When Wanting it isn’t Good Enough: The Sarah Rice Story

Sarah Rice

Another episode in the books and yet another new power couple. This time around we have our Preseason #3 team Jordan and Sara. Now, Jordan and Sara are an interesting group. Both are seen as top tier competitors, but neither have achieved much in the game. Jordan’s case, however, is a little stronger as far as Up-and-comer/top tier. He came to us via 2013’s Real World: Portland meaning he is an incredibly ‘young’ Challenge competitor.


That being said, in his 2 years of Challenge eligibility he hasn’t missed a show yet. He’s three for three, having appeared on Rivals II, Free Agents, and now Battle of the Exes II. Moreover, he even made a Final in his first ever appearance on Rivals II which explains all the hype surrounding him season by season (admittedly propagated primarily by Jordan himself…). However, he appears to be regressing at this early stage in his career after knocking himself out of Free Agents by moronically throwing himself into elimination against Johnny Bananas.


Jordan’s decision to flip every Kill Card in Free Agents was an iconic Challenge moment that will immortalize him, and go down in Challenge lore, but it was undeniably stupid.

In fact, on Free Agents he may have been eclipsed by his Portland castmate Boston Johnny (Reilly). Boston Johnny wasn’t invited on to Rivals II, but did appear on Free Agents, made it to a final, and even finished 2nd (Jordan finished 3rd in his Final appearance) meaning Johnny has accomplished more than Jordan in less time, and took home a hefty chunk of change for his troubles ($35,000 to Jordan’s $8,000). However, I’m not willing to call Jordan a bust yet. His Politicks are garbage, he makes too many enemies too quickly, and he thinks he’s better at this game than he is, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t good. And say what you want about his lucky Finals appearance but he did still make a Final which is more than a lot of people can say. Sarah’s story, on the other hand, is slightly different.


Sarah came to us from Real World: Brooklyn and won me over from the very start of her Challenge career on The Ruins when she informed us that she only tried out for The Real World because she wanted to be on The Challenge. A woman after my own heart I tell ya.

I hate Jordan, but I’ll be rooting for Sarah the whole way this time. She’s not a part of my beloved Old Guard, but she looked up to them the same way I always did, and ingratiated herself to some of my favorites when she finally got the opportunity to come on the show and meet them. She’s like a bridge back to the Challenge glory days that I love. Hell, when she first showed up on the Challenge she even struck up a short-lived romance with Mr. Beautiful himself, Kenny Santucci.



So beautiful... so beautiful (Image via Kenny's twitter https://twitter.com/kennysantucci )

So beautiful… so beautiful (Image via Kenny’s twitter https://twitter.com/kennysantucci )

I like to think she’s the kind of competitor I would be if I were on the show and weren’t as vulnerable as a snowflake in a furnace. And let me tell you, unlike me she is a strong competitor especially on the female side of things. Right now we’re in a bit of a boon for female competitors [with Laurel and Emily Schromm being two of the best female contestants this show has ever seen], but Sarah is still one of the best. She’s physically strong and big, meaning she can push a lot of these chain smoking twigs that come on the show around. Her Politicks are always solid (she learned from the best in Kenny and Evan). So she has all the makings of a dominant compeitor. And yet? Zero Challenge wins in her 7 [SEVEN!!!] season career (Exes 2 makes her 8th season).

Sarah has been on The Ruins, Fresh Meat II, Cutthroat, Rivals, Battle of the Exes, Battle of the Seasons, Rivals II, and now Battle of the Exes II. Since her Challenge Debut in 2009 she has missed a grand total of ONE Challenge (Free Agents). Other than that she has competed on every single one of them. So clearly she’s backing up that talk about wanting to be on the Challenge. And if you watch her compete you can tell that she clearly wants to win. It just hasn’t happened yet. So why? Partners. That’s why.

After talking with Bananas and Wes at their Power Couple dinner, Jordan and Sarah seemed to be on top of the world. And Sarah commented multiple times to Jordan that “this game is so much better when you have a good partner.” Because really, she hasn’t yet. Of her seven previous Challenges all of them were either pair or team Challenges and none were individual Challenges. (She missed her one shot at an individual Challenge with Free Agents). Three were Team Challenges and four were Partner Challenges.

