The Challenge 36: Battlegrounds (6 teams of 6) 💥

The Challenge 36: Battlegrounds (6 teams of 6) 💥

So the next season of The Challenge has not been announced yet, and we are all PARCHED for content in this punishingly long off-season. WHERE IS THE TEASER TRAILER, MTV?! Filming ended a whole ass month ago and I am DYING here.

As y?all know, I?m part of the #UnspoiledGang and therefore can?t be discussing everything that happens on Season 35. So instead, let?s daydream about Season 36, which would be a great time to try out a new format. So I introduce to you an idea:

Season 36: Battlegrounds

The casting pool has exploded in recent years. It started way back on Season 12, Fresh Meat, but has really ramped up since S26? which brought Are You the One? alumni on for Battle of the Exes II ? and especially on seasons 31, 32, and 33, which introduced Big Brother players, UK competitors, and personalities from a whole friggin? litany of other shows.

Season 34, Bloody Hell aka War of the Worlds 2, featured a US vs UK theme, with an Australian and Turk thrown in for good measure. It was restrictive casting in order to fill up a British roster, so we didn?t get any American debuts ? for the first time ever.

I won?t spoil it (all) here, but S35 returned to their typical casting and features polarizing new US stars. I am more psyched about this cast than any recent season besides Invasion ? especially because I actually know the newbies (as opposed to people like Esther, Alan, Shaleen, and the Shipwrecked alumni).

Whenever pre-departure speculation happens for the next season, I am all over it ? so I have a good sense of how casting works. Therefore I see this format and the people I?ve chosen for it as actually realistic. Let?s get to it.

Only casting spoilers for Season 35 ? no elimination or winner spoilers.


36 competitors split into 6 teams of 6, each representing different TV shows. Eliminations are individual.

Big Brother

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Paulie Calafiore (BB17, EotBUS1), Faysal ?Fessy? Shafaat (BB20), Brett Robinson (BB20)

Bayleigh Dayton (BB20), Haleigh Broucher (BB20), Kaela Grant (BBCan6)

alternates: Josh Martinez, Kaycee Clark


Paulie is a great competitor that nearly made 3 out of 3 finals. He can be grating, but after a break for S35, I?ll welcome him back. Haleigh is a fan favourite, America?s Sweetheart, and has the potential to be the new Jenna. Plus she?s dating Fessy, who is 6′ 5″ and played college football, so they?ll be another Power Duo in the game.

Bayleigh is also tall, around 5′ 8″, and aggressive AF. She?ll bring drama in spades. Brett is the total package ? fit af, eye candy, hilarious, intelligent, chaotic ? and should?ve been the first one called from BB20.

Kaela Grant won 5 competitions (2 HoHs, 3 PoVs) on Big Brother Canada 6, the most for a woman in BBCan herstory. She won 4 of those consecutively, too. She had a showmance, backdoored a close ally (Erica), created drama, and made the Final 2. AND she?s publicly stated she would do The Challenge.

Alternates ? Josh has done 3 in a row and could use a break. No idea how Kaycee does on Season 35 but she isn?t the most dynamic cast member (albeit a great physical competitor), and I?d rather introduce Haleigh and Kaela. Would love Da?Vonne but I doubt she?ll return. Maybe one of the Nolans tho?

Are You the One?

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Kam Williams (AYTO5), Tori Deal (AYTO4), Kenya Scott (AYTO7, EotBUS3)

Nelson Thomas (AYTO3, EotBUS2), Asaf Goren (AYTO4), Justinaverey ?Justin? Palm (AYTO8)

alternates: Malcolm Drummer, Diandra Delgado (both from AYTO6 and Ex on the Beach US 2)


Like Paulie, she is a strong competitor that can be grating but also took a break during S35, so let?s bring her back. Tori Deal was robbed of a W because of a 100% unnecessary Purge during the final of War of the Worlds 2. She?s one of the strongest New School girls, along with Kam (and Ninja and Georgia).

