Challenge Season 35 Way Too Early Female Power Rankings

Before I start this article, I would like to thank the Vevmo Spoiler team for all the work they do year-round to gather spoilers and tea for Challenge fans. If PinkRose messages me, I would love to paypal them for all their work (seriously).

We do not have all the cast members yet, but we have a majority of them. I decided to power rank the twelve known female cast members based on their chance of winning S35. There is a male list too, but I am going to post that in a separate article tomorrow as this ran way longer than expected. Season 34 spoilers are not included, and I ranked them based on their performance and behavior on the show/social media up to this Monday.

Here we go:

EDIT: Big T, Tori Hall, and Kayla Fitzgerald (Amazing Race) have been added to the cast since I wrote this article. I would rank Big T and Kayla 14th and 15th based on the fact they are both essentially rookies who I have not seen compete very much. Tori is historically one of the most successful competitors in Challenge history, so I would rank her eight based on her past experiences. It is a bit low for a 2x Champion, but considering the social and political hurdles she will experience, I cannot put her much higher. She looks great though.

12 Melissa Reeves — 2 Seasons, Highest Finish: 12th Place Female Vendettas, 1–1 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S32 Final Reckoning

This is not a shocking placement. In her first season, Melissa got into it with Kam, and was put into the first two eliminations (one due to injury). Then she was disqualified in the first episode of her second season. She loves and craves attention, even if it is negative. She is an incredibly attractive and a good cast member, but she has a likely chance of going home first or early.

11 Bayleigh Dayton — ROOKIE, Origin Show: Big Brother 20

According to the internet, Bayleigh is 5'9 and 135 lbs. With that frame, she won’t be a pushover physically. Bayleigh is into yoga, and did track and field in high school (I’m unsure whether she continued as a track athlete in college). Her LinkedIn page notes that she had an athletic letter while at Baylor University, but I could not find any stats. Regardless, I think Bayleigh should have a good shot at succeeding on the show. Whereas Big Brother requires more of a snake-like political fashion; the Challenge is a direct form of game-play. Bayleigh’s more direct style of gameplay should translate well to the Challenge. Being a ride or die for another player means more than weak handshake deals.

Unfortunately, Bayleigh may fail because her fiance/husband puts a big target on their backs. Being a rookie doesn’t help either

10 Aneesa Ferreira — 12 Seasons, Highest Finish: 3rd Place the Duel/Lost the Final of Gauntlet 2, 8–9 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S30 Dirty 30

If Aneesa was going to win a Challenge, it was going to be Gauntlet 2, fifteen years ago. I’ll be honest in saying: I missed the bus when it comes to Aneesa. So many people talk about her positively, and I just don’t see it. She was really good on the Duel 1 and the Duel 2. However, she has ten other Challenge performances in which she’s performed badly in daily challenges, been a poor social/political power, and pretended to be irreverent to the experience while also tearing up when voted into elimination.

Aneesa is like the fifth Pokemon gym leader. She can defeat weaker opponents, test competitors in the middle, and will still be a badge for the great ones. I hope Aneesa proves me wrong though.

9 Jenna Compono — 7 Seasons, Highest Finish: 2nd Place Rivals 3, 5–2 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S33 War of the Worlds 1

Similar to Aneesa, I feel as though Jenna missed the bus on winning. Her best opportunity was during the Bloodlines-Rivals 3 era when the competitor pool was much weaker. Jenna is a B- competitor who looked A-level in a weaker class. With the influx of B, B+ and A level competitors in recent seasons, Jenna’s ability to shine as the prettiest wallpaper has dimmed. Jenna’s biggest strength for a long time was she was bigger than the other females. Since breaking her ankle during Champs vs Stars 2, she has become significantly thinner, and girls bigger than her have been cast (Mattie).

Among those who have competed in 30 or more daily challenges, Jenna has the second worst ratio of wins to losses (just ahead of Jemmye). Floating does not work when the entire cast of females is now stacked with average to above average competitors. The biggest thing in Jenna’s favor is that Sarah, Cara, and Paula all won on their eight season.

8 Nany Gonzalez — 8 Seasons, Highest Finish: 2nd Place Free Agents, 3–7 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S34 War of the Worlds 2

I’m one of the biggest Nany fans in existence. Lately, I’ve been wondering if it would’ve been better if Nany stayed retired. Since returning, Nany has been outplayed politically, gotten sour at friends due to her inability to adapt as a gameplayer, and hooked up with Hunter. These are suboptimal outcomes that my brain did not fantasize about. The fantasy was beautiful, but the outcome has been disastrous.

But if you ask me if I think Nany can win a Challenge? My heart still says yes! It makes no sense either. Nany is painfully average. She is not quite amazing at any one facet of the Challenge and honestly crumbles under pressure. Even with that knowledge, Nany has always had an X factor to her. When Nany appears on screen, she has a presence that is endearing and rootable. Will she put it all together? No. My brain knows it. My heart doesn’t.

War of the Worlds 2 is her best shot, if she cannot pull it off this season, I may have to close the book on Nany as a competitor.

7 Kaycee Clark — ROOKIE, Origin Show: Big Brother 20

From this section onwards, my brain thinks anyone can feasibly win Season 35. Kaycee is a 5'10 and 130 lb female football player. I met her in person and she is shockingly thin. However, she is tall, has great upper-body, and can kick some ass. If you didn’t know, Kaycee won Big Brother 20. She played an under the radar game and was compared to a chair for the first 50–60 days, and then in the end-game, ran the gauntlet and won competition after competition to guarantee herself safety and ensure her victory in the end. The jury voted for Kaycee because nobody ever considered voting her out for the first half, and then it was impossible when the game mattered most. That sounds like a perfect Challenge competitor. It’s literally the same play-style as Leroy, except Leroy doesn’t win at the end.

