Like a kid in the candy store, I’m ecstatic The Challenge Invasion of the Champions is being unleashed on MTV to bask in all of it’s glory. With 8 former Challenge champions and 18 Challenge underdogs, the drama is going to be through the roof! Here we go!
The camera pans in on local shots of the beautiful country of Thailand. Season 29 of The Challenge takes place in Krabi, Thailand. We get our first look at the challengers boarding a fisherman’s boat to their destination.
Our first cast member that we meet is Cory. Cory, from The Real World: Explosion, competed on two prior challenges. We then meet Ashley, another cast member from The Real World: Explosion and a fierce competitor looking to prove herself. Speaking of challengers looking to prove themselves, we are introduced to Jenna. This is Jenna’s fourth challenge and is in good company with her other Real World: Explosion cast members. Jenna is a nanny and has not improved her life since the last challenge. The producers treat us to another brilliant gem of her intelligence. She inaccurately describes where Thailand is on a map allowing the producers place the moon next to her finger. My belief that Jenna is like the saying “always a bridesmaid, never the bridesmaid.” I don’t foresee her winning a challenge, but coming close to it again.
Regrettably the audience is introduced to our first set of true rookie competitors. First up is Nicole, the tough as nails physically imposing force from The Real World: Skeletons. She would be most reminiscent of Evelyn and being a truly dominant competitor this season. Up next we have Anika & Theo from the most recent season, The Real World: Bad Blood. These two are taking part in a challenge prior to their season having physically aired on television. Thank you to the producers for highlighting Anika’s true physical prowess of falling out of the boat. We all needed that good laugh.
I had to do a double take because I could not believe that Shane had returned to do another Challenge. His original season is Road Rules: Campus Crawl, airing all the way back in 2002. He is back to get his first win as well as open up his own non-profit. He lets us know that he was one of the first gay couples to get married in South Carolina. Unfortunately that marriage ended in divorce, but it made him stronger and brought him to the challenge.
Strangely enough, the cast arrives at a hut/shelter type of house that resembles the housing they had on The Island. The reactions of the cast are priceless because they had no idea they signed up to rough it on the beaches of Thailand. I thoroughly enjoyed Latoya’s exclamation that her weave was environmentally friendly! Good for you girl!
I found it quite hysterical that Tony was so quick to cozy up to another female on the show given his history. Luckily Latoya was smart enough to know to stay away from him. She proclaimed that his swimmers were strong and she was not trying to have his babies. Good for her! Hopefully Tony can keep his emotions in check and make it further this season and win some money for his new babies.
Finally, the moment the cast and the audience have been waiting for. TJ Lavin has arrived and let the cast know that any expectations they had need to be lost. There would be no “lay ups” or any easy path to the final. This will be the hardest Challenge they have ever experienced. He pointed out that there were no past winners there, however there would still be other twists.
TJ informs the cast that only four of them are making it to the final, and in order to make it in to The Challenge house, appropriately titled Oasis, they would need to win. Little does the cast know that the champs are back at home preparing to invade the challenge soon enough.
The rest of the underdog cast includes Nelson (AYTO 3), Hunter (AYTO 3), Anthony (AYTO 2), Marie (RW: St. Thomas), Sylvia (RW: Skeletons), Dario (AYTO 2), Bruno (RW: Skeletons), Amanda (AYTO 3), Kailah (RW: Go Big or Go Home).
Thecast members are all sharing why they are in Thailand competing but their stories fall flat, at least for me. The cast has been given minimum provisions during their stay in the shelter. Luckily for them, Cory has smuggled alcohol in to his bag and they get turned up on the first night. Possible relationships include Cory & Kailah (who later on have an off camera, but still mic’ed hook up session) as well as Marie & Anthony who are heavily flirting.
The cast receive their first clue from TJ, a.k.a production, in the form of a message in a bucket. The cast does their usual attempt at guessing what the Challenge may be. Nelson believes that they are there to earn R.E.S.P.E.C.T. I can’t wait to see the look on his face when the champions return to the game.
