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Pop Crave had the chance to speak with Alyssa Lopez and Desi Williams about their time on The Challenge: USA following their exit on this week’s season finale. Keep reading for the full interview!

Courtesy of Jonne Roriz/Paramount

Congratulations on making it as far as you both did! Alyssa, knowing that you were aligned with the Survivor men, it was a bit of a shock that Domenick put you into elimination. Were you surprised or did he let you know beforehand?

Alyssa: He didn’t tell me, but I could kind of feel the energy that I was. He kept coming up with different reasons why and why he’s considering it, and then I would give him a reason not to and he didn’t take it. The energy… I felt it. I was kind of upset about it. I don’t know if they showed when it was Angela and Ben, and Ben wanted to put Dom or Tyson in. That night when we went out, I talked to Ben and talked them out of wanting to put Dom in. I was like, “We got to stick with this.” I put my neck out for him, and I didn’t need to do that. It was a men’s elimination. I knew he was gonna put Desi in, and so you have me, Cayla, or Justine, and his reasonings… He just had different reasonings. It was like, “Oh, well I won with Cayla and Justine was my first partner.” I’m like, “What does that have to do with it? Look at what I’ve done for you. What have they done for you to help make sure you’re okay, other than being your partner?” I didn’t really understand it. He just wanted to keep his besties all together, I guess, and I just wanted to compete.

Desi, after Enzo dropped out of the final, we saw a confessional from you where you said you were unsure if you’d ever be able to look him in the face again. Has that wound healed, and what is your relationship with him now that the season has aired?

Desi: I’m definitely more healed than I was in that moment. Our TV froze during that part, so I didn’t even see that part of the episode… probably fortunately. Enzo and I aren’t BFFs. I have looked him in the eye, and he did apologize before we left Argentina. I do appreciate that apology, but you could apologize and also deposit $250,000 in my bank account [laughs]… then we would be on better terms! We’re not best friends. I don’t really want to hang out with Enzo, but I’m also not putting a bounty on his head.

Courtesy of Jonne Roriz/Paramount

Alyssa, fans were pretty critical of your decision to target players of The Cookout early on in the game. From a strategic standpoint, do you have any regrets about it? If you could play it over, would you do anything different?

Alyssa: Strategically, no. Walking in, I was just six months in another show with these people. I don’t want to get got again. Going into it, you could already tell Big Brother came in hot. Tiffany came in burning hot, playing the game too much, which scared people off. People were already scared of Big Brother – not scared in a “Whoa, we’re intimidating!” – but like, we’re just too much. Big Brother 23 was the only cast that had six people going in together. I knew people did not trust Big Brother, and especially Big Brother 23. Once I started observing it as well, I knew if Azah had to choose between me or Tiffany, she would choose Tiffany. If it was me or Tiffany, Kyland would choose to save Tiffany. I knew I was at the bottom of that, as far as Tiffany and Azah. Even if I stuck with BB23, I knew that if they needed to choose someone to take out, they would choose me. I also still felt like [Xavier] X’s sidekick. Anytime we talked game, it’s because I brought it up. He was just like, “I’ll handle it,” and like… I wanted to be an ally. I felt like strategically, if I keep saying that I’m not with Big Brother – if I strategically make a move that’s like, “Holy shit, she really isn’t with them!” – I’ll have more game conversations, and I know as soon as I took out X, no one was upset about it from Survivor or The Amazing Race. Nobody was like, “Oh, she’s not trustworthy!” People started talking game with me more, I had more connections outside of Big Brother, and I really do think that’s what got me to the end. I made it right before the final. The only reason why is because I’m not best friends with Dom, so I feel like I did really well. I think that move did help me make it to where I did.

Desi: I’m nodding because she’s spot on. I was like, “BB23 has to go! Every last one of them!” Truthfully, Alyssa was like my number one [target]. You and Tiffany, y’all are both gaming so hard that I was like, “They gotta go!” That was the best move she could have made, and I do think it helped her.

Alyssa: It wasn’t like I was wanting Tiffany out. I didn’t even know Tiffany was an option to go in until the night before. I thought I was going in no matter what that time. Shannon came up to me and was like, “Hey, we Love Island girls want Tiffany out,” so it’s like Big Brother. You’re on the block next to Tiffany. I need to do whatever I can to make sure I don’t go home – not she goes home. I didn’t even know she was an option. I guess I’m the main reason why she went home, but it’s really not, but whatever… 

Courtesy of Jonne Roriz/Paramount

Desi, we know you are a big fan of The Challenge. After falling victim to the final solely because of your partner, what are your current feelings about partners being a component in most finals? 

Desi: In this final in particular, I feel like it totally could have been run as one person. There was never a point where you needed your partner to do this. This particular final, I feel like it should have been run individually, especially once Ben was out. There was always a woman who was by themselves, and that just didn’t make sense overall in the game. Also, we’ve all seen The Challenge enough to know that everything in The Challenge doesn’t always make sense. Don’t even waste your time trying to make it make sense. At the end of the day, it’s a game and a TV show, and they’re going to do what they want. I got the short end of the stick this time.

What is your take on Angela’s decision to sit out of the overnight stage of the final? I saw that Alyssa quote tweeted something about it, so I was wondering if there was maybe any light you could shed on that decision that fans might not know of?

Alyssa: Okay, Desi agrees with this as well from Survivor. On Big Brother, when there is a competition, they give us too many details: what you can’t do, what you can do, what’s allowed, what will make you win, what will be a tiebreaker, will there be a timeout, the amount of time. They tell you everything. They let you ask questions, and you’ll know all the answers before you start. Every daily, there were questions. They’ll be like, “We’ll let you know. We’ll figure it out. We don’t know. You’ll see when that happens.” There were so many times where we really weren’t sure what’s allowed and what’s not. Angela’s not going to quit – why would she actually purposefully quit? Strategically, she’s thinking, “I’m already going to lose this. I’m by myself, so I might as well get the rest I need for the next day.” If she knew that she’s gonna go home if she doesn’t do this, I mean… Who would do it? Why would she, you know? I think there’s more to it. I think that I was hoping with the final, they’d be a little more structural than they have in the past. I do believe that there was a little confusion, and if she knew, she wouldn’t have done what happened.

Courtesy of Jonne Roriz/Paramount

I think that the Sudoku puzzle will go down in infamy with fans as one of the most talked about final challenges ever. How do you think you’d fare at it?

Desi: I mean, I know how to do Sudoku. I do feel like I could have done that, but I also want to be fair and say that I don’t think they quit solely because of the Sudoku puzzle. Cayla literally had hypothermia and had to seek medical attention. They were fearful for her life. I wasn’t there, so this is what I’ve been told by all the other cast mates who were there in the moment, so I think it’s unfair to say that they quit because of Sudoku. I think there were greater medical health concerns, but I don’t know.

Alyssa: I played Sudoku when I had to be in the quarantine before Big Brother. I played in my hotel room and checked a lot of the cheat sheets on there. I don’t know how well I would have done it, but I know how to play it. I know a lot of people are saying they’ve never played or they don’t know how. I know the concept of it. Also, with what Desi was saying, there’s more than just a Sudoku puzzle, but if I was in a nice and warm hotel room waiting to go on Big Brother, I would have got it well!