Kyland Young is The Challenge’s USA’s Most Chaotic Contender
Following the first two episodes of The Challenge USA, I wrote a blog about Tyson Apostol, calling him God’s gift to the Challenge (I came off a little too strong). Tyson had won the first two daily challenges of the season in impressive fashion, and I outlined why he had found success and how he had set himself up game-wise to where he should have a clear path to the Final. Two weeks later, and now Kyland Young has emerged as a top contender on The Challenge USA, winning back-to-back daily challenges. With his additional elimination win from Week 1, Kyland currently stands as the player with the most money in their individual bank account. Kyland has proven to be extremely sharp mentally and physically while also being a student of The Challenge in regards to the challenges and eliminations.
So is this a blog where I crown Kyland as a new King of the Challenge? Not exactly. As well as Kyland has performed, he is currently playing a chaotic political/strategic game that is putting him on a crash course to where his game could blow up spectacularly, or his talent will win out and guide him to a profitable outcome. I want to break down the good and bad of Kyland’s game thus far and how he projects.
Kyland has always been in good shape; however, he trained a lot going into the season, and it shows. Back in May, when Syrus Yarbrough threw a Challenge All-Stars 3 Premiere Party in Los Angeles, I saw Kyland in the club and was shocked by how well-built he is. Kyland is “only” 5'11 but looks much larger in person because he has a killer set of shoulders/width that makes him perfect for physical/contact headbanger eliminations.
During his elimination with Azah, we saw Kyland open the game by putting himself through a total arm workout by reeling the entirety of his team’s rope into their cage in Knot So Fast. Kyland then went on to lift/carry Azah throughout the cage to make specific knots and loops. It was an immaculate display of physicality and cardio. In Episode 3, he and Angela were able to win because he pushed the pace and was able to sprint throughout the entire duration of the daily challenge. That doesn’t sound like much, except based on the way TJ Lavin reacted to Kyland’s performance, it was definitely no easy feat.
The biggest knock on Kyland on Big Brother was his lack of social game and interpersonal awareness. Similar to Fessy on the main show, that lack of social game has led to people underrating their book smart intelligence. Even though Kyland doesn’t even hear all the words coming out of his mouth, he is someone who, if you put a test, a memorization key, or a puzzle in front of them, they go to work.
Kyland singlehandedly won the trivia challenge for him and Alyssa as he answered every single question for their team. In the challenge with Angela, he cut down time by prepping part of his team’s staircase before Angela had finished her running portion, and of course, he eventually solved the wheel of fortune phrase. His brain is a real chaos factor where he has these moments of brilliance/excellence. To win on The Challenge, you don’t always need to care about people’s feelings; you do need to be able to solve puzzles and memorize codes/patterns. He is a real threat in any mental competition to where he doesn’t need a partner to bail him out.
Student of the Game
To prepare, Kyland watched the show’s last ten seasons and studied the winners from each season to figure out key strategies to implement in the game. The perfect example of this was his Knot So Fast elimination; as mentioned above, he made sure to reel in all the rope into his cage from the jump so that all the knots he and Azah would make would have the most amount of slack possible. He picked up that from watching others play the same game, and having a clear strategy guided them to victory.
In a game full of “rookies,” Kyland’s extra work studying the different challenges/eliminations gives him a distinct advantage. Even having the smallest half-step on an opponent could make all the difference.
Now let’s move into…
Ego and Over Eagerness
Kyland has a massive desire to prove himself — not only does he want to win, Kyland needs everyone to think/know he is a top player as he competes. This over-eagerness/ego could be his downfall. We saw him wipe out in the opening challenge of the season, trying to push the pace with Azah and losing sight of the math because he wanted to win the first daily. It landed them in elimination, and luckily they were able to win. If that type of mistake happens again, Kyland won’t be facing Javonny/Cely in elimination, and the team in power may see it as their shot to take him out as a strong player.
His inflated ego has become a problem where he wants to run the Final with/against the best players. It’s a noble thing to say; the issue is I don’t know if Kyland can keep up with Tyson cardio-wise or is as athletic as Danny. Hell, those guys might smarten up in the end-game and decide they don’t want to run the Final with Kyland.
The Challenge competitor Kyland reminds me the most of is Paulie Calafiore. Two guys who are uniquely talented and driven to crush any physical or mental competition put in their way, yet the same ego that makes them great players could inflate too much and explode.
Voting Xavier into Elimination was a Critical Error
The decision to throw Xavier into elimination wasn’t a bad move for Alyssa because she had been plotting revenge before the game even began. For Kyland, it was a petty move based on emotion, and after winning two straight challenges, he felt as though the good times might never end. While there was legitimate tension between Xavier & Kyland following Kyland’s eviction from Big Brother 23, those two men had a game relationship that was one of/if not Kyland’s strongest male bond in the house.
By voting Xavier in, Kyland essentially told the other Big Brother players in the house (Enzo, Derek, Angela, Azah) that there is no real Big Brother truce and that they’re playing for themselves. It was a terrible move by Kyland because even though the Survivor players aren’t the closest, they have an unspoken agreement/alliance in the game. Kyland’s move gave players from all shows the green light to toss him into elimination because if he couldn’t have the back of Xavier, why should they have his? Whereas Tyson used his two dailies to leverage himself into alliances/deals with people from other shows, Kyland played directly into the hand of the Survivor alliance, where you’d be gullible to think they won’t cut his throat the first time a prime opportunity arises. As much as Kyland’s brain can pull of chaotic moments of brilliance, it also leads to game-shattering dumb plays.
So What Are Kyland’s Chances of Winning?
Kyland checks all the boxes in terms of the athleticism, fitness, and intelligence needed to do well in any daily challenge, elimination, or Final. The best thing going for Kyland is the enormous gulf in talent between the men at the top, middle, and bottom of the game. The difference between Kyland and a middle-of-the-road player like Dom/Enzo is gigantic, and the downgrade further down the list of players is even more massive. Right now, Kyland’s best chance to go far is the women wanting to keep him around as someone they want to run the Final with or compete with during a key daily/elimination down the line.
Unfortunately, with the Survivor alliance circling him like sharks, him having a 12k dollar bounty of his name, and of course, his own hubris getting the way, Kyland’s game on the Challenge USA could come to an end sooner than expected. At the same time, there is something special about Kyland. He has a chip on his shoulder, is a good competitor, and has a propensity to make moves that will shake up a game — I, for one, am a big fan and need Kyland on the MTV version of the show. Win or lose, Kyland will do it in a way that will be thrilling to watch.
If you want more Challenge content, I did an interview with Nehemiah Clark talking all things Challenge All Stars: