The Challenge Battle For a New Champion Episode 16 Recap: 10 Biggest Takeaways

Allan Aguirre
12 min readFeb 1, 2024

The 16th Episode of The Challenge Battle For a New Champion is in the books. You probably have some thoughts, so let’s compare. Instead of giving a simple summary, I decided to focus on the 10 Biggest moments/takeaways from the 16th Episode.

If you prefer audio/video, my podcast recap can be found above/below:

10 Prank Gone Wrong

Kyland & Horacio decided to play a little prank and keep the house on their toes/in the dark when returning from the elimination. They decided Kyland would re-enter the house alone, only for Horacio to come in 10 minutes later and surprise people.

Upon not seeing Horacio, Olivia burst into tears. Olivia told everyone how badly she felt he sacrificed his game for her and was always there. She cried so much that it would lead you to believe that Olivia would do anything to keep Horacio safe in the game from here on out, no matter what. After seeing this, at no point would you ever believe that Olivia would do anything to hurt Horacio.

9 Battle of the Sexes Throwback

The daily challenge was a throwback for the true OG’s. On Battle of the Sexes 1, Ruthie Alcaide dominated a similar rappel challenge, singlehandedly winning cars for her entire team.

I thought it was a perfect daily challenge as, in theory, anyone could win/lose. Now, the top three finishers were all men; at the same time, so were the bottom three. They may have altered the daily challenge after the initial heat as Horacio & James both dealt rope-burned hands despite wearing gloves. Yet, we didn’t see anyone else seem to have that issue in future heats. All in all, I loved the daily challenge and especially loved the 15k Dollar Under Armour Gift Card prize. I’ll be honest: I’m not even sure spending 15k at Under Armour is possible.

8 Jay Wins, Ed is Out

Some people might say the first two individual daily challenges were catered to Jay’s strengths by production. I’m here to tell you that as much as I and others may not like Jay, his lifestyle is conducive to many of these daily challenges. Jay’s rock climbing, swimming, and surfing frequently give him a distinct advantage over other competitors, the same way that someone who runs every day will have an advantage in cardio dailies or someone who does daily puzzles will have an edge in mental comps. He got the daily challenge win over Horacio — which I wasn’t happy with, but you have to give the man credit when it’s due. Jay is a strong competitor. Yes, he’s beatable, but he brings a lot of skills to the table.

The real shocker of the daily challenge was Ed losing and getting directly purged out. Ed has been as big, if not bigger, of a threat to win this game as Horacio & Kyland have. In one moment, his game ended, and it was shitty, yet, also kind of cool. These daily challenges actually have stakes and matter.

7 Jay Wants All The Credit and Zero Responsibility

As impressive as Jay’s performance in the daily challenge was, his ability to be a snot-nosed fucking brat with the winner’s power was even more astonishing. Last week, we watched Jay take glee in manipulating the voting order to make a personal move to hurt Nurys, where she would get forced to choose between Horacio & Nurys. Over the last two months, he’s talked endlessly about how he’s a “businessman,” and it’s his job to ensure that he gets Kyland & Horacio taken out. This week, Jay won the daily challenge; everyone knows he controls the game politically; he had the power to make whatever move he wanted and still somehow threw several hissy fits.

Jay loudly insisting to Michele that he’s ONLY ONE VOTE when the two of them have been in lock-step manipulating multiple numbers in the game was ridiculous. When Michele pushed back on some of Jay’s ideas with logic, he lashed out, saying that because of her and others, he was in the sand for chaos, and CT could’ve easily taken him out. First off, that didn’t happen, so get over it. Second, he had the power to vote for Emanuel or burn a vote to ensure that he could be safe. Third, Michele didn’t even have a vote that week because she won the daily challenge and nominated Horacio. So again, Jay is an egotistical assshole who refuses to look in the mirror and will blame anyone but himself.

