Just two episodes in and The Challenge: World Championship is serving up friendships on the rocks and killer eliminations. No one said the road to world domination was going to be easy.
At the top of the premiere (two episodes are now available to stream on Paramount+), hosts T.J. Lavin, Marley, Mark Wright and Brihony Dawson welcome the global MVPs (aka, the non-MTV participants) to the game, and seconds later, three choppers come barreling in overhead. Out steps some of the game’s most renowned legends, including Johnny Bananas, Wes Bergmann (read our Q&A here), Tori Deal, Jodi Weatherton, Darrell Taylor and more. T.J. then announces that the global cast will participate in a qualifier that will test their agility, strength and smarts. The last place players will be sent straight to elimination, and the order they finish will determine the order they get to select their MTV partner. (Luckily for the legends, they get to skip the disgusting maggot smoothies as they cheer from the sidelines. Hey, they’ve earned it.)
For the males, Grant (Australia) finishes first, Ben (USA) comes in second, while Nathan (U.K.) places third. For the women, the top three are Zara (U.K.), Kaz (U.K.) and Justine (USA), respectively. Coming in last and heading straight for elimination: Britain’s Tristan and Argentina’s Claudia.
After a night of mixing and mingling, T.J. arrives at the house to break down the first elimination. Zara and Grant are safe from elimination. Since Nathan has been “medically separated from the game,” this is one bullet that Tristan gets to dodge. This time. But Claudia’s not so lucky. The rest of the MVPs must nominate two females for elimination. Then, the challenge winners will pick which lady will go head-to-head with Claudia. The group chooses Kaz and Kiki (also winners of their seasons). At the Arena, Zara and Grant’s votes are deadlocked, but Zara doesn’t care. If she has to go in to avoid saying her castmate’s name (Kaz), she’s ready and willing. A total badass move.
But, T.J. tells them: Since it’s a female elimination, Zara’s vote is the tie-breaker. Kiki, the winner from Australia, goes in to face-off against Claudia in a Challenge classic, Pole Wrestle. Kiki comes out on top, making Claudia the season’s first eliminated female.
EPISODE 2 | It’s time for the global players to select their challenge legends in the order they finished the qualifier. Here’s how the pairs shake out:
-Grant and Jonna
-Zara and Wes
-Ben and Kaycee
-Kaz and Jordan
-Danny and Tori
-Justine and Bananas
-Benja and Jodi
-Kiki and Darrell
-Rodrigo and Nia
-Emily and Yes
-Troy and Amber
-Sarah and Theo
-Tristan and KellyAnne
-JuJuy and Nelson
In the duos’ first challenge called Chain Game, teams must race over a large dune to a shipwreck, where they’ll select one of the 700 pound chains. Then, they must drag the chain over to its corresponding puzzle, but the chains closest to their puzzles are more difficult. Grant and Jonna win the whole shebang, but unfortunately for Scuba Nelly T, he and JuJuy come in last and are going straight into elimination.
The rest of the teams must nominate two duos for possible elimination, but already KellyAnne is spiraling. And increased paranoia is never a good look in a game like The Challenge. When the cards fall, the group chooses KellyAnne and Tristan, and Benja and Jodi. (To be fair, both teams finished the challenge second- and third-to-last.)
But it’s a real bummer for KellyAnne, who thought she’d have the support from her friends Wes (who said her name) and Jonna (who must now decide KellyAnne’s fate). As Episode 2 draws to a close, KellyAnne lays it on thick to Jonna, citing their prior seasons together and friendship. She can’t wrap her head around how it’s such a difficult decision for Jonna.
“I’m getting weird vibes from KellyAnne,” says Jonna in an interview. “KellyAnne is a friend of mine, but I know that I don’t really want her around in this game.” But will she have the guts to pull the trigger? We’ll have to wait until next week to see those fireworks.
Did you love the first two outings of The Challenge: World Championship? Grade them below, then fire away in the comments.