Another week, another epic episode of The Challenge: USA. Following last week’s elimination of Big Brother 23 winner Xavier Prather, the players have shown that staying within show lines might just be a thing of the past.
After winning his third daily challenge of the season, Tyson Apostol, alongside Love Islander Cashay Proudfoot, decided to betray Survivor alliance member Sarah Lacina, throwing her and partner Leo Temory into elimination. This decision, which was impressively led by Proudfoot, clearly came as a shock to Lacina as she touted throughout nearly every confessional just how safe she felt with Apostol due to their allegiance to the Survivor crew.
The pair faced off in this week’s elimination against Azäh Awasum and Melvin “Cinco” Holland Jr., who both showed their resilience as competitors despite falling short in the daily challenge. Unfortunately, it came down to a difference in strategies that gave Lacina and Temory the edge, ultimately defeating Awasum and Holland Jr. in the Arena.
Pop Crave spoke with Azäh and Cinco about their time on the show, providing us with some insight on THAT reaction from Sarah Lacina after winning this week’s elimination against them. Keep reading for the full exit interview!
We didn’t see much of your guys’ reaction to going up against Sarah and Leo in the elimination. In that moment, what was your reaction and how did you feel your odds were of winning against them?
Cinco: Honestly, mentally, I think we were just both prepared to compete. We knew all day that we were going down there, so we were like, “Yo, whoever they give us, we’re gonna do our best to go and compete against.” We were kinda more scared for the rest of the cast members if Sarah wins and comes back because Sarah’s, like, different [laughs]. But at the same time, we were just ready to compete.
Cinco, we saw that you thought it’d be best for both you and Azäh to not throw out any names to Cash and Tyson regarding who you wanted to go up against in the elimination round. In hindsight, do either of you regret that decision, and what was the ideal pair you two wanted to go up against?
Azäh: I don’t regret it at all… I still don’t regret it at all. At that time in the game, we knew that we kinda had to draw sides and show our cards, and rather than have an opportunity to be a scapegoat if we came back in the house… We just didn’t want to have any blood on our hands at all, so it just seemed to be a better decision to keep that up in the hands of Cash and Tyson. We did feel that of the couples remaining that we would be able to go up against, we were pretty much equally matched with everyone. We did have a preference of one pair because they had money, David and Alyssa, but we didn’t feel comfortable saying that without it coming back to us that a Big Brother person wants to go against another Big Brother person.
Azäh, after Tiffany’s elimination, and then Xavier’s last week at the hands of Kyland and Alyssa, what was your relationship with the Big Brother players coming into this week? Were you still Big Brother strong or were you looking to more strongly align with players from other shows?
Azäh: I kinda felt like I was on an island of my own. I felt within Big Brother that I knew I wasn’t seen as a strong female, and I knew that of what was remaining from my show, they’d be more inclined to want to keep the stronger females around, that being Alyssa and Angela. I kinda knew that I was pretty much not worth anything more than a number. Pretty much a lot of my outward relationships were eliminated as well. I had a great relationship with Shan and she got taken out, Tiffany was my girl coming in and she got taken out earlier, so I kinda felt like I was on an island of my own.
Cinco, this question is a bit similar to Azäh’s. We saw that the Love Island women were very protective over each other, especially regarding players like Cashay and Cayla who you and Cashel previously dated. What was your relationship like with the Love Island women throughout the season, and did you intend on staying Love Island strong had you remained in the game?
Cinco: First coming in it was kinda hard for me to be Love Island strong, honestly. I felt like coming in, I was getting side eyes and cold shoulders from them, obviously just because the connection they have with Cash is a lot stronger than me. And so I get it, I understand. It was kinda something I was anticipating. What kinda sucked is that the people I did trust the most, Javonny and Cely, they ended up leaving early, so I felt like I was a lone wolf just like Azäh. I would’ve preferred to be Love Island strong; I wanted to, but it just made it hard. You only give so much of what you get. I was just in there ready to compete… I still had to do my thing. I was still gonna try to compete and do as best as I can in these challenges and win, but at the same time I could only be so much of an alliance with somebody who wants to be aligned with you. You know what I mean?
How did it feel to make the jump to The Challenge from your own respective shows?
Azah: It was pretty cool. I’m really happy that I got this opportunity. I can’t believe that I almost considered turning it down. To kinda have another avenue for people to be able to know me, I think people were able to get to know me in a different type of way than I was on Big Brother, and I love that I’m able to kinda shed my new skin at that. This has been an awesome opportunity, and I hope the calls keep on coming!
Cinco: For me, I was super excited. Obviously my show Love Island has nothing to do with being a competitor. It has nothing to do with challenging yourself and being conniving or anything like that. It’s literally just sitting around a beach and talking about love and your feelings. Naturally inside of me I’ve been a competitor and an athlete, so getting an opportunity like this I was like, “Yo, I can show a different side of me. I can compete, I can do things that I normally do: challenge my body and challenge myself.” I was excited. I was like, “Hey look, if anybody, why not be from Love Island?” You know what I mean? I was excited. I really enjoyed the opportunity.
Now that your time on the show is over, how do you feel about your overall experience? Would you do it again?
Azäh: I had a great, positive experience with my time in the house. I think my “recovery period” after doing a reality show has been much better than it has been for Big Brother. For me, I can honestly say that overall, my experience with everything has been pretty great. I want to continue to do great things, so I had a great time and feel pretty positive.
Cinco: Overall, I had a great time too. Honestly, I’ve always wanted to do physical things and challenge myself. I met a lot of great people, especially Queen Azäh right here. We knew each other beforehand, but we built a better relationship on the show. Meeting people like Tyson and the Survivors that are like legends on their shows… Yeah, it was just overall a great experience. Just being in Argentina, a beautiful country as well, I definitely enjoyed it overall.
Finally, I have to ask about Sarah’s reaction to winning that elimination. Was she even more heated in person?
Cinco: She was tight, she was tight. We were ready to compete but she was mad as hell, so I’m like, “Hey look-”
Azäh: They didn’t show everything.
Cinco: They didn’t, they did not show everything, as they should.
New episodes of The Challenge: USA air Wednesday nights at 9/8c on CBS.