MTV’s The Challenge: Spies, Lies and Allies Preview

The best athletes in the world typically compete at the Olympics. However, you could make the argument that the top global athletes actually compete on MTV’s The Challenge, which returns tonight for its 37th season, Spies, Lies & Allies.

All kidding aside, I’m so glad to have The Challenge back in my life. After years of dedicating my life to this show, I took a short hiatus after Invasion of the Champions. I still checked in here and there, but my official return was Total Madness, the first season during COVID. Without professional sports, The Challenge provided the perfect mix of athletic achievements, gameshow politics, and drama.

One of the producers watched another James Bond movie for the second straight season and created an entire season around espionage. I don’t hate it. According to the preview, it’s going to be 34 players – 17 veterans and 17 rookies. In a clip from the first episode, the rookies will have to “save” a veteran from snakes, and the pair will become partners. I prefer seasons with partners as opposed to individual matchups so this incarnation will be right up my alley.

Below are the synopsis and trailer from MTV.

The Challenge: Spies, Lies and Allies will feature 34 players spanning the globe — representing the most countries ever on the competition franchise. Assembled in the picturesque Mediterranean coast of Croatia, elite U.S. Agents will join forces with an assortment of International Operatives, all armed with killer competitive instincts. With the assignment constantly evolving, these agents will be tested both mentally and physically to win their share of $1 million in an epic new chapter of The Challenge spy games. Look out, James Bond.”

The success of The Challenge comes down to the cast. If this cast loves to compete, party, and stir up drama, we’re in for a treat. My biggest complaint is the lack of partying and the drama that ensues when contestants get drunk. Because of COVID, the contestants are not going out into the town so that takes away some of the steam from their drunk hijinks.

Spies, Lies & Allies Cast

Some quick hitters in regards to the cast of The Challenge:

  • The champ is here as CT returns for his 19th season. CT is pulling his best Brady imitation in old age with two wins in the past three seasons. His partner from last season, Amber B, is not featured on this list, but she will show up eventually as evidenced in the trailer.
  • I don’t watch Survivor (a fatal flaw) so I can’t give any insight into those players. Frankly, I don’t know the majority of the new international players.
  • I’m glad Nam is back. He survived Lolo’s scoldings and cried after an injury ended his game last season. He’s a real one.
  • I ride with Devin.
  • Josh crying at some point this season, -3500.
  • What is The 12 Dates of Christmas?
  • Did you know Cory… wait for it… has… KIDS?!

One of the best changes the show made was the addition of the skulls. To run “TJ’s Final,” contestants need to win an elimination. The days of coasting to a final without entering the *insert name for the elimination battleground* are over. It appears that the skulls will be returning, and I couldn’t be happier.

Prediction Time: How do you not pick CT to repeat for the guys? However, unless your name is Johnny Bananas, the odds of repeating as a champion are slim. I don’t believe in Fessy until he proves it to me. After what he did to Kaycee last year, how could you root for Fessy? A male rookie to win it all could be the play. Size doesn’t (always) matter, but Kelz Dyke looks like an absolute specimen.

On the female side, the clear favorite is Kaycee. She’s two for two in terms of making the final. I also like Tori to do well. Her mouth can get her into trouble, but she’s a beast on the battlefield.

My Winners: Kelz Dyke and Kaycee Clark

Who do you think will win this season? Leave your predictions in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

MTV’s The Challenge: Double Agents Preview – This Changes Everything

MTV The Challenge Double Agents

The fifth major sport is back on MTV. To quote a nervous cast member after TJ Lavin reveals a twist and diabolically laughs, “This changes everything.” Tonight, The Challenge returns for its 35th season titled Double Agents.

If there’s one silver lining in quarantine, it reassured my love for The Challenge. Back in April, there were no professional sports on television. I was miserable. I noticed The Challenge was returning and decided to give it a shot. I used to be a diehard fan for about 10 years, but took a break for a few seasons because the product began to suffer.

Let me be the first to say I’m glad I watched last season because I’m fully back into this crazy world of reality television. The Challenge is the perfect blend of athleticism, drama, and politics.

Double Agents has been described as a “partners game, but the contestants still can’t trust anyone on this spy thriller-inspired showdown.” I can’t wait for TJ Lavin to drop the first twist. I expect a lot of backstabbing this season. Below is the cast of Double Agents.

The Cast

Initial Thoughts

– It’s weird to not see Johnny Bananas on this list. Going into every season, he’s always the favorite since he holds the record for most season wins with seven. He deserves a break and during a pandemic, who could blame him?

– For the veteran guys, Wes and Darrell will be popular picks to win it all with CT and Leroy in the tier below. However, the overall favorite should be Fessy, who was an absolute beast last season. If Fessy spent quarantine on a treadmill to improve his cardio, I don’t see anyone beating him until the final.

