The Challenge: Rivals

I have been a long time fan of the MTV Challenges, the drama, the fights, the challenges, so what could be better than taking it up a notch?

This season our returning competitors have a challenge that goes beyond simply making it to the end and winning challenges to win money. They have to work with their biggest rivals (using the terms biggest and rival mildly loosely) in order to do it.

The Partners:
Adam King- Chris “CT” Tamburello: These two have disliked each other since their Real World season. They have fought during previous challenges. (CT was disqualified from a prior challenge for punching Adam.)
Brandon Nelson- Ty Ruff: Their rivalry is on the weak side. They’ve had an argument or two and faced off in an elimination. (Let’s be honest, how many competitors can say that this hasn’t happened to them, even to their friends?)
Camila Nakagawa- Theresa Gonzalez: Theresa accused Camila of stealing and made Camila cry.
Cara Maria Sorbello- Laurel Stucky: Laurel does not consider Cara Maria a worthy competitor and has let this opinion be known.
Evan Starkman- Nehemiah Clark: Nehemiah dislikes how Evan plays the game (which is by dominating the game and forming strong alliances that eliminate the competition).
Evelyn Smith- Paula Meronek: Tension between these two is a little bit indirect. Paula’s alliance in a former season tormented Ev throughout the season but ultimately dumped Paula for Ev in the final to ensure their victory. Ev has also been responsible for sending Paula home in two former challenges.
Jasmine Reynaud- Jonna Mannion: The pair dislikes each other due to interest in the same guy during their Real World season.
Jenn Grijalva- Mandi Moyer: Mandi called Jenn out for what she considered a poor voting strategy during a former Challenge season which led to arguments.
Johnny Devenanzio- Tyler Duckworth: Tyler once called Johnny out for a duel, which has led to animosity between the two.
Katelynn Cusanelli- Sarah Rice: This duo was friends during their Real World season but the friendship soured when Katelynn voted Sarah into exile after promising not to do so.
Kenny Santucci- Wes Bergmann: While the origin of their fighting is slightly unclear (it might date back to Kenny dating Wes’s ex), they have perhaps the strongest rivalry of anyone on the show.
Davis Mallory- Tyrie Ballard: The two began fighting during their season of Real World.
Aneesa Ferreira- Robin Hibbard: Robin made drunken insults to Aneesa during a previous Challenge.
Michael Ross- Leroy Garrett: (originally Adam Royer who got disqualified): This duo has no rivalry. Leroy and Adam disliked each other because Leroy did not like his drunken behavior on their Real World season together.

It’s only been two episodes and already someone has gone home for fighting. Though this isn’t a record by any means (more than one person has been sent home prior to participating in a single challenge), it is still fairly impressive. More shocking is that CT was not involved. More specifically, CT seems to have found some inner peace and though he’s not the smartest or nicest person (he takes an opportunity to unnecessarily taunt Kenny and Evan who nearly always dominate the voting), it doesn’t seem like he’ll be fist-fighting any day now.

Also surprising is how some people have stepped in to support their supposed rivals when threatened. Jonna steps in for Jasmine, Theresa steps in for Camila, etc. It seems that they can put their differences aside if money is at stake.

If I had to pick couples that will make it into the finals it would be:

For The Guys-
Evan Starkman- Nehemiah Clark
Johnny Devenanzio- Tyler Duckworth
Kenny Santucci- Wes Bergmann

Guys’ Team That I Wouldn’t Count Out-
Adam King- Chris “CT” Tamburello

I pick the top three guys’ team mostly based on the strong alliances they typically have (between Evan, Kenny, and Johnny). I say don’t count Adam and CT out because, in addition to the fact that they seem to work together well, CT is easily the strongest competitor physically which could bode well for his team in elimination challenges. (At the same time, the Evan, Kenny, Johnny crew greatly dislike CT which puts a target on their back.)

For the Girls-
Jasmine Reynaud- Jonna Mannion
Evelyn Smith- Paula Meronek
Cara Maria Sorbello- Laurel Stucky

Guys’ Team That I Wouldn’t Count Out-
Katelynn Cusanelli- Sarah Rice

Evelyn and Laurel are easily the two strongest women in the game, with fairly decent partners (both Cara Maria and Paula have made it to the finals of at least one previous challenge). Sarah I would place as the next strongest (despite her poor finals performance last season) but Katelynn is probably one of the weaker girls. All I know about Jonna and Jasmine is that they are feisty and seem to work well together despite their issues. They have already won a challenge (partially because Ev and Laurel’s teams were eliminated for a stupid DQ) and just might have it in them to win more. Counting against them is the fact that they are rookies (who always get picked off early) and have already made enemies thanks to their loudmouthed ways.

Who do you think are the top three? Which partners will take it all?


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