The Challenge Battle For a New Champion Interview with Horacio, Kyland, and Ed

Allan Aguirre
16 min readFeb 2, 2024

Folks, MTV gave me the opportunity to talk to Horacio, Kyland, and Ed after their shocking eliminations on Battle For a New Champion Episode 16. I’m very grateful for the opportunity, as this interview had many great moments. I will acknowledge that it gets a little chaotic at times as I only had 15–20 minutes to work with, and there were three people to go around. There were so many follow-up questions that I had prepared that I had to abandon as we were limited on time, and I wanted to keep everyone involved.

In my opinion, this interview is best consumed via the YouTube video above, where you can see and hear all four of our faces and voices. Whatever you read below is an automated audio transcription, so it might be clunkier. However, I kept it available if you can’t listen to/watch a video or prefer to read.

Allan: Okay, fellas, we only got 15 minutes and there’s three of you. It’s an honor to talk with two incredibly athletic and good looking men…and Horacio.

Horacio: Thanks, Allan.

Ed: Got his ass.

Kyland: Finally someone said it!

Allan: Yeah, the Internet’s been hyping him up too much.

Horacio: Wow. No, thank you. I love that.

Allan: Kidding, you’re not a man. You’re a superhero compared to everyone.

Horacio: I appreciate you.

Allan: Let’s get right into the game, because we have three of the strongest competitors, I would say, in the game, and you guys are now all out of it.So we got some really good stuff going on. Let’s start with Ed. You’re on top of the world. Great swimmer, great at math, great at everything. Now in one quick moment, you’re out of the game. How devastating was that?

Ed: Yeah, I was pretty pissed. I’m not going to lie. Just going from such a high to now I’m out on this goofy little thing. It was such a letdown. I was like, man, if I want to go out, I want to go out in a cool way, not just, like a complete goof, little accident.

It was just… Yeah, not ideal.

Allan: It was one of those things where you had the social game, you had the alliances. You’re killing all the challenges. And I’ll be honest, you were just as big of a threat as these two guys, but people weren’t talking about you that way.

Ed: Yeah, no, I was surprised, considering, I was, like, at the very bottom of my alliance. Somehow I managed to stay out of it for pretty much the whole way through. So I don’t know how that happened, but it happened.

I don’t know. I’m going to be honest. My social game is not the best. But I guess whatever I did worked. Ish. It worked.

Horacio: I’m taking notes, brother. You stayed under the radar well.

Allan: Now, you two fellas over here, you guys had the big target on you. You guys went into that heartbreaking elimination last week with Zara. Everyone probably expected you to likely win again. I mean, coming into this week, combined between the two of you guys, you had ten consecutive elimination wins. Then Nurys comes in, takes out both of you, and yet you guys are smiling still in the moment, which I thought was actually very gracious in the way you lost.

But tell me truly, how were you two feeling in the moment?

Horacio: Is that you, Ky, or me?

Kyland: Yeah, I think we were at eleven wins. I don’t know. It’s bittersweet because it’s like you work hard, you don’t want to lose, you don’t want to come that far, just to only come that far. But at the same time, I’m glad that you could see us smiling because even before that elimination, after TJ told us there’s only one winner…I guess they don’t show it. But me, Horacio, and Nurys were still out there gameplanning. How are we going to attack this elimination? We’re talking strategy. We’re talking about the mud. Like, saving the mud for last, just so you don’t slip on anything. We want all of us to have the best shot possible. So that unity, that camaraderie between the three of us was really special.

To have it come to life in that moment, even in what felt like the worst of times for that part of the game. And then if you’re going to be beat, there was no one else in the house besides those two that I would have wanted to beat me in an elimination.

So it’s nice when it’s a friend and I can’t imagine what it feels like. Yeah, I was fortunate. Even in USA, Alyssa is one of my best friends, so when she beat me, it was cool. And you know, it gave us someone to still cheer, that was the sweet side to the bittersweet moment.

Horacio: Yeah. I mean, just kind of exactly what Kyland said for me. I always pictured…uh, well…I never pictured losing. Right? Nobody pictures that. You know that it’s a possibility. But I always thought the day that that comes, I’m going to be distraught. I’m going to be on the floor, just completely broken, in a sense, crying in just such a competitive manner.

But that day, even the night prior, I kind of just like, in a sense, accepted it. Like, okay, this is how it’s going to go down. That competitive side, that competitive edge of, like, I have to win at all costs, didn’t overtake that moment. It was the complete opposite. It was the joy and the happiness and how proud I was of Nurys in that moment. I just wanted to see her be successful and prove it to herself that she’s good enough.

The day prior, Nurys was already saying, like: “I’m going to go home and I’m going up against the two best” and all this. And I’m like, you have to believe in yourself and you have to trust me that you’re going to get this. So, yeah, it was definitely hard.

Everybody wants to raise that trophy. But when your people are still fighting for it, you have to feel happy. And that’s the only feeling I had in that moment. Just very, extremely happy for her and proud and I just want to see her keep going.

Kyland: And production was gracious to me because I definitely was on the floor crying for a little bit afterwards.

I hate losing. I just hate losing. But then obviously, we were able to come around. It was special.

Horacio: Yeah. I mean, that being said by Kyland; it was weird because he was on the floor crying. Nurys was right there next to him crying as well. And I’m over here with a smile and I’m like, I just got eliminated…Why am I just smiling out here? Like I said, because of Nurys, I didn’t feel it. I felt it a few days later. Kyland, he could vouch for me.

I felt it way later where I was like, dang it, I’m out. Like, that’s when it really hit and I had to kind of just do my own thing. But in the moment, it was pure happiness.

Allan: That’s cute. Also, I got to just say that puzzle… the swan tangram puzzle…that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever seen on this show because normally you do a tangram, they give you the shape outline and you just have to fill it in.

This one, though, it’s like you’re freehand 3d drawing it. It was one of the hardest challenge puzzles I’ve seen in a while.

Kyland: I was disappointed because even in my intro section, they show me doing tangrams because I bought some! Like tangram types of puzzles where you have the shapes and you have to fill in a shape because that’s normally what you see on the show. You have to fill in some sort of square, triangle, octagon.

So I have those shapes I could fill those in. And it’s funny because my set came with pictures of like…do you want to do this bird or whatever? And I was like, no. Like, they never do that. They never create a shape. They usually just have to fill in something. So in the elimination, I saw that and I was like, wow…

Allan: Nurys is a sicko because she just took it down immediately, kind of. From what I could see.

Horacio: No, she did. She was beating us 2–0 with the flags. And I’m not going to lie, that’s when I was like, I might go out, but I’m not going to go out getting beat 3-0. No chance. So, yeah, at least had to get a couple of flags.

Allan: You guys were like “I got to hit a field goal to cover the spread.”

Kyland: We both got two. And then afterwards, because I just needed to know for my own sanity, then I went and went to go do that last one because I was like, I’m pretty sure I could do that. And I did it.Horacio finished in 14 seconds. I probably finished it in like 16 seconds or whatever. So I was like, all right, cool. I could have done it if needed, but it was wild.

Allan: Alright, so another question for the guy with the worst wifi. Horacio, we gotta talk about what’s your relationship like with Olivia right now?Because obviously, that’s the big moment in the episode where she gets picked really early in the order. It’s a big moment where it looks like she could save all three of you, and you could be happy and merry and go along with your days. Then she turns her back on you guys.

Horacio: Yeah. I think lots of people were kind of waiting to see. They didn’t understand the reasoning. There were so many spoilers and all that stuff. Finally it went down. Um, it was a very hard moment. Very difficult. I think there’s a phrase that says it’s not the stab in the back that hurts, but it’s when you turn around and see who did it.

