The Plot Twist That Should Have Saved the Show

 

Theresa comes back

Nice touch MTV. Don’t get me wrong. They still screwed this season up big time, but this week’s episode was a nice step towards remedying old wrongs. But let’s start at the beginning. Regardless of whether or not Nia’s physical altercation warranted leaving the show, MTV could not leave her on the show after the various slurrs she used in last week’s episode. That being said, however, if anyone is mad at Nia for using those words (which they should be) they should be even more mad at MTV for putting that footage on national television. MTV is far more responsible for putting that footage on the air than Nia is for saying them if we’re discussing who is at fault for spreading that kind of hate speech to a wide audience. What MTV did was equally disrespectful, irresponsible, and wrong. They didn’t have to do that, just like they didn’t have to (and chose not to) release that footage of Snookie getting punched in a bar during Jersey Shore. Even censoring that material was irresponsible in my opinion, but that’s another matter.

What that meant for the show itself was that Hurricane Nia’s outburst got her kicked off the show. Leroy was left without a partner, and all signs pointed to MTV screwing up this season even worse than they already had.

cast without nia or theresa

Leroy and Nia were the only two individuals left in the cast who deserved to win this thing with Jay and Jenna coming as a distant second for the lol factor. But that still left us with both Johnny Devenanzio / Nany and Sarah / Jordan as our miserable duo most likely to win the thing. Things looked bleak. Even after Jordan and Sarah showed their true scumbag colors by double crossing Devenanzio and Nany (which is fine… no honor among thieves…) it looked like the King of Corruption was going to sneak by again as Nia would be sent home, Leroy would be disqualified for not having a partner, and this garbage season would continue on to its miserable finish.

However, MTV decided to use its arbitrary rulings for the side of good this time, and did so in the flashiest, best manner imaginable.

Theresa was so happy to be back and partnered with Leroy her nipples were literally hard with anticipation of destroying Nany

Theresa was so happy to be back and partnered with Leroy her nipples were literally hard with anticipation of destroying Nany

Meanwhile, Johnny and Nany were none too pleased to have the MTV magic finally turned against them

Meanwhile, Johnny and Nany were none too pleased to have the MTV magic finally turned against them

MTV decided to bring Theresa back to be Leroy’s partner, thereby easing at least some portion of the atrocity they turned this season into. It was still a joke of an excuse to call Leroy and Theresa “Exes” and it feels manufactured (although not as badly manufactures as the Johnny – Nany “relationship”) but hey… this is the way MTV wants to run their show, so who cares I guess… And, bringing Theresa back was only fair to her, and pairing her with Leroy is great for both of them. Theresa is the best female competitor left in this competition and Leroy is far and away the best male. We saw as much in their dismantling . And I love how when Johnny Devenanzio takes on Leroy its perfectly excusable to tell the cameras “Leroy broke my ribs” but yet its also ok for him to mock Wes for getting a concussion against Leroy. Give me a break. That kid is the worst. It was horrible for He, Nany, Sarah, and Jordan to make fun of Wes last week, and made me lose even more respect for them than I already had. They are all simply the worst. In the modern era where NFL players are retiring after their rookie season out of fear of concussions, and former players are committing suicide as a result of brain trauma they had no right to mock Wes during that event, and the fact that they not only didn’t hesitate to do so, but also relished in the experience shows what kind of scum they are.

So needless to say, I was MORE than pleased to watch Leroy embarrass Johnny Devenanzio (for a second time mind you)

Leroy Johnny Start Leroy Johnny Takedown Leroy Wins

and to see Theresa not only eliminate Nany (for a second time mind you) but stomp on her face and kick her straight out of the show.

