Pop Crave had the chance to speak with Ben Driebergen and Enzo Palumbo about their time on The Challenge: USA following their exit on this week’s season finale. Keep reading for the full interview!
Hey guys, congratulations on making it to the final! Enzo, after dropping out of the final, we saw a pretty harsh confessional from Desi where she said she was unsure if she’d be able to look you in the face again. What is your relationship with her now that the season has aired?
Enzo: Look, I mean, I think she’s always gonna have that animosity toward me… and she should, you know? I deserve that. What I did to her, it just sucks. I gotta live with it too. I think we’re friendly enough now to where we do see each other; we’ll say hi, and this and that. But, you know, I feel like I broke a heart, man. She had a real good chance to win. What I did there, I took a lot of money away from her. Yeah, I hate what I did. I hate it. I think about it every day. She could spit on me. I don’t even care. Whatever she wants, she could do whatever she wants. She’s earned that right to do whatever she wants to me, man. I apologized to her millions of times, and I’ll keep doing it.
Ben, as a fan, it was pretty disappointing to find out you were medically unclear to participate in the final. Was that a decision you were aware of prior to landing in Patagonia or was the news really dropped on you after landing?
Ben: Once T.J. officially said it, that’s when I fully believed that. I was hanging on to every grasp and rope that I could that I could still compete. In the end, it was a good decision on their part. Everything was sore, everything hurt. My shoulder was really screwed up so much where there was numbness all the way from my nipple to the back of my shoulder. It was pretty hard, dude, but it was the right decision.
It was great watching your friendship with Sarah grow throughout the season, and especially after watching you guys together on Survivor 40. What was your reaction to finding out that she won the whole thing?
Ben: Oh, super stoked for her. And Danny. I mean, that was a tremendously hard final from what it looked like. From everything I saw, they went through a lot. For them to pull it off and be team Survivor, it was pretty cool to see.
There’s a lot of chatter on the internet regarding the number of finalists disqualified from the final. What are your thoughts on their decision and those who may be critical of it?
Enzo: I mean, look, I guess it was a brutal final, man, you know what I mean? For me, my big thing, my Achilles heel, was that fucking water. I never had any problems with water until I got on to The Challenge. After that second challenge, jumping 40 feet into the water, I swallowed a lot of water. It mentally messed me up. I was always on edge because of that. I caught a phobia of water after being on The Challenge. That’s my thing. As far as everyone else’s things, I just think it was a grueling final. We’re all human, you know what I’m saying? I really commend everyone for trying. I congratulate everyone who made it to the finals, and only two people survived. My hat goes off to those two, you know, so it’s hard. It’s not easy. It’s not easy.
The Sudoku puzzle will definitely go down in infamy with fans as one of the most talked about final challenges ever. How do you think you would have fared in that challenge?
Enzo: I don’t even know what that is. I don’t know what that is. I don’t know. I never did it.
Ben: I love Sudoku. Kind of like Danny, I got the books and everything. Me and a buddy of mine used to get the same books and have races to see who can complete each puzzle faster than the other. It was a bummer to see that that was the final puzzle that everyone stumbled on except Danny. Again, things happen for a reason. I’m super stoked for Danny, and it was a great final to watch. It was cool.
What are your overall thoughts about your time on the show? Given the chance, would you play again?
Enzo: For me, like I said, I really loved the way I was playing. I had a big hiccup at the end, which I regret. I hate it, and I gotta live with that. I hate it. I hate it. Trust me, I hate it. I mean, the haters love it. They love it, and they’re basking in that glory right now. I gave him that. I never forget the haters. I never forget them, so at least I gave them that. As far as for me, man, it’s a hard pill to swallow for me. Would I do it again? Man, I don’t know. At this point, after what I did in the finals, I feel like I’m not worthy to do it again, you know what I mean? At this point, I’m leaning toward not doing it again.
Ben: I feel like I would do it again. Getting that close to the final and not being able to compete, I have that hunger to get there again and do it. I’m a yes. Fully 100%, I would love to do it again.
From your respective shows, Big Brother and Survivor, who do you think would perform well on The Challenge?
Ben: Jeremy Collins, definitely. I think he would be good, from Winners at War. I would probably say Michele [Fitzgerald], but she’s already been on, so I can’t say her. I think Ashley [Nolan] from Season 35, she would do good too.
Enzo: If you’ve got it at heart, if you’re willing to do it… I think just from my All-Star season on Big Brother, I think pretty much all of the dudes could do it, man. I know everyone ripped me off. They ripped me off right from the beginning. “Enzo ain’t this. There’s no way Enzo’s making the finals. No way!” Yet I finagle my way through all the time, and I made it to the final. If I could do it, pretty much anyone could do it, but it ain’t easy. You’ve got to know what you’re doing to get to the final of these things. In my case, when I sucked, I sucked – yet when I win, there’s always excuses for my wins. There’s always excuses, but it is what it is. If you got that heart, you want to do it, then do it. I think anyone could do it.