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Claim to Fame 2 spoilers: painful but brilliant strategy in episode 2

Claim to Fame 2 spoilers: painful but brilliant strategy in episode 2
Jane runs during the first stage of the Claim to Fame 2 episode 2 challenge (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC)

The celebrity relative reveal at the end of Claim to Fame 2 episode 2 was nowhere near as dramatic as Carly screaming, “I should have more camera time!”

But what preceded was quite dramatic, at least in terms of reality TV intrigue and strategy. This is what I loved so much about season one, and it’s great to see layered strategies emerging already, presented in a way that’s easier to understand and follow than, say, Big Brother’s over-simplifications.

One reason for that is that Claim to Fame’s editing has a way of completely ignoring people. “I am so under the radar right now,” Olivia said during the episode, and I was like, “Who?!”

At the start of the episode, Karsyn said about Shayne, “She’s going to be one that we’re going to have to keep an eye on.” Then Karsyn basically disappeared from the episode.

Shayne, meanwhile, shared a story about visiting Michael Jackson’s house as a kid, and shared with us about her quietness. “Everyone thinks I’m this huge threat, and I literally have no notes in my book,” Shayne told us. “I barely know my own clues.”

Chris wonders if this means she’s related to Janet Jackson (I can’t imagine Shayne would so directly point toward her relative, though maybe that’s a good strategy?), and then throws out Lenny Kravitz.

The episode then shifted its attention to someone I honestly did not remember was even on the show: Jane. Travis decided to share his clue with her, because, like me, he couldn’t decipher it last episode.”I’m 22 years old,” he said. “I’m hoping she has the cultural knowledge to fill in the gaps.”

A person sits in front of a wall of wine bottles and looks at a small piece of paper
Travis Tyson, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s son, looks at the clue he won in Claim to Fame episode 1 (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC)

Thanks to some of your comments, pointing out that the deer-like animal was not to be interpreted as a stag but as a buck, the clue became immediately clear to me, as it was for Jane.

That turns it into a play button + buck + wheat = “played Buckwheat,” and points directly to Eddie Murphy. The adult version of the Little Rascals character Buckwheat is one of his iconic SNL characters.

Jane first seemed reluctant to even hear the clue from Travis, but quickly revealed—to us, at least, how much of a strategist she is.

“Now you have a layup,” she told Travis, who for some reason got emotional and cried. She comforted him, and then told us, “I’m planning to take advantage of that” connection.

“I’m telling a little bit of the truth with my lies,” Jane told us. Then she turned around and told everyone else that Travis showed her his clue, but lied to them, saying “I can’t figure out this deer.”

One reason I like the Claim to Fame format is that, as Jane pointed out, they are all there lying; that’s literally a requirement of the game. There will no doubt be hurt feelings, but at least there won’t be any of the sanctimoniousness about lying that there can be on, say, Survivor.

Shayne wanted to get Travis out because he had her clue, while Chris suspected that the whole thing was a lie, and wanted to target Jane. But who gets targeted depends upon who wins and loses the challenge.

A person in a black cape and top hat with comical makeup running down a red carpet with Lego bricks all over it
Monay races her way to a win on Claim to Fame 2 episode 2’s challenge (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC)

The challenge was staged in the back yard, but unlike last year’s pool patio, the challenge team now has a huge, expansive field to work with, where they assembled a three-part challenge.

The first: rows of red carpets were spread out, where Kevin and Frankie spread “tiny, plastic, pain-inducing blocks that I will not be naming for legal reasons” all over the carpet. Yes, they had to run across Legos with their bare feet.

First, though, they had to put on makeup, and a top hat and cape—comical versions of getting ready for a Hollywood event. The best part was that their slapped-on, brightly colored makeup stayed on for the rest of the challenge.

Monay finished first; J.R. and Gabriel came in last, so they each had a clue revealed: the city where their celebrity relative was born. J.R.’s comes from a small town in Georgia, and Gabriel’s from San Diego.

Round two was diving into a barrel of fish chum and fish heads to find a trophy. Despite the stench—Kevin Jonas was standing far away and recoiled when the wind shifted—they all dove in, but Monay won yet again.

The last-place players had their celebrity’s birth year revealed: Jane (1946) and Shayne (1961).

Olivia declared that 1946 was “basically dead,” and I can declare that Olivia is not good at math. 2023-1946 is only 77! Betty White lived another 22 years, which is possibly much or all of Olivia’s lifetime?

The third stage was endurance/torture: an “ab builder” i.e. a belt of electrodes. No one tapped out in the allotted time—Jeff Probst would never preside over an endurance challenge with a time limit!—which was impressive.

Hugo’s smiling expression won the round, though; he looked calm and happy, telling us he was used to meditating and cuing a little montage of a calming nature images.

No clues were revealed in the third round, and because she’d won the first two rounds, Monay won immunity and the clue.

Jane and Gabriel ended up at the bottom because of their last-place finishes. (How exactly would producers have determined who lost after three rounds? Hmm.)