On paper, Jay is playing a great game. Jay’s going after the biggest Final threats, has a bunch of loyal pawns, and a lot of lay-ups he can beat in a Final. It’s the way that Jay conducts himself that makes him so unlikable. The smarminess and lack of ownership is what’s so offputting. If Jay said we’re going after Horacio & Kyland because they’re superheroes and we’re keeping James & Berna because they can’t run a mile or read, there wouldn’t be an issue. At the same time, we also wouldn’t have a TV show. Being angry at Jay gives me ammunition to write.

6 The Snake In The Grass

Last week, Nurys saved Olivia from elimination, and Horacio urged Nurys to save her instead of him. In response, Olivia sold them down the river after everything they’d been through the past two seasons for nominal safety from a group of people who didn’t care about her. While I respect someone playing the game for themselves and trying to stay safe, Olivia displayed cowardice and disloyalty.

Going into this season, Olivia was positioned to be the franchise’s new female face, and she clearly cares about her image/persona. While Olivia had cut the deal with Jay & Michele and wanted to “honor” it… had she turned around and used the power given to her to save Nurys, Horacio, and Kyland, then we would be talking about how she made one of the most iconic and cunning game moves in Challenge history. Yes, it would have been lying and deceiving, but it would be a move towards taking control of the game and saving those who matter to her. Olivia would’ve skyrocketed her standing in this franchise to the top of the mountain, where people would be talking about her decades and how she made one of the greatest political moves ever.

Instead, Olivia threw her friends under the bus, ran them over, and then let Moriah get on the bus and sit up front after she spent multiple episodes judging her for “cheating” on Johnny Bananas. It’s not even a great cunning betrayal by Olivia because it’s not like she puppet mastered all of this. Olivia chose to be a pawn for Jay & Michele’s game, lost her friends in the process, and then was getting made fun of in confessionals by fucking Corey Lay and Colleen. COREY LAY AND COLLEEN ARE CLOWNING ON YOU? That’s the ultimate fall from grace.

It was such an insanely bad move that even TJ voiced his disgust in the moment.

5 Everyone Is Done With Berna

One of the best things to come from this episode is people no longer tolerating Berna’s behavior. Kyland told her what everyone thought of her, and while she was yelling at him, he had the biggest smile. Nurys threw her anger management classes out the window to pop Berna during the deliberation, during which Berna was literally gagged.

Michele is incredibly tired of Berna, as she’s had to babysit her this entire game. All the while, Berna complains about Michele endlessly. Berna seems like one of the worst humans to be around. I’m sorry her relationship with her mom isn’t the best. Mine isn’t, so I channel it healthily by making fun of people like Berna on my Reality TV blog.

4 Olivia vs. Nurys

I’m shocked Nurys even let Olivia have a conversation with her after the deliberation. Before she did, Kyland even asked what the point was because there was nothing Olivia could say. The big moment of their discussion is when Nurys revealed that her brother told her that Olivia had been talking shit. To which, Olivia said it felt like Nurys was waiting for her to fail.

Nope. Action speaks louder than words. Nurys was waiting and hoping her best friend was actually her friend. Olivia’s actions and Olivia’s words have now proven otherwise.

3 Horacio vs. Kyland vs. Nurys

Nurys is a very fit woman; the moment TJ blew the horn for the elimination, she looked in over her head as Horacio & Kyland seemed like Olympians as they were sprinting and parkouring through the course. As we saw, the puzzles were the great equalizer — specifically, a tangram puzzle where players had to replicate a bird with no barriers to fill in. In a regular tangram that we’re used to seeing on this show, players can use simple rules of geometry to figure out a pattern. With no barrier, the puzzle is 100x more difficult as there are no limitations as to how you can fuck up. It completely stumped both Kyland & Horacio for an extended period.

We saw Nurys chose not to do the tangram first, doing a different math puzzle, which was key as getting the first flag gave her so much momentum! Once Nurys got to the tangram, she had a positive mindset, whereas Kyland & Horacio began to sweat. Horacio chose to abandon the tangram and reattempt it later, while Kyland decided to stick with it. Nurys solved that tangram blisteringly quickly; from there, Kyland’s game was basically over. Horacio made good progress on the other two puzzles, beating them swiftly, and it got a bit interesting.

Hilariously, Nurys struggled the most with the easiest “puzzle” primarily because of her physical limitations, as she doesn’t have the best upper body strength. Nurys eventually got herself together, took down that third checkpoint, and pulled off the win with TJ, Horacio, and Kyland cheering her on. It was a beautiful moment as Nurys put on a career-making performance, and Horacio & Kyland showed so much care and sportsmanship.

Seeing Horacio & Kyland go down hurts; however, if they were going to get taken out, you could tell this was the possible way. They were both so proud of Nurys during this elimination. Horacio & Kyland didn’t even perform poorly — she just crushed it. Kyland brought drama and competition; he was a great addition to the show. In his way of avoiding drama/political gameplay, Horacio ended up stirring the pot himself. These two should be on a future season again because they are phenomenal competitors.

2 Nurys’ Legend Making Performance

Going into this match-up, Horacio & Kyland had won 10 consecutive eliminations combined, were a career 11–1 in the arena, and had taken down multiple champions in Jordan, Brad, and Darrell. As TJ has said for weeks, Kyland & Horacio were the two strongest players in the game. Nurys took down both of them. Not only that, but if we’re being honest, Nurys probably should have won by a bigger margin had she not fumbled a bunch while rushing during her 3rd checkpoint.

This is immediately one of the all-time great Challenge upsets, yet also a performance that’s now elevated Nurys up the charts. It’s not like this was a fluky win. The elimination was basically a mini-final where Nurys took down two elite men. I can’t imagine anyone with a sane brain saying Nurys isn’t a strong competitor from here on out.

After waiting 5–6 years to get cast on The Challenge after her original Are You The One season, Nurys has provided and then some. In two seasons, Nurys did the following:

  • Broke Nelson’s 50+ daily challenge loss streak
  • Had showmances with Jordan & Johnny that stirred up some drama with Ravyn & Tori.
  • Has been a main character playing her own game throughout Battle For A New Champion.
  • Had a rivalry/drama with Melissa.
  • Now has beef with Jay, Olivia, Berna, etc.
  • Has a cute relationship/showmance with Horacio that seems to be the real deal.
  • Now, pulled off one of the great all-time elimination wins by taking out Horacio/Kyland.
  • Looked stunning in the process of doing all of the above.

Nurys is a legitimate star. She finally got the opportunity to be on this show and has knocked it out of the park.

1 Who Can Win?

Going into this week, I would’ve said that Horacio, Ed, and Kyland were the three biggest threats to win, and now that they’re all gone, which is fucking crazy. When three massive forces can get wiped off the board in one episode like that, it makes you believe anyone can win.

That said, I don’t think James, Colleen, Berna, or Moriah can win. I don’t believe James or Colleen have the cardio, and I don’t think Berna or Moriah have the puzzle abilities.

Olivia, Corey, and Michele are long shots to win — I wouldn’t rule them out. At the same time, I don’t think they have any outstanding strengths to put them in 1st. Michele’s a great puzzle person and swimmer; her overall cardio and strength are something I question.

Now that the three big men are out, Nurys has a real shot to win. If there’s a big swimming portion, Nurys is fucked. If not, I like her chances.

Emanuel and Jay are the two biggest threats to win. If Jay wins, credit to him because he’s sitting in the Top 10 with so many of the biggest threats off the board. Emanuel is a great competitor, but if he wins after being completely underwhelming on all fronts, then fuck, that would be a terrible outcome. I need to remember he’s on the season when he randomly pops up on my screen.

I’m cheering for a Nurys win at this point.

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Allan Aguirre

27 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.