The first challenge is fairly simple. TJ lets the cast know that the first male and first female to cross the finish line would punch their ticket to the Oasis, and the last male and last female would be sent to elimination automatically. The challenge requires the challengers to climb over a wall, under a wall and then solve a puzzle. Even though the challenge is technically an individual challenge, the competitors know they need to work together to get over the wall (one I don’t think would meet Donald Trump’s standards).
The majority of the cast goes to work on one side of the wall, while Tony, Kailah, Jenna & Cory work together on the other side. Amanda, who constantly has resting bitch faces confesses to the camera she does not like the alliances being formed. That alliance is going to get people through the challenge as well as something she is not good at. Once a rookie, always a rookie.
The cast finish in the following order:
There was plenty of drama that transpired during the challenge, from Bruno deciding he was going to give up because the challenge was too hard, to Ashley not caring about anyone else. She had the right attitude, it was every person for themselves. Bruno and Tony got heated about Tony abandoning Bruno during the puzzle. Tony and Nelson decided to whip out their d**ks and see who the alpha male was. Nelson did not take too kindly to Tony leaving Bruno behind and not attempting to console Bruno afterwards.
As per usual, TJ likes to call out the quitters (Bruno & Marie) and informs the entire cast that no one enters the Oasis until every spot has been earned. Shocker!
This leads us in to the halfway point with a trailer for what is coming up on the second half of the premiere episode.
Back at the camp grounds, the cast is divided about the results of the challenge earlier in the day. Kailah & Jenna are in the middle calling out Nelson, the self appointed leader of the majority. I’m getting a lot of Lord of the Flies vibes from this Challenge. Kaila yelling “because it’s an individual challenge” will be the slogan and key phrase constantly repeated through the show. Of course, Theo is spouting off at the mouth at the women as he has been known to do and makes a further fool of himself.
Kailah is an extremely dominant personality and her relationship with Cory will take her far. However, her mouth and attitude are painting a target on her back. Marie & Ashley believe that Kailah is going to be sent in to face Marie in the elimination round.
The rules for nomination are simple. The guys choose the girls, and the girls choose the guys. TJ also drops the bomb that only the competitors going to elimination will see the elimination round. Everyone else will need to stay back at th camp/shelter. The nomination process went as follows:
-Nicole, Kailah & Jenna voted for Theo
-Ashley, Anika, Amanda, Latoya & Sylvia voted for Tony.
-Dario, Hunter, Shane, Anthony, Nelson, Theo & Cory all voted for Kailah
-Tony voted for Sylvia in retaliation
Prior to the nomination ceremony the group bullied Sylvia to break her alliance with her cast mates and vote Tony in to the elimination. She was torn up over the vote, but she had to do what was best for her game play. Nicole & Sylvia have continued words over Tony’s nomination and it appears that friendship has now come to an end.
TJ informs the group that the winners of the elimination rounds ALSO get a ticket in to the Oasis.
As I covered in my preview post, the audience gets a look at the 8 champions coming back to compete.
We finally arrive at the dreaded elimination round, appropriately titled “In the Trenches.” The goal is simple, the competitors start on opposite sides of the trenches. There are a total of 10 sandbags between both sides and the first competitor to get all 10 sandbags wins. TJ does his usual schtick asking if the losers are going to quit before the challenge commences.
The ladies are up first as Kailah & Marie prepare to face off. Fun fact: Kailah used to play football and she may have the competitive edge in this round. There are a few instances where Kailah simply overpowers her opponent and she eventually tires Marie out and shoves her to the side for the victory.
Marie is the first woman to be eliminated from The Challenge Invasion.
The men are up next as the two former roommates from The Real World: Skeletons Bruno & Tony prepare to battle. There are an initial few rough shoves between the men before they decide to try their best to grab the sandbags. It ultimately appears that Bruno was gassed out and this allows Tony to take the lead and the victory.
Bruno is the first man to be eliminated from The Challenge Invasion.
Tony & Kailah return to the shelter, both boasting about their victories and to a non receptive cast. The show ends with the cast worried about what is to come and the credits rolls.
The Challenge Invasion of the Champions airs every Tuesday night at 9pm EST on MTV!