Theresa and Nany Leroy Theresa win

Wes still deserves to be in this Final even though he likely would have gotten third, but to see Theresa back and paired with the best guy left is awesome. Also, I couldn’t be happier with the decision (whether it was MTV’s [likely] or Theresa’s) for Theresa to go in still in her Grey Jersey that she wore with Wes (rightful 1 seed) all season long. These two are now the favorites, and if they can win this thing it will redeem at least some small portion of this season’s abysmal finish. It makes me sick to think Jordan and Sarah get to be in a Final when they should have been eliminated the same week that Devenanzio was unfairly brought back onto the season, but hey… Sarah is a proven quitter and a weak competitor so I can always hope that they fail to finish, and Jay and Jenna hilariously get second while Jordan and Sarah fail to even get any money. Here’s hoping to some Leroy domination and a Sarah collapse.

all in one shotsarah resting jordan pacing

The Anatomy of a Power Move and the Slaying of a Giant

Bananas untying Nany Leroy and Nia after victory

Buckle your seat belts folks, because this is going to be a long one. As surprising as this may sound I don’t actually have a running list of the greatest Challenge episodes of all time, but there is no scenario where I can’t imagine that one being in the top 5. So let’s try our best to break everything down.

One of the most exciting moments in any Challenge season is the attempted Power Move. Whether its successful or not it always shakes things up, pushes us away from the rut of “just throw in the rookies every time” (which, as last week’s article pointed out, we were stuck in for this season), and always results in some excellent drama and a spectacular physical exhibition to cap off the episode. And like I said, it doesn’t even matter that the success rate of these power moves is abysmally low. Take last season for instance.

MTV-Challenge-Free-Agents-Jordan-Pulls-All-Three

Jordan tried this exact thing last season. When he finally got an opportunity where Johnny Bananas was thrown into Elimination, he intentionally put himself into The Elimination to face off against Johnny and (he thought) knock him off the show. Jordan’s attempt ultimately failed, but what Challenge fan doesn’t remember the tension and anticipation leading up to those events? That was hands down the best episode of the entire Free Agents season. Seriously. Even the competitors thought so.

CT Laughing at Jordan

 

But where Jordan went wrong, was by allowing his arrogance to get the best of him, and putting himself at direct risk in Elimination. A Power Move is almost always initiated by an inferior player hoping to improve their winning chances by eliminating a superior player. But the real sign of a well executed Power Move is when a player can make someone else do their dirty work for them. Where Jordan screwed up was throwing himself into Elimination. Where Wes succeeded was waiting until Fate handed him an opportunity to initiate his Power Move before putting himself at risk.

You will recall that he and Theresa had an opportunity to throw Bananas and Nany in Week One this season. Moreover they had reason to. Wes and Bananas have always and will always hate each other. Theresa and Nany were already mired in drama. And Wes and Theresa held Power Couple status. However, the key to a Power Move is holding all your cards until you think the team you want to move against has a legitimate chance of being eliminated. Generally this means either they or one of the other top teams has slipped up. However, when you really broke things down, Adam and Brittany in their first ever Challenge and their first ever Exile had a 0% chance of eliminating Bananas and Nany Week One. So… Wes didn’t throw them in, and it wound up earning them collateral benefits as Bananas didn’t throw Wes in Week Two when he had the chance as a way to pay back the favor. Wes identified that the situation wasn’t yet right, decided to bide his time, and it paid off.

Bananas was sent home before he could even START his run on the Elimination thanks to Leroys full Beast Mode tactics

Bananas was sent home before he could even START his run on the Elimination thanks to Leroys full Beast Mode tactics

What you need to pull this thing off is for one Top Tier team to have performed so poorly in the Daily Challenge that they have automatically put themselves into the elimination. Check. Leroy is a notoriously horrible swimmer, and it cost him this week. However, he is undeniably an elite competitor and a physical force, so with him in an Elimination the first ingredient to a successful Power Move was in place.

