I will be breaking down the Trailer of the Challenge USA as I do every season. There are no spoilers in this article that you won’t figure out by watching the trailer super slowly. YES, there are spoilers, but they are spoilers via inference and analysis. Essentially, if I see something with my eyes, I’m going to point it out. Above is the trailer in video form.
They make sure to let you know from the onset that this is a CBS product.
The first action shot we get is a zoomed out over the top look of two players traversing a moving bridge going through open water. We saw a similar challenge on War of the Worlds 2 where the two players would meet in the middle and potentially wrestle each other. Based on the way this course looks, I assume this is a basic: “get to the finish-line in the fastest amount of time challenge.”
The next action shot we get is of two of players grappling down the side of a skyscraper (pretty badass). As we know from some preseason insight, players will be randomly partnered based on an “algorithm” for most challenges/elimination. It seems kind of rigged, but I wouldn’t expect anything less out of this show.
We can see numbers with addition signs both above and below the players. The daily challenge seems pretty simple: add up all the numbers and grapple down or up in the fastest amount of time with the correct final answer. I like this challenge as it tests how mentally sharp and tough the players are.
We see former NFL player and Survivor 41 competitor, Danny McCray jumping from one giant ball with tires around it to another giant ball in what is a heights over water challenge. It is reminiscent of the car jumping challenge from Vendettas.
Important details to add: There are letter tiles on the second ball, which I assume Danny will have to collect to decode a word puzzle at the end of whatever this mission is. Also, his ass looks phenomenal and perfectly shaped in the shot.
Things in the trailer escalate a bit once they show us some eliminations. The editors make a statement by showing Hall Brawl and Pole Wrestle to kick off. These are the two classic Challenge headbangers. They insert them here to let CBS fans know that they will be seeing these CBS people in a realm they’re not used to and to let Challenge fans know that the classic elements of the competition will still be there as well.
In the Hall Brawl, one man is getting better of the other, and I believe the person inflicting a big hit might be Enzo from Big Brother. Part of me thinks it isn’t Enzo because the guy looks pretty fast, and not to be a dick, Enzo is a bit older, so I wouldn’t expect him to have that type of speed. I can’t determine who is in the Pole Wrestle, though I think one of them might be Angela from Big Brother. We do see a shot of Angela in tears in the elimination arena. Angela does have a history of gripping poles. No, it’s not a sex joke; that’s about her being a collegiate Pole Vaulter. Get your mind out of the gutter.
There is a sound byte of someone saying: “If you wanna play dirty, we can play dirty.”
As it gets played, we see Alyssa Lopez from Big Brother whispering to Survivor’s Tyson Apostol in the crowd during a daily, followed by a shot of her crying while talking to Xavier Prather from her season of Big Brother. Alyssa was not the most prominent character in her original season; it’s intriguing that she might have a sleeper political threat this time around.
They give us a throwaway shot of a player’s legs before their Hall Brawl elimination commences. There is a good Easter egg in here as you can see two players on the far left of the audience standing on a small podium, leading me to assume they were the daily challenge winners. Based on the style of one of the players, I think Kyland from Big Brother won the daily to set up this elimination. You can also see two men in their challenge gear in the audience with the rest of the people in civilian clothes. My prediction is that three players get nominated for elimination like on Vendettas or War of the Worlds 1, and the power team(s) vote one in at the arena.
TJ Lavin keeps saying extremely generic shit throughout the trailer, and I’m not going to acknowledge it because it genuinely has little substance and insight. We see a player hyped up for a daily challenge in a car, though if I had to guess, it will be a challenge similar to the one from Total Madness where they had to relay numbers to a teammate who proceeded to solve a math equation.
There is a shot of a literal ball and chain in the elimination arena.
We see two players competing in what seems to be a Balls In-type elimination. It looks like Enzo and David from Big Brother in this elimination, and again, it looks like Enzo has an edge on his opponent. Meow Meow.
Our first look at a Love Island competitor is Cashay Proudfoot pushing/benching a giant lever to push a big wheel behind her in the elimination arena. It looks intense, she’s definitely feeling the burn.
Car goes vroom and Sarah Lacina does a flip into the water during a daily challenge, either in celebration or to show off.
David Alexander from Big Brother hangs off the side of a moving truck and inserts poles/pegs into holes to traverse his way to the finish line. It is a Ninja Warrior-Esque daily challenge, and if his poles affect a partner on the other side, then it could be something similar to the Bar Crawl mission from Free Agents.