Her 3 Team Challenges went like this. There was The Ruins where she was part of the “Challengers” team. The other team? The “Champions” team. This thing was stacked. Evan, Kenny, and Bananas on one team? Versus a bunch of Challenge Rookies, and career long losers? No thanks. No wonder she didn’t win one there, but she was still one of only 2 members of the “Challenger” team still alive when the Final rolled around so we knew she was good.

When you've got these two conniving lovebirds on a team against you, you know it won't end well

When you’ve got these two conniving lovebirds on a team against you, you know it won’t end well

The next one was Cutthroat which turned out to be Sarah’s best shot at a title yet. She was on the Grey team lead by Challenge Valhalla member Abram who nearly led his team to victory, but they were upset in end by the Veteran laden team of Brad, Tori, Tyler and Dunbar.


In Battle of the Seasons RW: Brooklyn got third place and Sarah was again left short of victory. So if her team competitions weren’t totally unsuccessful, but left her short of gold, how were her Partner Challenges? Well… those were a disaster…

It all started with Fresh Meat II where Landon and Carly absolutely steamrolled the whole competition. Sarah [along with everyone else] never stood a chance, but even if the wrecking ball that is Landon hadn’t been there Sarah’s partner wouldn’t have carried her far anyway. Vinny showed up to The Challenge with world’s of promise but proved to be as soft as the Stay Puff Marshmellow man… and eventually became as fat as him too…

On Rivals she was paired with her Brooklyn castmate Katelyn who was honestly one of the worst Challenge competitors I have ever seen. Just abysmal. No shot for the two of them from jumpstreet.

Then, on Battle of the Exes she got to run back her performance with Vinny… or rather with some individual who apparently ate Vinny… so that didn’t end well…

vinny transformation

Good lord MTV why did you put him in that Speedo?

Next came Rivals II where she got stuck with Trishelle who quit in Episode 3 meaning that Sarah (with no partner to compete with) had to go home as well.

But now… finally… after a career of disappointment and inferior teammates… here Sarah is with Jordan. A Finals competitor and truly a top tier caliber partner. He’s the not best she could hope for because he comes with an enormous target on his arrogant chest, but hey, they won a Daily Challenge and became the Power Couple on last week’s episode, so something is clearly clicking. This will be Sarah’s best chance to win one of these things. Sarah the Superfan. Sarah the girl who went on the Real World just so she could be a part of the Real World // Road Rules Challenges. Sarah has always wanted this more than her opponents, but that has never mattered before. Bad luck and bad teammates have dragged her down. Now here’s to hoping that Jordan doesn’t do the same one last time, but can keep himself together long enough to help her into the promised land.

It won’t be easy for the two of them to dance their way between the dueling Titans of Bananas and Wes. And the political tightrope they started walking with those dinner conversations last week could easily come back to bite them, but it will be exciting to see if the #3 seeded dark horse can pull it off, and if Sarah can accomplish the one goal she hasn’t been able to accomplish yet on The Challenge.

So on that note, on to the power rankings.


Thomas and Hailey

Final Rank: 13

Preseason Rank:11

dustin and jessica

Welp… so much for their Royal Rumble style run to the top. Did not expect them to lose this week considering their competition, but so be it.

Final Rank: 12

Change from Last Week: 0

Preseason Rank: 9


ct and diem

I’ve already addressed my larger thoughts on this issue elsewhere, but it was certainly sad to see CT and Diem go. Especially considering how well they were both competing. I think they really had a chance to win it all, but I guess the Fairy Tale ending was too much to ask for.

Final Rank: 11

Change from Last Week: -8

Preseason Rank: 5


jj and simone

I was incredibly pleased to see them finally knocked out. I wanted it week 1 but I guess I’ll take it Week 3 if I have to. But then they went and won an exile!!! I still think they’re a horrendous team. They hate each other and have 0 outstanding physical gifts or anything that I would imagine them pulling through. Maybe they’ll force another upset next week in Exile, but I don’t expect them to be in the running much longer.

Current Rank: 10

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 13


jay and jenna

Nothing new to report here. Jay and Jenna are not a strong team, but they still technically have Zach “looking out for them” in some way I guess, and up until now there have been too many weak teams floating around for them to get themselves thrown in. I do, however, expect them and the next couple teams to be on the chopping block moving forward.

Current Rank: 9

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 12

Knight and JemmyeWell… they were… kindof OK in that Challenge I guess… I mean… it was certainly distressing to see Knight not help Jemmye at all… Ya… I mean there’s no positive way to spin this, they’re going to self destruct eventually.

Current Rank: 8

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 10

adamn and brittany

So normally if you win an Elimination Round I’ll bump you up in the rankings for your effort. HOWEVER, when you look as bad as Adam and Brittany did when doing such an easy Elimination you’re just lucky to not drop in the rankings. Not to mention the fact that the Veterans have clearly found their first “Rookie Scapegoat” team of the season… There is always one team that gets thrown in repeatedly  in order to protect Politicks elsewhere in the house, and Adam and Brittany, thanks to their miserable Week One performance are this year’s first Lamb to the Slaughter. They’ll likely have to face an Elimination every single week from here until they go home. Unless they somehow become the power couple. Which I doubt will happen considering the drama they’re about to create for themselves after that foreboding bar makeout at the end of last week’s episode.

Current Rank: 7

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 4

boston johnny and averey

Johnny and Averey really didn’t do anything impressive this week to go with their solid Dome performance last week. They don’t seem to work well together, and honestly I would have liked to drop them a spot, but I just couldn’t justify putting them behind Adam and Brittany now that they’re the designated Scapegoat. Hopefully things improve for them, but I’m skeptical.

Current Rank: 6

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 8

zach and jonna

Nothing much new to add here, but I still don’t like the idea of Zach and Jenna. Smells like drama and a thunderous downfall for Challenge Thor is forthcoming. Number one rule of the Challenge, Zach: Don’t fall in love on the Challenge.

Current Rank: 5

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 6

leroy and nia

Welcome to the Big Four Leroy and Nia. Admittedly they’re only here because of CT and Diem’s unfortunate early departure, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t deserving of being near the top. They’ve caused no drama this far so their Politicks (or lackthereof) are going strong. Leroy is a top competitor, and Nia… is… uhhh… Nia… So anyway they could easily get bumped out of the Top Four in the coming weeks, but for now here’s where they stand.

Current Rank: 4

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 7

wes and theresa

Another week without a Power Couple win, and I had to drop Wes and Theresa. I honestly don’t think they’ll stay here long (not that being 3rd is anything to scoff at) but they need to keep up the effort or things could turn on them a lot quicker than they expect. Already 2 of Wes’s Rookie Fodder teams are out of the house, and Theresa isn’t making any friends for the pair of them. Not to mention the fact that whatever Double Agent Trickery Sarah is trying to pull, we know when push comes to shove she’ll pick Bananas over Wes. Probably nothing to worry about here, but I don’t think Wes and Theresa are as safe this week as they were last.

Current Rank: 3

Change from Last Week: -1

Preseason Rank: 2

jordan and sarah

The new kids on the block making a power move! A Power Couple win, a chance to do some Politickal manuevering with the Two Titans of this season, and Jordan seems to be keeping his big mouth shut for the time being. Moreover, after hearing their dinner conversation, Sarah might have even been able to beat some sense into his thick skull to keep his Banana hatred locked down for the time being. All in all things are looking spectacular for these two at the moment. However, I can’t seem to shake the eerie feeling that Sarah is sitting on top of a powder-keg primed to blow any second. There is no way they can play this dual game of Bananas vs. Wes for too long, and I have my doubts that Jordan can keep his mouth shut for an entire season. Things are going to blow up for them eventually, I just hope they’re strong enough to weather the storm when it happens.

Current Rank: 2

Change from Last Week: +2

Preseason Rank: 3

bananas and nany

But your once and future King and Queen remains the Banana man and his leading lady. Nany is already showing some signs of cracking (going back to last week) and is clearly a weaker link that I thought she was coming into the season. I had a lot of faith in her after her Finals appearance on Free Agents, but Bananas might have more work ahead of him than I thought. I highly doubt they’re on pace for an Elimination anytime soon, but a fall in the rankings could come if they don’t shore up the cracks. For now though they’re still on top.

Current Rank: 1

Change from Last Week: 0

Preseason Rank: 1


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