And that’s exactly what I felt, because just the week prior to that and a week prior in the episode, as Kyland has mentioned several times, it was only two days prior where Nurys was put in a tough spot to have to choose between Olivia and myself. And I’m like, no, you got to save the girls. You got to save Olivia. Nurys already did that, proving her loyalty. And I’m over here doing my best as well to protect her. I don’t want to see her down. At the beginning episode, she’s over there crying and telling me, I’m so sorry I doubted you at some point.

We kind of even give the little pinky promise of I’ve got you. Don’t worry, this is not going to change. I’ve got you, and I will continue to have you. For a day later, for her to go into what she claims is survivor mode and the game for herself, that was very heartbreaking.

Not just for me, but for Nurys as well. I always kind of see other people more than I see myself. Like, put them first. And I know that was difficult for Nurys because the entire season, she kept telling me: “I don’t know, the whole brother situation” when her brother calls her and is like “hey, you shouldn’t trust Olivia and all this.”

I was the guy that said, no, she hasn’t done anything to make you doubt her or make you not trust her. So just continue to work with her, play with her. I trust her, so I need you to trust her. Then it obviously backfired on all of us, so it was very difficult.

Right now, Olivia and I, where do we stand? Honestly, I don’t know. I can’t give you an exact word of where we stand. She’s doing her thing, I’m doing my thing. I have only talked to her once since we finished filming, but I have also been away for the last four months without a cell phone because I was filming another show.

So I’m just right now getting back into it. I have yet to see all the episodes. I have a lot of catching up to do. I’ve only had my phone for maybe a week, so it’s been a lot thrown at me so far. But yeah, haven’t spoken to her, and now watching that, it obviously hurts. I was in tears watching this last episode because I really felt it. That stab definitely hurt.

Allan: I completely forgot that you haven’t had your phone for four months, so you have not been dealing with stuff the way the whole Internet has.

Horacio: No. Exactly. Yeah. Nurys gave me kind of a rundown, she showed me a couple of things, but, yeah, I’ve been away. Which kind of sucks, because you want to see people’s reactions.

You want to see what’s going down, what people are saying on the show, because you get to live your experience in the show, but then you don’t get to see what other people are saying in their interviews and all that. So coming out to the real world now and seeing, oh, Jay was always targeting me, Michele, and all these other people and all his alliance, and just even the Olivia situation.

Probably what hurt the most is the Olivia stuff. Like her saying: “oh, I don’t want to see this guy in a final.” One of the main reasons why I went back to The Challenge was because I wanted to run a final with her. We had unfinished business from Ride or Dies, and so I’m like, alright, I have to now go back, and we have to get it this time.

We didn’t know how the format was going to be or anything, but in my head, I’m like, I need her to be there with me. It’s just… it was definitely hard to hear everything that she had to say.

Allan: Oh, wow. Well, I can tell you, we were all rooting for you two on Ride or Dies, so this one hurt a little for us, too. Kyland, real quick, what’s the status with you and Melissa right now?

Kyland: It’s pretty, uh, inconclusive. We did try to talk and meet up, but we just never found an opportunity. I mean, she’s a single mom, obviously she has to prioritize everything with her daughter and her own life, and then it’s just such a vast distance.

So despite some efforts being made, we literally didn’t even get to see each other gain until six, seven months later at the reunion. Just very difficult with the logistics of it all. Definitely someone I care for a lot and we had real strong feelings develop.

But it’s like there’s only so much you could do.

Allan: Makes sense. Ed, what’s your relationship like with Olivia and Melissa right now?

Ed: We hang out every day, grab beers.

Allan: Alright. Serious. Congratulations on the engagement!

Ed: Thank you!

Horacio: Oh, wow. Congratulations. I didn’t know that! I’ve been away. Heck, yeah, man. Congratulations.

Ed: Thank you! That’s awesome.

Horacio: That’s so good news. Wow.

Ed: I know. Making big moves out here.

Allan: There’s going to be one question for all of you guys. What is one thing in the game that you actively could have changed that you wish you would have done? Like, obviously, Jay had this power alliance where he just kind of was in control of the game to where you couldn’t really change big things too much. But what’s one small thing that you could have actively done in the moment and changed that you wish you could?

