Over the last twenty seasons of The Challenge, we have seen many competitors earn their stripes by battling against veteran alliances, either by making big political moves or fighting for their lives in the elimination arena.
We have also seen a fair amount of players turn around, run from the grind, and act as minions, soldiers, sheep, etc., for the veteran alliance/power players on The Challenge. They were chasing clout/power and figured there was no better way to keep themselves in the game than by attaching themselves to the biggest names.
In this blog, I will be ranking 10 of the most unique Challenge minions ever. Some of these players found success playing as minions, some failed spectacularly, some failed quietly/sadly, and some grew out of their minion phase! No matter what, to end up on this list, at one point, these players chose to follow a leader(s) rather than carve out their own path.
I do want to note that you’ll see Johnny Bananas name quite a bit in this blog, and that’s a testament to him being the face of the show for a decade. He’s someone many players ass-kissed, thinking it would propel their Challenge careers.
Honorable Mentions/Left Off The List:
Tori Deal on Dirty 30: I don’t think Tori was a minion; if anything, people knew she was a good competitor immediately, and thus, she got treated like a Vet from Day 1.
Esther Falana on War of the Worlds 2: She was a number manipulated by Cara’s Cult alliance, though I don’t think she had any delusions of what her game was.
Natalie Negrotti on Vendettas: She won too many dailies for me to consider her a Vet minion.
Jenna & Jay on Exes 2: I would categorize Jenna’s relationship with Zach as coincidental Polidicking that got them far rather than being minions to the Vets.
Leroy on multiple seasons: Although Leroy was too loyal to Bananas/CT and other vets at times, his standing in the house was too high for him to be considered a minion.
Now onto the Top 10.
10 Logan Sampedro, Emanuel Neagu, and Ed Eason on Spies, Lies & Allies
We open with a trio of dinguses from Spies, Lies & Allies. Also known as when MTV cast a season of mindless rookies who let the veterans pick them off one by one. Week after week, we saw rookies go into elimination. Instead of shaking the game up and forcing the vets to play by infiltrating one of the dual-vet pairs in the game, players like Logan & Ed simply took another rookie’s vet partner — throwing that rookie under the bus and continuing the cycle of rookie cannibalization.
They didn’t rock the boat. They kissed the ass of the vets in the game. Ultimately, they were “successful” because they were the three male rookies who went the farthest in the game and sometimes evaded eliminations in favor of a couple of vets like Josh, Cory, and Kyle. Still, their vet minionship was a bit frustrating as these three men were strong competitors who had the potential to stir the pot and make more of an impact if they went against the Vets. Even though they went farther than the other male rookies, none of them made the Final as the Vets kept each other safe in the end game.
9 Britni Thornton on Social Media/Challenge Career
When you think about Britni Thornton’s Challenge career, she was never really the focal point of anything. She was a bit messy and had a tendency to take off her clothes, but Britni was constantly attaching herself to more interesting characters. On Dirty 30, Britni was a rookie who existed. She won two physical eliminations against women who actually happened to be smaller than her (Briana & Nicole). And other than that, she was a confessional gangster who talked a lot of shit about Kailah & Jenna. Britni did this because Kailah & Jenna were main characters during Dirty 30 and because Britni was a massive suck-up to Cara & Camila. Being Cara Maria’s friend became a big part of Britni’s entire social media persona for a few years there. The did Onlyfans/Photography related content together and went on influencer vacations up until there was an abrupt friendship breakup about a year ago.
Britni was a veteran minion on the show less than she was on social media. Even Britni’s relationship/showmance with Brad felt like a bit of a ploy to attach herself to a big name in The Challenge universe. I remember when she was newly single after Dirty 30 and was on social media trying to ride the wave of Derrick Kosinski’s Challenge return. Pepperidge Farms remembers.
8 Nate Siebenmark & Christina LeBlanc on Rivals 3
You probably forgot this one, as most of Rivals 3, besides Bananas taking the money from Sarah, is a fever dream. But Nate & Christina were total Bananas bootlickers. After Bananas cousin Vince didn’t nominate them for the season’s first elimination, Nate & Christina’s goal from then on out was to make no waves with the veterans and get to the end as the lay-up. During the partners’ trivia challenge, Nate seriously wrote down that his dream Final was to come in 3rd Place behind Bananas & Sarah and Vince & Jenna.
When these two miraculously won a daily challenge, they had the ability to make a power move as a strong pair in KellyAnne & Jamie was already in elimination. Instead, they made the weakest, most vet-oriented move by nominating two fellow Are You The One pairs, Nelson & Amanda and Devin & Cheyenne, for elimination. They threw in two teams who had their back under the bus so they could be the lay-up. Big-time minion energy.
7 Tony Raines from Rivals 3 to Dirty 30
The inclusion of Tony might upset you because the guy was immediately a big character on the show for all the messy drama he brought, and later on, when “Tony Time” happened, he was a power player in the house.
However, at the beginning of Tony’s Challenge career, he was a massive fanboy who was up the ass of the veterans. Bananas has told stories about meeting Tony, where Tony essentially wanted to be mentored/worked under him. On Invasion, Tony was thrilled to see the vets join the game because he was on the opposing side of the Lavender Lady/Young Buck alliance, but also, those were the people he wanted to play with.
A big part of Tony’s character arc on The Challenge is when he finally chose to play for himself. On Dirty 30, realizing he wasn’t a top priority to the other vets, he aligned himself with Hunter in the end-game, and the two went on a run before losing out in the final Purge. Even on Vendettas, Tony called himself the Scottie Pippen to Bananas Michael Jordan. That is until Tony made a proper name for himself by throwing Bananas into elimination.
6 Idris Virgo on War of the Worlds 2
Idris was one of only two zero-connection rookie men on War of the Worlds 2. After eliminating the other (Sean Lineker) in the season’s first elimination, he was the only male rookie in the house. Idris had to align himself with veterans as there was no other choice. What made Idris a legit pawn/minion is that he made one of the big moves for a vet alliance, all while lacking awareness of where he stood in that alliance. Idris was the deciding vote that sent Laurel into the elimination with Ninja, where Laurel’s loss completely swung the numbers of the game towards the hybrid US & UK alliance headed up by Cara/Paulie/Kam/CT/Kayleigh, etc. From then on, Cara’s cult had control of the game.
And then, when Idris became a liability in the daily challenges and no longer a necessary number for that alliance, they sacrificed him to Theo in elimination. Idris was a proud pawn/minion, though! He never had any sour grapes over how his alliance dumped him, and to this day, Idris still believes that he was a strong competitor. Good for him.
5 Dario Medrano from Rivals 3 to Dirty 30
The funniest thing about Dario is he didn’t begin his career as a Vet minion. On Bloodlines, Dario had his Rookie alliance with Cory and Thomas and was talking shit to Bananas & Nany. Dario tried to stir the pot, compete, and be a character.
Suddenly, mid-way into Rivals 3, we watched Dario turn on his misfit alliance late into the game after winning his first daily challenge. Rather than voting Bananas & Sarah and Vince & Jenna like they wanted to all season, Dario tossed in Cory & Ashley and Devin & Cheyenne. It was a copout move where Dario went from someone who wanted to win The Challenge to someone now trying their best to finish 3rd Place in the Final (just like Nate & Christina as mentioned above).
On Dirty 30, Dario was clearly at the bottom of the veteran alliance and never did anything to change that. He did whatever the vets wanted, slept a bunch, and eventually got tossed into an elimination that he lost. While Dario was never close to being the biggest minion, what puts him higher on my list is he wasn’t one in the beginning and then resigned to being one, which is almost sadder.
4 Anthony Cuomo on Battle of the Bloodlines
You might not remember Anthony, as he got very little screen time during his 8-episode stint on Battle of the Bloodlines. Anthony was KellyAnne’s Bloodline, and he hilariously became a complete Johnny Bananas minion. He did whatever Bananas wanted, including throwing challenges.
