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An alliance of six Challenge: USA players stay ‘locked in,’ and the result was familiar

An alliance of six Challenge: USA players stay ‘locked in,’ and the result was familiar
Angela Rummans, winner of the challenge on episode 10 of The Challenge: USA. (Photo by Jonne Roriz/Paramount)

The Challenge: USA started its penultimate week—next week is the two-hour, two-episode finale—with Angela saying that she is “locked in” with Alyssa, Ben, Danny, Dom, and Tyson, with all of them vowing to “keep each other safe to the end.”

Ben explained why: the potential of partnering up for the final challenge has them all nervous they’ll have to be paired with a loser (my words, not his).

That makes some sense, but I don’t recall hearing any conversation about this before now. What if they’re wrong, and they’ve kept all the strong players as their direct competition?

Either way, that strategy has produced a series of dull decisions. As soon as the stakes or drama ramps up, it deflates, back to zero by the start of the next episode.

Even Danny seems bored with his Kiki references: “Kiki would tell me: you better go out there and kill it.”

The challenge, “Code Crossing,” was reminiscent of some of my favorite Fear Factor challenges, which took place on the side of moving semi trucks.

The players had to place pegs in holes, giving themselves a place to stand and grip as they moved toward the front of the truck. In an interesting twist, they had the opportunity to place six pegs first, before starting.

Ben Driebergen hangs off the side of a truck on The Challenge: USA episode 10.
Ben Driebergen hangs off the side of a truck on The Challenge: USA episode 10. (Photo by Jonne Roriz/Paramount)

David and Tyson went first, with David declaring that made them “test dummies on this one to make it easier for everybody else.”

After his attempt, Tyson declared, “this game is impossible.” Narrator: It wasn’t, though Angela was the only player to make it to the front.

This greatly pleased TJ, who mocked everyone but told Angela: “Thank you so much. I appreciate you.” Ben was the winner in the other genitalia category, since he made it closer to the front than the others.

Domenick said, “I’m going to shock everyone. All these elite athletes that are out here? This guy, the 43-year-old out-of-shape dude is going to win this thing. You watch.”

We did; he didn’t. By the way, about 75 percent of the time, I cannot tell Enzo and Domenick apart, and I don’t understand why since they are very different people and players.

David was the slowest in the challenge, and wanted to face off against Tyson or Dom, just like Sarah wanted to go against Alyssa or Angela last week. “To take down the guy who’s been seemingly running things from day one would mean a lot to me,” David said.

Angela, of course, wanted to do nothing—er, “stick to what we’ve been working on with Survivor guys.”

She told Tyson: “Enzo is the only option here.”

It’s funny how the women are both to blame and in the debt of the men. Danny said Angela owed them for saving her last week, and Ben acted like she’d neutered him and told Enzo “Angela’s not going to let me do anything else.”

This was Enzo’s third time in the elimination challenge, and he was, I think it’s fair to say, pissed off.

Enzo Palumbo and David Alexander compete in the elimination challenge of The Challenge: USA episode 10
Enzo Palumbo and David Alexander compete in the elimination challenge of The Challenge: USA episode 10. (Photo by Jonne Roriz/Paramount)

“The rich get richer,” Enzo said, indicating Tyson. “This [bleep] won a million dollars doing whatever the fuck he wants, looks like he’s fucking Jesus Christ.”

Then he said “I’m going to start a war in this place if I get lucky enough tonight.” We’d be lucky if that happens, but that’s not the way things go on The Challenge: USA.

The elimination was “Balls In,” one of the classic Challenge challenges, which I recognized as being a classic American Gladiators challenge.

Ben said he wanted Enzo to win “because he’s the only one who makes me laugh,” and then after a tedious five rounds of dirt wrestling, Enzo won and the made me laugh by telling everyone, in subtitled Enzo, “Are you scared? I’m back in, you. Fuck yous, yo.”

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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Happy discussing!


Wednesday 14th of September 2022

"It’s funny how the women are both to blame and in the debt of the men."

I meannnnnnn I would say this cuts both ways Andy. I dont know if you pieced this together, but everyone was acting under the assumption that if the M/F winners didnt vote for the same person to go into the elimination, that the winner would go into elimination (which is a pretty standard rule for the MTV version). This basically makes it so that the man is ultimately choosing what woman goes in (due to the leverage of the female winner going into elim if they dont agree) and vice versa for the women choosing what man goes in. This is then compounded by the conflict of interest between the two genders - i.e. the women are going to want to keep the stronger men in the game (as the are also assuming they will be paired up in part or all of the final) whereas the men are going to want to eliminate the stronger men from the game (to have an easier shot in the final). Due to the opposite gender really having the ultimate say in who goes into elimination, they are then choosing the weaker competitors to go in so they dont risk getting paired with them in a final.


Friday 9th of September 2022

Just a curiosity question Andy, but why did you [bleep] one word in Enzo's quote and then add two "fucks" in the rest of the quote? Just made me laugh :D

Andy Dehnart

Sunday 11th of September 2022

Good question! I can usually tell with certainty what words are being bleeped, but for some reason, I couldn’t quite get that word. I assume “motherfucker,” but not with enough confidence to put it in quotes. And I always want quotes to be 100 percent accurate, even the explicit language!


Friday 9th of September 2022

Watching this series makes me realize how athletic the MTV Challenge competitors really are. These people would struggle to compete on the All-Star (senior circuit). Someone like CT who has remained competitive into middle age is really impressive.