Kyland: I don’t know how much there was for me. You saw me in what, Episode 2 start voting against the majority alliance with Ravyn? I feel like I don’t really sit with many regrets in general. I feel like the biggest regret is just not winning more. Horacio has said it before. Just know if we won, especially during conquest, then that’s something we could change. Outside of that…maybe if we decided to help Cara win that puzzle against Michele…maybe, I don’t know.

It’s just…there’s so many reasons for that! It’s such a complicated game and the relationships and the dynamics that were at the time, even that, I feel like not only could that not made a difference, it just also doesn’t feel like it was the right thing to do. So, yeah, I think just winning more is the only thing that I could really want to change because I feel like rest of the time, I feel good about the decisions as good as I could.

Allan: Who’s next?

Ed: For me, I guess being a part of the big alliance in a way, did help me. I didn’t get sent down into elimination, but I do wish I would have played more of a lone ranger role where I wouldn’t have solidified that this is my alliance till deat and I can’t move from here. I wish I would have been a little bit more independent in my gameplay, and maybe even started a movement of my own alliance, something like that. Whereas I kind of just faded into the background of this big group, and I was like, alright, this is easier to do this. And now I’m like, aww, that was really kind of stupid.

Allan: Horacio, do you think you did enough push ups? What would you have changed?

Horacio: Definitely didn’t do enough push ups. You got Ed and Kyland over here, outworking me every day. But no, if I wouldn’t have changed anything. I think it’s kind of weird, but I felt like I did everything to the best of my abilities, and especially when it came to working with others. I don’t know what caused them to have to turn on me, because when I first walked in there, I was like, I’m part of this, quote unquote Jay alliance, which I thought it was like the Ride or Die alliance.

And then we added a couple other people, and then I don’t know where, but I was standing on the outside of it. So I don’t know what I did for them to have to go against me. But if anything, just like what Kyland said, just win more. If I would have won, my people would have been safe. We wouldn’t have been in that position where I had to face Zaza, Kyland, and Nurys. So if anything, I just have to have a lot of things to improve on, and that’s the only thing I could take away from this. I wouldn’t change anything, but I will definitely learn a lot, and I will grow from the situation, and I will get better, and that’s the only thing I can do.

Allan: Great to hear. Alright, gentlemen, I wish we had more time so we could just go into greater detail instead of all this pinging around three guys who had three very different games and situations. A mess, but a good time to talk to you all. And it’s been a great season having you guys on the show. You’re three absolute boss competitors. I really thought you guys were going to win. You guys all probably thought at one point you were going to win, too.

Ed: Yeahhhh.

Horacio: Yeah.

Kyland: You don’t show up to lose!

Allan: Not even top ten. You must feel like real losers, huh?

*laughs all around*

Ed: I know! Look at the three of us sitting here at the same time. This is absolutely…ugh.

Horacio: I’ll tell you what, the rest of the house is very happy that we’re out for

Ed: Yeah, just got real easy for them.

Horacio: Yeah, no, but thank you, Allan. If anything, like if we ever need to get another interview going, let us know. Reach out on social media or our personals and we could jump on an interview whenever. So thank you. Thank you for everything. I know I met you in San Diego as well at one point, so it was a pleasure to be able to talk to you now as well.

Allan: Awesome. I’m glad you remember. I mean, who could forget a face like this?

Horacio: That’s what I mean.

Kyland: We see it every day on Twitter.

Horacio: Oh, I don’t have Twitter.

Kyland: Yeah, not him. Yes, yes. Likewise, you know, I’ve commented before that your dedication to The Challenge as a show is admirable. So reach out anytime.

Allan: Truly means a lot, fellas. Unfortunately, I got to get out of here. It’s been an honor.

Horacio: Thank you for having us.

Kyland: We appreciate you taking your time.

Ed: Yes, sir. Pleasure. Thank you.

Allan: Have a good night, boys.

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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.