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Familiar faces from multiple CBS competitive shows, including Love Island, Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race, joined the cast of The Challenge: USA to compete for a grand prize and the title. Host TJ Lavin shared who he thought could cross over to the MTV franchise.
Before The Challenge: USA premiered, host TJ Lavin spoke with Parade regarding the new competition show and its similarities and differences from the established MTV franchise.
The interviewer pointed out that viewers will see a cast of reality TV personalities who have never played the game for the first time and asked the host his opinion.
"I don't think there was a dry eye in the house and it showed how tough that guy is." ?
After a life-threatening injury back in 2010, TJ reveals what it felt like to return back on set. #TheChallenge500 pic.twitter.com/UdHgKRmP0e
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Lavin admitted he enjoyed watching the rookies “blossom” and pointed out that some players previously competed on “really hard shows” such as Survivor.
Although he noted their challenges are more difficult, the BMX legend noted “it’s definitely difficult to survive,” so he has “a lot of respect” for them.
The host continued, admitting he thought the Survivor representatives might not adapt to The Challenge atmosphere, “but surprisingly, they all did really well.”
He also pointed out that Big Brother players had an advantage coming to the show as they had experience dealing with others in the house and using politics.
You know when TJ's up to something when he gives that look ? #TheChallengeUSA pic.twitter.com/o8fCvoORPb
As Lavin thinks Survivor players would perform best on the MTV franchise due to the “grit” and their ability to push past feeling “miserable,” noting that’s what it takes to compete in a final.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that he picked Survivor champs Ben Driebergen, Sarah Lacina, and Tyson Apostol as USA competitors he would want to see in MTV’s The Challenge. He also named Big Brother 23 alum Alyssa Lopez, calling her a “real challenger” who “gets in there and does it.”
In a June 2021 pre-season interview posted to the official YouTube page, Lavin explained that contestants must “outwit, outplay, and outlast” in The Challenge, similar to the motto of Survivor. Therefore, he believed they would likely perform better than those representing the other CBS reality shows.
Lavin specifically named Blood vs. Water winner Tyson, adding he has his “eye” on him, considering the Survivor favorite “the one to beat.”
TJ is my kind of PETTY ? #TheChallenge36 pic.twitter.com/5asgb1zPE2
The long-standing host called Ben, who won Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, a “close second” and pointed out that Survivor 42’s Danny McCray is a former NFL player who previously played for the Dallas Cowboys. “I don’t think any guys from any other shows have a chance,” he declared.
When speaking about Big Brother players, Lavin admitted he didn’t know how the former Houseguests would measure up to the competition—noting the lack of physicality in the show, the host isn’t sure of the incoming players’ abilities. However, he named track star Angela Rummans (BB20) and BB23’s Alyssa, a collegiate soccer player, as possibilities. Additionally, Lavin claimed he didn’t think the Love Island competitors stood a chance against the others. The Challenge: USA airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS.
RELATED: ‘The Challenge: USA’: Why TJ Lavin Thinks ‘Survivor’ Players Have the Best Chance to Win