The Challenge: Free Agents (Preview of The Guys)





It’s almost time folks.  In just a few short weeks time America’s fifth major sport will be returning for a new season.  After several team and partner themed seasons, this year marks the return to an “every man for himself” challenge, similar to The Duel.  The two seasons of The Duel are some of my favorite in challenge history so I was excited to see this format return, even if the claim that there is no alliances is total bs.  Free Agents is a little different from previous Duel seasons, as there will apparently still be partner and team competitions, even though it is technically still an individual game.  This season after each competition the male and female winner will choose a member of each gender to compete about the male and female loser on that day in an elimination round called “The Draw” (possibly the least scary sounding elimination round in challenge history).  The show kicks off on Thursday April 10th at 10 pm, and to hold you over until we get to the premiere, I’m going to evaluate all the male and female contestants on their chances of winning this season of The Challenge.  I’m going to look at the guys side today, and I’ll be back with a preview of the girls on Friday.

The Guys


Brandon Nelson, Fresh Meat II

Physical Game: 5

Mental Game: 3

Social Game: 4.5

Overall: 4

Overall:  Like in every other challenge he has done, Brandon has no chance here (sorry Brandon).  He isn’t athletic enough to win any challenges by himself, and he doesn’t ever seem to have a ton of friends in the house.  The one area Brandon does a decent job is in elimination rounds, and while he isn’t super popular he isn’t hated either.  I see an early to mid show exit for Brandon.  While I think he should have a mediocre finish like he always does, based on some Twitter messages it seems like Brandon has been hanging out with Knight a lot, this is something that could hurt him as Knight is not a very popular guy with other challenge contestants, but their bonding may have started after this show filmed.


Brandon Swift aka Swift, The Real World St. Thomas

Physical Game: 7

Mental Game: 5

Social Game: 3

Overall: 3

Ok, so confession time, I didn’t watch The Real World St. Thomas so this was a tough one to evaluate.  Obviously based on his picture he’s in great shape, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to doing well in the challenges.  Also the only person from his season on the show is fellow rookie LaToya, who he apparently was interested in at one point in their season, but ultimately decided he’d rather go after other girls, so I don’t see them being great friends.  He also seems a little cocky, which is never good for a rookie.  This feels like a classic case of rookies go home first, unless he can find a way to save himself through winning some competitions and stick around long enough to gain some allies.


Chet Cannon, The Real World Brooklyn

Physical Game: 6

Mental Game: 6

Social Game: 7

Overall: 6.5

Chet typically does pretty well in these challenges.  Despite his hipster nerd appearance, Chet is solid in physical competition, and his social game is always solid.  The only person from his season on this challenge is Devyn, and the two have never really been best friends.  I don’t see that hurting Chet much though, as Devyn probably won’t be sticking around too long, based on her weak physical game, and the fact that other than Big Easy, no one ever seems to like her that much.  I think it’s possible Chet could make the final, but it’s more likely he will be one of the last people eliminated before the finale.  Even if he does make the final I have a hard time seeing Chet beating guys like CT and Zach in a physical competition, so a puzzle would have to seriously come in to play for him to have a shot at winning.



Chris “CT” Tamburello, The Real World Paris

Physical Game: 8

Mental Game: 6

Social Game: 6.5

Overall: 7

I kind of feel like CT should have ridden off into the sunset after finally getting his win on Rivals II, but I understand that it’s hard to retire when you’ve just won the title.  Despite the fact that he has 10 years, and about a billion cigarettes on a lot of these younger guys, CT is still an intimidating physical force in this game.  With no Diem this season CT will be free to flirt with whomever he chooses (which will probably be everyone).  It will be interesting to see how CT and Laurel interact after their hook up on Rivals I.  I don’t see another victory for CT, but he is a tough out in an elimination round, and I see him getting close to the final.  If he does make it to the finale, I think he puzzles could stop him from winning, he and Wes got really lucky just guessing which rope to cut on Rivals II, and I doubt he will get a lucky break like that two challenges in a row.