– On the ladies’ side, it’s much harder to pick a favorite. Can you believe that Ashley is the only female to have previously won a season? Ashley’s two wins should make her the frontrunner, but her unpredictability makes it hard to trust her longevity. Lolo Jones is a former Olympian so by default, she will be one of the favorites. The most anticipated debut belongs to Natalie Anderson, a legendary winner on Survivor. If I had to pick one favorite, my vote is for two-time finalist Kam Williams, who dons an impressive 7-2 record in eliminations.

Quick Questions

Who Will Give The Toast?

The unofficial start of The Challenge is the famous “Bananas Toast.” As fans, we all look forward to the party on the first night and in particular, the Bananas Toast. Without Johnny B, the toast won’t be the same, but someone has to do it. The logical selection would be CT or Wes. However, CT rarely drinks on the show and many people hate Wes. I’m calling my shot right now and picking Kyle to make the toast.

Will Josh Cry?

Is the Pope catholic?

Will Cory Talk About His Daughter?

Did you guys know that Cory has a daughter?

Who Will Nany Fight?

Nany is going to fight with someone. It’s only a matter of time before Hurricane Nany goes on a rampage. Last season, she went toe-to-toe with Aneesa and some ramen noodles. Looking at the cast, someone will either try to hit on Kaycee or call Nany a liar. My money is on Ashley.

Who Will I Root For?

Back in the day, I had my squad that I rooted for every week. It included Bananas, CT, Alton, Derrick, Paula, Laurel, and Diem. Last year, Jenny West earned a spot on my team. This year, I’m hurting for favorites. I’m very indifferent to this year’s cast. I enjoy the drama and always root for train wrecks, but can’t say I’m going to root for a lot of new people this year. Gabby Allen is the leader in the clubhouse to join my inner circle. She’s a personal trainer from England who made the finals on Love Island U.K.ย andย Celebrity Big Brother U.K. Say no more because I’m in.

My Picks

The smart picks to win it all are Fessy and Kam. I think Kam is the right pick for females. Kam’s one of the strongest girls and finals’ experience narrowly puts her ahead of Lolo and Natalie.

Fessy is the guy to beat, but I’m going to zig with my selection. The man I’m picking to win is…


There will never be another Johnny Bananas, but Devin’s game is as close to Johnny’s strategy as you can get. His political game is elite, which he displayed by taking out multiple vets in Rivals III. His physical game is so-so, but he managed to beat Bananas in an elimination in Vendettas. At times, he’ll bite off more than he can chew, but Devin is sneakily one of the best guys in the house. I’m picking Devin to win in an upset.

Devin and Kam

Enjoy the fifth major sport!

Who do you believe will win it all? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us,ย @unafraidshow.

Johnny Bananas Cemented Himself As The Greatest Player In Challenge History

Johnny Bananas

In basketball, the GOAT debate is between Michael Jordan and LeBron James. In movies, Citizen Kane and The Godfather typically duke it out for the top spot. In MTV’s The Challenge, there is only one GOAT and his name is Johnny Bananas.

Last night, Johnny Bananas and Jenny West won Total Madness, the 35th season of The Challenge. The duo split the $1 million prize down the middle so $500 thousand a piece is a nice chunk of change. The final challenge was all about endurance as the 9 competitors hiked up a snow-covered mountain in freezing cold temperatures, completing tasks along the way. If I’m being honest, this wasn’t my favorite final challenge. I enjoy it when the final challenge consists of solving puzzles, eating disgusting animals, and puking at every corner. The mountain is tough for competitors, but the entertainment value suffers to a degree. Despite the disappointing final, the season as a whole was a return to prominence for the MTV reality show.

Finals are hard to win and what Jenny and Bananas did was beyond impressive. Jenny is my favorite female competitor and Bananas is my favorite male competitor so it was a good night in the Girolamo household. Jenny will be a beast for seasons to come and I look forward to her evolution as a competitor. However, last night was about a king cementing himself as the greatest player in Challenge history.

There is no argument as to who the top dog is anymore. Johnny Bananas is the greatest competitor in the show’s history. In 20 seasons, Bananas has won 7 times, which is the most for an individual player in the show’s history. After last night’s 500K purse, Bananas is now the all-time money earner on the show with $1,184,720.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Bananas early on. Before Johnny Bananas became a star, he was simply “John Devenanzio.” In his first season of The Challenge, The Duel, Devenanzio was embarrassed as the first contestant eliminated and sent home. After The Duel, John Devenanzio evolved into Johnny Bananas and unleashed his dominance. In his next nine appearances, Bananas reached seven finals, winning five of them.

How did Bananas become the greatest competitor in the show’s history? In simplest terms, Bananas “gets it.” The Challenge is not just about being the most physically gifted athlete. CT, Landon, Laurel, and Alton would have won every challenge if it was all about physicality. The smartest players do not always win as well. Sarah Rice and Mark Long played great political and social games, but that didn’t always lead to victory. In order to win The Challenge, you need a combination of brains, brawn, and strategy. You need to pick your battles, stay out of early eliminations, and make sure the majority of the house vote is on your side. No one plays a better game than Bananas. He’s the strongest political force in the game, flipping votes in the house at the drop of a hat and brokering side deals with players to ensure his victory. When it comes to physical eliminations, Bananas can keep up with the best of them. Just ask Jordan.