The next thing you need is to win that Daily Challenge yourself (so you can directly choose who will be “voted” in to Elimination to compete with the Top Tier team which unluckily put themselves in) OR have the Politickal acumen to push the house or winning team to put that other Top Tier team in for you. Wes has the Politicks in spades, and it just so happened that this time around, he would be able to seal things up on the Daily Challenge as well. While Leroy may be the worst swimmer in Challenge history, Wes is undeniably the best swimmer the show has ever seen. When he was in High School at Texas’s Blue Valley North High he was a 3 time state champion swimmer in the state of Texas of all places… not exactly a small number of individuals in those competitions (with his main even being the 100yard Butterfly if you’re curious. SO with this Challenge being a swimming Challenge it was no surprise to see Wes come out victorious.

Wes and Theresa Swimming

It is an incredibly complex series of events, and if you are a good player and an elite Politicker like Wes, you have to be able to recognize this cascade of events and take advantage of the fleeting window which Fate has provided you with. Once everything fell into place with Leroy forced into elimination and Wes was left staring down on opportunity to knock off his Rival Johnny Bananas, the fireworks were ready to fly. (Fun fact, Leroy and Bananas actually train together in the offseason, meaning Wes was also guaranteed to break up their alliance no matter who won the elimination. Not a bad consolation prize). That Power Move was executed with an absolutely clinical level of accuracy and perfect, and I could not possibly have been more impressed with how it played out.

The Score Card may have said Leroy and Nia were the winners, but one look at Wes and Theresas faces tells you who the real winners were.

The Score Card may have said Leroy and Nia were the winners, but one look at Wes and Theresas faces tells you who the real winners were.

But let’s be honest. The Biggest story here is not Wes. It’s not even Bananas. Its LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEROOOOOOOOOOOY mJENNNKIIIIIIIINS!!!!!!!!!

Leroy Competing

Just look at the determination on his face! Look how calm he is during this! Could not have been more impressed with him.

 

At the end of the day Leroy is the one who did the real work this episode, and Leroy was the one who delivered. Now, I don’t mean to short change Hurricane Nia who was very good in that elimination. That competition was right up her alley because her length and she absolutely worked her ass off to win, never giving up, and really impressed me. But Leroy…. Ohhhhh leroy… My Lord… Leroy obliterated Elimination with a ferocity I never thought I could see from a former Garbage Man. I obviously would have loved it if Nia and Nany could have finished their leg of the Elimination simultaneously so we could have seen Bananas and Leroy truly go head to head, but I’m not sure Bananas could have beaten him even with a 5 second head start. It’s hard to tell from the editing but it looked like Leroy finished in under 9 seconds. NINE SECONDS!!!!! It took Nia like 45 to complete that thing!!! I’m gonna be brutally honest with you folks here… Leroy’s performance got my nipples hard… it was that good…

I’ve always had a soft spot for Big Lee. I’ve always thought he was a truly Elite Competitor just waiting to be unleashed. Sure he hadn’t been lucky enough to break through and win a finals yet, but … I mean… first off just look at the man.

Leroy

Seriously! Here take another look!

Leroy Abs Leroy Pecs

You can’t tell me that isn’t the body of a Challenge Champion. Moreover, I felt like his early career was following an incredibly similar arc to another one of my all time favorites, CT. You see, both CT and Leroy were always dominant physically. Where they struggle was Politicks. Now, CT had the added problem of making everyone hate him and being hyper aggressive, picking too many fights, but both of them generally refused to play any Politicks at all during their early careers. Now, this is exactly what I like to see from my Competitors. I want pure physical dominance, and hate to see an undeserving team or individual Politick their way into the finals. However, it is undeniably a poor strategy. Both Leroy and CT would too often find themselves isolated, cut off, and eventually eliminated before the finals due to their lack of alliances and failure to play Politicks.

