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Claim to Fame 2 spoilers: players grope around for clues and alliances in episode 4

Claim to Fame 2 spoilers: players grope around for clues and alliances in episode 4
J.R. explores a clue during the Claim to Fame season 2, episode 4 challenge (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC)

Let’s talk about Claim to Fame’s rebus puzzles, which are awarded to challenge winners as clues, and how the cast is going about deciphering them.

They’re challenging puzzles, and I’m not always clear on what certain images mean. (Thank you to those who leave comments helping us all to understand them!) But the players keep doing two things that just seem illogical.

First, they’re reading clues with inconsistent internal logic. For example, J.R. looked at Karsyn’s clue, which has two icons that look like hard drives (maybe record players that are followed by the actual number four. He read that as 24, because there were two images followed by a four.

If the puzzle gives you an actual number, why would they give you another number in a completely different format? Granted, “the 70s” was represented as seven t-shirts, but that’s still not just being translated to merely seven.

The “24” led J.R. to think/confirmed for him that it was NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, whose sponsor was Budwieser, but two drives, a four, and a beer don’t say “24 Budweiser.” And J.R. is not the only person to read a clue like that; most notably, Jane did, too, and that’s how they misidentified Chris as being related to Elvis.

Again: the clues are tough! I’m not pretending that I understand them immediately. But they’re not being very systematic about it, at least in the footage we see.

A person leans against a wall and looks at a piece of paper
Shayne Murphy, Eddie Murphy’s daughter, looks at Karsyn’s clue on Claim to Fame season 2, episode 3 (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC)

What’s also frustrating to watch is the way they went about looking at Karsyn’s clue this week.

Shayne showed it to people, and while they were looking at it, other people would start to explain parts of the clue. After J.R. decoded it as Jeff Gordon, they showed it to Gabriel, and just told him about the 24, so of course he’s going to now read it that same way.

The point of showing someone who hasn’t seen it should be to get fresh eyes on it. But giving that person your interpretation primes them to see it that same way, and perhaps miss a different interpretation.

Two people stand outside in front of a decorative fountain; one holds stacks of blindfolds in his hands
Kevin Jonas and Franklin Jonas introduce the Claim to Fame season 2, episode 4 challenge (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC)

When Claim to Fame episode 4 opened, the cast was convinced that Shayne and Monay “set up” and “misled” Jane, as Gabriel said. Karsyn told us it’s “absolutely terrifying that Shayne and Monay were that clever to do something like that.”

I’m not sure if that’s true; the editing was weird. In a post-elimination conversation, we saw Shayne say both “the crown—we were like, king of rock” and “somebody had to go,” which could just be her saying 1) here’s how we misread the clue and 2) it’s okay Jane’s gone since it’s not me.

Shayne did say “They think we’re masterminds,” but she never actually said a version of I set her up.

We did see Hugo say “that’s brilliant” and Karsyn say “also, don’t ever do that to me,” but the editing chopped up that conversation, so I’m not confident Shayne admitted to it. But I also don’t know why Claim to Fame itself wouldn’t just tell us that their assumption is wrong; after all, last week’s episode showed Jane and Shayne and Monay misreading the clue.

Shayne and Monay are working together, and with J.R., planned to try to tell Cole and Hugo about the Jeff Gordon clue, in order to get Karsyn out and protect Shayne, whose relative’s identity—Eddie Murphy—is the only one the whole house is sure of.

Meanwhile, Cole has a crush on Shayne. In a funny interview moment, a producer asked Shayne, “Do you know the effect you have on these men?” and Shayne just smiled.

Hugo, Olivia, and Cole are guided, blindfolded, by Frankie Jonas on Claim to Fame 2 episode 4 (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC)

For the challenge, the cast was split into three teams of three. They had five minutes to explore, blindfolded, a field of large statues, all of which represented a clue. The team with the most correct guesses won.

While there are nine players left, there were 12 clues total in the field, which was basically like a giant version of the memory wall. (I assume there are clues for the already-eliminated players, as they’d built this challenge before they knew who would be eliminated.) The clues:

  1. cheeseburger
  2. tire
  3. shrimp
  4. flamingo
  5. dragon
  6. sheep
  7. Swiss cheese
  8. a Roman-ish statue
  9. eagle
  10. Saturn
  11. horns
  12. butterfly

The players never got to see them unblindfolded, and at least one, Olivia, lied to her fellow teammates about the clues she deciphered in order to protect her own and get information.

We did get other information. Gabriel suspected the cheeseburger referred to him, because, he said, “my brother was on Nickelodeon with Keenan and Kel,” who were in Good Burger.

Karsyn identified the tire as hers, along with the steering wheel on the clue wall, so a NASCAR driver isn’t totally off the mark. Cole thought the Swiss cheese was his clue.

Speaking of clues, I loved that, when Frankie and Kevin were about to give scores, and identified the green team, Monay said, “Who’s green?” Karsyn said: “Us.”

