Preseason Challenge Preview & Predictions with Rachel and Michael.
Michael Mix Preview & Predictions
Format: The “Battle of the Exiled” – I am all for trying new things, but I am a bit worried about the “Battle of the Exiled” gimmick that the Challenge is trotting out this season. Already, the regular weekly challenge and the elimination challenge takes up a large percentage of time per episode. Adding a THIRD challenge will just eat up more time. That leaves less time for the politicking, drinking, fighting, hooking up, and general debauchery that makes the Challenge so great.
Note on the Deceased: Diem and Knight – sadly it is going to be difficult to watch this season knowing that Diem and Knight have passed away. The Diem special that MTV aired a few weeks ago was extremely tone-deaf, as the interviews appeared to have been filmed before her passing. Likewise, the trailer for BOTE2 begins with a Diem voice-over. I don’t know how I am going to enjoy this season with those two deaths hanging over it.
Winners: I think Jordan and Sarah are going to win. Jordan did so well in his first season (Rivals II), that I think he was extremely over-confident during his second season (Free Agents) and ended up doing poorly. I don’t think he’ll make that mistake again. I think that this season, he will play up to his potential. Sarah is a very good competitor who always ends up with bad partners (e.g., Vinny on Battle of the Exes AND Fresh Meat 2; Katelynn on Rivals I; Devyn, Chet, and JD on Battle of the Seasons, Trishelle on Rivals 2). Everyone probably has forgotten that she is a really good competitor (she was excellent on The Ruins back in 2009). With an athletic partner in Jordan and a weak crop of females, I think she will finally emerge victorious.
Rachel Arbeit Preview & Predictions
Format: Same as the original Battle of the Exes but with the “Battle of the Exiled” twist. A rip off of Top Chef’s “Last Chance Kitchen,” I’m curious if this extra game will be part of the weekly episodes or an online exclusive or a replacement for The After Show (a concept MTV never seemed fully dedicated to). If Battle of the Exiled is part of the weekly episode, I’d venture to think that between the regular weekly challenge, the elimination challenge and Battle of the Exiled, we will see 2 of those competitions per week (a thought Mix had before, but may have given up on).
Note on the Deceased: If it weren’t for the Diem’s collapse, which seems to likely cut her and CT’s time short on this season of The Challenge, I would pick them to win the whole thing. Diem was a strong competitor whose determination was so genuinely inspiring that MTV featured her on 6 seasons of The Challenge.
International Business Times (not sure why they cover The Challenge) has reported that MTV edited the season to make Diem and Knight look good, to honor them. While both of their deaths are tragic in their own ways (Diem’s long, hard fight with cancer, Knight’s sudden death), I don’t think it’s disrespectful to remember people as they were. Diem and Knight, like the normal, real people they were, got anxious and annoyed in the reality show house environment. Positive editing will certainly remove arguing points they would have gotten. Beyond our fantasy game, it’s just not the same knowing that MTV is openly editing them in a positive light. The amazing quality both Knight and Diem shared was their ability to shamelessly be themselves for the world to see, good and bad.
Winners: While I want to choose a different winning team than Mix, I just can’t. If Diem collapse was reported to have happened after filming, I would choose CT and Diem, as I think they are the strongest team. But I don’t think they will make it the entire season due to her illness. Wes and Theresa are a solid team, except for two things: Theresa couldn’t solve a puzzle to save her life and Wes is the “How is this happening?” Tony Romo chocking hazard of The Challenge. Bananas and Nany are good, but is Nany really capable of winning it all? She can certainly compete and very likely can earn the most points of any player with her inability to avoid drama, but I can’t convince myself she is a champion.
I can see Leroy and Nia making a run, but also can’t see them as champions. They can be good, very good even, but I don’t think they can be the best.
This leaves me to guess that Sarah and Jordan will emerge victorious.
Who do you think will win it all?