So last night wrapped up season 3 of Challenge All-Stars and let me tell you something. That was the best season of any Challenge franchise in a long, long time. It's what the show is supposed to be about. Entertaining daily challenges, alliances, alliances broken, people fighting and lying about each other all while partying, good music and TJ Lavin. The only thing really missing was a Hall Brawl. That's my only complaint about the season.
It's what the show is supposed to be about and All-Stars is really finding its groove. The cast keeps getting 'better'. By that I mean names like Wes, Jordan, Nia, Kailah, etc are all back this season and had notable runs. It's the right mix of true nostalgia with the show, guys that we know and recent people. It's also all Real World/Road Rules which is how the show started (and should be, with Fresh Meat obviously).
I will say how much I hated that the finale of this went up against this new Challenge USA on CBS thing. We couldn't find a way to separate days for that? I'm going to watch Challenge USA even if it doesn't seem like it should be called that.
Let's get into the finale.
Jonna's turn into Andre Iguodala
Jonna was never a *great* competitor while on The Challenge. But all three seasons she looks the part? She's having this Andre Iguodala run where she's the vet coming in and just winning. You can see the way she takes over some of the Finals and has been balanced all season. She's good with puzzles, doesn't kill you in partner games in terms of running, even the gross eating part was able to choke it down. She's won a ton of money in the last two seasons but she's now a staple of the show. She's become arguably the best female contestant on the show.
Wes played a flawless season
Listen, it's hard to give Wes credit when you cheer for Bananas or CT or anyone that's opposite Wes. But, he played a flawless season. He got to the Finals with no real drama outside of throwing in a couple people into elimination but that was a group decision. He got to the Finals with Nehemiah and Brad - two of his guys. Is it shocking? Not necessarily. Him and Jordan were probably the two favorites to win from the guys side when the season started.
Obviously there was going to be a twist in the final. The first one was TJ actually letting them sleep on a yacht for the overnight. Then it was simple. The top two guys and top two girls were safe. The two with the least amount of points had to do a crossword puzzle. KellyAnne vs Kailah and Brad vs Mark. Quick check on the guys spelling of countries:
The crossword were countries were different finals were held in. I don't know they struggled so much. You didn't need to study the map or anything like that. You just needed to know a little bit of geography. Nothing crazy either because you could eliminate just based on spelling.
The final? Actually good
It's tough to get a good feel on how a Final will be with this show. This got back to the basics. Some running, some puzzles, some swimming, kayaking and of course gross eating. I actually liked the points system and reward you for winning checkpoints and then individual stuff. It added a little bit of a mental game in terms of trying to challenge 2nd place if you were in 1st, etc. This was a good final though. Easy to follow along. Everything from wrestling to eating.
The stars throughout the season made sense
If you watched the entire season, you saw stars on people's shirts. They all started with 1 and if you won an elimination you got however many stars the person you beat had. We found out that ultimately meant if you had the most stars you started with 5 points in the Finals. Good. I liked something like that because it paid off for winning eliminations. You couldn't just skate by.
There needs to be a season 4. Hell, this needs to be the staple of the franchise going forward. It has what everyone wants to watch. They'll add people like Bananas, CT and names like that. It's everyone who knows how the game is played and not the bullshit we've seen too much on the MTV version of the show.