pool and going to Marlon’s defense.  Rivals? No longer.  Great convo w/Johnny in edit.

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Cooke/Naomi, Jasmine/Theresa)

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria

8. Marlon (Rookie season, last week: 10)

Week 2 Tweet: As his partner’s social game improves, so do his ultimate chances.  Another altercation next week is not a good thing, though.

Week 1 Tweet: Week 1 fight with CT risky business, but earned him some cred.  Did not lose any votes.  No elimination round week 1 is a good sign.

VOTES AGAINST: 2 (Cooke/Naomi, Jasmine/Theresa)

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria

9. Ty (4th season, last week: 7)

Week 2 Tweet: There is some dispute as to whether he is actually still on the show.

Week 1 Tweet: Not much play from Ty in Week 1, but any night that ends w/o blowup or upheaval = good night.  Has maybe the most reliable partner in Leroy.

VOTES FOR: Theresa and Jasmine

10. Wes (8th season, last week: 5, largest drop)

Week 2 Tweet: He quit the challenge and accrued a penalty next week.  He seems to be losing whatever grip he had.

Week 1 Tweet: Wes just trying to ride out this early CT monster storm.  He must utilize Leroy as the “CT Whisperer” or he will find his team on an island.

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle

11. Knight (2nd season, last week: 9)

Week 2 Tweet: The Official CT bodyguard duty has taken away from gameplay.  Preston baggage has only gotten worse.

Week 1 Tweet: Got somewhat expected vote against him (Nany), but avoided elimination round – first week success.  Must keep Preston confidence rising.

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Nany/Jonna)

VOTES FOR: Cooke and Cara Maria

12. Derek (3rd season, last week: 12)

Week 2 Tweet: Love his retribution vote for Sarah and Trishelle.  Must work the social game this week to stay out of Jungle.

Week 1 Tweet: Despite big win in elimination (albeit against Tyrie’s team), must sure up women relationships.  He and Robb have few connections coming in.

VOTES AGAINST: 5 (Emily/Paula, Ana/Jess, Camila/Jemmye, Sarah/Trishelle, Diem/Aneesa)

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle

JUNGLE: Beat Tyrie and Dunbar Week 1

13. Robb (2nd season, last week: 13)

Week 2 Tweet: Apparently, Robb makes an impressive grilled cheese.  Could his culinary contribution keep him out the Jungle?

Week 1 Tweet: Besides maybe Trey, does not have many friends in Phuket and must make them fast.  Landslide vote into elimination may not change next time.

VOTES AGAINST: 5 (Emily/Paula, Ana/Jess, Camila/Jemmye, Sarah/Trishelle, Diem/Aneesa)

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle

JUNGLE: Beat Tyrie and Dunbar Week 1

14. Preston (2nd season, last week: 14)

Week 2 Tweet: Why come on the show?  His head is nowhere near the game and costly DQ will cost his team next week.

Week 1 Tweet: Preston gained some confidence in challenge.  Very interesting attire throughout.  Must work the women’s room and gain some allies.

VOTES AGAINST: 1 (Nany/Jonna)

VOTES FOR: Sarah and Trishelle


15. Dunbar (6 season, last week: 6)

Week 1 Tweet: Dunbar knew he was screwed and unfortunately for him, he was right.  Early exit a byproduct of unfortunate partnership.


JUNGLE: Lost to Derek and Robb Week 1

16. Tyrie (6th season, last week: 15)

Week 1 Tweet: Oops.  Tough times on The Challenge for Tyrie.  I feel badly for the guy.  As predicted, lost first challenge.  Lost first elimination.


JUNGLE: Lost to Derek and Robb Week 1



1. Paula (10th season, last week: 1)

Week 2 Tweet: As she builds a little challenge win streak, further distances herself from the competition.

Week 1 Tweet: Challenge win with Emily made statement about being the strongest women’s team.  The target is there, but few men will vote against them.

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb


2. Emily (3rd season, last week: 2)

Week 2: Keeps getting better each week.  She and Paula appear unstoppable.

Week 1 Tweet: Emily strutted her stuff in first challenge.  1 of 2 members of the women’s team to beat and definitively the most feared female competitor.

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb


3. Sarah (7th season, last week: 3)

Week 2 Tweet: I love everything about her Jordan hookup.  She must get Trishelle back on board or the “unlucky partner” trend will continue.

Week 1 Tweet: Sarah’s body language and astonishment every time T.J. revealed new game surprise was worth the price of admission.

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

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb

4. Nany (2nd season, last week: 4)

Week 2 Tweet: Another strong showing in the challenge despite rocky start.  Mostly below the radar thus far.

Week 1 Tweet: Not unexpected strong showing in the first challenge.  Will surprise a lot of people this season. Love that she voted for Knight.

VOTED FOR: Knight and Preston

5. Jonna (3rd season, last week: 5)

Week 2 Tweet: After second straight second place finish, starting to establish rhythm with Nany.  Must continue to build on this.

Week 1 Tweet: Jonna seems to work better with women, as shown in strong first challenge.  Must be careful of ties to Derek’s likely sinking ship.

VOTED FOR: Knight and Preston

6. Jemmye (2nd season, last week: 8)

Week 2 Tweet: Sound-byte queen frontrunner (taking Devyn’s place), she and Camila are most entertaining.  Still the team to watch.