Cohutta Grindstaff, The Real World Sydney

Physical Game: 6.5

Mental Game: 4

Social Game: 7

Cohutta is a classic middle of the pack Challenge competitor.  He’s good at charming the ladies with his southern gentleman act, and he’s a strong enough physical competitor to have that keep him around for a while.  Cohutta’s biggest problem is that he’s never been part of a strong alliance, and when friendship’s come into play on this show he will be in trouble.  While he’s not weak, he’s not one of the biggest guys either, and that means he is a likely candidate to get called out for an elimination round when a friend needs a favor from that days winner.  I see him going home anywhere from middle of the pack to one of the first guys out, which is too bad because I’ve always liked Cohutta.


Dustin Zito, The Real World Las Vegas

Physical Game: 7

Mental Game: 4

Social Game: 5

Overall: 5

Another middle of the pack finisher in my opinion.  Dustin has a decent physical game, but he is a bit of a hot head and tends to get into confrontations with his fellow challenge competitors.  I’m kind of out on Dustin after his treatment of Trishelle on the last Battle of the Seasons, granted Trishelle is crazy, but you don’t want to end up looking just as crazy as her like Dustin did on that show.  Also Dustin has past beef with Frank, combine that with the whole gay porn thing, which always looms like an elephant in the room, and I don’t see this show going well for Dustin.



Frank Sweeney, The Real World San Diego

Physical Game: 8

Mental Game: 7.5

Social Game: 7

Overall: 7.5

Frank is a strong physical competitor, particularly in the water, where he is one of the best swimmers this show has ever seen.  It stills boggles my mind how bad many of these people are at swimming, you know it’s coming, how can you not prepare when you know you’re going to be on the show soon (I don’t care what Cara Maria says, I don’t believe she really took lessons).  I have a love/hate relationship with Frank, he frequently drives me crazy on the show, but he’s always eloquent, and provides interesting insight when I’ve seen him in interviews.  I highly recommend you check out Grantland’s “The Right Reasons” podcast (link) anytime Frank is on, as he is always entertaining and insightful.  I think it’s entirely possible Frank could win this season of The Challenge.  He is strong enough physically to keep up with any other competitors on the show, and is good at swimming and puzzles, two areas of the game that trip up many otherwise strong contestants.  The only thing I see possibly stopping Frank from getting to the final is his love of fighting with other challenge competitors, but maybe we’ll have an older, wiser Frank for this season.


Isaac Stout, The Real World Sydney

Physical Game 5.5

Mental Game: 6

Social Game: 8

Overall: 6

I love Isaac, and I’m excited he’s back on The Challenge, unfortunately I don’t see any chance of him winning.  Isaac’s best asset in this game is that he’s always seemed like a fun dude that people like to have around.  The problem for Isaac is that being the life of the party can only keep you around for so long, and I don’t feel like he really has the physical game to save himself in elimination rounds.  Another knock on Isaac is that he’s been away from The Challenge for a while, and a lot of the new kids won’t know who he is, which never helps when you’re trying to avoid elimination rounds.  I see him anywhere from one of the first to go to a middle of the pack finish.



Johnny Banana’s, The Real World Key West

Physical Game: 7

Mental Game: 9

Social Game: 8.5

Overall: 8

The bad news for Johnny is that his physical game really seems to have fallen off some in the last couple of years.  The good news is that despite some physical weakness, Banana’s is still the godfather of The Challenge.  Johnny lost a valuable long time ally when Paula announced earlier this month that she was retiring from the challenges following the birth on her first child (I’m pretty sure she’ll be back, but congrats to her for now).  Despite this loss Johnny still has plenty of friends in this game, with people like Camila remaining loyal to him, even though he has treated them like shit on multiple occasions.  I know the show is claiming there are “no alliances” this season, and some of you are probably wondering why I keep talking about how many friends people have, but despite the shows claims, I am certain that friends will vote to keep friends safe, and alliances will still play a huge role in this season, even if there is only one male and female winner.  I think Johnny is the Kobe Bryant of this challenge, he’s won a lot in the past and could go out as one of the greatest players of all time, but he can’t resist the urge to come back and get one more win.  I don’t see Johnny winning this season, but I’d also never bet against him, he definitely makes it late in the game and probably to the finale.