However, even though it took CT until his 10th Challenge to finally win one it doesn’t mean he wasn’t elite all along. I think the same thing is true of Leroy, and after watching that Elimination how could anyone disagree? He knocked off the defending champ. An all time great. And one of the greatest Challenge competitors of all time in Johnny Bananas. The guy is an undeniable beast, and I am certain that this will be just one of many accolades in his soon to be revered Challenge career. Also, as an aside, how spectacular was it to see Leroy take over the official role of Challenge Toast-Master now that Bananas is out of the house. Leroy’s star is undeniably on the rise, and I for one cannot wait to watch the devastation. So here’s to you Leroy.

Leroy Toast

But the day wasn’t all positives. Leroy is a Top Tier competitor who is constantly flirting with Elite status, but who hasn’t managed to get over the hump yet. He’s not the only guy in that pool. There’s Jordan who has looked very impressive thus far this season, and there is also, Zach Nichols. We can, and should, thank Zach for initiating that waterfall of drama that we just witnessed, but while his ‘move’ may have been great for TV I’m not sure it was great for him in the house.

nervous zach

You see, both Zach and Leroy and fringe elites. Neither has won a title, but noone would be shocked if either of them did. Their physical capabilities are undeniable (although Zach’s performance in the Free Agents finals brought in a few clouds), but, again, that isn’t the whole picture. Winning a Challenge means properly balancing Politicks and Physicality. Leroy’s biggest weakness is generally that he completely ignores the Politickal game. Zach’s is that his Politicks are too often inept.

It is clear that there are generally two camps in the house at this moment. Those competitors who had thrown their lot in with Mr. Bananas, and those who had allied themselves to Wes. While you could argue that there was a third pole / independent faction in the form of Jordan and Sarah, they were in large part more closely aligned with Bananas. So there it is. Now. The Bananas alliance was undeniably the stronger of the two. Bananas, Boston Johnny, Leroy, Zach, Jordan and Sarah… these are more or less all the competitors who have a chance at winning this thing with the exception of Wes and Theresa. Wes’s alliance, by comparison, is more or less entirely filled with rookies and bottom feeder teams (as it always is, as he has generally alienated all the Top Tier competitors throughout his career).

So, going into that daily Challenge, it would have made perfect sense for Zach to follow Bananas’ orders, stick with his powerhouse alliance, and put Wes and Theresa first in the daily Challenge. Moreover, it’s entirely possible that if they had been put first, Wes and Theresa never would have collected enough information to know that the right strategy was simply to ride the sled as far as possible before jumping into the water. Zach, however, attempted to play both sides of the field. He put Wes 4th which may have helped Wes win the Challenge, get Bananas eliminated, and absolutely obliterate his alliance. Moreover, before Johnny left he made sure that everyone in his former alliance knew that Zach was the cause of this, was not to be trusted, and should be taken out if possible. Zach, it would appear then, has put himself in a very bad position as a result of his attempt to strengthen his position.

Bananas and Zach fighting

Good Lord, check out the glorious vein-age that went down in that shouting match

 

Zach made it very clear that he didn’t want to simply fall in line with Bananas. He sees himself as a truly elite competitor who should be able to act unilaterally. He think he has outgrown the days where he needed to ally himself to a stronger player and feels he should be the guy making power plays. However, his clumsy execution shows that his Politicks definitely still needs more work, and elucidates why, although he is certainly a Top Tier competitor, he is not yet Elite.

Phew. What an episode. I think we all need a hug after that one.

Bananas comforting nany

We have two Titans clashing, and the lesser of the two coming out victorious (Wes vs. Bananas). We had two rising giants attempting to make a name for themselves in the game (Leroy and Zach) where one suceeded emphatically (Leroy) and one may have cost himself everything (Zach).  And you throw it all together and you end up with one of the best episodes of The Challenge of all time. They seriously killed it, right Theresa?

Theresa Killin it Shirt

But the best part? IT DIDN’T EVEN STOP THERE!!! This season MTV has thrown us the “Exile” curve ball where every eliminated team enters a side tournament for the right to reenter the competition, unbeknownst to everyone in the house. This could not have worked out better for MTV.

