MTV’s ‘The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions’ Review

MTV's The Challenge: Invasion

MTV’s The Challenge finished two weeks ago with the reunion show airing last week and when I first found out about this season, I was excited y’all! The Challenge is my favorite reality show on MTV and I’ve watched it for so long, I can’t remember which season I started with. However, I remember watching the original Challengers like Coral, Mike “The MIz” (who hosted the reunion show), Veronica, Mark, Tina, Derrick, etc. So when MTV announced the cast for this season’s The Challenge, I was beyond thrilled to see some familiar faces we hadn’t seen in a while, which, of course, had me questioning if they still got it. Like every season, new rookies are brought into the game and I can’t help but wonder if they actually have what it takes to compete and win The Challenge.

MTV's The Challenge: Invasion The Underdogs

The Underdogs

This season is like no other. There were 18 competitors, all who have never won a challenge before. Some have placed and some came so close to going to the final challenge, but there are also some first timers who have never played the game before. Here were the 18 Underdogs competitors:

  • Amanda (Are You The One?)
  • Anika (The Real World Seattle: Bad Blood)
  • Anthony (Are You The One?)
  • Ashley M. (The Real World: Ex-Plosion)
  • Bruno (The Real World: Skeletons)
  • Cory (The Real World: Ex-Plosion)
  • Dario (Are You The One?)
  • Hunter (Are You The One?)
  • Jenna (The Real World: Ex-Plosion)
  • Kailah (The Real World: Go Big or Go Home)
  • LaToya (The Real World: St. Thomas)
  • Marie (The Real World: St. Thomas)
  • Nelson (Are You The One?)
  • Nicole (The Real World: Skeletons)
  • Shane (Road Rules: Campus Crawl)
  • Sylvia (The Real World: Skeletons)
  • Theo (The Real World Seattle: Bad Blood)
  • Tony (The Real World: Skeletons)

The Underdogs expected to be living in a mansion by the water with a huge pool, comfortable beds, and cold mixed drinks in their hands. Their expectations were crushed when they arrive to “The Shelter”, which is a bunch of creates on the floor and mosquito nets above their cots and underneath a roof right by the ocean. However, TJ gave them hope to fight hard during the challenges, as the winners will earn a spot in “The Oasis”, the mansion the Underdogs were originally expecting to be living in.

MTV's The Challenge: Invasion The Champs

The Champions

What the Underdogs didn’t know was 8 Challenge Champions would soon invade the game and compete against them in order to win. While the 18 Underdogs were in Thailand fighting for the money and winning challenges, the Champions are back in America training and gearing up before they headed to Thailand and surprised the Underdogs. Here are the 8 Champions:

  • Ashley K from The Real World: San Diego with one victory, The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons.
  • Johnny ‘Bananas’ from The Real World: Key West with 6 victories.
  • CT from The Real World: Paris with one victory, The Challenge: Rivals 2
  • Camila from Spring Break Challenge with one victory, The Challenge, Battle of the Exes
  • Cara Maria from Fresh Meat 2 with one victory, The Challenge: Battle of the Bloodlines
  • Darrell from Road Rules: Campus Crawl with 4 victories.
  • Laurel from The Challenge: Fresh Meat 2 with 1 victory, The Challenge: Free Agents
  • Zach from The Real World: San Diego with one victory, The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons.

After 6 Underdogs were sent home during elimination rounds, the Champs invaded the game and seeing the remaining Underdogs’ reactions was absolutely priceless. The Underdogs actually believed they had a fair chance to win The Challenge and to see that hope gone was actually kind of fun to watch because if they knew better, they’d know nothing about these challenges are easy. You have to fight, play dirty, and earn your title to be a Challenge champion.

However, to my surprise, the Underdogs were better than the Champs. They won more challenges, which earned them money in their team bank account. Somehow they worked better as a team despite all the crazy drama and shady moves they pulled on each other to get to the final. I only liked three of the Underdogs, Tony, Cory, and Jenna. Everyone else I found annoying or believed they shouldn’t have been in the competition. Unfortunately, out of the three Underdogs I liked, Cory was the only one who made it to the final and placed in third.

MTV's The Challenge: Invasion Darrell

The entire season I was rooting for the Champs. Of course it’s because I’ve seen them in several Challenges and despite the dirty game Bananas plays and how much I hate Camila’s attitude, I was still rooting for the Champs. Although I already knew CT was going to win (I couldn’t stop myself from looking at spoilers, haha.) I wanted him or Derrell to win it all. Bananas had already won so many – Yes, Derrell won 4, but that’s two less than Bananas – and as much as I love looking at Zach, I didn’t want him to win because of how he treated Jenna before. As for the girls, I only wanted Cara Maria or Laurel to win, but then that whole drama with Nicole happened and I didn’t want either of them to win.

Overall, I thought the challenges were good. They were fun to watch (minus the eating challenge, of course) and it did show the competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. When it came to the elimination rounds, I enjoyed watching the Champs’ eliminations better because their eliminations were some of the best elimination challenges we’ve seen in previous seasons. For example Knot So Fast, which CT dominated in and didn’t even give Darrell a chance to undo CT’s knot. I think that was my favorite elimination round because it was two of the greatest Challengers going head to head for the last spot to make it to the final Challenge.

MTV's The Challenge: Invasion Johnny "Bananas" Darrell
Darrell sending Johnny “Bananas” home after an elimination round.

Speaking of the final Challenge, The Miz said on the reunion show it was one of the toughest challenges he’d ever seen. I disagree. Granted, I’m not one to know as I wasn’t competing, but as a viewer, I felt like I’ve seen more intense and tougher finals in previous seasons. Like remember the time when CT and Diem were practically skinny dipping in freezing water that could send their bodies into shock and had to be treated by medics afterwards in Battle of the Exes? Or do you remember during Free Agents the Challengers had a five-stage race to reach the top of Villarica in two days?

I understand this challenge was hard as it was for the first time in Challenge history, a three day final. The final six competitors had to swim and canoe a total of over 10 miles. That’s exhausting just thinking about it. I have no doubt the competitors were dying and their muscles were aching, but then later on they had the most ridiculous task of putting the most beads through a string. Personally, I expected a bigger “WHOA!” factor. Like when Johnny “Bananas” shocked us all in the previous season where he took all the money instead of going half with his partner, Sarah.

MTV's The Challenge: Invasion Hunter CT

In the end, I was only happy CT won and would have preferred Cory come in second instead of Nelson. I’ve loved CT from the beginning and to see him win his second challenge was amazing, especially since he was winning for his baby boy. Since Cory joined the Real World, I’ve liked him. Although Nelson was selfishly playing the game for himself, which is part of the game, I didn’t like how over confident he was. It was annoying.

As for the girls, I never really liked any of them. I used to like Nicole on Real World, but she was extra annoying on her first season of The Challenge. I didn’t like how she played with Laurel’s feelings and with Laurel’s best friend, Cara Maria, who aren’t friends anymore, which is sad. It’s awesome Ashley won a challenge but I still think she needs to prove herself. I would like to see her go into an elimination round and come back with an elimination win under her belt.

Overall, this season was okay. The hype didn’t meet my expectations but the drama certainly did. I would hope the new mini series, The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros will be better.

You can catch The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros on Tuesday nights at 9/8c on MTV

Photo Credit: MTV

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About Amy

I watch A LOT of tv shows and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm obsessed with couples from my favorite TV shows. I get lost in the different worlds of books. I sing my heart out and have my own concert in my living room with my iPod blasting. Lastly, I love to write. You can follow me on Twitter @iAMart_22

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