Here’s how it went:

  • Cole (captain), Olivia, and Hugo — 2
  • Chris (captain), Shayne, and Gabriel — 5
  • Karsyn (captain), Monay, and J.R. — 3

As winning captain, Chris chose to see Hugo’s clue, which had these: finger beckoning + & + deer + in + officer? + who + farmer + two wacky-face emojis.

I don’t understand the emojis, but I’m pretty sure the first part is: come + and + deer + in + chief + who + farmer, so a commander in chief who was a farmer = Jimmy Carter. Right?

As losing captain, Cole selected Hugo to join him in the bottom two. And thus began the pre-Guess-Off scramble.

Hugo told Karsyn, Chris, and Olivia that Shayne was targeting them as a group and Karsyn in particular. Chris told Hugo to “play both sides,” and they planned to vote Hugo in as the guesser, so Hugo could just take out Shayne.

Shayne talked to Hugo and told us, “I hope we convinced him that we’re not setting him up.” She smiled after saying this—another tease about whether it’s true or not.

Cole told Karsyn everyone thought her relative was Jeff Gordon—and then Karsyn told Chris that they’re wrong. Chris, however, didn’t trust her and thought she was lying, and then told Gabriel and Hugo what she said. His thought was she was trying to dissuade people from voting for her.

Ultimately, Cole was voted as the guesser, and he chose—after a dramatic beat—Shayne, in order to make the easy guess. Everyone was shocked, perhaps because of Cole and Shayne’s relationship, or just that he’d taken that guess away from everyone else.

He guessed, correctly, that Shayne’s dad is Eddie Murphy. Shayne didn’t have much to say about him, and Eddie Murphy did not send in a video or a Buckwheat clip. Clarification: I watched an advance screener ABC made available to TV critics, and it did NOT have the Eddie Murphy clip that aired on TV, so it was a slightly different version of the ending. So yes, Eddie Murphy did make a cameo appearance!

Interestingly, Shayne told USA Today that she didn’t tell her dad: “I didn’t know that I was going to even be on the show until, maybe, two days before we were scheduled to start filming. And I hadn’t told him about it until that point. So he was a little surprised, I’m sure, but he’s very supportive.”

“I think he just got nervous and went with the first person he was confident about,” Shayne told us after her elimination. “I feel betrayed.”

She was right. “I had to go with a sure shot to keep me in the game,” Cole said. And I’m glad he did: it makes Claim to Fame more interesting to have a safe bet out, especially this season, when the show isn’t revealing their identities to us.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart

    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!

Bad Mitten

Tuesday 25th of July 2023

“NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, whose sponsor was Budwieser”

- Not sure if you might have been projecting here in terms of what the cast thought, but Jeff Gordon’s sponsor was not Budweiser, that would be Dale Jr.

Andy Dehnart

Wednesday 26th of July 2023

Yep, I was summarizing J.R.'s interpretation—I don't know how he got a specific beer brand from that clue, never mind the inaccurate sponsorship!


Tuesday 18th of July 2023

I think the clue for Hugo rads Come + And + Deer + In + Chief + Who + Farms + Nuts Commander in Chief who farms nuts = Jimmy Carter


Tuesday 18th of July 2023

@LizzylooHue, bingo.

I would really love C2F to do clue explanation lower thirds like Masked Singer does after an unmasking.

A cute bonus would be to have someone talk out the rebus like Jack Narz and Alex Trebek did on Concentration and Classic Concentration. I nominate Ken Jennings wearing on of Alex's ties.

"This is a hand making a come here sign. Come. Ampersand. And. Then we have a deer. Come plus and plus deer. Come And Deer. Commander. ..."


Monday 17th of July 2023

I figured out the statue clues from #ClaimToFame! I won't put who in the house they're related to but it's pretty obvious at this point: Cheeseburger - Jenny McCarthy (Wahlburgers/married to Donnie Wahlburg) Tire - Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR driver) Shrimp - Tom Hanks (Bubba Gump Shrimp) Flamingo - Donny Osmond (Donnie & Marie residency at The Flamingo in Vegas) Dragon - Eddie Murphy (Mulan) Sheep - Dolly Parton (Dolly the Sheep/first cloned mammal) Swiss cheese - Alicia Keyz (married to Swizz Beatz) Roman statue - JB Smoove (Ceasars rewards spokesman) Eagle - Jimmy Carter (president/USA) Saturn - Neil DeGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist) Horns - Lil Nas X ("Call Me By Your Name" video) Butterfly - Nick Cannon (ex-husband of Mariah Carey)


Wednesday 19th of July 2023

@Vandy, I think you’re off on a few quite a few

Emily NidetzEmily

Monday 17th of July 2023

Eddie Murphy did appear in a video at the end so maybe he wasn’t in the advanced copy you got?

Andy Dehnart

Monday 17th of July 2023

You are right, Emily! Just edited to add a clarification—the version critics had a different version of that reveal. I will make sure to check in the future!