There is a shot of all the players dropping their jaws in excitement. My guess is that in this scene, TJ Lavin enters the house to welcome everyone to the Challenge USA. The place they are living in one looks like one gigantic loft. I dig it.
They continue to give us more elimination looks. Based on the helmets, I can tell you Shan from Survivor and Xavier from Big Brother are competing in this elimination where the players have to break down walls en route to a finish line, similar to the elimination Hunter/Ashley played against Faith/Angela on Final Reckoning. I can tell it’s Xavier because I can see the X on the helmet, and he’s the only person whose name starts with an X.
It’s surreal to see two of the best strategic Reality TV competitors of 2021 get thrown into this realm of physical competition where they play alongside each other. Imagine if this was Dan Gheesling and Sophie Clarke in the early 2010s or Yul Kwon and Danielle Reyes in the mid-2000s?
Following Xavier’s punch, they transition into two action shots, one of a player (I think Cinco from Love Island) running down a hall through an inflatable tent. Then we see a player in a heights-over-water challenge swinging their way towards a platform with a player (David Alexander) waiting for them.
We get a bunch of shots of different players: Angela from Big Brother, Ben from Survivor, Desi from Survivor, Xavier from Big Brother, Tasha from Survivor, Shannon from Love Island, and James from the Amazing Race.
They then give us a shot of a player standing tall in a heights-over-water challenge with the crowd cheering him on in excitement. My guess is he was the first person to be able to complete the challenge.
After that, we get an alternate view of the challenge from the trailer’s beginning with female competitors traversing the bridge. My guess is the two teammates either try to meet in the middle or have to cross paths to get to their respective finish lines.
They then introduce the four different shows who will be feeding into the Challenge USA, starting with Big Brother.
We get Enzo as a Big Brother rep in the trailer who says there are no backdoors on the Challenge, if you get thrown in, you have to compete. Enzo is trying to solve a puzzle in a dark room during the shot.
A lot of things are going on here. We see two women standing at the edge of a thin beam as they balance a pole on their shoulders. Behind them, you see letter tiles. On the right-hand side, you can see one females partner. On the left-hand side, one of the women competing is Justine Ndiba from Love Island, whose name is on a box. Her partner for this challenge is Leo Temory from the Amazing Race.
We saw letter tiles when Danny McCray jumped in a heights challenge earlier. Could that be part of this challenge? It would be a long and convoluted challenge if so. There’s so much going on here that I’d assume they are two different missions entirely. Still, this alone looks to be a fascinating challenge.
We see Angela from Big Brother distraught while watching an elimination. Then it’s a couple of blink and you’ll miss it moments. Derek X from Big Brother seems to be climbing up a rope in the water or simply trying to hang on to something.
Danny from Survivor is running in the dark with a flashlight as he carries a tire. Tasha Fox from Survivor can be seeing falling backwards during a challenge.
Tiffany from Big Brother gets some spotlight too.
Cashay from Love Island and Derek X from Big Brother are partners for the skyscraper challenge. The best part about this shot is seeing all the civilians living their lives in the background.
James from the Amazing Race hits a roadblock during the daily challenge where players try to leap from one giant ball to another.
They proceed to introduce Survivor while giving an overhead look at an elimination where four players (likely 2 v 2) are transferring tires from one side to another. In the past, we have seen similar eliminations and dailies, although they’ve never been co-ed in the same heat.
Shan from Survivor gets a hype package. She talks about Survivor having the edge because they play hard. They show her putting a letter tile in her mouth during the same tire challenge we’ve seen a couple times now.
Ben acts as Survivor rep too and mentions on Survivor he’s known for production planting idols to save him, but on the Challenge, there are no idols.
We see Domenick Abbate excited after the challenge where players hang off the side of the truck. It’s an extremely unflattering angle for a good looking dude. Ben is swimming in the water with Shan as his partner during a challenge.
Danny plops onto the bridge during the daily from the trailer’s opening, and Ben places a tire on a metal post as he holds a flashlight. We then see two players running in the dark towards a building. One would assume this is an endurance challenge similar to War of the Worlds 1, except at night.
Love Island gets their introduction with a shot of two tanks of water in what is likely to be a brutal elimination. Anytime that much water is brought into the elimination arena, people do not walk out looking pretty.
Cinco gets the Love Island highlight rep. He talks about being excited that he gets the opportunity to be athletic (Cinco was a collegiate wide receiver). We see him and other players carrying metal plates/chairs during a daily challenge.