The fact he was a Bananas minion was hysterical, considering KellyAnne fucking hated Bananas and was trying to spearhead his demise. Actively being the minion of your Bloodlines arch-enemy is just funny.
3 Sarah Rice on The Ruins
Another one that might catch you by surprise is Sarah Rice. In my opinion, Sarah is a Top 4 female competitor all-time and gets completely underrated by a majority of the fandom.
Nonetheless, I must point out that on The Ruins, she was a total minion for the vets, specifically Kenny & Evan. Early on in The Ruins, a rookie Sarah was a crucial part of the plan to force a KellyAnne vs. Evelyn elimination — a plan concocted by Kenny & Evan to mess with Wes. Sarah obliged, saying it would be tough to trust KellyAnne on their team when she’s sleeping with the enemy. The same enemy who was helping the Challengers teams by throwing challenges for the Champions team. Not to mention, KellyAnne was one of the strongest players on the Challenger team, and they were sending her to slaughter against Evelyn in elimination.
It was a move that only a real minion would do. Part of Katie’s infamous plunger blow-up from this season was calling out Sarah for trying to fit in with the cool kids — something that Wes would also accuse her of doing on her last season, Rivals 3.
2 Dusty Harris on Challenge USA Season 2
Nobody embodies the superfan minion more than Dusty Harris. Dusty watched this show for 20+ years and idolized Johnny Bananas. Not only is he a fan, but Dusty does Iron Man competitions for fun. With all the preparation and years he spent fantasizing about being on the show, Dusty 100% thought he’d come on The Challenge, crush the competition physically, play the game strategically, and make alliances with his long-time heroes.
Dreams and reality are two different things. Dusty never even had a daily challenge where he performed above average. His team was a mess, and he was not a calming force — in reality, he was the opposite. Dusty got to align with Bananas and the veterans simply due to the fact they got outnumbered from the jump. During Bananas giant rant complaining about getting nominated for elimination, he mentioned his top allies being Paulie & Dusty, almost like it was a nightmare. The vets didn’t care for Dusty — they tolerated him as a number they could manipulate. When Dusty had his clueless strategic meltdown and blow-up at Tiffany, the Vets used him as their shield to take any target/heat off them, as it was the last way they could get anything worthwhile out of him.
At least Dusty could be an elimination win on Wes’s record, and he helped his heroes stay in the game a bit longer. If you’re a superfan who always wanted to be on the show, remember Dusty’s season as a cautionary tale.
1 Emy Alupei on Spies, Lies & Allies
Let’s end this on a strong note. I fucking hated watching Emy on Spies, Lies & Allies; I thought she was a total minion who actively was ruining the show with her lack of gameplay and letting the vets completely manipulate her every step of the way. Her tears, her yells, her mouth-breather vibes… I just did not fuck with Emy at all.
And as I say all this, Emy was probably the most successful minion there’s ever been in a single season, and she embraced the role as well. On Day 1, Emy ratted out Michaela, sent her down a river, and was full gung-ho with the vets. She literally signed her name to a contract with the vet alliance in Sriracha. At the beginning of this blog, I chastised Logan & Ed for taking a rookie player’s partner, and Emy did that TWICE during the partner phase, taking Michele’s partner Devin and Berna’s partner CT.
Later in the game, the vets again convinced Emy to throw herself into elimination so that she could switch teams to be back with her “Uncle CT.” I swear to God, if CT asked Emy to stab someone during the season, she would’ve. That’s how loyal Emy was to the vets. At the end of the day, though, Emy had herself an impressive season. She won 4 Eliminations, which, regardless of the opponents, is a feat that less than 10 players in Challenge history have achieved. Emy also performed well during the SLA Final, where the twist at the end screwed her because Devin didn’t have anything left in the tank for the last portion physically.
When I picture a mindless Challenge minion who will do anything the Vets want, it’s Emy. Yet, not many Challenge minions can say they won 4 Eliminations, finished 3rd Place, and took home 50 grand. Finally, she was able to pay off her braces.