She’ll fit in fine.

6 Jenny West — 1 Season, Highest Finish: Still in contention of War of the Worlds 2, 1–0 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S34 War of the Worlds 2

You might wonder why I rank Jenny so low despite the fact that she looks like the next Emily Schromm and kicked ass in her first elimination. Well, it’s mostly because we have not seen much of Jenny as an individual. Almost all the daily challenges from War of the Worlds 2 have been team oriented. Besides the swimming challenge, the only glimpse of Jenny’s true abilities was in her elimination with Nicole. While TJ was impressed by how many times Jenny went up and down the glass tube, I am actually a bit disappointed by it. The Challenge is so mental. Even if Jenny is a great physical competitor, if she can’t do a puzzle or read instructions, other players will be to cut the right corners to beat her.

I need to see more of Jenny before I can anoint her a top competitor.

5 Dee Nguyen — 2 Seasons, Highest Finish: Still in contention of War of the Worlds 2, 1–1 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S34 War of the Worlds 2

The reason I rank Dee higher than Jenny is because I know Dee is smart, and I’m not sure if Jenny is. If we have learned anything from Ashley, it is that you do not have to be the best athlete to win, you need to be the best winner. Dee has been a savvy player on War of the Worlds 2. Even though she caught feelings for Rogan, her polidicking netted her a two man alliance of Rogan and Joss where she knows they will have her back. Dee has learned from Wes on how to play the game, and in some ways she plays it better than him.

As long as Dee plays to her strengths and keeps up with the best athletes, she can find ways to come out on top. If Dee can win a swimming challenge without knowing how to swim, who is to say she cannot win a final?

4 Kailah Casillas — 4 Seasons, Highest Finish: 4th Place (2nd Female) Vendettas, 4–1 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S32 Final Reckoning

I am not sure whether I am underrating or overrating Kailah at this point. It feels like it has been forever since she was on the Challenge. Similar to Nany, Kailah has this X factor that makes you feel some type of way about her and her actions. Kailah is impactful, and people either love her or hate her. I was disappointed when she was disqualified from Final Reckoning as she had shown so much promise beforehand. I was most impressed by Kailah on Champs vs Stars 3, where she kept pushing herself as a competitor, even when saddled with the sad panini that was Drake Bell. Despite Drake having no interest in being on the show (especially at that point), Kailah busted her ass, only for them to come up short in the final elimination where Drake was happy to lose.

If Kailah has been working out as hard as she was in the past, expect her to be coming for the #1 spot. Not being on the show also has its perks. Being located in Vegas has allowed Kailah to form friendships with any cast members visiting the area.

3 Mattie Lynn Breaux — 1 Season, Highest Finish: 7th Place (3rd Female) War of the Worlds 1, 1–0 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S33 War of the Worlds 1

Mattie was one of my favorite additions from War of the Worlds 1. She was physically imposing with her 6' frame and figure. However, her personality shone way brighter than any other aspect. Mattie was kind, funny, and charming. She gained the respect of her cast members by being someone who was great to be around. People don’t want to vote the person enhancing their experience on the show into elimination. Mattie fought hard alongside Kyle to keep themselves in the game, even winning a threeway elimination where two girls attempted to team up against her. She cut deals with Cara and Wes in the end in order to preserve herself once the game became individual. Mattie is a fighter who is politically savvy.

The only reason she is not ranked #1 is because she still needs to become better at daily challenges and she needs to work on her endurance (she quit the WOTW 1 final!).

2 Ashley Mitchell — 6 Seasons, Highest Finish: 2x Challenge Champion, Invasion of the Champions & Final Reckoning, 2–2 Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S34 War of the Worlds 2

I think Ashley was born to be on the Challenge. Seriously, she fits so perfectly onto this show, it is hard to argue otherwise. In terms of hookups, Ashley has a starting line-up of competitors in: Kyle, Hunter, Derrick H, Jamie, and Tony. Then if you include make-outs, she has Cory, Bananas, and Nelson. Ashley is a flip-flopper as she is Team Young Buck and Team Banony. A top notch polidicking play.

Ashley is hilarious in her confessionals, knows how to start drama which will improve her game, and has a level of self-awareness in daily challenges that other competitors do not. Ashley does not think she is the best athlete, but she knows if she pushes herself, most challenges have equalizers. She can play the game like an elite quarterback with limited arm strength. Ashley will not throw the hail mary as that is not her game, but when she sees a weakness in her opponent, she will pounce and get the win.

Or she might quit on the second day.

1 Tori Deal — 3 Seasons, Highest Finish: 3rd Place Dirty 30, (1–1) Elimination Record, Last Appearance: S34 War of the Worlds 2

Maybe I’m drinking too much of the Tori-Jordan kool-aid. Since Are You The One Second Chances, I have been all-in on Tori. She is a fucking force. I understand people do not like the faces she makes, the corny jokes, and the fact she “tries too hard”. However, I will take trying too hard over being wallpaper or being irreverent to the experience any day of the week. Nothing is worse than watching a cast member passively let the show and experience pass them by because it is not going their way. Tori is not attempting to create drama, but she understands it is a TV show and does not want to be boring.

Living with Jordan has its perks. If you haven’t noticed, the girl is in fantastic shape. She has killer abs, has legs to die for, and if she’s half the runner Jordan is, she’s probably got the best cardio of all the females. Tori can physically match-up to the stronger girls, she can run, swim, do puzzles, and enters the game with an elite alliance in Jordan. Yes, he may put a target on her back, but they are a force together. Tori has what it takes to win it all.

25 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.