Last season, Tina Barta returned to the Challenge on All Stars 2 and stole the show in the first few episodes with her charisma and flair. We also saw Tina essentially quit in the elimination arena last season. It was a bit of a disappointing way to see Tina go down, and yet, part of me doesn’t even care and is happy that one of the funniest characters in Challenge history is back again. You have to think she’s coming for some redemption.
Tina’s Cheat Sheet (TLDR Version)
Introducing Tina: After coming in as Cara Zavaleta’s replacement on Road Rules South Pacific, Tina made her Challenge debut on The Gauntlet 1. It was an abbreviate five-episode run where she went up against Coral in elimination which was a completely respectable loss. Tina would then go on Battle of the Sexes 2, proving herself as a player, especially socially and strategically. She had a real competitive edge to her, where even if she wasn’t the best athlete, you could tell she wanted to win. My favorite thing about Tina is that she was the biggest complainer in every daily challenge yet was also regarded as someone who was incredibly tough at the same time. She would voice her displeasure and power through like a boss. It’s a quality I relate to and strive to be as much as possible. On Battle of the Sexes 2, she made it to the final 4, which is impressive as she lasted 14 vote-outs to get to that point in the game.
Tina would make it to the Final of her next season, the Inferno. Along with Veronica and Rachel, Tina became known as being on the iconic “Mean Girls” trio. In earnest, they were badasses who knew they were good players and weren’t going to get pushed around by the men of their team. Unfortunately, even though Tina performed well in the daily challenges, she was not ready for the cardio required in the Inferno 2 Final as she slowed her team down during the cardio/running portions.
Following her Inferno 2 Final failure, Tina brought some fire to Fresh Meat 1. Partnered with Kenny, the duo won two exile eliminations, including a massive upset win over Theo Von & Chanda (legit, this was a colossal upset at the time). They also won the Final daily challenge to force a Darrell/Aviv vs. Derrick/Diem elimination. In the Final, Aviv Melmed’s puzzle skills gave her and Darrell the edge, leading to Tina/Kenny coming in 2nd. Finishing in 2nd in the first true partners seasons of the challenge is pretty epic. Tina returned for the Duel 1, in which she infamously threw a punch at Beth after the second daily challenge of the season, resulting in her getting DQed immediately. We wouldn’t see Tina again until she popped up as a Heavy Hitter alongside CT for Cutthroat, where she got beaten by both Tori Hall and Theresa Gonzalez in the elimination.
There were rumors of Tina coming back over the years for certain seasons such as Invasion, Dirty 30, and Final Reckoning. At long last, we got Tina back for All Stars 2. She was an absolute sensation, hilarious in confessionals, playing house pranks, and making big political moves such as going right after Jodi. Then Tina got voted into elimination and quit in the arena stating she didn’t like who she was becoming once back in the house, which is understandable, except now she’s returned for All Stars 3… I’m not going to complain; Tina is a damn good Reality TV character, she can quit 800 seasons, and I’d still want her back on a new season every time.
Player Vitals & Stats
Tina Barta: 40 Years Old, 5'4**, 5 Seasons, 3–1 Elimination Record, 2x Finalist, Highest Finish: 2nd Place on Fresh Meat 1, 1 All Star Season, 0–1 All Star Elimination Record
Skills and Physical Strength: Physically, Tina is strong for her size. She is a scrapper who isn’t afraid of anyone. That doesn’t mean Tina is without limitations size-wise; we saw her lose those heavy hitter eliminations to Theresa & Tori on Cutthroat, which she had not been training; still, I was shocked to see her go down in such a fashion.
There is a fearlessness to Tina that comes in handy in the more extreme daily challenges. If it’s a short-distance anaerobic type mission, Tina thrives because she’s smart and thinks on her feet, so much so that she will yell and commentate through the experience. Tina’s Achilles heel is her cardio, where she wasn’t a big runner back in the day, and I don’t think she is today either. Considering you need to be a decent runner to win a Challenge Final… It’s not a good sign.
SSMP (Social, Strategic, Mental, and Political) Game:
As a big character and personality, Tina effortlessly creates friends and enemies. She attracts people to her with her humor, intelligence, and relatability. On the other end of the spectrum, some people are off-put or simply are jealous of the way Tina carries herself. You have to remember: these are Reality TV stars who have massive egos — when Tina walks in and has the most prominent voice, they feel threatened. If Tina toned herself down, she would go under the radar; however, nobody wants to watch a version of Tina who isn’t 100% authentically herself. I think there was part of Tina who wasn’t socially in full game mode last season, so when she got voted in and realized she had enemies in the house, her head must have felt discombobulated. We could see a more focused Tina this time around.
Going into this game, one would assume Tina will align with long-time friend Veronica and will likely piggyback on Veronica’s new-gen friends made during her return to the franchise.
Tina is willing to play a bold game both politically and strategically. She will go after the biggest threat in the house with zero remorse because she knows it’s the highest leverage move to increase her chances of winning. It also raises her chances of getting targeted after making waves. The mental part of challenges has always been Tina’s strong suit; she’s a problem-solver, good with puzzles, and is a vocal communicator during challenges.
Eliminations & Winning Potential: There is a ferocity to Tina that is a positive for eliminations; the question is, does the scrapper in her still exist? I understand Melinda is her friend, and she didn’t want to get super physical in elimination with her. At the same time, I would have liked to see her try because we’ve never seen Tina in a Pole Wrestle or Hall Brawl elimination. We only saw her compete in the backpack elimination on Cutthroat, which mostly came down to weight, and she lost both times. If the elimination is a carnival game or puzzle, I like Tina’s chances. If it’s uber-physical, I’m unsure how she does.
Can Tina win? Unless she’s been running 7 miles a day in preparation, I don’t see her having the cardio to win based on her prior Final performances. I would love to see Tina win because she’s one of the best non-champions in Challenge history. Whether it’s banging pots & pans, making a big move game-wise, or having great one-liners, Tina will make noise this season.