Bananas and Nany walking away

Not only did they get to air all that spectacular content and the Fall of the King in the regular episode, BUT NOW THEY (and we the fans) GET TO WATCH JOHNNY BANANAS FIGHT HIS WAY TOOTH AND NAIL THROUGH A ROYAL RUMBLE STYLE TOURNAMENT TO REENTER THE COMPETITION AND RECLAIM HIS BIRTHRIGHT!!!!! From a television perspective this couldn’t have worked out better for MTV. Things just went absolutely insane with this season, and I couldn’t be more excited to see how things will turn out. I’m definitely gonna need another hug before this is all through…

bananas and nany hugging

So while nothing could live up to all that excitement, let’s see how the episode shook up the Power Rankings, shall we?

ELIMINATED:

Thomas and Hailey

Final Rank: 13

Preseason Rank:11

Dustin and Jessica

Final Rank: 12

Preseason Rank: 9

Disqualified: CT and Diem

Final Rank: 11

Preseason Rank: 5

Knight and Jemmye

Final Rank: 10

Preseason Rank: 10

jj and simone

Final Rank: 9

Preseason Rank: 13

FIIIIIINALLY!!! I have nothing to say here. They put on an absoultely pitiful show against Bananas and Nany, which wasn’t even their fault. Noone was going to beat Bananas in that moment. Not after he was given a second chance. I’m shocked the got as far as they did. Congrats to them. But good riddance.

EXILED:

bananas and nany

The Giant has fallen from Mount Olympus. The King is down but not out. Bananas is about to put on an absolute clinic, decapitating everyone who comes to challenge him in the exile house and I’m giddy as a school girl. Noone will be expecting to see him, and if the mental shock of seeing him as their opponent doesn’t turn them into a puddle of mush, Bananas’ biceps certainly will. This season is going to be spectacular.

Current Rank: 8

Change from Last Week: -7

Preseason Rank: 1

LIVE AND KICKIN’:

jay and jenna

They’ve primarily been in a good position because Zach has been Jenna’s protector. If his poor Politicking begins to destabilize his position, it will mean far more severe repercussions for Jay and Jenna down the road. However, Jay has been pretty good about sticking with Wes from day one which has to help for something. The only problem is that Wes has a tendency to throw his allies under the bus if it means saving his own skin… so no matter what I’m not sure we’re gonna see Jay and Jenna much longer.

Current Rank: 7

Change from Last Week: 0

Preseason Rank: 12

boston johnny and averey

Boston Johnny and Johnny Bananas are close. Their alliance was helping out Boston Johnny significantly. With Bananas gone, I worry that Johnny and Averey now make tasty targets for Wes and his minions to pick off as the begin dismantling Bananas’ former alliance.

Current Rank: 6

Change from Last Week: +2

Preseason Rank: 8

zach and jonna

Here comes the slide that we all knew could happen to Zach. His Politickal tomfoolery certainly hasn’t helped him. Moreover, with his entanglement with Jay and Jenna, plus the fact that his own team is falling apart as he continues to yell at and criticize Jonna he cannot possible be on stable ground. I have a feeling he will bounce back strong next episode (especially because Wes will gladly welcome the wounded grizzly bear into his alliance) but Zach needs to start pulling things together fast. Everyone on Bananas’ former alliance could be gunning for him now.

Current Rank: 5

Change from Last Week: -1

Preseason Rank: 6

adamn and brittany

Adam has been Wes’s puppet from day one. It’s hilarious. The guy is like Wes’s own big, dumb, meathead puppy. Absolutely fantastic to watch. However, his unquestioning loyalty to Wes is paying off. As Wes’s ship rises, it brings Adam and Brittany right along with. This was the first week they didn’t have to face elimination, and its no surprise that this is because Wes won the Challenge and made his Power Move. As long as they stick together and stick with Wes, we could see a big Dark Horse run from them. And hey! Look! They finally climbed their way back up to my preseason rank for them!!!

Current Rank: 4

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 4

jordan and sarah

Jordan hates Bananas and thats no secret. However, Sarah and him were tight. Losing Bananas can only hurt them and their attempts to play both sides of the Wes vs. Bananas rivalry. I’m not saying they’re in any danger right now, because they aren’t, but their position certainly isn’t as strong this week as it was last. That being said, they still got second in that Challenge and lost by a mere 2 seconds so obviously they’ve still got some fight in them and are still favorites to make the Final.

Current Rank: 3

Change from Last Week: -1

Preseason Rank: 3

leroy and nia

A massive move up for my main man Leroy!!!! I can’t say enough about these two. Hurricane Nia included. She may be weak, but she played to her strenghts in that Elimination, never gave up, and really gave me a lot more faith that she won’t be dead weight for Leroy in this thing. And Lee… I mean… he’s just a beast… a Leviathon… He can’t be stopped if its a matter of 1v1 competition. They would have made a good case for #1 this week if it weren’t for a certain someone…

Current Rank: 2

Change from Last Week: +4

Preseason Rank: 7

wes and theresa

The ginger and his Harpy reign supreme at long last! A Challenge win. A Power Move. And a shiny new #1 ranking. If anyone “Killed It” this week, I think TJ and I would both agree it has to have been Wes and Theresa.

Theresas Outfit

Not sure exactly how I feel about Theresas Elimination Day shirt, but Im pretty sure I loved it. The Killin It thing may have been too meta or exactly the right kind of Meta. I wish TJ would comment on how he feels about Theresa co-opting his catch phrase so I could know how I truly feel.

 

I’m not sure they’ll win the whole thing, but they’re about to enter a 2 week stretch where everything will go right for them. They still have most of the powerful teams against them in this house, but if Theresa’s spicy Latina anger doesn’t derail Wes’s Politicks they have as good a chance to win the whole thing as anyone.

theresa and wes 3

Things just got really spicy on this bad boy, and I can’t wait for the next episode.

The Best Laid Schemes o’ Bananas and Gingers, Often Go Awry

Johnny and Wes

In spite of the preponderance of top male competitors remaining in the field, Wes and Johnny are clearly running the show early on this season. This is no surprise. We all know their politicking was a notch above the rest, and as a result they are one another’s primary targets and primary threats at this early stage in the game. They have now both won a Challenge, and both postured with threats of throwing the other one into an elimination round. However, reason and sense won out in the end and neither power pairing has been thrown into an elimination by the other yet. 

In spite of how sensible that decision is, however, it was surprisingly difficult. We already knew Wes and Johnny hated each other, but they’re both too savvy and experienced to make a power play this early in the game. Their partners, however, don’t seem to see things that way. Our loving latina “Gonzalez sisters” Theresa and Nany have already decided they hate each other (eased along by Theresa’s past actions on Free Agents especially) and have decided they want to go at each other’s throats. While this is all well and good for the drama of the show, it isn’t exactly making Wes or Johnny’s jobs easier. It is absolutely spectacular to me to see those two forced to switch from posturing and empty threats to immediate damage control to keep things from spilling over and causing an early exit for one or both teams.

Approximate reenactment of events.

Approximate reenactment of events.

Wes’s downfall is always and has always been the decision of the other competitors to pick off his rookie minions one by one, depleting his armor until he finally stands alone. And because he never truly cares about protecting his rookies he always let’s this happen, and sometimes willingly offers up his rookies in secret deliberations in order to save himself. Not exactly the most savory technique, but it works for a while. However, it won’t work forever and never does. I’m not too worried for Wes’s survival yet. Especially when he and Theresa were so close to winning that ludicrous challenge (and honestly should have won), but Bananas has taken the first of many steps toward chopping Wes down to size.

This time around, however, he may have another problem is his own partner doesn’t quit starting fires around the house. I’ve seen Johnny control crazy partners before, but can’t recall Wes being put to the same test. In fact, in Rivals II it often seemed like CT who was keeping Wes in check, rather than the other way around. Theresa is undeniably a strong partner to have when it comes to physical competition. Her politicks, however, remind me of old Johnny Bananas the bumbling villain rather than his new form as a modern day MTV Otto von Bismarck. She just tries the “nice to your face, lie behind your back” stuff which never works. It is too purely motivated by greed and selfishness, and always backfires as it currently is with Nany.

Now, normally this wouldn’t be a problem for Theresa as there are only a handful of female competitors on this show superior to her physically, but this time around her picking on Nany is going to bring Bananas into the fight, and could spell ruin for her team. She has a great opportunity to learn from one of the best schemers in Challenge history with Wes on her team. Last episode she did not seem to want to learn from him as he pleaded with her to apologize to Nany, and she sat silent like a petulant child. She’ll have to fix this attitude problem and start learning a thing or two from Wes if they want to succeed. Its so obvious she wants to win one of these things, and works really hard to put herself in successful positions, but she hasn’t achieved anything yet. She needs to shut up, humble herself, and learn from Wes for the time being. If she does she might turn into one of the most dominant female characters we have. Otherwise her Challenge might be shorter than she would like.

So with that said, let’s take a look at some updated Power Rankings shall we?

ELIMINATED:

thomas and hailey

No surprises here. I never expected much of them to start the season, and was shocked that Dustin and Jessica ended up going down week one instead of someone like them or JJ and Simone. It all worked out in the end though as Thomas and Hailey were double eliminated this week, losing in both The Dome and in Exile. The only sad part about them leaving in my opinion is that Wes is now short of 2 more minions. O’well though. Better luck next time folks.

Final Rank: 13

Change from Last Week: -3

Preseason Rank: 11

EXILED:

dustin and jessica

This is much more like what I expected from Dustin and Jessica. I think they’re better than almost every single rookie pair with the exception of Adam and Brittany who they had to face in exile (and honestly should have beaten… they were several rungs ahead of them on that ladder challenge until Jessica toppled them). So anyway I’m happy to see them win in Exile. Also, I absolutely love the Royal Rumble setup for these exile eliminations where Dustin and Jessica will have to run a full gauntlet of 9 teams if they hope to make it back to a Final Challenge. I highly doubt they’ll succeed, but I’m excited to see how long their run lasts.

Current Rank: 12

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 9

LIVE AND KICKIN’:

jj and simone

I have no idea how these two continue to sneak under everyone’s radar, but I am convinced that they are legitimately terrible. They’ll shatter worse than a recent college graduate’s hopes and dreams after they enter the job market as soon as someone decides to test them. It’s just a matter of time.

Current Rank: 11

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 13

jay and jenna

I’ve said the whole time that I think Jay could actually put on a respectable showing physically on this show, but that I doubted Jenna’s abilities. Now, with Jenna starting a romance with Thor’s nephew Zach you’d think they improved their chances and gained a powerful ally. However, only half of the team-members involved in that love quadrilateral are happy about it. Both Jay and Jonna seem to be out of sorts, and I can only believe Jenna’s actions are going to create enough drama to drag her team down, and maybe even take Zach with them.

Current Rank: 10

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 12

Knight and Jemmye

They didn’t do anything to hurt themselves this week, but I still don’t have much faith in the ever-feuding twosome. Their veteran status will carry them a ways, but their hatred is gonna send this house of cards crashing down eventually. Although I did love their comments during the Challenge that “they wouldn’t have to talk to each other so that would help.”

Current Rank: 9

Change from Last Week: 0

Preseason Rank: 10

adamn and brittany

This ranking isn’t about them falling, as it was last week, but rather the next team in our list passing them. Adam and Brittany have done nothing to make me think they’re worthy of the inflated preseason rank I gave them, and Brittany is even starting to get on my nerves. I still have faith they’ll put it together and make a small run eventually, but they’re not final Challenge material. At least not at this point in their young careers.