Week 1 Tweet: Double fisting wine aside, Jemmye’s sophomore campaign has only just begun.  Her athleticism is going to come out soon in a challenge.

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb

7. Camila (5th season, last week: 6)

Week 2 Tweet: Her storm has yet to come.  Must continue to build on relationships and Jemmye partnership before her inevitable eruption.

Week 1 Tweet: Uneventful first week for Camila not a bad thing.  After embarrassing BoS experience, she and Jemmye remain a team to watch.

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb

8. Aneesa (9th season, last week: 9)

Week 2 Tweet: Underrated strong two weeks so far.  Her physical powers seem to be at an all-time high.

Week 1 Tweet: Forgot how much Aneesa has been to a few of these rodeos before and gets it – great awareness of Diem’s CT issues affecting her team.

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb

9. Diem (7th season, last week: 10)

Week 2 Tweet: CT entanglement is still a concern.  I think she has an ideal partner (wiser, seasoned) for this Challenge.

Week 1 Tweet: Any CT entanglements are not good for her game.  He and Wes only carry one vote.  Worried that things are going to go bad very quickly.

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb

10. Trishelle (4th season, last week: 7, largest drop)

Week 2 Tweet: Not sure if her head and heart are in the game.  Stirred up some trouble and got votes back in reaction.  Not a good sign.

Week 1 Tweet: Mostly stayed in the background in Week 1.  With new voting format, must ride Sarah’s men ties.  Relationship with Knight could be key.

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

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb

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

Week 2 Tweet: Contending with Jemmye for best sound byte crown.  Had a great showing in the challenge.

Week 1 Tweet: Concerned about overall support from guy teams.  Must keep out of bottom in elimination – she and Theresa could be physically overmatched.


VOTED FOR: Marlon and Jordan

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

Week 2 Tweet: Her narration and participation in the “Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!” mission was a highlight of the week.

Week 1 Tweet: Had the longest hiatus between challenges, could affect her connections to the men who decide her vote. Must avoid bottom next challenge.


VOTED FOR: Marlon and Jordan

13. Cooke (Rookie season, last week: 11)

Week 2 Tweet: Cara Maria is best partner for her to go to war with in physical challenges, just not social game.

Week 1 Tweet: Naomi’s exit was real – reasons for it, tragic.  In Challenge world, Cooke is big beneficiary of a new partner, whomever it is.

VOTES AGAINST: 4 (Zach/Trey, Johnny/Frank, Knight/Preston, Jordan/Marlon)

VOTED FOR: Marlon and Jordan

JUNGLE: Beat Jessica and Anastasia Week 2

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

Week 2 Tweet: Cara Maria lack of warm welcome will weekly hill to climb.  After a few more elimination wins, teams may start to fear her?

VOTES AGAINST: 4 (Zach/Trey, Johnny/Frank, Knight/Preston, Jordan/Marlon)

VOTED FOR: Marlon and Jordan

JUNGLE: Beat Jessica and Anastasia Week 2


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

Week 2 Tweet: Princess Hulk was the star of week 2.  Sorry to see her go.

Week 1 Tweet: Loved her week 1!  Must stay close to Marlon throughout.  Not afraid to mingle w/ CT – great straight talk on Bird going down wrong CT path.

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb


JUNGLE: Lost to Cooke and Cara Maria Week 2


16. Naomi (2nd season, 0 finals, 0 wins – last appearance: Battle of the Exes 22)

Week 1 Tweet: My heart goes out to Naomi and her family.  I am glad she was able to have a positive reconciliation with Cooke.  All the best.


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

Week 2 Tweet: If Jessica was the star of week 2 for all the right reasons, Ana was the star for all the wrong ones.  Tough exit from the show.

Week 1 Tweet: Has no idea what she is getting herself into with CT.  Tough route to take in long-term game planning.  Can she recover?

VOTED FOR: Derek and Robb


JUNGLE: Lost to Cooke and Cara Maria Week 2



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. Green = increased ranking.  Red = dropped ranking.

  1. Paula and Emily – Team Average: 1.5, last week: 2
  2. Johnny and Frank – Team Average: 2, last week: 2.5
  3. Zach and Trey – Team Average: 3, last week: 5.5
  4. Nany and Jonna – Team Average: 4.5, last week: 4.5
  5. Sarah and Trishelle – Team Average: 6.5, last week: 5
  6. Camila and Jemmye – Team Average: 6.5, last week: 7
  7. CT and Wes – Team Average: 7.5, last week: 3.5
  8. Ty and Leroy – Team Average: 7.5, last week: 6.5
  9. Marlon and Jordan – Team Average: 7.5, last week: 10.5
  10. Diem and Aneesa – Team Average: 8.5, last week: 9.5
  11. Jasmine and Theresa – Team Average: 11.5, last week: 12.5
  12. Knight and Preston – Team Average: 12.5, last week: 11.5
  13. Derek and Robb – Team Average: 12.5, last week: 12.5
  14. Cooke and Cara Maria – Team Average: 13.5, last week: 11
  15. ELIMINATED 2nd: Anastasia and Jessica – Team Average: 15, last week: 14.5
  16. ELIMINATED 1st: Dunbar and Tyrie – Team Average: 15.5



Next week is a men’s elimination week, but the challenge will feature a penalty for both CT and Wes and Knight and Preston.  As always, it shall be most interesting.  If you haven’t, listen to Frank’s podcast.  It will blow your mind.  Until…


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.