Takin' On 'The Challenge: All Stars': "It Was a Good Jay"

One prevailing motif of this low-key fourth season of The Challenge: All Stars is that there is a player for some reason unbeknownst to viewers, members of the house do not like. For a while, it was Cara Maria, taking heat particularly from Laurel, Nicole, and Kam. This week that’s put on the backburner for Adam’s sudden disdain for Steven, old friends from the first season of Road Rules. Either the claims of Cara Maria and Steve’s evil ways are overblown or the folks in editing are doing a poor job of giving a full picture. 

What happens this week begins in earnest with the daily challenge, where the players are in shopping carts and tasked to lasso a pole in order to propel themselves to the next pole or beyond in order to claim their stars at the finish. It’s an odd daily that doesn’t produce much in terms of excitement with the notable exception that Jay figures out that the rules never said that you have to lasso more than the first, so he makes the wise decision to use his upper strength to move between poles and lasso only the first and last. It makes for quick work; as Laurel does a similar approach, both he and she claim victory. 

Jay knows this is his chance. As a winner, he’ll get the opportunity to replace either of the nominated players in elimination. He gives his word to Leroy that if Leroy is voted into elimination again, he’ll rescue him. The rest of the house seemingly agrees that it’s fair that Ryan, who has not gone into elimination this season, and Leroy, who’ll be relieved of duties by Jay, should be the votes. 

In the time that it takes Steve to shower, that all goes to shit. Ryan backs out. He requests not to go in. Ace – kind, ever-loving, sweet-to-a-fault Ace – cannot go against Ryan’s wishes. So much so that Ace moans and groans through deliberation and cannot even say a second name beyond voting for Leroy. It matters not. The rest have decided that it’ll be Steve and Leroy in the elimination. 

Now that makes Steve a bit angry, and rightfully so. As far as he knew in his luxurious, pampered shower, he was all safe. Steve, though, isn’t the type to yell in frustration. Instead, his demeanor turns from stoic to irritated, at worst. 

At elimination, which consists of players diving into their own ten-foot tanks of water to retrieve pieces of a several colored poles which they must assemble outside of the water, Jay keeps his word, and Leroy thanks him; however, that’s not all. Jay has a right to avoid his promise: not only is he color-blind, but with a broken nose, doing diving won’t be as easy for him as he’ll have to hold his nose each time, making his opponent have an advantage by using both hands in one dive. 

In an admirable move, though, Jay knows it’s his last chance and that he made a vow. He goes in, does quite well to a point, only to be beaten by Steve, who’s now won three eliminations this season. Not shabby! Unless you’re Adam, who believes each elimination was a gimmie for Steve. Really? 

Steve’s presentation of deadpan self-awareness does nothing but make Adam’s accusations of him being a liar and more a bit strange: it’s either the editors leaving out things or Adam has it all wrong out of bitterness of losing his star once again. 

Plus, Steve’s logic makes perfect sense on why it had to be Adam to lose the star: he voted for Steve; Leroy was voted in, so his chance of losing a star was definitely a possibility; and Ryan chickened out, so he’s undeserving. Instead, Adam’s angry and sweet ol’ Ace gets the star, and also claims to be undeserving, That may be so for Ace, but he’s playing a helluva game that may award him an appearance in a final: lay around a lot, don’t win many dailies, and be incredibly affable. Well played, Ace. 


  • Laurel reveals more of her possible true colors when she denigrates Jay for going into elimination when he didn’t have to. She did that last week, and it was a bad look. Just ask Kam. 
  • Speaking of Laurel, thank god that her and Nicole’s affair took a back seat to everything else this week save for a couple of minutes of screen time. 
  • T.J. points it out, so I won’t belabor the point here, but Jay deserves recognition for a big turnaround since his last appearance on The Challenge
  • While the daily challenge left a little to be desired, both this week and last week's eliminations were more demanding, and due to that, more entertaining and exciting. 
  • What do we think? One more episode and then the final? If so, we may be on the cusp of a purge next week. 
Blaine Duncan
Blaine Duncan
Editor-In-Chief, Host of Taking It Down