Current Rank: 8

Change from Last Week: -1

Preseason Rank: 4

boston johnny and averey

Johnny and Averey had an impressive Dome win over hapless Thomas and Hailey. I’ve got all the faith in the world in Boston Johnny after his surprise Finals appearance last season, but Averey I still question. She took FOREVER to complete her half of the elimination challenge, and only succeeded because Hailey completely failed to move on. However, I do give her props for accomplishing a difficult task, as countless girls on this show can’t even do that, so there’s hope here. I’m just not sure there’s enough hope for them to upset any of the teams ahead of them.

Current Rank: 7

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 8

zach and jonna

Thor and his partner dropped thanks to the time honored tradition on the Challenge of ‘trouble in the bedroom.’ Zach is breaking the #1 rule of The Challenge (given to us by Johnny Bananas himself): NEVER FALL IN LOVE ON THE CHALLENGE. There is no way this Jenna fling can end well for him, and it only makes things worse that his jealous partner is now making out with Jay just to make herself feel better about it. Troubling seas ahead for The Great Viking.

Current Rank: 6

Change from Last Week: -1

Preseason Rank: 6

leroy and nia

Zach’s loss is Leroy’s gain. I think the two are about equal in terms of physical strength so the only way to differentiate them (normally) is through their political standing in the house. Normally the edge here goes to Zach because Leroy flatly refuses to politick (something I’ve always admired in him as it reminds me of the old CT), but this time around since Zach is actively hurting his political standing, Leroy’s neutral stance wins out. I still can’t put them in the Hallowed Top Four because I don’t trust Nia in a Dome Elimination, but they’re in pole position to capitalize if any of the Top Four should stumble.

Current Rank: 5

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 7

jordan and sarah

Jordan and Sarah dropped a spot this week, but I don’t think it’s really anything to be concerned about. They’re still one of the strongest teams out there in terms of both male and female rankings. They got hit with some tough luck with that ball spinning Challenge considering the fact that Jordan only has one hand, and that type of thing could easily come back to haunt them in crunch time, but I doubt it. So even with a one spot drop I don’t think they have any less of a chance to win the whole thing. They’re still Top Four and have a great chance to make the Finals.

Current Rank: 4

Change from Last Week: -1

Preseason Rank: 3

ct and diem

They leapt over Jordan and Sarah this week to continue their upward trajectory in the rankings largely due to their fantastic performances in Challenges. They finished 2nd (barely missing out on 1st) in Week One, and now they made it to the top three in the Week Two challenge as well. I’ve had my doubts about Diem’s abilities for years, and her sickness only further shook my faith, but if her and CT keep putting up these amazing finishes (narrowly missing out of victory each team) I’ll have no choice but to reconsider. Already I think Diem is one of the top female competitors after her performances thus far, and we all know CT is a monster in these things so if they can keep it up I foresee nothing but success for these two.

Current Rank: 3

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 5

wes and theresa

They BARELY lost the Challenge this week so they’re obviously still near top dog status, but unfortunately the team they lost to was the only team outranking them last week, so I can’t move them up. Moreover, if Theresa doesn’t get her act together and start playing safer Politicks these two will be in trouble. For now though I still consider them one of the frontrunners to bring down the whole thing. The only problem is theres one team still ahead of them…

Current Rank: 2

Change from Last Week: 0

Preseason Rank: 2

bananas and nany

… the King still sits atop his Banana Throne. They narrowly won a Challenge this week, putting them into Power Couple status which is always a plus. However, Nany has apparently turned nearly the whole female side of the house against her which if left unaddressed will become a major issue. I have faith that Johnny will straighten everything out though, so for now I guess it reamins “All Hail the Banana King.” Until next time folks.