Preseason Challenge Preview & Predictions with Rachel and Michael!
Michael Mix Preview & Predictions
Free Agents Format – this isn’t exactly a new format, given that everyone played for themselves on The Duel (2006-2007) and The Duel II (2009). I don’t like the fact that one out of the two players that get sent into Elimination is put there by pure chance; I like seeing the typical politicking that goes on when the Elimination participants are chosen by group vote instead. I also think that this could backfire on MTV – in the past MTV always knew that the blue chip players would likely not be thrown into the first few Elimination challenges; now someone like Johnny Bananas could potentially have to go into the first Elimination Round if he is selected by chance.
Otherwise, I like the format, but maybe next challenge I would like them to go back to two giant teams (i.e., Rookies vs. Veterans or Good Guys vs. Bad Asses). It has been a long time since there has been a format like that.
Males – I think CT and Jordan are objectively the best two athletes in the house. Jordan had a fantastic rookie season, and I think he could take “The Leap” this season. But there is a deep bench this year, with a lot of great Challenge players including Zach, Leroy, Frank, and Johnny Bananas.
My pick to win it all is somewhat of a sleeper pick – Leroy. Leroy is a great athlete, but his partners on previous Challenges have been Mike (Rivals), Naomi (Battle of the Exes), and Ty (Rivals II). Not exactly a murderer’s row of partners; Leroy had to carry all of those teams. Now that Leroy isn’t going to be constrained by a partner, I think he is going to take it all.
Females – How could Laurel possibly lose this competition? She is unquestionably the most athletic girl. I don’t even know who could challenge her – maybe Cara Maria? Not having Emily or Paula (because she is pregnant!) in this competition hurts the female field. Laurel is like Phil Mickelson circa 2003 – just like Phil at that time was unquestionably the best player never to win a Major, Laurel is the best Challenge player to have never won (now that CT won Rivals II). I think that just like Phil won the 2004 Masters, Laurel will win Free Agents. If Laurel wins, that could set up a great Emily vs. Laurel match-up on next Challenge.
Rachel Arbeit Preview
Free Agents is the best possible title MTV could give this show, as it finally recognizes the cast as what they are: athletes (who may or may not make a lot of money).
At the end of last night’s Real World: Ex-Plosion reunion, the cast was asked if they wanted to be on the Real World so that they could be on The Challenge. Meatheads and future rivals Cory and Brian raised their hands, while the rest of the cast looked around, as if they were unsure if they were supposed to answer that honestly.
My point is that the Real World is just the minor leagues for The Challenge. It’s a place to go to scout the next level of rising talent.
One new face on this season of The Challenge is Real World Portland’s Nia. Of all the rookies this season, I am most curious to see if Hurricane Nia and her tall, hard body and somewhat functional brain can make her a good competitor, or if the same lack of discipline that gets her fired will be her downfall.
This season is especially tough to predict because players will be randomly thrown into eliminations, which I think sets it up so that a few favorites will lose early.
However, here’s who I think will come out a winner.
Males: There’s a lot of power on the men’s side of the cast… besides Chet and Preston. Cohutta, Brandon, Swift, Johnny from Portland and Isaac may play well, but they are physically outmatched by the competition. Frank has emerged as a new, even more annoying Johnny Bananas-type competitor, Dustin and Zach make up for what they lack in their brains with chiseled physiques and Leroy is everyone’s favorite – fun, of normal human nature and intelligence and fit. These guys will have good runs, but I don’t think they will make it to the mountain final.
Coming off his first victory, I see CT as the one to beat and I’m picking him to win it all again this season. CT has finally calmed down enough to avoid getting kicked off the show, but maintained the level of fierceness that intimidates the field. Plus, him winning means he’ll aim for a three-peat next season. That would be very exciting.
Determined by his age/fact that he may not do too many more of these or maybe just take a break to help Paula raise her baby, I see Johnny Bananas having a solid season, coming in second place. Hot off a stellar rookie season, I think Jordan takes third for the men.
Females: Opposite of the men’s roster, the women’s side is pretty weak. Jessica, Jonna, Jasmine, Nany, Emilee, LaToya, and Devyn are far better equipped for drama than victory. While I’m sure one of the aforementioned ladies will pull off a surprise knock off in the elimination round, I don’t see any of them having a chance to make it to the mountain. There are a few who I think could get in there and make things interesting… Aneesa with her size and experience, Theresa could do something maybe (strong endorsement, I know) and as tall as a hurricane Nia could be that rookie who has a breakout season. But I just don’t see them suffering in the snow at the end.
Back and looking better than ever, Laurel may be the super-favored to win by everyone and you know what? I think she will win. It’s hers to lose, really and she’s too sharp and unafraid to let that happen.
In a non-swimming final (good reveal, MTV trailer), motivated and experienced enough to have some confidence, Cara Maria is my pick to take second place. In her pretty-much-pointless preview video, she says one thing that stuck with me: “I’m coming for you, Emily” (because they don’t know the cast til they get to their destination). Cara Maria set her sights high and seemed to be training pretty intensely. I think she’ll have a great season, though probably not emotionally. Camilia will come in third because she’s the third best on the female side of the competition, and she’ll likely out smart or drive Nia crazy at some point.
Who do you think will win it all?