Nelson has an impressive elimination record, with 8?1?1 in 5 seasons. He was 2 minutes from beating CT in the Invasion final, his second season. He is constantly trying to improve his weaknesses (by downloading puzzle apps and practicing swimming) and is unintentionally hilarious.

Asaf and Kenya are both kooky and entertaining personalities. Kenya is super skinny, so maybe not the most best physical competitor, but her likability could get her far in the game. Asaf is a dancer, which is a great skillset to have on The Challenge.

Justin is obviously (physically) fit and was the center of heaps of drama on AYTO8, flirting and hooking up with multiple people, all of different genders.

Alternates ? Malcolm and Diandra were fun characters on both AYTO and EotB. They also accepted for Final Reckoning but weren?t cast.

Ex on the Beach US

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Marlon Williams (RW Portland, EotBUS4), Jay Starrett (Survivor Millennials vs Gen X, EotBUS2), Tor?i Brooks (EotBUS1 and 2)

Angela Babicz (Bad Girls Club, EotBUS1 and 2), Morgan Willett (Big Brother Over the Top, EotBUS2), Nicole Zanatta (RW Skeletons, EotBUS4)

alternates: Devin Walker, Marie Roda


Marlon has been robbed of a second Challenge appearance. On Rivals 2, he showed out and was the total package ? winning 1 daily, 2 eliminations, hooked up with Nany AND Derek C (#bicon), got in a physical altercation with Prime CT on Night 1, and made the damn final. Truly, it?s his fault for declining so many availability calls, but now he?s back, starring on Ex on the Peak ? and being messy as usual and canoodling and feuding with many people (Jakk, Demi, Jemmye, Todd, and Nicole and Adore respectively) ? so c?mon, throw him a bone here.

Jay was a laugh-inducing livewire on EotB AND Survivor. As the Surfer Bro archetype on the latter, he is great in the water and likely has great endurance. He also used to date Morgan, who is on this season, along with her current beau Bananas.

Tor?i brings heaps of drama with Angela and her on/off boyfriend Nelson. He also is yoked up and would be a welcome addition to The Challenge.

Angela and Morgan both have potential for days. Why Faith got a second chance instead of her ? when Angela was stellar on The Challenge AND both seasons of Ex on the Beach US ? is baffling. #NeverForget how Faith is the reason they lost the elimination, thus letting Ashley/Hunter into the house.

Morgan WON BIG BROTHER Y?ALL! I know it?s gross how she called Wes and Nany ?old and dusty? while literally being booed up to Johnny, the dustiest of them all. But regardless of that, she is pretty and bubbly and a good competitor. Bring her back!

Finally, Nicole Zanatta follows in the footsteps of Empresses Roni Martin and Devyn Simone, doing 2 seasons and making the final both times.

Alternates ? Devin and Marie both have their stans, and I do find them entertaining. Not their love story on EotB, def not, but in general, I think they have humorous commentary. Neither are stellar competitors and I?d rather Morgan, Angela, Nicole Z, and Marlon return than Dev and Marie.

Team UK

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Georgia Harrison (Love Island UK 3), Jenny West (Survival of the Fittest), Kaz Crossley (Love Island UK 4)

Theo Campbell (Love Island UK 3), Stephen Bear (Shipwrecked, EotBUK3 and 5, Celebrity BB UK 18), Ashley Cain (EotBUK1, 2, and 5)

alternates: Kayleigh Morris, Kyle Christie


Georgia and Theo have proved to be outstanding competitors on both War of the Worlds seasons ? and they both taken Season 35 off. I look forward to their return, if Theo is able to compete without vision in one eye.

Jenny is a literal bodybuilder that is still kind, so give her a third chance. Kaz was training with the other Brits in Thailand before WotW2 and was (is?) dating Theo. Plus she?s a total babe.

Bear is Reality TV Royalty ? look at all the shows he?s been on! A total cartoon villain on each season, backed up by being a sneaky good competitor. Who thought he would take out just-made-the-final-last-season Wes in a physical elimination!? Not I. Plus the Bear/Georgia relationshit isn?t as tired as Kyle/Cara/Paulie (yet).

Ashley Cain is a BEAST that finished first for the Prospects in the opening Purge of WotW1. Admittedly, he under-performed, but he had a blowout with Josh and a showmance with Zahida and used to play professional soccer. Definitely deserving of a second chance.

Alternates ? Love Kyle but he has done 5 seasons in a row. He could take one off so we don?t get sick of him. Kayleigh is not a good competitor, I am 100% aware, but she fully embraced her villain role on WotW2 and ran a political master class (along with Kam). Who else is there? Nicole Bass or Esther? No thanks. Louise Hazel would decline, Georgia Steele is too big for this show (more than 1.5 million IG followers y?all!), and DJ Mel Reeves is? Well, if you know, you know.


Now, I can hear what you?re saying ? ?But what about the OG cast members? Where is CT?!? Well, don?t you worry, I will appease you (somewhat).

Old School

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Johnny Bananas (RW Key West), Abram Boise (RR South Pacific), Darrell Taylor (RR Campus Crawl)

Cara Maria Sorbello (Fresh Meat 2), Kellyanne Judd (RW Sydney), Tori Hall (RR Viewers? Revenge)

alternates: Derrick Kosinski, Aneesa Ferreira


I will not entertain any ComplainTs so do not try it.

Johnny and Cara are like herpes or glitter (just ask Natalie) ? you can?t get rid of ?em (even if Cara took S35 off, huzzah). So they?re here, and honestly, I don?t mind them. They perform well and bring storylines and drama. And they have huge targets, so hopefully someone finally will throw Cara into elimination.

Abram apparently has accepted every call since Bloodlines and just hasn?t been cast. That?s ridic, so here he is. Darrell was gonna be on Final Reckoning ? as Cory?s partner ? but then Devin?s father?s passing screwed all that up. Bring him back.

Like giogugenishvili has said, Kellyanne is the Andrea Boehlke of The Challenge ? has only been on sh!t seasons. She was an on-site alternate for Vendettas and for some idiotic reason was not brought on when Sylvia was medevaced. She did relatively well on Bloodlines and Rivals 3 and is still a firecracker. Tori Hall is an under-rated competitor. Facts are facts, and despite the Army-sponsorship f*ckery and Tina throwing an elimination to her, she won 2 out of 3 seasons she competed on. She appeared on the Universal Studios spin-off in may 2019 and could hang. Better returns than Nany (oop).

Alternates ? Derrick K is the perpetual alternate. He did extremely well on Dirty 30 ? taking out Johnny and getting second in the final ? but was on the entire 21-episode season and had zero storylines outside of getting mushed by Nelson. He showed out in his Mercenary appearance on Vendettas but generally isn?t the most exciting cast member. So he is an alt. Aneesa filmed Season 35 ? her sixteenth appearance if you count the spin-offs + Merc elim ? so we can give her a pass here. But if she makes it on, she has pre-existing drama with Cara AND Kellyanne, so it could be fun 😉


Ok, I hear more groans, asking for more white alpha men. So I present a hybrid team, because we all love those (and Floribama Shore has been much better received than any recent Real World season):

Real World + Shore

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Mattie Lynn Breaux (Party Down South, Floribama Shore 3), Dee Nguyen (Geordie Shore 17), Kailah Casillas (RW Go Big or Go Home)

Tony Raines (RW Skeletons), Zach Nichols (RW San Diego 2), Jeremiah Buoni (Floribama Shore 1, 2, and 3)

alternates: Ashley Mitchell, Kyle Christie


Mattie has been a great cast member on Floribama Shore and made the final on WotW1. She can compete well and is six f*cking feet tall. We need to include her ? and how else to do so, without hybridizing Real World with the Shore shows?