Two people sitting on wooden patio chairs, talking
Jane and Travis chat in happier times on Claim to Fame 2 episode 2 (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC)

The pre-Guess-Off scramble was fascinating. Jane didn’t want to use her knowledge of Shayne’s relative yet, and was not 100 percent confident about Travis. So: easier to let Gabriel attempt that and possibly fail.

Since Jane could be voted the guesser, she turned on the tears with several players, who assured her they wouldn’t vote her as guesser. Jane told us, “I understand how to work a crowd and take advantage of my motherly ways.”

But since Travis had Shayne’s clue, players who were not Shayne, especially Chris, wanted to get the clue from him first. “I need to get Shayne’s clue out of him before he leaves,” Chris said.

So Chris told Travis 1) that everyone was saying Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2) that “there’s a high chance” he’d be chosen, and 3) the way out of that was to tell Gabriel his Shayne clue.

Sharing Shayne’s clue with Gabriel “could help you to deflect that,” Chris said—and J.R. overheard, and then went to tell Monay, Cole, and Shayne. That freaked out Shayne.

Chris and Gabriel chatted, and Gabriel still could not get Neil deGrasse Tyson’s name right, calling him “Neil Tyson deGrasse.” In an interview, Gabriel even asked a producer if he had to get the name exactly right. The producer said, yes, “it would have to be the correct name in the right way.”

Chris’s strategy worked. Gabriel revealed that Jane stabbed him in the back by telling everyone who his relative was. Then Travis told Gabriel about the Shayne clue.

Incredibly, Chris overheard them, lurking around the corner. So now Gabriel, Jane, and Chris know, though no one knows Chris knows.

Meanwhile, Monay picked Chris’s clue, and that confirmed for me who his dad is. The rebus was [puppy heart t-shirt N eye doll 7 t-shirts]. She read the t-shirts as “shirts” instead of “tees,” and while I think the first half refers to the song “Puppy Love,” the second half definitely says “an idol in the 1970s.” Oh, and then there’s the fact that Chris just looks exactly like Donny Osmond!

Monay told others she’d selected “a confirmation clue” for Travis, and lied badly about it, saying it had “stars.” C’mon, you need a better lie than that!

The house had to choose between Jane and Gabriel to be the guesser, and chose Gabriel. Would he call out Shayne now that he had a clear idea of her identity? As he said in a confessional, it was safer to go with Shayne because he could actually pronounce her celebrity relative’s name.

“It’s my sure shot,” he said before saying—Travis’s name. That’s your sure shot?! Dear reader, I was very surprised by this choice, both for pronunciation and back-stabbing reasons. Gabriel literally told Travis that he was stabbed in the back, and then stabbed him in the back!

Gabriel did finally say “Neil deGrasse Tyson” correctly when it counted, and that was correct. Jane’s hunch was accurate.

In a particularly awesome moment, Neil appeared via video to confirm that he was Travis’s dad. “He’s smart, I guess,” Travis joked.

After Frankie said that Travis’s dad had really inspired him, Travis joked, “What happened?”

Travis told the group that he felt “betrayed. Y’all are fishy, in more ways than one.” But he did not scream or cry about his screen time, and left with a smile on his face. And he is not wrong! That’s what makes Claim to Fame 2 so great: it’s early for such betrayals, but here we go.

Correction: This story originally got its math wrong: Betty White died at age 99, which is 22 years past 77. I regret the error, and attempting to do math to make a joke.

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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!


Tuesday 4th of July 2023

My hunch was Chris was John Mayer's brother, because I think they look so similar in the face as well! I hadn't picked up on Donny Osmond at all.


Tuesday 18th of July 2023

@AK, the minute I saw him the first thing I thought of was that he looks JUST like Donny Osmond. I can't see anything else.


Monday 10th of July 2023

@AK, it’s the oldest Simon’s not donny


Tuesday 4th of July 2023

Wow-I was sure that Chris' clue was about Paul Anka, because the first two symbols reference his song "Puppy Love" and I didn't know Donny Osmond also recorded his own version. But comparing their two ages, clearly only one of these singers could have been a teen idol in the '70s. Good job, Andy! I feel like it was a mistake for Jane to target Travis so early, especially since they definitely knew Shayne. If one thing is clear about this game, it's that because you have to rely on your pop culture knowledge going into the game, you're never going to be able to guess everyone on your own (Given all the clues in the world I don't think I ever could have figured out Logan's connection to Jason Aldean last season, for example; I just don't know male country music stars). By targeting Travis, I think Jane loses someone who probably has a different knowledge base than her (being the oldest and, I think, youngest in the house) and also betrays someone who trusted her, increasing the target on her own back. Hopefully she can misdirect the others about her own relative's clues, because it looks like she is the big fish for the other players right now.

Andy Dehnart

Tuesday 4th of July 2023

This is where my absolute lack of music knowledge helps! I had no idea the original was Paul Anka's song. 😂


Monday 3rd of July 2023

Your math is off. Betty White did not live 33 years beyond age 77. That would be 110.

Andy Dehnart

Tuesday 4th of July 2023

😂 I should have known better to make fun of someone’s math skills! Thanks for the correction; I’ll fix it and add a note.