The Challenge: USA wrapped up its second season on Thursday. The reality competition show originally aired on MTV in 1998, but the U.S. version now airs on CBS.
The show is a battle between contestants tasked with a daily challenge that tests their physical and mental capabilities. Their objective could be to complete a puzzle one day or dangle 100 feet in the air the next.
After they compete, the winners — one man and one woman — choose two people to send into the arena where strategy is vital. The two teams go head-to-head to stay in the game and survive another week.
Since airing on CBS, the show now includes players from other network shows, such as Big Brother, The Amazing Race and Survivor, who compete against “Challenge” veterans.
Here were my predictions of which male and female I thought would take home the grand prize of $250,000 each, which I’ll then compare to the actual results:
Four trials make up the finale: strength, smarts, skills and a steel stomach. For each trial, the person who finishes last gains a one-minute penalty added to their final end time. The final includes an eating challenge with extremely unappetizing food items. The morning after the trials, there is a 10-mile run with three puzzles to do and a mountain to climb to reach victory.
I predicted that Tori Deal would be the female winner, since she previously won her first-ever challenge last season in a 100-hour final. Also, she has made it to the finals before. Deal seemed to be the strongest female contestant, able to solve puzzles in record time. This, coupled with her many alliances in the game, took her straight to the final.
Every time Deal has been on the show, she has taken the food challenges like a champ, not complaining once while speedily completing the task at hand.
For the male winner, I predicted that Faysal “Fessy” Shafaat would win. Coming from Big Brother, he entered The Challenge: USA with full force. Fessy has yet to win a final, but has come close several times.
This season, he won a total of six daily challenges — even beating his best friend, Josh Martinez, in the arena right before the finale. If there was ever a time to pull off a victory, this was his moment. He is extremely successful in the physical challenges and has built strong alliances with the veterans.
Fessy had made it to the final challenges before with partner competitions. He is a great strategist who excels in puzzles. I thought his impressive daily challenge stats and willingness to devour the gross concoctions host TJ Lavin put in front of him would help him take home the grand prize.
The results of the finale were shocking. Chris Underwood, a rookie, and Desi Williams, a returning challenger, each won $250,000. Underwood and Williams were previously on Survivor, which helped them form an alliance and ultimately take home the prize.
Deal and Fessy were the first ones eliminated, which surprised many fans. Fans on social media were shocked to see a rookie win, given the typical predictability of fan favorites’ success.
With the addition of new challenges and thrilling plot twists, this season of The Challenge: USA was one of my favorites. I also enjoyed how each player’s personality came out as they faced the grueling challenges.
The infamous competition show wrapped up on CBS, and its new version, The Challenge: Battle For a New Champion debuts on MTV on Tuesday.