Cashel from Love Island is seen competing in the elimination arena alongside Tiffany from Big Brother.
Cely Vasquez is shown as the next Love Island rep and she talks about Love Island being about getting out of your comfort zone. Doesn’t sound like someone ready for the Challenge to me. It looks as though she and Javonny Vega (Love Island) are getting ready to compete in the skyscraper daily.
There is a shot of two players climbing a flight of stairs. One of them is struggling quite a bit. Not going to lie; stairs are a real bitch. I do the climber every day, yet, nothing kills me more every day than the one flight of stairs to the second floor where my apartment is on.
We see Cashay (Love Island) upset with her hands open after the car daily challenge; David from Big Brother looks to be her partner on this day.
The Amazing Race gets the last introduction.
Cayla Platt acts as the first Amazing Race rep and says: “I think we’re going to be underestimated, but we are going to get the job done.” At this point, the Amazing Race feels like the forgotten Halloween candy at the bottom of the bag. Anything positive they contribute will be a fun surprise.
Leo from the Amazing Race is doing something in the elimination arena. Meanwhile, Cayla looks worried watching an elimination.
James gets a spotlight and says he wants to prove the Amazing Racers can hang with the best.
Cayla competes in the car challenge.
RIP to this person.
Another shot of the Balls In elimination from earlier. David gets tackled down hard and the crowd is in awe. The crowd could be from a completely different elimination.
Some random stuff. Enzo jumps onto the bridge over water from the challenge we’ve seen a bunch now. Derek X looks tired sad. Enzo looks frustrated talking with Angela (BB) outside the house. Then we see various players in an elimination crowd shot (Cinco, Desi, Justine, Dom, Cayla, David, Danny). There is a sound byte with Danny saying he’s willing to stab someone in the back.
Cashay (Love Island) gets into it with someone in the house as Tyson from Survivor watches on.
We see a player pushing themselves on a giant wheel. This could be the elimination Cashay was playing earlier in the trailer.
Cayla from the Amazing Race looks to be untying a weighted bag from a tire in a dark room. It makes sense since we have seen players carry tires in the dark throughout the trailer. Xavier from Big Brother looks like he is putting the finish piece on decoding a word puzzle.
They drop a bunch of blink and you’ll miss them action shots. We see a player leaping in a heights challenge, competitors swimming in the water, people running throughout a soccer stadium (likely where the stairs from an earlier shot come into play), and competitors running in the elimination arena.
We again see a player falling during the mission players have to leap from one giant ball to another over water. David (Big Brother) and Justine (Love Island) look nervous as they are about fall in what is likely the Trivia challenge.
…and that’s your trailer… The Challenge USA debuts July 6th, 2022 on CBS (streaming on Paramount Plus as well).
The people we see most prominently in this trailer are:
- David Alexander (Big Brother)
- Enzo Palumbo (Big Brother)
- Danny McCray (Survivor)
- Angela Rummans (Big Brother)
- Cashay Proudfoot (Love Island)
People We See a Decent Amount:
- Xavier Prather (Big Brother)
- Ben Driebergen (Survivor)
- Cinco Holland (Love Island)
- James Wallington (Amazing Race)
- Derek Xiao (Big Brother)
- Alyssa Lopez (Big Brother)
- Tiffany Mitchell (Big Brother)
- Shantel Smith (Survivor)
- Cayla Platt (Amazing Race)
- Justine Ndida (Love Island)
People We See Here or There:
- Tyson Apostol (Survivor)
- Domenick Abbate (Survivor)
- Kyland Young (Big Brother)
- Tasha Fox (Survivor)
- Desi Williams (Survivor)
- Cely Vasquez (Love Island)
People We Basically Don’t See:
- Leo Temory (Amazing Race)
- Cashel Barnett (Love Island)
- Sarah Lacina (Survivor)
- Azah Awasum (Big Brother)
- Shannon St. Clair (Love Island)
- Kyra Green (Love Island)
Trailers can be misleading at times. For reference, Kailah Casillas did not get heavily featured in the Challenge All-Stars 3 trailer, yet she has been one of the most significant characters during the season. Wes wasn’t featured much in the War of the Worlds 1 trailer but dominated a lot of screen time and led the season in confessionals for men. At the same time, sometimes you aren’t featured because you got knocked out early or were just boring.
If you want more Challenge USA content, me and my podcast co-hosts did a cast breakdown and reaction to their cast photos: