The Challenge CBS Season 1 Cast: Way Too Early Power Rankings & Previews

For those unaware, Paramount is expanding upon the Challenge brand to have four international spin-offs, one in the US, Australia, UK, and Argentina under the brand of War of the Worlds. The US spin-off will be the Challenge CBS and consists of competitors from CBS Reality Shows (Survivor, Big Brother, Love Island, and The Amazing Race). For better or worse, this is happening, so buckle in because we have a cast to look at and judge.

PinkRose and the spoiler team at Vevmo have collected all the official cast names and alternates for this spin-off show. It is vital to note that they are not 100% sure who the alternates are as production has switched stuff around at the last minute many times. It is an ever-updating list, so if someone gets dropped or added last minute, stay tuned on Vevmo to find out. Thank you to PinkRose and the spoiler team for collecting all this info as well.

When it comes to the Power Rankings, I must note that I’ve basically never watched Love Island USA. So for all the players from that show who appear on here, all my knowledge comes from the first few pages of Google/Reddit results, where I read interviews and bios to get as much info as I could. I am well-versed in both Survivor and Big Brother. However, I did some additional digging to see if I could find any athletic or educational backgrounds that may project a player to be better than expected. Let’s jump into the rankings.

FEMALE RANKINGS

13–16 Love Island People I’m Clueless on Ranking (Cely Vasquez, Shannon St. Clair, Kyra Green, Olivia Kaiser)

It’s difficult to project some of these Love Island people mentally, strategically, and physically. Even when researching, the questions Love Islanders receive from interviewers are far more superficial than what Survivor/Big Brother contestants get. Aesthetically, all these women look fabulous. As physical competitors? We will have to wait and see.

EDIT/CORRECTION: Shannon St. Clair is someone who should be in the Top 8. She is very fit and is a former NFL cheerleader. When researching her, the google results were flooded with her fling/relationship with Barstool Sports CEO Dave Portnoy.

12 Shantel Smith (Survivor)

I feel bad rating Shan this low as she proved to be an exceptional mind when it came to strategy and manipulation on Survivor. The issue is Survivor isn’t the Challenge. And when it came to performing in the challenges, Shan was almost always on the losing side. Unless Shan proves to be a solid physical performer, none of her strategic skills will come into play.

10 & 11 Azah Awasum & Alyssa Lopez (Big Brother)

I’m putting these two together because they are both solid social game players. Azah and Alyssa are in decent shape for anything involving cardio or endurance; they lack the weight needed for headbanger/size-based eliminations. They have a solid chance of coasting early on; once the game gets serious, their size could lead to them becoming targets.

9 Cayla Lee (The Amazing Race)

Not fully sure how the Amazing Race projects on the Challenge, though, when deep diving and going through the subreddits, I saw a lot of appreciation for Cayla and her partner as one of the best dual female team’s the show has ever seen. I saw a lot of praise for Cayla’s intelligence as well. Cayla could be a dark horse threat, then again, being the only Amazing Race female listed is not a good sign for her potential social/political game.

8 Cashay Proudfoot (Love Island)

When doing research, I found people were either in love with Cashay or despised her, with no real in-between. Although, there was a general consensus that Cashay has a ridiculous body. Cashay has stellar abs, and she obviously puts great work into her figure. I bet her fitness level is off the charts, similar to a Georgia Harrison. She does have experience as a dancer, which should translate well towards challenges where footwork/balance matters.

My worries are that Cashay might be a bit undersized, and I think a Big Brother/Survivor clique could form among the “stronger” competitors.

7 Sarah Lacina (Survivor)

On paper, Sarah Lacina is one of the best female players in Survivor history, winning her second season and then putting up a strong 4th place finish on the All-Winners season. If you ask a Sarah hater about her, they’ll tell you Sarah is a rat who plays a bad social game and just isn’t that likable of a person. I’d say there’s truth to all of that.

Sarah is hard to like, yet, she continues to succeed as a competitor. She is not someone I want to see on the Challenge, except I know she’s a former cop who has become super into cross-fit in recent years, so physically, she’ll probably do alright.

6 Tiffany Mitchell (Big Brother)

Known as the architect of the Cookout alliance on Big Brother, Tiffany wowed fans with her strategic gameplay. Tiffany is a powerful personality who is bound to have a presence on whatever show she is on. Among the competitions Tiffany won on Big Brother, one included a game of endurance/upper body strength. Tiffany is exceptionally fit; I just don’t know how good a natural athlete she is. Then again, one should never underrate mom power.

5 Justine Ndiba (Love Island)

Justine played soccer at the collegiate level, which is enough to rank her in the top five for me, and almost tempted me to rank her higher. She will likely have good cardio, coordination, and is ready to throw an elbow if needed. It will be interesting see how Justine does in a competitive game instead of a dating game.

4 Christmas Abbott (Big Brother)

A known felon and scallywag, Christmas Abbott moonlights as a personal trainer. Seriously, Christmas’s physical fitness makes her a legitimate threat on the Challenge. I have seen some comments from people within the competitive cross-fit community say that Christmas is a bit of a fraud. Except a “popcorn muscle” pro cross-fitter is this still probably a pretty damn good player on the Challenge.

Her track record on Big Brother has been strong, with 3rd Place and 4th Place finishes as well, though Christmas’s placing on her second season was due in large part to pre-game alliances. What makes me doubt Christmas is I don’t know how she holds up mentally, and even though she is shredded, Christmas is physically very small (5'3 115 lbs).

3 Tasha Fox (Survivor)

I don’t care that Tasha is 45; she is an absolute beast. Tasha debuted on Survivor Cagayan, also known as Brawn vs. Beauty vs. Brain. While Tasha was part of the Brain tribe, she quickly proved she could fit any category. She was physically strong and emotionally fierce, was capable during puzzle and mental challenges, and had an amazing natural body.

Since her Survivor-run ended, Tasha got into bodybuilding and found success on that circuit. It has me thinking Tasha is not someone you want to see in a headbanger…but also it has me wondering whether the bodybuilding may lead to her maybe not having the best body type for a Final, which is why she doesn’t take the #1 or 2 spot for me.

2 Angela Rummans (Big Brother)

While I was not a fan of Angela on BB20, she is a legit threat on the Challenge. Angela was a collegiate pole vaulter who proved to be exceptionally adept during all the Big Brother competitions. Athleticism + Book Smarts is a strong duo. What Angela lacks is a strong social game. She often becomes wallpaper without much personality, and when her personality does show, her pretentiousness shines. At the same time, I ranked her #2 because she’s an undeniably talented woman. Plus I might just be a hater.

1 Desi Williams (Survivor)

The biggest wild card and who I’m putting my money behind if they make the main cast is Desi Williams from Survivor Season 35. Desi made it the merge on her Survivor season; however, her stint got cut short in large part due to her opponents viewing her as a massive strategic and physical threat, which she was. She is highly educated with a Ph.D. in physical therapy and has put her health and fitness knowledge to good work with her own body. Like Tasha, Desi has brain, beauty, and brawn, except Desi is younger, is in her physical prime, and her body is more built for a Final.

A detail I love about Desi is she comes from a pageant background as she was Miss Virginia USA 2016. Pageant women do not get the respect they deserve; pageants circuits are one of the most highly specialized and cutthroat competitions in existence. Women have to work so hard to perfect themselves for one day where every aspect of their being will get judged. Tori Hall and Bayleigh Dayton came from pageant backgrounds, and they killed it on the Challenge. I think Desi will too.

Update: it seems Desi is likely an alternate, which would suck because she’s awesome.

MALE RANKINGS

15 & 14 Leo Temory & James Wallington (The Amazing Race)

I’m putting the two Amazing Race men at the bottom because I don’t have a grasp on how they project onto the Challenge. They both seem well educated and primed to kill a 10k run. Sadly, they both look a bit undersized as competitors and would lack the social connections everyone else in the house has.

13 Ben Driebergen (Survivor)

Ben is a former Survivor winner, a military veteran, and a good-sized country guy. Why do I have him ranked 13th? Ben’s never won an individual immunity on Survivor due to physical and mental ineptitude. Simply put, he does not move like an athlete. Even worse, Ben is a bit of a corny dude. His social game is weak to the point where he essentially asked to get voted out of Survivor Winners at War because he was afraid the jury was going to rip him apart.

12 David Alexander (Big Brother)

Similar to Ben, David is someone who does not move like an athlete despite being in good shape, and mentally/strategically, he doesn’t stand out. I rank David above Ben because he fits in a little better socially.

11 Enzo Palumbo (Big Brother)

Enzo’s two Big Brother experiences have resulted in 2nd and 3rd place finishes. He is a great social player who earns a lot of laughs in whatever house he is in; Enzo just doesn’t have the killer instinct to make big strategic moves. Enzo’s gotten himself into much better shape in recent years. Once again, though, succeeding on the Challenge often comes down to natural athleticism, which Enzo does not have. He isn’t the brightest crayon either. I can envision Enzo going far into a season based on charm; even then, he has no realistic shot of winning, in my opinion.

10 Tyson Apostol (Survivor)

It hurts to rank one of my all-time favorite reality tv characters this low. Tyson is endlessly hilarious and will likely have some great confessionals on this show. Even a decade ago, when Tyson was a collegiate runner and pro cyclist, I don’t think his body type would have projected well onto a Challenge. In 2022 though? The guy is still as thin as he was back in the day, which is not a good thing, and he’s lost a lot of steps when it comes to lateral mobility. At least Tyson is a strong player mentally.

9 Derek Xiao (Big Brother)

Optimistically, Derek projects to be a Jay Starrett type — an undersized player with phenomenal core strength who is quick on his feet and uses his brain to find shortcuts and strategies to give him an edge. Being intelligent and likable only gets you so far on the Challenge; at a certain point, people look at the person they can sit on in elimination and target them. Then again, this isn’t your typical Challenge cast.

8 & 7 Javonny Vega & Korey Gandy (Love Island)

Looking at the men above… David, Ben, and Enzo are not athletes… Derek, James, Leo, and Tyson are undersized. These two Love Island men, Javonny and Corey, could be the worst competitors on the cast. And yet, because they have no outwards weakness that we know of yet, I’m giving the 7 & 8, as sometimes, the most crucial factor you can have on your side is nobody thinking you’re weak.

6 Kyland Young (Big Brother)

Kyland won a ton of comps on Big Brother, mental and physical. The guy is naturally book smart and in good shape, but his ego and self-importance are at times out of control. He’s going to be a chaotic figure on this show where his arrogance and intelligence could lead to him pulling off moments of brilliance or getting his ass handed to him as an early boot.

5 Domenick Abbate (Survivor)

I’m thrilled to see Dom on the cast list. He is one of the best modern Survivor players who was one vote short of becoming Sole Survivor. Dom is an excellent all-around social, strategic, and physical threat willing to play an overly aggressive game to win. In terms of fitness for the Challenge, Dom works in construction, is a cross-fit enthusiast, and he loves the outdoors/extreme lifestyle. The only thing potentially holding Dom back is he’s 43 years old, and athletically, he will be going against some former collegiate athletes who are still in their prime.

4 Josh Goldstein (Love Island)

When I first saw a photo of Josh, I thought he was a buff Tik Toker. It turns out Josh is a pretty damn good athlete. Josh is 5’10, 185 lbs, and was a career 300+ hitter for Southern New Hampshire baseball while playing the most demanding defensive positions (middle infielder/center field). I expect Josh to be a more proportionality-sized Hunter Barfield.

3 Cinco Holland (Love Island)

Cinco is 6’3, 205lbs, and a former D1 wide receiver out of Minnesota. Since leaving college, Cinco’s worked as a personal trainer, meaning his body is his business. While Challenge fans know intelligence and heart can be great equalizers, having pure brute strength and raw athleticism can go a long way towards striking fear into opponents.

2 Xavier Prather (Big Brother)

When you mix a model’s physique with a law degree, what do you get? Elle Woods. Also, you get Xavier Prather, the first Black winner in Big Brother history.

Xavier played a stellar all-around social, strategic, physical, and mental game on BB23. The main criticism of Xavier is that he’s boring, which is probably accurate. He plays a low-key game focused on building trust with social bonds, keeping his cards close to the vest, staying under the radar, making calculated risks, and, importantly, never letting someone have the first step on him. Kaycee Clark was a boring Big Brother winner who went on to kill it on the Challenge (as a boring Challenge competitor). I’d expect the same out of Xavier.

1 Danny McCray (Survivor)

If you thought I wasn’t going to rate the former NFL player who has an MBA number 1 overall, then I don’t know what to tell you. Danny has the size and athleticism to dominate in the elimination arena, and while he is big (6’1 and 220 lbs), he isn’t too big where his size would hamper him in a Final.

For most of Survivor 41, Danny went under the radar with a great social game which is difficult when built like an NFL player. His mix of personality and athleticism projects for Danny to be able to coast through this game. I’m willing to go out on a limb and guarantee that Danny will make it to the Final at least.

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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.

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Allan Aguirre

Allan Aguirre

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.

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