Johnny Reilly, The Real World Portland

Physical Game: 4.5

Mental Game: 4

Social Game: 5.5

Overall: 4

I like Johnny and feel bad for him after finding out his relationship with Averey has ended.  Rumor is that she cheated on him, and really who didn’t see that coming, eventually the girl had to figure out she was way too good-looking for him, but I still feel bad.  The best thing Johnny has going for him on this challenge is that he has a lot of his fellow Portland cast members with him on the show (Jordan, Nia, and Jessica).  The problem is he really didn’t get along with Nia, and being friends with Jessica has never helped anyone do anything (also Jessica might not actually have any friends).  Jordan is the only real asset (in terms of winning) this cast has, and I don’t really see him going out of his way to protect Johnny.  I think Johnny will be similar to Isaac in that he is a funny, life of the party guy, but I don’t see him sticking around long.  There is a good possibility that Johnny will be the first to go home.


Jordan Wiseley, The Real World Portland

Physical Game: 9.5

Mental Game: 7.5

Social Game: 7

Overall: 8.5

Jordan is definitely one of my favorites to win this season of The Challenge.  Jordan is a good-looking extreme sports junky who runs a couple of miles every day, in other words, he was made to dominate this show.  Physically I don’t know if there is anyone on this show who can beat Jordan in a final, and he seems to get along fairly well with his fellow challenge competitors.  The preview does show Jordan getting into a fight with Johnny Banana’s, and we all know Jordan isn’t afraid of confrontation, but I still think he will go far in this game.  The only way I see Jordan missing the final is if he really runs afoul of the dominate alliance in the house, and gets thrown into several elimination rounds.


Leroy Garrett, The Real World Las Vegas

Physical Game: 8

Mental Game: 4.5

Social Game: 7.5

Overall: 7

Like basically everyone else who watches this shows, I love Leroy, and I would love to see him get back to a final, I’m just not sure he can pull it off.  Despite being one of the most built guys in the house, Leroy always seems to under perform a little physically.  When you combine that with the fact that puzzles really aren’t has thing, Leroy could have some problems on this season.  Despite that fact, Leroy is always one of my favorite people to have in the house, he is good for at least a couple laughs every season, and I think that helps him stick around the house longer.  Right now I see Leroy being one of the last guys out before the final, but I’m rooting for him to pull off an upset.


Preston Roberson-Charles, The Real World New Orleans

Physical Game: 3.5

Mental Game: 4.5

Social Game: 4.5

Overall: 4

Why do they keep bringing Preston back every season?  Did everyone else say no and he was their last-ditch option?  I don’t dislike Preston, but he has no chance of winning, and he doesn’t really add much to the show entertainment wise, I need a break from him.  The good news for Preston is that he’s not stuck with his enemy Knight as a partner this season.  The bad news for Preston is that Knight was by far the best competitor on their team, and his chances of winning without a teammate are right around zero.  I see him as one of the first guys out unless they save him as an easy out for someone in an elimination round late in the show.


Zach Nichols. The Real World San Diego

Physical Game: 9

Mental Game: 4

Social Game: 6

Overall: 7.5

Zach is one of my least favorite challenge competitors of all time, he acts like a jerk most of the time, and comes across as awfully entitled for someone who hasn’t been around on these shows for that long.  Despite the fact that I’m not his biggest fan, I have to admit that Zach has a good chance to win this season of The Challenge.  Zach is obviously a huge physical threat.  I think his always contentious relationship with fellow Real World San Diego cast member Frank could be one of the biggest factors in determining where he finishes.  Frank is the second most powerful person on this show after Johnny Banana’s, and if Frank and Zach’s love/hate relationship was in the hate phase while this show filmed then that doesn’t spell a good finish for Zach.  I think the things most likely to trip up Zach are potentially rifts with other cast members, and a tendency to not pay attention to the rules and DQ in competition.  If we based this off of physical ability alone, I can’t see anything stopping Zach from getting to the final.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for the guys.  Right now, assuming there are three people of each sex competing in the final like there have been in Duel seasons in the past, I’m going with a final three of Jordan, Frank and Banana’s with CT and Zach as my alternates.  I’ll be back on Friday with my preview of the girl’s side, and check back tomorrow for a recap of this week’s penultimate episode of The Real World: Ex-Plosion.

Thoughts/Questions/Comments – You can reach me via email – or on Twitter – @NoOneGoesToClev.



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