Challenge Retrospective: The Duel 2 Awards
While we have the objective history of the Challenge in the wikias, and the show intact to look back on to see how great the olden days were, we are missing some big things: AWARDS. As a major basketball fan, my friends and I spend hours on discussing who the league MVP is, who the rookie of the year is, and who are the top players per position are. I began with Fresh Meat 1, and now done the Duel 1,Inferno 3, Gauntlet 3, and the Island.
Here we are, the Duel 2. After three masterpieces in the Inferno 2, Fresh Meat 1, and the Duel 1, we got a solid season in Inferno 3, an eh Gauntlet 3, and one of the worst seasons ever in the Island. Duel 2 brought some firepower back to the Challenge, and while the cast was nowhere near as good on the male as it was for the Duel 1, it brought us a stronger female side, and a slightly tweaked better format. For the Duel 2, we had more competitors, more people in the final, and guy-girl eliminations in the same episode. Politics were quick, the daily challenges were somewhat meaningful, a lot near the end, and the format of the Duel is the best. You either win the daily challenge, or you are in danger to enter the elimination at any time. Nobody is safe, and I love it.
The Duel is the purest form of competition and the best format. Even with a weak cast, the Duel will provide a strong season. It’s a shame we never got Duel 3, and most likely never will.
The Rules: I will be giving out an MVP award for both male and female competitors on the season. MVP does not just go out to the pair that won the season, but the individual competitor who brought the most to the show: physically, socially, mentally, entertainment wise, hook ups, arguments, circumstances, etc. I will be naming First Team All Challenge, and Second Team All Challenge. These will be 5 person lineups consisting of the best/most important competitors from that season using the MVP criteria, and it can be 5 guys and 0 girls, or 5 girls and 0 guys, or just 3 guys and 2 girls. It will consist of 5 competitors regardless of gender.
Rookie of the Year awards will be given to both genders, and I will also be giving awards out for Most Disappointing Players of the Season(both genders), Top Physical Competitors, and Underdog of the Season. Here we go:
Male: Evan Starkman Female: Rachel Robinson
Keyboard warriors, before you attack for me picking Evan over Landon, know that this decision has been killing me for weeks, since even before I was writing my first awards column piece, all the way back at Fresh Meat 1. My mindset with picking Landon over Evan is that Evan brought drama to the house. He got under the skins of Davis & Nehemiah, where they picked him to go into back to back Duels, where he proved himself and won. Evan got called in for a 3rd surprise Duel by Derek Mccray, and torched him there. 3 times his name was called, and he proved himself each time. He led the politics for his group, he’d usually make sure that all his friends got a vote, and he was never the last man standing. He also won 2 daily missions, most importantly the final one.
Winning the final was the ultimate cherry on top, especially after making the epic last minute comeback sprint against Brad. Brad got to the final station first by a good margin, but Evan still was able to win, finally getting his long awaited win after four seasons. Evan was one of the most dominant players ever to enter the game, so it was always weird that he was never able to win. Duel 2 was satisfying for that reason. Evan’s story was the best on Duel 2. While Landon was the top athlete and dominated the season athletically, he was not one to stir the pot, and this was past his drunken days where he’d be wrestling Derrick K in the streets.
After a devastating quick exit on the Island, Rachel came back the following season for the Duel 2. In this season she looked great, dominated the competition by winning four daily challenges, including the final two individual daily missions to guarantee her spot in the final. Brittni did well in the final, but Rachel beat her by a good margin.
Rookie of the Year
Male: Isaac Stout Female: Brittni Sherrod
Brittni had one of the great rookie seasons all time, making it even more frustrating that she only did one season of the Challeng ever. She could of become one of the great female competitors, she chose not to. She won 3 daily challenges, and 2 Duels (beating Diem in one of them!). A strong 2nd place finish in the final garnered her 35k and a spot in Challenge history.
Isaac has always been a fan favorite. Sweet guy, loves cat whiskers on his face, and called Landon into a Duel for clipping his freaky long toenails. Never change, Isaac.
First Team All Challenge
Evan Starkman, Landon Lueck, Mark Long, Rachel Robinson, Brad Fiorenza
Landon won 5/9 daily challenges, literally more than half of them. His performance on the Duel 2 was God tier. Mark Long was 37 years old and won 2 daily challenges, where he never got his name called out for the Duel 2, and had a strong 3rd place finish in the final, where he was only a minute or two behind Evan and Brad before the final checkpoint in which we had to wait over an hour for Aneesa to come.
Brad was inches away from his first Challenge win. After years of heartbreak in these Challenges, it slipped out of his fingers inches away from victory. He may have got lucky, but he still beat Landon in a Duel. Even pure luck won’t help you beat someone like Landon. Brad is a great competitor, but was never dominant, it was sad to watch him come up short.
Second Team All Challenge
Brittni Sherrod, Aneesa Ferreira, Jenn Grijalva, Kimberly Alexander, MJ Garrett
Aneesa made a name for herself as being great at eliminations by winning 3 eliminations on the Duel 1, but proved it even further by winning 3 eliminations again on the Duel 2! She knocked Paula and Tori out of the game, and finished 3rd on the season. Her finish in the final was embarrassing, but she earned her way to the final, finished it, and got the check for 15k.
Jenn did a great job on the Duel 2, winning 2 eliminations, knocking out elimination vet Katie, and strong rookie Kimberly. She brought incredible romance with her relationship with Rachel. Wish this pair was on Exes 1 or Exes 2. Would kill for them to be on Exes 3.
Kimberly made the mistake of getting romantically involved with Dummy Bear, however she beat Challenge All Star Ruthie, as well as a solid competitor in Robin. One of the weirdest good players compared to her Real World season.
MJ came on the season as a replacement for CT. He finished 5th overall and won 2 Duels. Decent performance.
Best Physical Players
Male: Landon Lueck Female: Rachel Robinson
Most seasons there is usually a female that is able to dominate the game in individual seasons: Jodi, Rachel, Laurel, etc. The disparity in female talent most seasons are usually huge, while the gap between the best and average guys is not that big. For Landon to dominate a season like he did on the Duel 2 is still crazy for me to wrap my mind around, not even CT has had a season like this before.
Rachel was a beast. I wish Evelyn was on this season so they could challenge one another. Instead, it was her and a trailing rookie, Brittni.
Most Disappointing Players
Male: Chris “CT” Tamburello Female: Ruthie Alcaide
Watching CT take himself out of the game on the first night after the Inferno 3 incident was highly disappointing. This incident got CT an unofficial ban for a couple seasons, where it wasn’t until Rivals 1, 2.5 years later where he was able to rejoin the game, and first needed to be brought on as a heavy hitter for Cutthroat.
America wanted to watch Ruthie finally win one, and was instead beat by Kimeberly, a solid rookie, but was not seen as a good competitor at the time.