Takin' on 'The Challenge': Don't Let T.J. Decide

Season 39 of The Alabama Take's favorite thing -- next to college football -- continues with Battle For a New Champion! This season is all about finding a first-time Challenge champ. Every week, devotees to The Challenge answer questions. Spoiler warning ahead!

Back at it after a week off, Challenge fans. The last time we got together, Michele pulled the upset over Cara Maria to stay in the game and keep $10k in the prize pot. Last week, Brad was the returning champion, but he was also upset by Kyland -- making it four straight weeks where the house kept their money and no one was eliminated. This week, T.J. threw a mini-final at the competitors. The cast was split into random teams of four, racing through three checkpoints along the way to the final puzzle of the challenge. The team of Moriah, Kyland, Michele, and James came out victorious. They then chose Horacio to go into elimination, which upset a few people. The house, however, could not come to a decision on his elimination partner, twice having their vote in a stalemate. T.J. was not happy with that, and decided to let this week's champion, the legendary CT, choose his victim. The five-time champ chose Asaf, and promptly sent him home, taking $10k of the house's money with him.

Question 1: What did this week's mini-final tell you about the remaining competitors, and their chances of winning the real final?

TD: Colleen's early struggles certainly stood out enough to get the focus from the producers -- I'm not sure Jay's assessment that she'd burn out in a final is correct, though, because she fought to finish strong, even if their team couldn't solve the puzzle and win. Kyland continues to impress me. He beat both Darrell and Brad in eliminations, and was on the winning team this week.

Blaine: It spells a hard time for Horacio if a big part of the final comes down to math or puzzles; however, some of this week’s mini-final can be discounted because of the likelihood of running in a team or even a duo seems low. Kyland, Ed, and Nurys seem to have good enough stamina and mental clarity to do well, assuming they all make it.

Question 2: What did you think of Ed's move to vote for Jay and create the stalemate, instead of voting in Emanuel? Smart play?

TD: I loved it. Sure, he could've said Emanuel's name and hoped CT drew his or Horacio's name in the draw, but like he said: it's the chaos stage, why not do something chaotic? Plus, if the house is voting me in and I have a chance to do something to fuck them over, I'm taking that chance. In the end it worked out great for him, because a very strong competitor in Asaf was sent home.

Blaine: Not smart. Brilliant. It makes for great TV, and it takes him off the hook to a degree. It could’ve bitten him in the ass, of course. But the smile on his face says it all: “Hell, why not?” I loved it.

Question 3: Did any of those guys stand a chance against CT?

TD: LOL, no. A bunch of golden retrievers against a grizzly. I hope the plan is to bring back a few of these champions for the final in some way.

Blaine: This is where I have to say it. That gut CT brought in was even bigger than when Jay eliminated in Total Madness. I hate to say it; we all hated to see it. He did seem raring to go for the upcoming 40th season, so you got to think he’s headed home to train. Let’s hope so. The sheer intimidation factor gave CT such a wealth of mental dominance over whoever he was calling out. CT did get a bit lucky that it was a strength and math elimination. He can still handle both of those well. Had it been stamina or calisthenics, we may be forced with more annoyance from Asaf. CT didn’t pick Jay, sadly. Seeing Jay shit his pants would’ve been amazing, but CT did make Jay cry, and that’s worth the price of admission.

Blaine Duncan
Blaine Duncan
Editor-In-Chief, Host of Taking It Down
TD Wood
TD Wood
Editor and host of Takin' On Sports