Bananas did suffer a few hiccups on the road to greatness in the form of the CT Backpack, which is a top-five moment in the show’s history.

Sarah Rice also turned on Bananas before the final of Battle of the Exes II.

However, Bananas had the last laugh when he pulled the biggest villain move in the show’s history by keeping all of the prize money instead of splitting it with Sarah.

Some, including Bananas himself, cited that moment as a curse since Bananas hadn’t been to a final since that moment. It’s safe to say that the curse is over. This season was no walk in the park. Bananas had to defeat both Wes and Rogan in eliminations as well as come from behind to win the final.

Johnny Bananas is the GOAT of The Challenge, but there is a case to be made that he’s the GOAT competitor throughout all of reality game shows. I’m not a huge Survivor fan, but I know only two competitors won the game twice: Sandra Diaz-Twine and Tony Vlachos. American Ninja Warrior and The Amazing Race are similar in nature to The Challenge, but no one has ever won seven times. Singing competitions like American Idol and food competitions like Top Chef are almost in their own section of reality game shows. If Bananas is not the GOAT of reality game shows, he’s at least on Mount Rushmore.

Bananas hinted at taking a break, although it’s not an official retirement. Bananas will be back in the future at some point. However, if this was the last time we see Bananas, then let’s toast to the king.

MTV’s The Challenge

P.S. I don’t think it was rigged.

Is Johnny Bananas the GOAT? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

The Challenge: How I Reunited With One Of My Favorite Shows On MTV

I think we can all agree the pandemic sucks. I’m trying to be a glass half full type of person during this time in order to make the best out of the situation. I’m using this time to stream endless amounts of movies and television shows. Furthermore, I’m excited to announce that I’ve reunited with an old friend from MTV. It’s a show from my childhood that I grew up with and it happens to be the unofficial “fifth major sport of America.”. The show I’m referring to is The Challenge. We took a break for a few years, but just I’m back just like Al Pacino in The Godfather Part III.

For those that have never watched, The Challenge is a reality tv game show that pits contestants from reality shows like The Real World, Ex on the Beach, and Big Brother up against each other in a series of physical and mental tasks. In simpler terms, MTV sticks a bunch of drunk idiots into a house and forces them to compete for money. It’s one of the “OG” competition reality shows. It even debuted before Survivor, which is a fun fact you can share at your next trivia night if we’re ever let out of the house again.

I started getting into The Challenge around 2005 with The Inferno II and The Gauntlet 2. These shows featured stars on the tail end of their reality careers like The Miz, Theo Von, and Jamie Chung while Johnny Bananas, Derrick Kosinski, and Evelyn Smith were just getting their first taste of the competition. The Challenge used to be the perfect mix of physical and mental competitions to go along with house drama and hookups. However, as the years went on, the show started to focus more on the latter instead of the former, so I stopped watching after Rivals III in 2016 aka when Bananas became the most legendary Challenge player of all time.

Fast forward to last month. With sports off the air, I needed some athletic programming back in my life. Enter The Challenge: Total Madness. I’m happy to report that Total Madness has been pretty good so far. If I had to describe a perfect episode of The Challenge, it would include four components: A challenge, house drama, spicy hookups, and an elimination. Besides one or two episodes, this season has stuck to that format.

Total Madness has given us a few noteworthy moments with the biggest occurring when Jay beat the iconic CT in an elimination. Jay defeating CT in an elimination is a bigger upset than the “Miracle on Ice.” Unfortunately, “Dad CT” was out of shape and couldn’t correctly tie a knot so that sent him packing.

The key twist to this season involves the elimination itself. In order to qualify for the final, contestants must win an elimination. There have been seasons where contestants can avoid eliminations, make the final, and win the prize money. Just look at Rogan last year, who won never went into an elimination before winning the final. In my opinion, that’s bullshit so I’m happy this stipulation was put into place.

The only downside to this season is the cast. In terms of storylines, this cast has a flair for the dramatic, which can be both good and bad. Bear trying to win over Kailah while plotting to ruin her relationship is hysterical. Bananas and Wes are secretly teaming up, which is a nice wrinkle. Nany throwing a cup of noodles at Aneesa was equally funny as it was disrespectful.

That being said, it’s hard to root for the majority of these people. Maybe it’s a “me problem,” but I dislike 50% of the cast. Plus, I’m indifferent about 35% of the remaining members so that doesn’t leave a lot of room for my rooting interest. If I had to narrow it down to my top 3, it’s Bananas, Jenny, and the nicest person in the house, Big T.

I can’t wait for our first “This Changes Everything” moment. It’s the highlight of every season. For those interested, my Top 5 Favorite Challenge Contestants:

  • Alton
  • Johnny Bananas
  • Derrick
  • Laurel
  • Paula

It pains me to leave CT off the list, but he would be my sixth man.

Enjoy watching America’s fifth major sport!

What’s your top 5? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.