It’s okay to cry and it’s okay to cheer (if you are a hater). Hunter, Kailah, Tony, and Jenna were eliminated right before the final, sixteen episodes into the season. All had distinct seasons where you gained a better opinion of them as people and characters.
I’ll be honest in saying that I am bit sad about the four eliminated. Mostly because they all played good games in their own regard, some more than others. Tony and Jenna lost in the second elimination and made their way more back into the game where they stayed under the radar. They also made power moves when they had to. Hunter had to play the game against the entire house and had to win to stay in the game. Kailah was sent home after literally not being eliminated in any way all season till the end. Heartbreaking.
They may have not made the final, but here’s a little ode to all of them that barely missed out.
Many do not like Kailah due to this ongoing thought that she isn’t very intelligent. Choices like picking Derrick K over CT in a size based elimination and putting Jemmye into elimination are head-scratching choices. What was proven is that Kailah does under how to play the game. She made the power move of sending Cara Maria to the Redemption House, and she didn’t strengthen her chance of knocking her out of the game completely by not sending in Tori or Jenna to face Camila in elimination, but that was all in her plan to get her AND Jenna to the final. Kailah is a Big Brother fan, and for her, she cared more about bringing her friend to the final than the best win for her. Yes, she wasn’t loyal to Cara Maria, at the same time there was no reason for her to be. She ended up showing true loyalty in the end to Jenna.
It should be noted this season is essentially a second rookie season for Kailah. The format of the Oasis/Shelter on Kailah only allowed her to compete in two daily challenges all season even though she was on six episodes. The daily challenges are something that players get better at with experience. Her jump as a competitor from this season to the next should be HUGE. A lot of Challenges to come for her, and I think we are looking at a future Champion.
The robbed king of the Challenge Dirty 30 is Hunter Barfield. He came onto the show after a strong performance on Invasion that was cut short during the Underdog Bloodbath. This season he got an actual story-line that wasn’t having sex with Ashley and being the bulked out kid who freaked out on a bus ride home.
He was forced to face his two best friends in elimination (Nelson and Cory). Hunter watched all his female allies in the game leave early (Amanda, Ashley, Marie). Had to eat a water rat in order to get back into the game. His best friend was DQ’d from the game. He devoured LeRoy in a physical elimination based completely around LeRoy’s strengths. In that elimination he broke his hand and went on to win the very next daily challenge that sent Jordan and Bananas to the Redemption House. In the end he lost because of his hand. Just like Cara Maria on Free Agents, this hand injury has taken away an opportunity from a strong and emerging competitor. When Cara came back, she won a Challenge. The next time we see Hunter, expect a win coming. He’s a future champion in the flesh.
It is not a coincidence that Jenna has made it to the end of the show five seasons in a row. She made it to the final of her first three seasons, and has lost in Bloodbaths/Purges before the final in consecutive seasons. She kills it in eliminations, doesn’t make herself a major target in the game, and plays the guys more than the girls. All the guys are cool with running the final with Jenna because they respect her as a physical competitors. You might be playing against the girls, but the guys make a major impact in the female game.
Jenna winning a final one day would require her to test her limits. She hates eating gross food and in the final it will be inevitable. Currently she is recovering from a broken ankle after the filming of the spin-off Champs vs Stars. Hoping she recovers and comes back strong for Challenge 32 with Kailah and Tori.
Tony’s overall performance this season was a pleasant surprise. We need tof first get this out of the way though: Don’t cheat on the mother of your child with a racist. You can’t cry and talk about how much you care about your family, and then be a piece of shit on any random night because you choose to.
Besides that, Tony made huge breakthroughs this season. For once, Tony made it to the halfway point in the game and was there at the end of the game. He won his first individual daily challenge, he made big power moves in the game, and proved that he might be an actual threat. Seriously, in a house as stacked as the Dirty 30 from the male perspective, Tony making it this far is somewhat baffling.
In the Challenge players grow in moments. The positive moments often propel players to bigger and better game performances. Tony making top five could be the prelude to Tony making the final on Season 31 and maybe winning one day. He still might not be a good player, you just can’t deny that he’s not getting better.