Same with Dee ? except she is definitely not an Amazon and isn?t as strong of a competitor. And yet she is the Champion between the two. (Again, no idea what transpires on S35)

Kailah has steadily improved her game ever since debuting, getting better from RW (couldn?t hack a hike) to Invasion (won 1, lost 1) to XXX (won 2 elims, Purged right before the final) to Vendettas (made the final). Obvi Final Reckoning is the break in the pattern, but she has proved herself to be a physically strong woman (albeit mentally, a bum). Also she apparently has a showmance with another cast member so ??

Similar to Kailah, Tony has potential and has made progress on his flaws on every subsequent appearance. He won Champs vs Stars 2 with a Bad-Back CT and has taken 3 seasons off. Ynot has publicly stated he?ll return on S36 and I can?t friggin? wait. Plus he has his Bromance Partner Zach here ? they ran Vendettas and should work well again here. Zach was hilarious and competitive on WotW2 but took S35 because of Jenna. Will be happy to see them both return.

And then there?s Jeremiah, who is the most muscular on a cast that includes some physical specimens. A bit corny but obviously fit, and has a pre-existing flirtationship with Miss Mattie. He should?ve been on instead of Gus in the first place, but better late than never.

Alternates ? Already discussed Kyle. He?s listed twice because he is both from the UK and Geordie Shore. For Ashley ?Millionaire? Mitchell, she is the golden standard for a cast member. She competes well, creates drama, has hysterical confessionals, hooks up, and looks hot. What else could you want? It?s the reason she?s the fastest person to reach 10 Challenge appearances. Love her but don?t want people to get sick of her ? so she can take a season off to avoid burnout and continue enjoying her millie.

So what do y?all think?

I?m itching for them to do a new format. Battle of the Seasons 2, with 8 teams of 4, was so fresh and so fun. Let?s try something besides a pairs or individual season. I realize we just had something different than that ? two large teams on War of the Worlds 2 ? and I loved it.

What different choices would you make for casting?

  • Maybe we shouldn?t have a Team UK, since we just had that.
  • Perhaps Real World should be its own team, and throw Johnny on it instead of Jeremiah.
  • Or maybe there should be a team of all debuts, or of all Champions.
  • And WHERE ARE THE SURVIVOR CROSSOVERS?! We NEED Cydney and Michaela and Alec and Cole and and Dean and Lauren O?Connell.

And et cetera ad nauseam. You can?t please everyone; production does huge stretches for casting anyway; and all?s fair in love, war, and Challenges.

This cast is lit and introduces some exciting rookies, in terms of physical competition ? Brett, Tor?i, Justin, Kaz, and Jeremiah. And Haleigh is a fan favourite and Kenya is f*cking hilarious. Brett is the total package and should?ve been included on Season 35. And the Jeremiah-Mattie relationship deserves more exploration on The Challenge, away from Gus? interference.

It has some great returning cast members who have publicly stated they are interested in and willing to return ? Marlon, Nicole Z, Tori Hall, Kellyanne, Ashley Cain, Angela, Morgan, Abram, Darrell, and Tony.

And it would be hilarious to have a Bayleigh/Haleigh, 2 Ashleys, 2 Toris, and 1 Tor?i. Not 2 Georgias, tho ? Georgia Steele is way too good for this show, even if she did agree to Ex on the Peak.


Another Option: 3 Teams of 12 based on Original Network


Johnny, Tony, Jeremiah, Nelson, Asaf, Marlon

Cara, Kam, Tori D, Nicole Z, Kailah, Kellyanne


Morgan, Bayleigh, Haleigh, Jennifer Lee, Cydney Gillon (Survivor Kaoh Rong), Sierra Dawn Thomas (Survivor Worlds Apart and Game Changers)

Paulie, Fessy, Brett, Jay, Alec Merlino (Survivor David vs Goliath), Joe Anglim (Survivor Worlds Apart, Cambodia, and Edge of Extinction)


Angela, Georgia, Dee, Mattie, Kaela, Ika Wong (BBCan2 and 5)

Bear, Ash C, Theo, Kyle, Billy Reilich (What Happens at the Abbey and EotBUS, was likely for S35), Demetres Giannitsos (BBCan5)


k so tell me ? what did I get wrong?


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